The question and our efforts to answer it reveal something unsettling; that civilisation and culture provide only the most fragile layer of defence against the encroachment of terrible darkness. This thin veil of security and freedom and rights is held in place by the flimsiest of pegs — intellectual and political freedom, respect and civility, and tolerance and the rule of law. When any one or a number of these pegs are compromised, weakened, or removed the structural integrity of the whole system that guarantees our safety and security is damaged...
Political internment is an instrument the British government has deployed against pro-independence and anti-imperialist activists since the mid-eighteenth century. In all of Britain’s former colonial and imperial possessions internment marks the transition between the two stages of state violence; between the official delegitimisation of anti-British aggitation and state-sanctioned murder and violent repression. Internment is the first sure indication the British state is losing the battle for hearts and minds, and it has long since lost that battle in Scotland.
Right-wing populist governments with designs on capturing the state and fascism, such as Donald Trump’s and Boris Johnson’s are, are bringing home the shock doctrine consecutive US and British governments have employed on their foreign interventionist adventures since the US-backed coup and military takeover of Chile in 1973. This is the neoliberal dream; to see powerful and cohesive democracies softened up by truncheons, rent asunder by socio-economic division, and fractured into thousands of squabbling factions of the oppressed.
There is no legitimate reason for banning the veil, leaving us only with the illegitimate reason no one calling for the ban wants to reveal – racism. No sooner is this said than some idiot leaps into the discussion with that pearl of wisdom: “Islam isn’t a race.” No it’s not, but no one dispensing this nugget of knowledge and no one attacking the “burka” can tell us much about Islam the religion. Shahadah, Salah, Zakat, Sawm, and Hajj – the Pillars of Islam – are mysteries to them. Their assault is not an assault on Islam qua Islam, but on Muslims qua racialised others.
The era of the sick-note has ended. We have well and truly entered the age of “fit to work.” It doesn’t matter if people are fit to work or not, they are being declared fit to work in order to save money, and when people are fit to work in a country where there is no work they are subject to the cutting edge of austerity – the sanctions regime and the foodbank. The purpose of this is to reduce people to destitution, and they are duly complying. Under this pressure people are becoming depressed and stressed; they are getting sicker, suicidal, and dying faster. This was always the plan.
We’re all familiar with the Christmas story with Mary and Joseph, the baby Jesus, angels, shepherds, inn keepers, and the lobster in the school Nativity play, but we have become less familiar with what the story is about.
With one in five TDs in the current Dáil being owners of private rental accommodation it is no wonder that nothing has been done – even as homelessness in the country reaches record levels – to help keep ordinary working families in their homes.
Every social crisis is the result of the conditions that govern society remaining as they are and functioning as they were intended. This is true in the case of racially motivated police brutality because the structures of law and order – as the hard edge of the hegemon – are inherently racist.