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The Cuts, The Bombs, The Blue Dot

Capitalist Realism

Winter Journey, Sunday 29th November. Lines out of Brighton are in disarray, as usual. We take the slow Victoria train to Hove, where nearly everybody scuffles off and scampers onto the fast train, waiting impatiently and stuffed, across the platform. The mood is bleakly resigned and exasperated, bleak because we've been waiting for the storm to hit us since May, and now it breaks. Osborne's Choicest Cuts (round one); Osborne's Energy Policy Dictatorship. The planning inspector who turned down Cuadrilla's fracking plans in Lancashire is overruled, a government minister will "decide" what happens to Cuadrilla's appeal in January/February.

Exasperated because . . . Will the people who keep telling us "we" won a victory over tax credits please shut up and do your sums? Will the people who ask us to Rejoice! because Amber Rudd says the UK will be the first major power to divest from coal please recall that politicians (see above) tell blatant lies and hope you never check. Oh, but I'm sorry, I'll read that again. Amber isn't lying, she simply has no "Energy Policy". Her policy is profit, she says whatever serves that end, and would not understand you if you accuse her of untruths.

Forget her lips, watch "her" actions. This government is going all out for shale, while ripping up subsidies for renewables. Green policies have been ditched, Climate Change denied, & if this counts as a war crime in some lights, given the already devastating effects of climate change for the world's poor, Amber and her masters don't appear to care a bit.

Don't Bomb Syria

Wind and spiteful gusts of rain at the gathering point, where we share an (organic) ham sandwich in the shelter of the Wellington Arch. An odd couple lurking in the crowd, with a bottle of champagne and a bicycle, display a homemade placard that reads WHAT IF IT'S ALL A HOAX? (the media folk seem to like this pair: I wonder who they are). A penny band plays O Tannenbaum; how Christmassy . . . But no, of course it's not Tannenbaum it's the song that shares this tune. The People's Flag is deepest red, stained with the blood of martyrs shed. Jeremy Corbyn is around here somewhere. Good for him: I hope he survives the current impasse. Of course he's right! What the hell gets into people, I don't know. Airstrikes did bxxxer all good in Libya, did they now? Airstrikes are blxxdy useless (except for killing civilians, which I suppose might reduce the number of the dreaded refugees); without boots on the ground. And we know what happened in Iraq, don't we. Hello? Forgotten what happened (is happening) in Libya; in Iraq? Forgot how we got to this pretty pass?

Osborne, Cameron, I can understand. Simples. War means profit! But the Parliamentary Labour Party are just total idiots.

I'm marching, notionally, for a Parisian who can't march, (Bonjour, Gatien!) because the Paris March has been cancelled. I'm reflecting, as we file slowly through the underpass, reading the Iron Duke's timeline on the walls, that the Paris masscare was really not a lot to do with attacking the "city of light", "city of love": nothing so romantic. Probably a lot more to do with French intervention in Africa; in Mali for instance. And I'm thinking about Phiippe-Joseph Salazar's historical comparison with those long ago days when it was the French turning the world upside down; in his Weaponised Words essay (Paroles Armées).

Armed Words is the received translation but I prefer mine.

If he's right, in some sense, and this is another French Revolution, then . . .

1 THE CALIPHATE wins the battle; under the leadership of a despot who has already betrayed all their ideals.
(Napoleon crowns himself Emperor 1804)

2 BUT the Empire of Global Capitalism regroups. Practically within a decade, the Caliphate has comprehensively lost the war.
(1815: Waterloo)

3 THEREAFTER, those who destroyed, conspired; betrayed their ideals; committed the most appalling crimes, in the name of a dream, will have to be contented (so to speak, they've mainly killed each other) with a sort of Caliphate-flavoured version of Global Capitalism (called ooh, I don't know? Western Civilisation?) that lasts for just about 200 years.

3 NONE of which bodes any good at all for my people, I mean women, because the flavour of the Caliphate (new flavour, liberty and equality are so over) is about nothing if not subjugating women. Trampling them underfoot indeed (coincidentally, one of the arabic "words" you can make out of the Daesh acronym, I believe)

Climate Justice

Off we go; from the foot of the London Hilton Tower (HQ of Pigsty's dreadful regime, in Bold As Love, as some of you may remember. The Rock and Roll Reich was founded at a meeting in the Garden Café, Sub-ground level, at the back) We're marching with the Polar Bears, ie Greenpeace. The white bears' case is so hopeless, maybe they're not the best Poster Furries but I like Greenpeace. They do stuff. They're the NVDA daredevils (like my MP), and I think daredevilry is called for. We try to keep up near the front so we can see the beautiful animals, the giraffes, the zebra, the impala, I never got a chance last climate march, having got myself kettled behind Greenpeace's Polar Bear; I wonder if they're moonlighting from The Lion King. How nice it is to see London, all these splendid nineteenth and twentieth century buildings, glory-days architecture, at the old posh end of town. The canyon of Pall Mall rings with our wild, formless cries (nobody seems to know any songs, alas). Bullion brokers and wine merchants peep through their plate glass, a position that makes them look scared, though of course they are not. Police presence throughout is minimal. The only guns I saw were safely tucked away behind the fortified gates of Downing Street. Looks like nobody thinks we need protection from a jihadist massacre today. Or maybe they don't mind? Lose a few annoying activists, put a scare in the rest, and gain a huge endorsement for Bombing Syria! Could be a win-win situation!

Do I believe climate change could be turned around?
No. We're stuck with the damage that's been done. Could climate change be halted, and mediated? Of course. Renewables could be powering the world in a decade. Energy Efficiency is a goldmine. Masses of room for change.

Do I believe any of the planet's beautiful megafauna will survive this century (outside zoos)?
Don't ask me. Ask Africa. They hold the keys. Ask China. They have to stop fuelling the slaughter.

The close of play, as usual, is at Horseferry Park. Someone announces we are sixty thousand strong (it's gone up to 70,000 today). But what's 60,000? Two million of us, read that again, TWO MILLION UK citizens came to London in 2003, in bitter weather, to protest against the Iraq war. For all the good it did. Tony Blair was just determined to go to hell and take us with him.

But qui tacet consentit videtur (look it up, if you don't know). That's the law. So I will always be here. Standing up for this blue dot. This living world. It's the only one.

The river is full now (tide was low when we arrived), a creamy toffee coloured turmoil. We dance on the ringing pavement in the Horseferry Park children's playground, and repair to Tate Britain, (not all 60,000 nb) for cake and coffee and pictures & walk through the main hall to a disembodied, deconstructed Last Post; played on the Balaclava Bugle*.

*That's the bugle that sounded for the Charge of the Light Brigade, by the way.