A Series of Strategic Responses to the Tory Majority, no.7

10 May

The greatest barrier to effective working-class and radical social action is the gradual nature of capitalist change inbetween instances of naked repression and sudden shifts – we don’t see what happens in the corporate sector which runs our government because it is largely accepted that it is ‘private’.  Only cultural studies obsessives and those of a choleric disposition spend all day every day reading the Lobster or pointing out the oppressive nature of ordinary life – it’s necessary, but it doesn’t make you the most fun person to be around.

Especially in a mainstream culture that now prides itself on vacuous ignorance, and an artistic culture largely attached to mainstream political outcomes by the (tightening) purse strings of official funding bodies; and the intellectual respectability of explanatory paragraphs attached to incompetent art.

Most protest and cultural dissent, therefore, happens reactively, when the moment for resistance has long passed, and with the (Corporate) State making the running from the first.  The legal forms and restrictions upon strikes and protests, have also tended to minimise the disruption caused to business as usual by protest action.

There are many areas of implication for everyday action in the statements above.  I’m going to quickly sketch out jthe implications of just one of them.

The corporate sector needs to be cut apart from the ‘private sector’.  Radical businesspeople – as distinct from the salaried employees of legal fictions – need to make this argument repeatedly and powerfully, and to create or modify their institutions and representative bodies in order to shift policy as a result of it.  Despite the emergence of campaigns and writing focusing on the vast power of the one per cent, their spokespeople are allowed to masquerade as the spokespeople of ‘business’ as a whole.  This can change.

General Proposal:

Radical businesspeople, and radical businesses and community groups, should right now be setting up or joining their own representative institutions or working out plans to redirect the practices of the ones they are already involved in.

The Federation of Small Business doesn’t mention party affiliation on its website – but there is no sense in which what they present there can be seen as anything but backing for the austerity plan and the rule of the 1%.  Oddly, new airports seem as high a priority to them as the dead centres of many of our towns.  Certainly there is no mention of the poverty and regional inequalities that threaten any small business which does not exist specifically to serve the wealthy.

Specific Proposal

If you’re a Northern or Welsh radical businessperson, go out and create a business forum that is compatible with your political views.  Or just call up somebody who you think you could work with on it.

If you’re a designer who know a radical businessperson.  Ask them for some work designing the initial campaign materials, or send them a nice meme to make the case…

If you’re a member of Business for Scotland, or any of the other pro-independence organisations of that type, find people in the North, Wales, Cornwall etc to act as mentor to.  You’ve already made part of the journey I’m describing here, and your help would – I’m sure – be appreciated.

If you’re an intellectual, writer, blogger.  Construct the arguments, and find the figures, that will enable businesspeople challenging rightwing dominance in their institutions.  The nature of the institution itself needs to be explored for appropriate ‘pressure points’.

 Pressure Point 1: Note that many people now look at themselves as businesspeople, despite gaining their identity to others from their work.  Painter and decorators, for example, often identify themselves as self-employed, though they suffer a lack of control in their work and conditions as great as a day-labourer’s in the Victorian era.

Pressure Point 2:  Campaigns against market closure, supermarket expansion etc. could be used to force local areas of the FSB to break ranks with the austeriarchy, albeit usually in a limited form.  If you have such a group in your local area, suggest a meeting between them and the local FSB.  Make sure that you’re very well organised and have a mass of data to hand about the debilitating effects of the cuts on ‘small businesspeople’ – but also make sure to broaden the debate.  Big successes aren’t necessarily initial important – your initial aim might be as small as getting an hour’s regular discussion in a barber’s over lunchtime.

Pressure Point 3:  Now I’m being absurdly specific.  If you live in or near Derby, you are in the situation to hit pressure point 2 immediately.

More later…

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