Saturday, 16 April 2016

What kind of people are you that do nothing?

A sunny day in Penzance town, rocks and seaweed in the street from the recent storm, I took a hike up the broadway and soon found myself-

So there I was in front of jobcentreplus – in the old days it used to be called the Job Centre, before that it was the Labour Exchange – but that was deemed to be too party political.  I remember leaving school at 16 where they’d spent years training me to spell and punctuate properly because you can’t get a job otherwise, and now, a couple of brief years later, I find myself  -  outside jobcentreplus, remembering the vibe of the dole queue.  Psychology is hilarious stuff, isn’t it?  As soon as you stand in front of the dole office (as I still call it) you imagine that people on the street passing by assume you are ‘between situations’.  We all know that people do tend to make assumptions – to some extent it’s necessary for survival.  But that person standing outside the dolecentreplus, are they ‘between positions’ or are they a physicist, secret agent, ballet dancer or anthropologist, who just happens to be leaning against that wall for a moment?  Humanity swirls and flows around the streets and pootles down the roads in vehicles of shiny metal.  Ah, there’s Roger with the placard, now we can get started. 
At the first meeting of the Penzance Branch of the West Cornwall Chapter of The People’s Momentum, it was decided to stage a double-edged protest – to simultaneously highlight the tax avoidance at the ‘top’ of society and also the British government’s policy of ‘sanctions’ (withdrawal of money) against society’s most vulnerable members.  Personally I was there partly to honour the memory of the more than two thousand dead, those who died within a fortnight of being selected as ‘fit for work’, even though they were all known to be suffering from terminal cancer.  (Not everybody knows about this shit…)  Also I was aware that the United Nations is investigating the UK, the first nation on earth to suffer the humiliation of being investigated by the international community for abuse of the human rights of the disabled – thanks Dave, Iain, George, Theresa, Derek Thomas and Co…..  

Our friend Anthony arrived with a camera.  Roger handed me a large cardboard placard saying SANCTION TAX-DODGERS NOT JOB SEEKERS which I held up as he started to distribute some flyers.   The very instant I held up the sign, a man in a white shirt came out of the dole office, jumped in front of me and began babbling strange and offensive nonsense very close to my face.  He immediately accused me of pushing him, said he ‘got it on the cctv’ or some such Newspeak and told me that I had to leave because jobcentreplus is, and I quote here, ‘private property’.  I heard the distant rattle of a long dead, laughing Kafka wafting through the air.  It’s not the first time I’ve felt the foetid breath of a knuckle-dragger puffed my way – funnily enough, he looked a lot like David Byrne of the Talking Heads, which added a further frisson of surrealism to the curious vignette that was unfolding like a flower at dawn.  I told Mr Byrne that I had not pushed him and I considered him to be rude.  I hate people when they’re not polite.  He gleefully pulled out his ace card – he had a real live cop right there in the dole office and he was going to bring him out!!!  (Perhaps I should clarify at this point that the bloke in the white shirt (David Byrne) was not a dole-worker but a Guard of Public Security, a sort of hybridized, privatized quasi-‘guard’ type figure, more of whom later) {Taxonomical note:  Homo sapiens sapiens should arguably be reclassified as Homo sapiens neandertalis, as the two species interbred and Neanderthal DNA resurfaces constantly in human phenotypes}.   
The constable duly emerged and we engaged him in a friendly conversation.  We’d already decided not to get into a confrontation with the ‘guards’, as this would divert us from our purpose.  We decided to carry on and ignore them. 
The cop was quite interested in what we had to say.  People were stopping and chatting, taking leaflets, enjoying a conversation about politics.  I noticed the cop was packing a stun-gun and engaged him in a discussion (slightly one-way) about law.  He was not aware that our nation is being investigated for breach of the human rights of the disabled.  Obviously cops on the street don’t study all the minutiae of international law, they have to prioritise and be pragmatic.  He was also somewhat surprised when I informed him that his ‘taser’ stun-gun was an illegal weapon of torture.  It was funny, because as I talked to him I accidentally kicked his foot quite gently – if it had been in Florida I would have had my feet hacked off with blunt meat cleavers before being slowly lowered into a pit of boiling tar…  I apologized and he didn’t arrest me for assault.  Of course they don’t tell the cops that their weapons are illegal – that wouldn’t make any kind of sense, but after several years working on the RESIST CARDIAC ARREST campaign I felt it my duty to bring him up to date with the legal position on the X-26, or the ‘portable electric-chair’ as it’s known in Amerika. 

The policeman left the stage and Greg Martin, a photographer for the local paper – The Cornishman – came along.  Shutters fluttered and ephemeral images were caught behind glass – itself a liquid in constant flow.  People came and went and the atmosphere had improved wonderfully since David left the stage.  There were automotive honks from drivers, waves, smiles and shouts of “quite right” and “I agree”.  Apparently a couple of builders heckled, but hey, let them heckle the shackles of the shekel, I say.  I think the main thing is that a serious message was put out in public and people were generally in agreement with it.  It also got into local press, which will have a far bigger knock-on effect than the event itself.   I can only hope that our ‘propaganda of the deed’ might have inspired some people to get authentically involved;  to get politically active, informed and focused and add their collective push to the wheels of progress, democracy, hey, perhaps even socialism!  Thousands of years ago, in ancient Athens, the people managed to find time for making a living and  participating regularly in political activity.  If those old Greeks could find time to address their political matters, then surely after two and a half thousand years of progress, us modern democrats can find the odd half hour or half day to dedicate to social reform…..   After dipping an arthritic digit into the great and mighty river of local politics in West Cornwall I felt inspired to say ‘come on in, the water’s lovely!’  A very pleasant morning’s work altogether.  After an hour and a half we considered the action to be done. 
(old school)
At one point, a lady went in to talk to the ‘guards’ – possibly about their behaviour, but I’m not sure.  As she came through the double doors she mentioned the name of the ‘guards’ company – the notorious G4S.  I called through to the ‘guards’, telling them that G4S had murdered a deportee on a plane, an African man, Jimmy Mubenga – G4S are a bunch of murderers!  They didn’t come out that time.  
Everything is connected.  The lying thugs that guard the ‘private’ jobcentredivide in sleepy old Penzance, Cornwall, are the same company of racist pigs that get away with murder by asphyxiation because a ‘judge’ rules that the more than 76 extreme racist texts on the G4S ‘guard’s’ phones could NOT be admitted as evidence to the jury – even though they clearly establish a racist bias that would obviously contribute to the murder.  Privatising ‘guard’ services leads to an increase in violence coupled with a decrease in accountability.  Under Conservative capitalism everything is up for sale – that is rule number one.  As those private ‘guards of public security’ slowly killed Mr Mubenga on a tourist plane full of witnesses, he was heard to gasp I CAN’T BREATHE – I CAN’T BREATHE….  These were the last words out of his mouth before his soul departed his fleshy frame.  I CAN’T BREATHE – then he died.  
After this flagrant murder, the company should have been liquidated and guard services carried out by public officials who at least would be more accountable.  It would also help if the judge was not a racist, of course.  Mr ‘Justice’ Spencer ruled that the large number of texts of extreme race-hate speech had no bearing on whether or not two of the three accused G4S ‘guards’ asphyxiated Mr Mubenga by forcing his head forwards (this is known as positional asphyxia – a well known cause of cop-related-death-syndrome around the world and at home) and ignoring his repeated protests that he could not breathe.  Well G4S are not keen on protesters, are they?  They killed that black man once and for all and every time I see their sick little logo I see tears of Angolan blood leaking out of it and hear the sobs of the families.  Stuart Tribelnig, Terence Hughes and Colin Kaler were never even charged with murder.  They were acquitted of manslaughter – the Spencer judge entity did not think they slaughtered the man – or perhaps Mr Spencer thinks an Angolan is not worth as much as an Englishman.  The lawyers defending G4S killers argued that releasing the evidence of the hate-texts that the judge had agreed were “grossly offensive and undoubtedly racist” would “release an unpredictable and uncorrectable cloud of predjudices” which they argued would be detrimental to the interests of their ‘clients’, G4S.  Old ‘justice’ Spencer couldn’t agree more and upheld their move.   After all, it would not be fair to the murderers to let the jury see the evidence of their profound racial hatred – the jury might make a wild and unscientific assumption that the G4S guys who murdered Mr Mubenga were just old-style, common or garden fascist bastards.  Everything I write is my own opinion, nobody else’s (unless they agree) and I speak for no-one else unless I specifically say so.  I know the judiciary do not welcome public criticism as some years ago the government bullied a service-provider into closing down a website that was recording and expressing opinion on the judgements made in various British courts.  Free Speech?  Ask Mr Mubenga.  
A sunny day in Penzance town, rocks and seaweed in the street from the recent storm, I took a hike up the broad way and soon found myself imagining three black men asphyxiating a white security guard in front of dozens of witnesses and all being acquitted of manslaughter and walking free from court – hardly likely is it?  

“…but as I was sure they were policemen, I expected them to know what they were doing.  I feel terrible because I did not do anything.”
“I didn’t get involved because I was scared I would get kicked off the flight and lose my job.”

Consider the regrets of the acquiescent, politically inactive folk, worried about their jobs, afraid to confront authority, even when their conscience is squirming and screaming out within them.

The last words of Jimmy Mubenga: 
“What kind of people are you that do nothing?”  

Use the search-term ‘G4s prisons international’ if you wish to see a heap of evidence of G4S staff involvement in torture, murder and other human rights abuses around the planet.  This is from their prison website:    “Working Prisons help provide this rehabilitation, creating people who are ready and willing to work, and providing great opportunities for business.”  Sounds a bit like the old job centre spiel, doesn’t it?  

If only David Byrne had not jumped into my face, I would never have discovered any of this stuff… thanks, Dave.  

On The Duty Of Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau, free ebook:

Terrestrial Phenomena:
(Can You Help Feed The Starving?)

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