The Iron Heel: It’s them and us, it always has been

413
“We will grind you revolutionists down under our heel, and we shall walk upon your faces. The world is ours, we are its lords, and ours it shall remain. - Jack London, The Iron Heel. Democracy is in the hands of the ochlarchy

The Elites Are Fighting a Vicious Class War All the Time -Noam Chomsky

People often wonder why things never change no matter which Party are in office. There is a straightforward explanation, they’re not supposed to.

It makes more sense when you start to look at the Labour Party’s actions recently, when you stop thinking of it as a political party whose job is to enact the will of voters, to thinking about it as a narrative control operation, whose job is to prevent the workers from tampering with the gears of the global neoliberal system.

You soon realise it’s not just the Labour Party but the entire establishment when you do. It runs as a ‘narrative control propaganda machine’, disguised as individual political parties.

On one side they overtly promote capitalism and imperialism by appealing to people’s worst impulses and selfishness, the other covertly diverts healthy impulses and their desire for social inclusiveness back into capitalism and imperialism.

Together they create political waiting rooms, safe areas where they control and limit the damage of the dissenting voices which rage against the machine. In this place, activists are herded and made to sit quietly, in effect, kettled.

Political waiting rooms come in the form of memberships and online groups within the confines of the party rules. Opinions that would disrupt the narrative of the party, therefore the establishment they represent are quelled and censored.

Michael Foot once stated: “Is the Labour Party to remain a democratic party in which the right of free criticism and free debate is not merely tolerated but encouraged? Or are the rank and file of the party to be bludgeoned or cowed into an uncritical subservience towards the leadership?”

It seems very much like the Labour Party membership has been cowed and the only voices come from the agents of the oligarchy.

People are forced to listen to the promises made by the waiting room attendants, the leaders of their chosen political parties. It’s always with platitudes and promises, that they cry, “change is coming”, but not today!

This is not the natural order of things, this is the illusion of democracy.

With this realisation the answers become clearer, when people ask why the Labour Party never reverse the damage the Tories have done, the answer is because that’s not their job. Their job is not to enact the policies you elected them to enact, their job is not even to win elections, their job is to keep you sitting in the waiting room while the empire has its way with the world.

Once you see that both mainstream parties are part of a single oligarchic power structure, it stops looking like a battle between opposing parties, you shatter the illusion, they lose their power, and the man behind the curtain is revealed.

Our job is to realise this is not inevitable and break free from the waiting room.

For a real opposition, the old needs to die, so the new can be reborn.

As Gramsci observed, ‘The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum, a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.’ That morbidness is translated in the Labour party as a malaise, we all understand this, we are all waiting for the death rattle.

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

We don’t have an open accountable democracy, we have a government with self-serving and lobbied politicians, all in it for what they can get out. Behind the curtain there is no bad wizard or good man failing, behind the curtain is the world of the Iron Heel controlled by the oligarchy, where power is absolute. All pretence of creating a society that is fair and equal has been abandoned. The political class have one desire, power, and power at any and all cost.

A hundred years after the Iron Heel was first published Jack London’s words still ring true.

“We will grind you revolutionists down under our heel, and we shall walk upon your faces. The world is ours, we are its lords, and ours it shall remain. As for the host of labor, it has been in the dirt since history began, and I read history aright. And in the dirt it shall remain so long as I and mine and those that come after us have the power. There is the word. It is the king of words—Power. Not God, not Mammon, but Power. Pour it over your tongue till it tingles with it. Power.” – Jack London, The Iron Heel published 1908.

Jack London’s political ideas and cultural insights seem remarkably contemporary. Indeed, in The Iron Heel, he describes a sinister conspiracy, by an oligarchy, to quash freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, imprison its outspoken opponents and critics, control news and information, install a professional army of paid mercenaries, create a secret police force, and wage global warfare for economic hegemony.

It is that political mindset, we the people need to change, politicians need to be brought back to the fold and realise they are there to serve the people not themselves, or the oligarchy. The lack of accountability has led them to exceed their mandate in representation and pursue their own personal quest for power and wealth. There needs to be a readjustment in the system, the people need fair representation. Only through a grassroots community based democratic system can this be achieved.

The mainstream parties offer us nothing. They create in part the adverse situations that keep the boot of the Iron Heel pressing down on us. Their solutions have an extremely one-sided outcome, government solutions always consist of the oligarchy becoming richer, and gaining profits on the backs of the poor. Billions were given away in public money to prop up their failing capitalist system.

In a world of war, misery, poverty, climate breakdown, and global instability, people need to know there’s a way out. People not only want hope they also need to be part of the process to bring about change for everyone. We need a vision of a better future, It’s not going to come from our politicians, it’s going to come from us. It sounds a cliche but we should adopt the attitudes of those that left this land when they escaped the tyranny that was colonial Britian, they obtained power for the people,by the people, creating a constitution for ‘we the people’. Of course they forgot an important lesson from one of their founding fathers. It was in that constitution the most famous and perhaps most eloquent expression of a people’s right to “dissolve the political bands” which tie them together penned by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation….

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness… it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

In short “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness] it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government…” ― Thomas Jefferson

Democracy in britian is now a process

When you understand our system is one narrative control propaganda machine, working for and on behalf of the oligarchy, that all mainstream parties are compromised. You realise It becomes a case of ‘them and us’, our only choice is to overthrow the system, our only option is to create a Peoples Party, a democratically accountable grassroots Party with safeguards that stop the slow creeping of corruption.

I should like to have socialism
  “I should like to have socialism,” he wrote.“Yet I know that socialism is not the next step; I know that capitalism must have its lifeJack London, The Iron Heel published 1908

I should like to have socialism, he wrote. “Yet I know that socialism is not the next step; I know that capitalism must have its life

Jack London, The Iron Heel published 1908

Any of my regular readers by now realise I like to quote Tony Benn, in my opinion, Benn understood democracy and articulated the benefits of a truly grassroots democratic society, his course was a course to socialism and a system inclusive of everyone. Benn’s faith in the ability of the working class communities to overcome the oppression of the Iron Heel stomping repeatedly down upon our collective heads is expressed constantly in his talks and quotes, his journey has enabled him to express insights that are as relevant today as when he first spoke them.

This little gem for me encapsulates the Labour Party and its shift to the right but is also prophetic in the direction Starmer is taking the Party and yet another reason he needs stopping.

Here we are now…As the late great Tony Benn prophetically stated:

“If the Labour Party could be bullied or persuaded to denounce its Marxists, the media – having tasted blood – would demand next that it expelled all its Socialist and reunited the remaining Labour Party with the SDP to form a harmless alternative to the Conservatives, which could then be allowed to take office now and then when the Conservatives fell out of favour with the public. Thus British Capitalism, it is argued, will be made safe forever, and socialism would be squeezed of the National agenda. But if such a strategy were to succeed… it would in fact profoundly endanger British society. For it would open up the danger of a swing to the far-right, as we have seen in Europe over the last 50 years.” ― Tony Benn.

The Labour Party have become the alternative Tory party, not an alternative to the Tory Party. We no longer elect politicians and parties based on their manifestos, we elect them based on their shade of blue. Elections are a process to herald in the change of management, the system continues unhindered. The Iron Heel presses down on our collective heads.

Some pearls of wisdom Tony Benn Quotes On Democracy

“I think it’s questionable, whether either in America or Britain whether we have a democracy really.” -Tony Benn

“I think democracy is a do it yourself business. There was a Chinese philosopher called Lao Tzu…who lived many years before the birth of Christ, and he was asked about leadership. And this is what Lao Tzu said: ‘…as to the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence’. And that is what we need.”


“I think there are two ways in which people are controlled. First of all frighten people and secondly, demoralise them.”


“We shall never change society unless we start to do it ourselves by directly challenging unaccountable power now exercised over us…this is not an appeal for violent revolution…it is an appeal for a strategy of change from below to make the parliamentary system serve the people, instead of serving the vanity of parliamentarians…”


“Democracy is the most revolutionary idea, because democracy transfers power from the marketplace to the polling station, from the wallet to the ballot, and if the poor can buy with their vote what they can’t afford personally, it absolutely changes society.”

“The House will forgive me for quoting myself, but in the course of my life I have developed five little questions. If one meets a powerful person — Adolf Hitler, Joe Stalin or Bill Gates — ask them five questions: what power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? And how can we get rid of you?” “If you cannot get rid of the people who govern you, you do not live in a democratic system.”


“If democracy is destroyed in Britain it will be not the communists, Trotskyists or subversives but this House which threw it away. The rights that are entrusted to us are not for us to give away. Even if I agree with everything that is proposed, I cannot hand away powers lent to me for five years by the people of Chesterfield. I just could not do it. It would be theft of public rights.”


“We are not just here to manage capitalism but to change society and to define its finer values.”


“An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern.”


“Change from below, the formulation of demands from the populace to end unacceptable injustice, supported by direct action, has played a far larger part in shaping British democracy than most constitutional lawyers, political commentators, historians or statesmen have ever cared to admit. Direct action in a democratic society is fundamentally an educational exercise.”


“I don’t believe in the hereditary principle in the House of Lords. Imagine going to the dentist, sitting in the chair and he says, ‘I’m not a dentist myself, but my father was a dentist and his father before him. Now, open wide!”


“The Tory party is the enemy of democracy.”


“Britain is the only colony in the British Empire and it is up to us now to liberate ourselves.”


“It is wholly wrong to blame Marx for what was done in his name, as it is to blame Jesus for what was done in his…”


“The big question today is ‘Will globalisation allow democracy to survive?’ On one side we have the multinationals, the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. I want to help to redress the balance on the other side.”


“People at the top do not want to share their power. They’ve always got some marvellous reason: I’m following my religion; I’m following the laws of economics. Even Stalin: I’m representing the vanguard of the working class, so please don’t cause trouble. That is the battle that every generation has, and yet we mustn’t be pessimistic about it…”


“After the war people said, ‘If you can plan for war, why can’t you plan for peace?’ When I was 17, I had a letter from the government saying, ‘Dear Mr. Benn, will you turn up when you’re 17 1/2? We’ll give you free food, free clothes, free training, free accommodation, and two shillings, ten pence a day to just kill Germans.’ People said, well, if you can have full employment to kill people, why in God’s name couldn’t you have full employment and good schools, good hospitals, good houses?”

Support Labour Heartlands

PLEASE HELP US KEEP GOING AD-FREE

HELP US GROW.

This is a "Pay as You Feel" website.
This blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.
You can have access to all of our online work for free. However if you want to support what we do, you could make a small donation to help us keep writing and staying ad-free.
The choice is entirely yours.