Some people have argued that it is time to form a new political party to replace Labour. This would be futile if such a party is established in the mould of our current party structures. If you want to start a new party perhaps the word ‘party’ should be avoided.
I prefer ‘association’ which connotes a voluntary coming together of independent free thinking equals rather than the self subjugation to a party line, party disciplines and party thinking that makes the Labour Party and other parties hostile to freedom of thought and discourse.
The qualities of the association will determine the qualities of the actions that flow from it.Parties and party politics ‘suck’ for the same reasons that George Carling says ‘education’ sucks:
There’s a reason education sucks, it’s the same reason that it will never, ever, ever be fixed. It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it, be happy with what you got. Because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners, now. The real owners, the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions.
Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls.
They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.
But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago.
You know what they want? Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, they’re coming for your Social Security. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all, sooner or later, because they own this fucking place. It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club.
We have to build and connect with people but in a different way. Something that is not about recruiting people to the way we think but about inviting people to think together.
I’m interested in proactive, community enabling, conversations. We need to explore new structures of political participation that can’t be so easily hijacked by the establishment. Our connections need to be more like friends talking authentically in living rooms and less like salesmen on doorsteps.
‘We can’t solve a problem using the same kind of thinking we used to create it”~ Einstein.
The structures and assumptions involved in ‘challenging other parties for power’ may be part of the problem. Can we think of ‘power’ in a different way? Where does power come from?
Thinking, discussion are not luxuries, inessentials, that may or may not be attended to depending on whether party policies or party business permit it. They are essential in building connections between us and building new and better structures of mutual support – affective, educational and economic – that empower us as individuals and communities. Parties – particularly the present Labour Party – are explicitly hostile to freedom of discourse. We must go beyond them.
If you think, as some do, that this is ‘bullshit philosophy’ and not worth your time you will achieve none of your aims whether you create a new party or stay in the old one.