From Trade Onion Wednesday, 27 January 2016
The recent report into violence and aggression shown towards MPs reveals an astonishing lack of awareness amongst our elected representatives when it comes to the effects of their policies. Whingeing about violence they receive at the hands of their constituents while they make laws which increase the likelihood of people suffering poverty, eviction and inequality. Many people will be shocked to see the level of anger and hatred shown towards people who are supposedly there to help us all and represent our interests. One MP has written a comparison between how people treat their MPs and their GPs. Of course there’s a major difference between doctors and politicians: doctors try to make you better and politicians always end up making things worse.
There are two issues that this report brings to light which have been overlooked. The first is the frustration many people feel when they discover that discussing things with their MP might not actually get them anywhere. That sense of powerlessness when the bureaucratic reality of life in a liberal democracy hits home can make your blood boil. This is linked to the second issue which is the structural violence of the capitalist system that can only function with willing bureaucrats ready to wring their hands of responsibility.
The power of the piece of paper telling an MP that nothing can be done in a situation because the law has been followed correctly is the most horrendous power we allow. It’s the power that props up every form of legalised abuse. It excuses a million crimes against the citizenry in the name of order and it unleashes violence against us daily. It is our civic duty to consider how that violence works and then vow to suppress it.
The rule of law is backed up with force, or violence. If the law says something is so then to oppose it means you are inviting violence against you in the form of the police, courts, incarceration etc. The very fact that inequality is backed up by law means that inequality is in itself a violent act. The boss that lawfully pays you less than your value is backed up with the full force of the law. The homeless, users of food banks, people needing benefits to survive, the list goes on – these are all victims of a violent system that protects the richest people at the expense of everyone else. It’s a morality that allows the richest to set the wages of everyone and then enforces that inequality and poverty. Rise up against it and you will be criticised for being violent, a thug, mindless and, shock horror, of not respecting law and order. It isn’t order at all. It’s a chaos that’s trikes fear in millions of people every day.
The message from MPs is clear: we make the laws for capitalism to function and you must obey. They ensure that this structural violence exists, in the interest of the rich. They keep this brutal system of capitalism going. They mix with, and enjoy the financial attention of the ruling class. Without them this chaos could be ended today and replaced with order. Not law and order but a harmony where people do not have to suffer the deleterious effects of capitalism and where power can rest with us all as equals.
Instead, we have the sight of these people who inflict aggression on our society pleading for help and protection from the dangerous population. What the reports really show us is that people fully understand the system and are mightily pissed off with it. That people are willing to abuse their MP on twitter or even go to their surgery and be aggressive in person is clearly linked to the hopelessness people see in this system. Democracy was supposed to give us a voice but instead it continues to give voice to the rich, giving them all the protection they need to enjoy life at our expense.
This system isn’t going to change via twitter or people lashing out on their own at their MP’s office. It’s going to change only when we all start to see it for what it is: a protection racket for the rich. It’s becoming increasingly clear that appealing to an MP for help is pointless anyway. It’s as pointless as voting for them in the first place. They’re not there for us and they have a thousand pieces of legislation ready to tell us why they can’t help. They’re better ignored and the system fought instead.
One positive thing to come out of this report though is that we can record how fearful they are of us. It should please us when our tormentors act like frightened little puppies. Our message to MPs should be clear: you are right to be afraid. We should take that fear and make it spread all the way to the top. On March 5th David Cameron has a chance to feel it as Class War march on one of his properties. Whilst his government is destroying housing for the poorest in society he’s creaming it as a landlord. Such things don’t go unnoticed and they will be acted on!