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Supporting Jollyboat, Knaresborough: 22nd June

Brig-Aid Fundraiser, Fruit, Hull: 23rd June

Slam Dunk, Hastings: 28th June

Word Club, Leeds: 29th June

Verse Matters, Sheffield, 5th July

Say Owt @ Deer Shed Festival, 21st July

Say Owt @ Great Yorkshire Fringe, York: 25th July

Working Title, Lancaster, 26th July

Nerd Punk, Edinburgh fringe @Banshee Labyrinth 19.50 13th August

Poetry Jam, Durham: 4th October

Thursday, 26 January 2017

20.17 Blog #4: Everybody wants to be the punk

Everybody wants to be the punk

What the last year has taught me in both the UK and America, is the right-wing like being the underdog.  Perhaps, once, before my time, the right-wing sold their image as being the powerful ones destined the rule because they understood power.  The God-given masters (Kings & Queens) and then the Rich (Land-Owners), and then the Elite (the MPs).  Power is handed to the powerful, and so the world spins.

But lately, it seems the right-wing have been playing a different game.  Firstly, UKIP, EDL and Britain First like to swing along the spectrum of oppressed whites.  From the ‘common sense’ arguments about migrants taking jobs and clogging housing, education and health services to the overt ‘white genocide’ irrationality.  Apparently, the white populace, who dominate in education, parliament and business, are under threat.  Never mind that the NHS is propped up by immigrant workers, or that non-white people are twice as likely to be unemployed (and of course, stopped & searched, arrested and the victims of hate crime).

The narrative being sold about the Vote Leave camp was a desire to escape the ‘oppression’ of the EU, with its non-sovereignty, laws and regulations.  I’m not going to spend ages unpacking this, but suffice to say suddenly Britain was depicted as the poor small nation fighting for its freedom (something we’ve not been entirely supportive of in the past:  See History).

Same goes for Men’s Rights Activists.  When Piers Morgan Tweeted the need for a Men’s March against the ‘global emasculation’ of his gender against ’rabid feminists’.   This positions feminists (and feminism as a concept) as not just something to be opposed, but some kind of power structure which is systemically oppressing men (as opposed to male power) is worrying how Morgan, a man with a net worth of £15 million, sees power.

And that’s what punk has always been.  Challenging power as the oppressed, or the outsider.   LBGTQ+, women and non-white people writing angry punk songs about the system that oppresses them.  And then the Joe Strummers and Henry Rollins’, the outsiders sneering outside from society, screaming the cracks in the walls.

And yet, here we have Donald Trump positioning himself as the outsider, stating in his inauguration speech:  “we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people.”  He criticises the establishment, he’s going to speak of us (presumably after he torches his gold-lined apartment).  Same goes for Farage, who has managed to present himself as an ordinary bloke down the pub (even Cameron called out this fallacy of a career politician ex-banker pretending to be anti-career politicians).  Britain First’s catchphrase is “Taking our country back!” though not the same as taking it back from, y’know, the people in power, but from the immigrant on less than minimum wage with no rights in the workplace being spat upon by the media.

Even Jonathan Pie got involved, or rather Tom Walker acting through his news reporter character, with his various videos decrying the left for being too politically correct, because apparently challenging sexism and racism, homophobia and transphobia upsets sexists and racists, homophobes and transphobes and rallies them to prop up sexist, racist, homophobic and transphobic leaders.  And, God forbid, those people the target of sexism, racism and homophobia should need safe spaces from this structure that wants them submissive, or not even exist.

So the right-wing like to be the underdog, they like to be the oppressed, they like to be the punk.  The rebel, the outsider, the fighter, the shouter.  Even Jacob Rees-Mogg, a character even Charles Dickins would find implausibly unrealistic, tried his silky hand at a protest.

So our narrative going into 2017 is that the right-wing are rising up against the oppression of liberalism, men are fighting for rights against women, whites are fighting the oppression of non-whites.  It’s doublethink, the ability to hold 2 contradictory facts in your head at the same time:  “White men rule my country (and life) but non-white people and women are to blame”

The people in power like to be the punks.

But we really know what punk means, don’t we?  It means addressing power, it means challenging power structures.  Not the imaginary structures of imagined PC brigades, but the structures that allow billionaires to create a cabinet of billionaires to make sure billionaires stay on top.

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