‘Anglo-Saxon’ (2017, mixed media on paper)
We are facing a crisis the likes of what we have never witnessed (political, and economic, but first and foremost, cultural). But who exactly do I mean by We? Well, according to the prolific online writer Umair Haque, it is ‘Us’ right ‘here’ (a place that cannot but see itself as the centre) in the English-speaking world. With its anti-socialist ideology that is so wedded to the idea that pure market freedom equals pure freedom per-se (and thus must be the best possible system), as its functionality seems to have congealed with crisis, “the English-speaking World is The New Soviet Union.”
Haque, like many jaded Americans who can still see stains of social democracy in the European fabric that we here are blind to, sees the current American nation as a lost cause, whilst holds out hope for the other Anglo-Saxon countries. But perhaps whilst Haque’s American perspective helps him see still existing stains of our faded socialism, he cannot see the deeper dye of Christian values that are more surface level in his own country. This conservatism has always been one part of the UK’s great social torsion with the nature of capitalist exploitation. But I wonder for how much longer.
An unprecedented amount of scandals are rising to the surface, the tax evasions are the most recent, but are totally overshadowed by the deluge of reports of sexual abuse and harassment perpetrated by individuals in positions our society underlines with trust and reverence.
I would argue that it has been caused by a three-way collision of trajectories all fueled on the rocket fuel that is capitalist culture in the ‘always on/always exposed-to age: the unprecedented exposure of corruptions that go on at the pressure points of high power and high pressure, first, colliding with the enlightenment principles of transparency, and secondly colliding with a culture that still holds true to Christian notions of what ‘sin’ is.
A painful, but necessary transformation has never felt so urgent. But left to the impulses propagated by deep-seated media tendencies, we seem to be hysterically heading towards a new age of show trials. The hysteria is tangible: “who is the next monster to be unveiled?” But where will such impulses lead us to?
I’m sorry, but anybody who is interpreting what I’m saying as acceptance of the institutionalized misogyny, and exploitation of people in vulnerable places, really has got the totally wrong end of the warning flare I’m waving around here. A crisis solved by ripping the plaster off as fast as possible is to allow blood to gush like never witnessed.
To ignore the male prison within patriarchy, to ignore that squeezing of desires into opposing sides; and then to ignore the extreme humiliations at one end of the male camp and them extreme lust for power at the other end that underpins the past 40 years, and then (!) to ignore the Pandora’s box opened by the capitalist cyber-sphere is to say, “I’d rather hysterically finger-point, and just hope the finger never turns on myself”.
A lot of men who have been made socially, and thus existentially limbless creatures, lunge out misogynistically into the mire of the patriarchal wasteland, before turning the violence back in on themselves. Whilst the men with all the power are slowly incriminating themselves, the men with no power are slowly committing suicide. With the advent of our ‘always on/always bearing-witness’ technologies, we are within a machine that stops at nothing to monsterise us. And the ghost of an Enlightened liberalism responds by saying “you don’t have to buy into it”. But this ghost is running out of bodies to possess.
Under Soviet state crises everybody was expendable for the cause; under extreme Anglo Saxonism everybody is held individually responsible for the crises. If we allow our deep-seated media structure to guide our impulses we face the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of Stalin’s show trials, where everybody is forever watching their back from an out of control justice system that will become indistinguishable from a mob.
That our current cultural structures are utterly dysfunctional in the face of the conditions that have been thrown up by this collision is the biggest understatement of 2017. I’d argue that beyond our reactions, there is a post-crisis stage that the painful transformation the internet age has precipitated could arrive us at. It’s the hardest path to take in the long run, but my word it is the better one; the one where we, to quote the brilliant words of Yorkshire poet Gav Roberts, we can Put All Weapons Down. And That means fully-loaded penises as well as fully-loaded guns. I suspect the sense of liberation this would allow for, would make owning your own gun seem laughable.