The Party of Poverty.

July 12, 2013

Back in 2008, before the rise of food banks, before homeless rates sky rocketed, before the most vulnerable were forced out of their homes for having been deemed to have one bedroom too many by Conservatives with twelve bedroom country estates; the Tories attempted to reposition themselves as “the party of the poor“. Oliver Letwin told the New Statesman that year:

“It is one of the ironies of the political scene that the leading advocates of radical change to achieve progressive goals are now to be found in the Conservative Party.”

Naturally, the public didn’t agree, and so in 2009 the Conservative Party again attempted to position itself as the “party of the poor“. In a speech that year, David Cameron told us that the Conservatives were now:

“best-placed to fight poverty in our country”

Naturally, the public didn’t agree, and so in 2011 the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith said:

“We are the party focused on the poor, so it follows that you might legitimately say that we are the party of the poor.”

Naturally, the public didn’t agree, and so next week, according to The I, the Tories will launch a campaign designed to try to shake off the ‘rich, posh‘ image (reality) and replace it with yet another attempt at a “We’re the party of the poor” narrative (fiction). It is therefore wise for us to note exactly how the most vulnerable have fared so far under a Tory government:

Chris Mould, the executive chairman of Trussell Trust; a charity that runs over 300 food banks across the country noted the sharp rise in the use of foodbanks by the most vulnerable, hurt by round after round of deep, sharp Welfare cuts by a Party funded by millionaires. It is estimated that around 500,000 people in the UK currently feel they have to resort to using food banks. Mould said:

“The only people who seem unable to accept there is a social crisis driven by the cost of living is the Government.”

– This was in response to the truly reprehensible Lord Freud, who, on questioned in the Lords about the rise of food banks to support the least vulnerable, essentially told those using foodbanks, that they don’t need to, and are just greedy for free food:

“If you put more food banks in, that is the supply. Clearly food from a food bank is by definition a free good and there’s almost infinite demand.”

– This, despite reports by Church Action, Oxfam, among many charities, that note that welfare cuts, insecure work, job-seekers allowance sanctions, and rising costs of living impact the most vulnerable to the point where a foodbank is a measure of last resort. Oxfam said:

“Cuts to social safety-nets have gone too far, leading to destitution, hardship and hunger.”

– In response, the Department of Work and Pensions, incredibly let those 500,000 people in desperate need of food know that:

“Our welfare reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities.”

– As with education, as with the NHS, as with the ramifications of deep austerity, the Conservative Party (and I include Liberal Democrats in the category of ‘The Conservative Party’) are in such vast denial when presented with the evidence for the failure of their policies, and the impact it has on the most vulnerable, that we should really be questioning just how such an extremist government is able to find itself electable at all. There is absolutely no way dismantling a safety net, and plunging the UKs welfare system back into the Victorian era, can be spun to appear beneficial to the poorest.
– Party of the Poor.

The Poverty and Social Exclusion (PSE) Project, in March, published its report into poverty in the UK. The report – ‘The Impoverishment of the UK‘ – found that one in three people couldn’t afford to heat their homes throughout the winter in 2012. It found that 9% of people cannot afford to heat the living areas of their homes, up from 3% in the 90s. It found that 9% of households cannot afford to offer each opposite-sex child in the house of 10 years or over, their own bedroom, up from 3% in 1999. It found that one in three, cannot afford to save. It found that half a million children live in families in which the parents often go without food themselves to ensure their children eat. It found that 13,000,000 do not have adequate housing facilities. It found that 8% of children cannot afford to go on school trips, up from 2% in 1999.
Professor David Gordon, head of the project, said:

“About one third of people in the UK suffer significant difficulties and about a quarter have an unacceptably low standard of living. Moreover, this bleak situation will get worse as benefit levels fall in real term, real wages continue to decline and living standards are further squeezed.”

– Party of the Poor.

The Guardian reported the desperation of disabled people whose needs are considered “moderate“, given that their social centres face closure up and down the country as local councils battle to save money. Amanda Preston, of Peterborough Council for Voluntary Services said:

“I am really worried that by trying to make savings now we are pushing vulnerable people towards a crisis point, when any savings made now will be eaten up by the care and support they will need then.”

– This, after Peterborough Council decided to end services for those considered to have “moderate” needs. Campaigners estimate that around 105,000 disabled people in the UK will go without much needed care, due to cuts made to local services.
– Party of the Poor.

Perhaps the most putrid Tory policy – defended by Liberal Democrats – is its most infamous in decades.
ITV broadcast the story of Tony, Diann, their three year old daughter Shanice, and their 15 year old daughter Stephanie. Stephanie has 1p36 deletion syndrome, and a mental age of four. She struggles with words, and mobility. All three bedrooms in their house are currently occupied. Stephanie requires her own room, because she wakes up around 5am and can become loud and violent due to her illness. But under the rules of the ‘Bedroom Tax’, the two daughters will be required to share a bedroom, because they’re both under 16. That, or face a huge cut to their Housing benefit payment. They will be deemed to have a spare room. Tony and Diann say the cut would mean cutting down on meals.

Maria Brabiner has lived in her home since 1978. It is indescribably cruel of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to wish to see her kicked out of the security of the house she has made a home, all because of a spare room. Do you know why she now has a spare room? It is because her mother, whom lived in the room, died recently. Miss Brabiner said:

“I’m scared of what’s going to happen to me, I’m worried about whether my electric will be cut off, whether my gas will be cut off.

– This is economic violence, by perhaps the two nastiest Parties we have seen in the UK, being forced upon a woman whose mother has recently died, and whose house is more than just a house; it is a home. Worse still, it is being forced on her, by a Cabinet of multi-millionaires, backbenches pushing for a massive pay rise for themselves, with multiple houses that remain unoccupied and included acres of land that could be used to build new houses on.

Upon hearing that local authorities might re-designate houses to help the most vulnerable avoid the crippling Bedroom tax, Lord Freud sent them this memo:

I would like to stress that if it is shown properties are being re-designated inappropriately this will be viewed very seriously. If the Department has cause to believe this is the case we will commission an independent audit to ascertain whether correct and appropriate procedures have been followed. I wish to state clearly that these audits would be separate from the subsidy audits already undertaken, which carry out sample checks on the assessment of Housing Benefit.

Where it is found that a local authority has re-designated properties without reasonable grounds and without reducing rents, my Department would consider either restricting or not paying their Housing Benefit subsidy.

– Party of the Poor.

The number of children living in absolute poverty between 2011 and 2012, rose 300,000 on the previous year, according to the Department of Work and Pensions.
– Party of the Poor.

In March 2012, according to figures by the Department for Communities and Local Government, local authorities registered 48,510 households as homeless, representing a 14% leap. The largest in nine years. A report from the same department also showed the number of people sleeping rough had jumped by a fifth, in a year.
Leslie Morphy the Chief Exec. of Crises said:

“Our worst fears are coming to pass. We face a perfect storm of economic downturn, rising joblessness and soaring demand for limited affordable housing combined with government policy to cut housing benefit plus local cuts to homelessness services.”

Similarly, the Chief Exec. of Shelter, Campbell Rob said:

“These figures are a shocking reminder of the divide between the housing haves and have nots in this country,”

Similarly, Matt Harrison, interim chief executive of Homeless Link said:

“This comes at a time when reduced funding has already hit services and further cuts are expected this year. Our research indicates that there are now fewer projects, fewer beds and more of our members are turning people away because they are full.”

– Predictably, as with every overwhelming indication that Conservative policy is failing the most vulnerable, the Party refused to accept that the situation could ever be blamed on them. Grant Shapps said:

“the debt-laden economy we inherited is leaving a legacy of hard-up households across the country”.

– The refusal to reverse course, or to even acknowledge the damage austerity poverty-driven policies have on the most vulnerable, and his indifference toward the problem, choosing instead to try to score, weak and cheap political points, should be enough to disgust anyone with a sense of social justice.
– Party of the Poor.

Conservatives; where creating poverty, homelessness, rough sleeping, rising food banks, attacks on the disabled, forcing people out of their homes for having a tiny extra room, parents going hungry to feed their children, and pensioners not being able to heat their homes, whilst ensuring tax breaks for the wealthiest is synonymous with being the “party of the poor“.

Austerity is poverty.

Please use #PartyofPoverty hashtag on twitter, to engage in a rebranding of the Tory Party. Thanks.

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#StandForLife…. as long as it’s not left the womb yet.

July 3, 2013

poverty-creators

A sudden flurry of twitter activity around the #StandForLife trend, took my interest yesterday. The trend is in support of Texas House Bill 2, the Abortion Regulations Bill. I searched long and hard for any sign of anyone actually standing up for the life of a child once he or she had been born. Imagine my surprise when I failed to notice any mention of promoting universal healthcare, or well funded child care, or an emphasis on fighting child poverty, or a campaign to end the death penalty, or increased spending on education rather than weapons, or restrictions of guns. It would appear that #StandForLife simply means, protect a fetus; but when it’s born, it’s on its own, and should probably get a gun.

In a wonderful fit of ironic “freedom“, some were suggesting a fetus should have Constitutional rights, but then lose those rights, if they grow up to be gay:

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Others didn’t understand why discarding cells from a womb and protecting a woman’s health, isn’t treated the same as a word that has around 300 years of violent slave related, human rights abusing context behind it:

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– It really was another flurry of mad conservative overly dramatic preaching.

For those calling themselves ‘pro-life’ or insisting that they’re standing in protection of human life, they would do themselves great credit to note that universal healthcare, in every country it is permitted, works. And it tends to work far better, for far cheaper, for the majority of the population. Pro-lifers first big battle should be a system of healthcare that works for all. If we take the examples of the US with its private healthcare system, and the UK with its national healthcare system, we note some key differences, according to the World Health Organisation:

UK Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 79/82
US Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 76/81

UK Probability of dying under five (per 1 000 live births): 5
US Probability of dying under five (per 1 000 live births): 8

UK Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population): 91/57
US Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population): 131/77

UK obesity rates (2013): 23%
UK obesity rates (2013): 30.6%

UK Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2011): 3,322
US Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2011): 8,608

UK Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2011): 9.3
US Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2011): 17.9

We should also note that the 9.3% of GDP the UK spends on healthcare, is enough to cover 100% of the people. By contrast, the 17.9% of GDP the US spends on healthcare, covers around 30% of the people. So, as of 2011, the US healthcare market was far less efficient than the UKs socialised healthcare system. It costs the government more, it costs people more, whilst life expectancy is lower, and there’s a higher risk of your child dying early, under the US system. It helps that that UK also has much stronger primary care, which is known to reduce healthcare costs overall. The US is especially good at late stage intervention. 13.7% of Americans were uninsured when Clinton left office in 2000; compared with 15.4% when Bush left office.
If you were to #StandForLife in the US, you would be advocating a universal healthcare system, opposing all Republican suggestions.

Republicans create poverty. Especially among children. Child poverty in the US is getting worse. The percentage of children living in a household earning less than 50% of the national average, was at 21.4% as of 2011. The lowest, is Denmark, at 2.4%. The UK is at 16.2%. In fact, from 2001, to 2009, the Bush years, child poverty rose by almost 6% in the US. Republicans care about life, before it is born. The moment it is born, they plunge you into poverty. That of course isn’t too much of a shock, given that Bush’s wealthy tax breaks resulted in the median income falling from $52,500 in 2000 (inflation adjusted) to $50,303 in 2008. In 2000, 31.6 million Americans were living in poverty. When Bush left office, 39.8 million were in poverty.
During the 2012 ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations, the House Republicans passed 39.8 million DOA Plan B 215-209-1. This Bill didn’t make it to the Senate, but its interesting to note that the proposal from Boehner, included throwing 300,000 children off of food stamps, whilst the Tax Policy Center found that the same proposal offered an average $108,000 tax cut for millionaires, in a typical Republican move to redistribute wealth upwards, whilst endangering and impoverishing the lives of children. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted that the Republican plan results in:

“…a mother with two children who works full time at the minimum wage of $7.25 and earns $14,500 a year would lose $1,560 of her Child Tax Credit, which would plummet from $1,725 to $165.”

Republicans in the House, we know, are pushing forward attempts at deep and harmful cuts to education funding, to help protect spending on defence. In May, House Republicans proposed a 6% rise in Department of Defence spending, whilst proposing a cap for Labour, Education, and HHS at $121.8; about $28bn lower than expected. Children hit again by a Republican obsession with spending cuts for those who need it the most, whilst proposing tax breaks for those who need it least.

In Tennessee, Republican state Sen. Stacey Campfield introduced a bill in January that would limit welfare payments to families, based on a child’s performance at school. Essentially, do your homework, or we rich people are going to starve you. Interestingly, Senators and Representatives monthly wage isn’t dependent on their performance in government. They will eat whether they succeed in anything of any substance, or not.
If those on welfare in Tennessee have a child who skips school, they already get 20% of their welfare cut. Campfield wishes to add an extra 30% if the child isn’t performing to his standard.

Republicans dominate the State of Mississippi, they hold the Senate seats, and three of the four US House seats. And yet, voting a pro-life Party has done nothing but keep Mississippi at the very bottom of the list of worst possible States for children to live, according to Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Index. It has remained at the bottom for 24 years. Though this year, it was overtaken by another red State; New Mexico. In fact, the bottom five States for child wellbeing in the US, are Republican controlled. All five States, coincidentally, passed ‘Right to Work’ anti-union laws, pushing poverty up horrendously, whilst enriching the wealthiest. It isn’t a war on poverty, it is a war on the poor.

In Mississippi, child poverty rates are at a shocking 32%, one child or teenager is shot and killed every single week, and infant mortality is higher than anywhere in the country. This, as well as around 60,000 uninsured people living in Mississippi, and yet, Republicans in the State have decided to tackle all of these problems…….. by harshly regulating abortion inducing pills, whilst attempting to make it easier to carry a gun in public. Let’s also not forget that Mississippians still pay their tax dollars toward State murder, through the death penalty.
According to Gallup, in 2009, Mississippi was the most Christian State in America (Vermont is the least religious State, and also, has one of the lowest poverty rates. It is a Democrat State), whilst also being the worst State to raise a child for 24 years. Which renders tweets like this, rather ironic:

cruz
– Ironic on several counts. Firstly, for the reference to Christianity, at a time when the most Christian States tend to have the highest rates of child poverty. But also, because it’s coming from Ted Cruz. A US Senator from Texas, who voted against affordable University education for students, with the Student Loan Affordability Act, against regulations for assault weapons, against background checks for guns, against limiting firearm magazine capacity, sponsored limiting funds for people with pre-existing conditions, against the Violence against Women Act (so your child is a ‘gift from God and deserves to be protected’, until she is born), and against the Sandy relief fund and disaster relief. It is almost impossible for one man to be more anti-women, and anti-life than Senator Cruz.

#StandForLife is a soundbite. It sounds far more attractive, loving, and respectable than the truth, which is simply Republicans, under the banner of “individual Liberty”, wishing to control as many people (mainly women) as they possibly can, whilst enriching themselves in the process.

If you were to truly #StandForLife in the US, you would never vote Republican again.


Margaret Thatcher

April 8, 2013

597px-Thatcher_reviews_troops_(cropped)“I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.”
Martin Luther King

It would be wrong to claim that a person is deserving of our unquestioning respect, simply because they’ve died. We do not have to respect Margaret Thatcher as a politician, or a person. I have very little respect for her as either. We should however consider the tone of our comments on her death, if only for the sake of her family. We do this, because we are decent people. The openly “dance on her grave” barrage of hate aimed at her today, for all to see, so publicly, is another legacy of her awful ‘no such thing as society‘ legacy.

It does no good to publicly celebrate the death of person, regardless of how divisive or even how evil they were (parading the body of Gaddafi around on TV was horrific). The person is dead. They are not going to see the comments. It is irrelevant to them. The only people who will notably suffer from the comments, are the family of the person who has died. She has family, and grandkids who shouldn’t have to be exposed to some outward display of public joy and declarations of “dancing on the grave” of their grandma. Gloating and demeaning, is giving up the moral high ground to the people who created a society based on suspicion, fear, greed, selfishness, human values replaced by commercial values, me-me-me, and uninformed vitriol in the first place.
It also feeds the right winged trolls. As we see with the insufferably irritating, and vacuous Louise “You shouldn’t drink coffee from Starbucks if you have ANY issue with modern Capitalism” Mensch:

ssss
– Apparently, subtly hinting that anyone on any sort of Welfare could be capable of murdering their family, is fine by Tories. Saying “I don’t like Thatcher” makes you Socialist scum.
It is worrying that dissent in any form, will be seen as a show of ‘disrespect‘, by ‘spiteful lefties‘. Anything short of portraying her as some great figure, putting ‘great‘ back into ‘Great Britain‘ or anything equally as meaningless and clearly contradictory to reality, will be seen as simply worthless vitriol from bitter socialists. This cannot happen.

There is a notable difference it seems to me, between demanding street parties and grave dancing, to openly criticising her and her shamefully awful legacy. The latter, should be just as open as it is for those who seem to be bombarding the airwaves with talk of how she was some sort of God-like saviour. She was a political figure, a public figure, a divisive figure, we cannot and should not shut off criticism, especially at a time when her legacy is up for grabs, and will most certainly be leaped on by the right winged media wishing to portray an angelic, hero of freedom.

I therefore find it equally as disrespectful for Downing Street to have released this horrendously provocative statement:

We have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton.
As our first woman prime minister, Margaret Thatcher succeeded against all the odds, and the real thing about Margaret Thatcher is that she didn’t just lead our country, she saved our country, and I believe she’ll go down as the greatest British peacetime prime minister.
Her legacy will be the fact she served her country so well, she saved our country and that she showed immense courage in doing so. And people will be learning about what she did and her achievements in decades, probably for centuries to come

– This quote shows a complete lack of shame for the millions of people who suffered immensely because of her. It threads perfectly into the Tory-lack-of-shame-tapestry with how they have treated every minority in this country since 2010. The Downing Street statement is a right winged version of “We’ll dance on her grave” aimed at those they continue to despise, and punish every day. The unjustifiable needless rise in suicide rates, in homelessness, in child poverty, in poverty in general was horrifically high by the time she left office. The catastrophic nature of Thatcherite deregulated finance that Tories are now trying to “fix” by demonising the poorest and most vulnerable. To ignore this, to ignore the suffering inflicted upon the nation under the Thatcher government, simply to make a right winged point is as disrespectful to the families of those who suffered losses to suicide, the misery caused by the Hillsborough cover up, those who suffered through the nasty little Section 28, the dreadful poll tax concept that eventually brought her down, those who lost their homes and their livelihoods that she cruelly named “the enemy within“, those who will never be able to afford a home now, a huge inequality gap, those who died during her time supporting Pinochet; horribly disrespectful from Downing Street. People may well have benefited from her reforms. But a lot of people suffered horrendously, and they should be afforded respect also. They should also be freely entitled to speak out. Let’s not forget that whilst Thatcher spent the final months of her life in the expensive Ritz, many of the people left broken by her policies are now struggling to deal with the fact that they have a spare room tax to deal with. Judging a Prime Ministerial legacy should be based on how the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable were improved, not on how rich the richest were able to become. The Thatcher sycophants will inevitably demand uniformity of ‘respect‘ for her as a person. This is unnecessary, and is completely wrong to demand.
When the riots kicked off in London in 2010, A study by the business information group Experian found that inner city poorer areas are not equipped to deal with economic shocks like that of austerity, because they are still dealing with the after effects of the economic shocks of the 1980s. It found that Elmbridge in Surrey was the least likely to be affected by austerity, coincidentally, Elmbridge in Surrey was labelled as the town with the highest quality of life by a Halifax Estate Agency, and the “Beverly Hills of England” by the Daily Mail. Let’s not rewrite history to present her as a hero.

Let’s not dance to the death of a person. Save it, help to defeat her horrific ideology. Dance at the death of Thatcherism.

No one is denying that she changed Britain entirely. She was a towering figure. She climbed to the top of a male dominated profession, and for that, she is pretty special. I confess I have abandoned much of my socialist zeal from my younger days, however, my principles still lead me to stand firmly against everything she stood for. I have nothing but contempt for her politics.

But on the day of her death, I feel for her family. That’s about all.


The curse of Mother Teresa

March 28, 2011

2010 marked 100 years since the birth of Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu; Mother Theresa. She is a Catholic heroine, beatified by the Catholic Church in 2003 at St Peters in Rome by Pope John Paul II, and given a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. She is known the World over for her aiding the impoverished people of India, and in particular, Calcutta. She is often idolised, considered a wonderful, caring, selfless human being.

I could not disagree more with that perception.

There are a great deal of those beatified who are certainly worthy of such high admiration. Anne-Marie Javouhey is perhaps one of my favourites. She founded Institute of Saint Joseph of Cluny at Cabillon in the early 19th Century, dedicating her life educating the poor and slave populations across the World. She was an emancipator, far before my most revered emancipator, Charles Sumner was even born. Javouhey worked tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of the poor and the ill. For this, she deserves all the admiration that the Catholic Church bestowed upon her.

There are also a great deal of those beatified, who do not deserve it, and should be absolutely condemned. Isidore of Seville is a Saint, made so by Saint Clement VIII. Isidore once wrote an essay calling for the Christians to take Jewish children away from their parents by force, and educate them in the Christian way. A wonderful study by Bat-sheva Albert called “Isidore of Seville: His attitude toward Judaism and his impact on Early Medieval Cannon Law” shows that Isidore was concerned with writing instructions for the clergy to adhere to, and those instructions were unusually marred with vicious language aimed directly at Judaism, and perpetuated the persecution and suspicion of Jews during the Medieval period. We could claim that Isidore lived in the 6th Century and that we’re typically viewing and condemning him through 21st Century vision. The problem is, Isidore’s views on taking children away from their parents simply for being Jewish, were radical even for the 6th Century. Because the rational conscience of humanity is often at odds with the irrational immorality hell of organised religion.

Unfortunately, Mother Theresa is not even close to being as admirable in any way, in comparison to Javouhey, and actually closer in terms of the destruction to human life, to Isidore of Seville.

Her order, the “missionaries of charity” did more to inflict suffering, pain and poverty on people needlessly, than the actual causes of that suffering and pain and poverty itself. She believed that poverty was a virtue to brought one closer to God. The more a person suffers, whether they ask for that suffering or not, the closer they are to God according to the warped fantasy of Mother Theresa, recently beatified. Primitive equipment was used to treat wounds. No pain killers were used at all. Unsterilised needles equipment was used. People died far sooner than they would have had Mother Theresa actually bothered to recommend actual medical treatment for the poor that she was apparently “helping”.

Her use of fairy tales to promote suffering and pain should be viewed with the contempt it deserves. She believed suffering was good, abortion was wrong, and birth control was evil. In a country like India, villifying birth control is reckless at best. According to a freelance writer, Judith Hayes, Mother Theresa once told a cancer patient in her care that she did not need pain killers, because:

“You are suffering like Christ on the cross, So Jesus must be kissing you.”

How else would someone come to such a positively dangerous position that does nothing but cause unnecessary pain and suffering, if not for belief. Why would a sane human being refuse pain killers to a dying lady in pain, other than a belief in a God. And what a poor argument for an all loving God that would be.

Mother Theresa sat on a fortune. Banks accounts all over the World, filled with millions upon millions in donations. People were led to believe that they were giving money to alleviate suffering. Instead, the millions of dollars sat unused, like a bottle of water and loaf of bread hanging over the mouths of the starving, being held just out of reach by an insane Nun who wallowed in her feet being kissed by impoverished “Calcutteans”.

Calcutta itself, the capital of West Bengal, is home to far more people than it can sustain. Almost 6 million live in Calcutta and the streets are paved with the homeless. 6 million people, in 71 square miles, is ridiculous. That being said, it has cultural heritage that far surpasses anything else in India. Mother Theresa tried to persuade people against the use of condoms. In a city vastly overpopulated, she was attempting to ban condoms, and persuading people that abortion was a great evil; even for victims of incest and rape. Millions of people were being put at risk, because Mother Theresa and the Catholic Church indulged in an irrational campaign against the use of contraception.

In New York, a homeless and poor shelter was going to be installed in the Bronx. The plans included two storied building. The City Planning Commission insisted that for the disabled, their must be an elevator. The Nuns applied for a waiver of the Disabled Access Laws, on grounds of nothing else but “religious belief”. Mother Theresa and the Nuns refused to allow an elevator to be installed because their religious beliefs forbade them from using “modern conveniences”. When the Commission refused them the waiver, Mother Theresa and her Nuns threw their toys out of the pram and abandoned the project. They would rather let people suffer, than install an elevator.

Susan Shields, an ex-member of the Missionaries on Charity tells her story, about what she witnessed when she was a Sister in the organisation run by Mother Theresa:

When Mother spoke publicly, she never asked for money, but she did encourage people to make sacrifices for the poor, to “give until it hurts.” Many people did – and they gave it to her. We received touching letters from people, sometimes apparently poor themselves, who were making sacrifices to send us a little money for the starving people in Africa, the flood victims in Bangladesh, or the poor children in India. Most of the money sat in our bank accounts.

The flood of donations was considered to be a sign of God’s approval of Mother Teresa’s congregation. We were told by our superiors that we received more gifts than other religious congregations because God was pleased with Mother, and because the Missionaries of Charity were the sisters who were faithful to the true spirit of religious life.

Most of the sisters had no idea how much money the congregation was amassing. After all, we were taught not to collect anything. One summer the sisters living on the outskirts of Rome were given more crates of tomatoes than they could distribute. None of their neighbors wanted them because the crop had been so prolific that year. The sisters decided to can the tomatoes rather than let them spoil, but when Mother found out what they had done she was very displeased. Storing things showed lack of trust in Divine Providence.

Mother Theresa once claimed that doing good for the sake of altruistic reasons, is wrong. She claimed:

There is alwayst he danger that we may become only social workers or just do the work for the sake of the work. … It is a danger; if we forget to whom we are doing it. Our works are only an expression of our love for Christ. Our hearts need to be full of love for him, and since we have to express that love in action, naturally then the poorest of the poor are the means of expressing our love for God.

She was essentially saying that the only moral course a person must take in regard to charity, is to extol the virtues of poverty, let the sick and dying suffer, abandon painkillers, and ban birth control, all because it will take us closer to “Jesus”. It is virtually impossible to reason with someone who is so shockingly unreasonable, it borders on psychopathic.

When Mary Loudon, a volunteer in Calcutta asked one of the Nuns responsible for patient “care” why she was not sterilizing the needles, the nun replied:

There is no point.

And continued to wash the needle under a cold tap.
Loudon then tells a story about a fifteen year old boy who went from having a simple kidney problem, and by the time she was writing this, he was dying. The Nuns had refused to give him antibiotics and would not allow him to be taken to the local hospital. He needed operating on and was just being left to die, whilst the delusional Nuns of the order of Mother Theresa prayed for him. The Nuns argued that if they did it for one, they’d have to do it for all of them. Not withstanding the fact that they were running a shack with unsterilized equipment, they also were sitting on millions of dollars; enough to build a top class hospital. The decision not to use that money to help people, was entirely down to religious belief.

People in the care of Mother Theresa, were given no painkillers, treated with dirty implements, given no specialist care, no professional diagnosis, and more often than not, died because of easily curable injuries and disease. They were indoctrinated to believe that if they doubted Mother Theresa, they were doubting God, and would be punished in the afterlife. They died, for the sake of a multi millionaire religious fundamentalist.


The Abstraction

March 31, 2010

Around the year of Muhammad’s birth, the Arabians within the central penninsula were actively resisting the Byzantines and the Persians, and in fact organised religion and empire in general. They did not however, escape the pull and the “meaning” that comes with abstract concepts invented by humanity, plaguing the West at the time. The Arabians instead practiced the concept of “Muruwwah”. This idea stressed the importance of courage and patience, endurance and honour. It kept the tribes going. It was a concept that penetrated every aspect of their lives. They were taught that society would fall apart without it. And yet, when logic prevails, Muruwwah doesn’t actually exist. It’s a subjective man made concept.

Man has always confined itself to abstractions. The problem with abstractions, and in particular abstract philosophies and concepts, is that whilst they attempt to provide dogmatic objectivity, they are by nature, massively subjective.

Humans have always placed an unattainable goal ahead of us, a goal that throughout our lives sucks up our hopes, our desires, our dreams, our human decency, like a sponge. The concept of Heaven, which is largely derived from the concept of an eternal World of Plato and other Greeks, tells us that this life is going to be a bit of a disappointment, but your dreams are going to come true in Heaven. Heaven acts as a sponge for positivity whilst the World we live in is a reflection of negativity. There is no Capitalism in heaven. There is no poverty in heaven. There is no climate change in heaven. And yet, the majority of us do not care to see our fantasy of a Heavenly World reflected on Earth. Why is that? Heaven is a man made fantasy ideal, and yet we place it in a box labelled “other“.

The Nation State is a product of colonialism. The Europeans carved up Africa into Nation States as a way of control. We could control the labour force, we could control slavery, we could control information, we could control the movement of capital. Nation borders are meaningless. They always have been. They are meaningless, because they exist in the collective mind of humanity only. The Nation State did not exist before humanity, it did not exist for the majority of the time humanity has been on the planet, it will not exist after humanity, and it does not exist to anything else other than humanity. And so therefore, it is meaningless, because it doesn’t exist. Like organised religion, the Nation State was used as a method of control by humanity over humanity.

As Capitalism took hold, Nation States no longer had the control over labour, slavery and capital that they once had. Nation States are entirely at odds with Capitalism. In fact, Nation States only really work when an economy is entirely protectionist, and Empires exist. Nation States were never about race, or identity, or culture, or anything of the sort. They have always been about control. Control previously lay at the feet of the Monarch. The State, was the Monarchy. Man and State were the same thing.
Israeli historian Martin Van Creveld says:

“What made the state unique was that it replaced the ruler with an abstract, anonymous, mechanism.”

Nationalism by logic then, is less than 500 years old. Racism grew with colonialism, and whilst the cancer of racism has largely been destroyed, remnants still remain and people are still quite unapologetically racist, with no actual reasons for their racism. Nationalism is an “other”. It is something we think is larger than ourselves, it is largely pathological because before human beings, and after human beings, England will not exist. A land mass that we once inhabited will exist. But England, and it’s abstractions that work simply to disassociate ourselves with the rest of humanity in the same way as Christianity and Islam and America and Pakistan and sexuality does.

Corporations today have more rules, more regulations, more limits on information, labour and capital than any Nation has. Corporations and their laws are just as abstract and nonsensical as Nation States. Corporations are the modern day Nation States. You all look a certain way, talk a certain way, waste your life trying to obtain this subjective and abstract concept of “success”. We are now governed by Capitalism or a form thereof. It tells us if we work hard enough, we can achieve anything we wish. But that simply isn’t true. Capitalism is the dome that we are living under, and it’s promise of ‘everything’ is in the same box as Heaven…. “other”. It is religion.

Catholicism, Protestantism, Capitalism, Democracy, Fascism, Communism, Materialism; they are do not exist. They are ideals that soak up hopes and dreams and say “YOU CAN HAVE THEM IF YOU……. work hard enough/are white/keep buying shit you don’t need/own nothing because the State owns it for your benefit………. but eventually you’ll be the perfect happiness.” They are the “other“. The concept of Heaven is very similar. The concept of Plato’s eternal realm is very similar. Abstractions that don’t actually exist in anything other than man’s mind, are used to control man. The men who create these concepts have created them for the purpose of control. Feudalism was a system of control. Capitalism is not much different. There are still Lords who suck up the majority of the wealth at the behest of the many. The U.S Constitution protects a certain class of person. The USSR protected a certain class of person. Whether or not it was designed with that specific goal in mind is debatable, but perhaps subconsciously a certain class of people always assume they are best placed to rule.

The Catholic Church was set up to spread the word of Jesus, yet ended up being perhaps one of the wealthiest institutions on the planet. In the 16th Century, instead of helping the poor that Christianity swears to do, the Catholic Church took money off of the poor, to finance St Peters. They found ridiculous ways to justify the selling of indulgences because the abstract concept they were attempting to spread, which they had inevitably corrupted, demanded obedience, even though the entire doctrine was based on conjecture, dodgy history and man made abstractions.

Catholicism created a culture of idol worship with the creation of Saints. We in the modern era have took that idol worship that the Bible strictly forbids, and our new idols are National pride, pop stars, sports stars, TV presenters, authors. They are also in the realm of “other“. Their public success is largely fatuous, worthless, and offers very little in the sense of the progress of humanity, but they’re worshipped as idols. We salute a flag that we invented, We wear the clothes that the stars wear, we recite their words, we want our bodies to look like theirs, we concentrate far too much energy on being like them, than being like ourselves. Why is that? Is that natural? Perhaps so. Humans have always created an abstraction that we place above ourselves, perhaps because we cannot cope with the notion that we as a species are the height of intelligence. And yet, we are. We created God. We created Nations. We created all other abstractions, the very same abstractions that today hold us all back and group us together into ridiculous categories.

To break away from these abstractions, and concentrate on reality, is in a sense Anarchism. Libertarianism evolves from the idea that we must break away from abstractions, and whilst I think Libertarianism goes too far to the right, I understand it’s principles. But then Anarchism itself, is dogmatic, and an abstraction……and…………… ARGGGH!!!! I don’t know how to end this blog.