We’ve done a fair bit of what can best be described as navel gazing when it comes to looking at how we operate. That has taken in what we do with our propaganda, online and printed, plus our support for other groups and campaigns and last but by no means least, our practical activity. This provides the foundations for what we do and the flexibility to adapt in response to events and circumstances. While there’s always room for improvement, we’re reasonably happy with that side of things. With our Grassroots Alternatives hats on, this is the way we see how we should be operating: Our strategy 7.11.22.

With these foundations in place, as we approach the end of an ‘interesting year’, now is the time we need to be looking ahead to 2023 to try and anticipate what may be coming our way. We’ve previously stated that prediction can be a mug’s game and we stand by that. So, if you want to read on in the hope that we can forecast how the conflict between Ukraine (NATO’s proxy) and Russia will pan out, don’t bother because you’ll be disappointed! The same applies to trying to predict when things may seriously ‘kick off’ on the streets, we can’t do that and won’t attempt to predict what could happen after a random clash between the cops and a group of people deciding there and then they’re not taking any more shite.

What we want to try to do now is flag up deeper trends and currents that we need to be paying attention to. What we also need to do is think about how our analysis and response to these deeper trends may set us at further odds with the anarchist movement, such as it is. That’s something we covered in some considerable depth in this piece we put up back in the spring: Thoughts that really shouldn’t be published, but… 23.5.22. Nothing has changed in the intervening months to make us want to alter a single word of what we wrote, so we are where we are…

What are the trends we need to be alert to?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution and transhumanism

A lot of what we face comes under the very broad heading of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). As we’ve written more times than we care to remember, Covid was leveraged to accelerate the implementation of the 4IR. As mentioned in It’s been an interesting year…, after what’s happened over the last three years, despite the facade of a return to ‘normality’, there’s no way we’re going back to life as it was in 2019. Trends have been accelerated over the last few years that have too much invested in them for the powers that be to even think about reversing, not that they would ever contemplate doing so. Which means at some point, one that’s very hard to predict, there’s going to be a showdown between those of us who value life, community, freedom and nature and the elitist techno-fascist bastards desperate to accumulate more wealth and power while screwing us down in any way they can.

Before that showdown can happen, there have to be enough of us to have the numerical strength to finish off the elites once and for all. The hard part is alerting people to what’s going on. A large part of that is that the control matrix we’re getting dragged into, more often as not, is sold as something that’s either for our own good or for the common good. Whether that was the Covid restrictions that kept families divided for up to a year or the way the concept of fifteen minute neighbourhoods has been twisted to be a form of movement control, it’s always presented as something we need to do for the common good and be prepared to make sacrifices for. They’re clever like that aren’t they? Which makes it all the harder to get to the truth of what’s actually being done to us and why.

We did have a go at looking into one aspect of this – the concept of the fifteen minute neighbourhood. We looked at the rationale being used to basically, impose their implementation. We also pointed out that what potentially could be a desirable direction for urban and suburban living is being sabotaged by what many see as a top down approach with disturbing authoritarian undertones. These are the three pieces we wrote here: 15 minute cities / neighbourhoods – a good or a bad idea? 23.3.22 here: Connectivity vs convenience 15.4.22. and most recently, here: 15 minute neighbourhoods revisited 6.12.22.

Like too many other aspects of our lives, the implementation of fifteen minute neighbourhoods can only be achieved on the back of people willingly accepting even more technology into their lives aimed at monitoring and controlling their movements and ultimately, delivering sanctions to anyone who transgresses the rules. This ever increasing digitisation of many aspects of our lives is making it harder and harder to stay outside of the matrix and lead a life with some degree of autonomy from the powers that be. Things get to a point where a fair few people choose to succumb simply in order to be able to get on with their lives with some degree of convenience. One example being that if as reported, this goes ahead – All train ticket offices could close to save £500m as union says plans show ‘no respect’ 20.6.22 – we’ll all eventually be obliged to download tickets onto our smartphones because eventually, there will be no paper tickets available. As we don’t and never intend to do banking or payment via our phones, this will prove to be ‘interesting’ to say the least!

There’s a lot more to the 4IR than the increasing digitisation of our lives. There’s transhumanism which is inexorably tied up with the 4IR. It’s a theme that if we’re honest, we’re still trying to get our heads round. This post from back in the spring can be seen as a part of that process: An eclectic mix of readings on transhumanism 29.5.22. While we’ve no desire to throw even more fuel onto an already raging inferno, when you start to look into transhumanism, it starts to become clear that transgenderism is pretty closely interlinked with this. For those wanting to look into this, we recommend that you follow The 11th Hour which is a blog run by Jennifer Bilek who has made the effort to dig deep into this issue. With transhumanism having an agenda of disassociating us from our bodies and ultimately from nature itself, it should come as no surprise that transhumanists have embraced transgenderism. Given the vast sums of money that can be made through medical interventions on people with gender identity issues, it should come as no surprise that all of this is an integral part of the 4IR: “Gender Identity”: A Corporate Fiction – Substack 10.12.22.

Once we start to regard the human body as a collection of modifiable and replaceable parts, it opens the door to questioning what it is to be human. The answers the transhumanists come up with is that our humanity is something that can be augmented with technology – for those with the means that is. The line between being human as nature intended and ‘human’ as technology such as neuralinks can make us becomes increasingly blurred as we move incrementally to a new state of technologically enhanced ‘being’. One where you have to ask what will happen to basic human traits such as empathy… Because we’re pretty sure that the elites who can afford the neuralinks will have precious little empathy for those of us who prefer our natural state of being human. Which is why they’re trying to sell transhumanism and transgenderism in such a way as to normalise body enhancement which in a fair few cases, is experimental body hacking. That’s body hacking in both the metaphorical and literal sense… If it’s normalised, it can’t be questioned. Which is why we and many others are fighting this, because what’s at stake is our humanity.

Disassociation from the body leads to disconnection from each other. If the human body can be modified and hacked, then our relationships with each other can also be changed and ultimately, taken further towards the metaverse. When we start to rely more and more on technology for interaction with each other and ultimately, with AI constructed ‘personalities’, then it’s getting close to game over for humanity as we head towards dystopia. A significant minority of people loved the lockdowns and restrictions of 2020 and early 2021 because it shifted people’s interactions with each other further online and away from real life, meaningful face to face meetings. When you look at the way some of these people advocated for this to continue, it’s all too plain that they wanted to foist their dystopian hell on the rest of us who still want to hold on to our basic humanity. That’s particularly the case with the ‘advice’ that was being given out for grandparents to br kept away from their grandchildren. Advice that further fractured family relationships…

But, the bastards aren’t always getting it their own way are they? You only have to look around to see that despite what has been done to us over the last few years with the lockdowns and restrictions, the majority of people still want to get out and about to see each other face to face. While they may have bought into some aspects of the over digitisation of society previously mentioned, they want to hold on to the bonding that can only come from real life contact and relationships. Whether that’s going to the pub for a meal and chat with friends, watching their local football club or attending their town’s winter/Christmas festival, the desire to mix and be part of a larger collective has not been snuffed out despite the malign efforts of the transhumanists and those pushing the 4IR.

Disassociation from place and the attack on a sense of belonging

Another thing the bastards want is to destroy our sense of place and belonging. An economy that demands mobility and expects people to uproot themselves from one end of the country to find work at the other end – or one part of the world to another – has a lot to answer for when it comes to eroding a sense of belonging. This has been going on since the start of the industrial revolution. Ironically, given the rise of remote working and working from home, accelerated by the Covid lockdowns, a growing number of people are actually developing an attachment to where they live. That attachment is prompting some of them to ask questions about what can be done to make where they live better and what can they do in terms of volunteering and campaigning to achieve this. Unintended consequences and all that when the machinations of those pushing the 4IR don’t go to plan.

It has to be said that over fifty years of shite planning and abysmally bland housebuilding has led to swathes of our cities, towns and suburbs looking as though they could belong pretty much anywhere. Look at pretty much any urban regeneration scheme and what’s proposed has zero character and conveys no hint of the original character of the area where its going to be located. They’re all pretty much interchangeable with each other. The same applies to the new build housing that’s springing up in the fields surrounding our towns. Apart from a token Tesco Metro or Sainsbury’s Local, there are no shops, most likely no cafe or local pub and generally, no centre or heart to these car dependent, new build settlements. Essentially, they’re just soulless dormitories that tacitly nudge people in the direction of going home to eat, consume digital entertainment, sleep and then go back out to work in a seemingly endless cycle. Obviously we’re not suggesting that this has been done deliberately to erode any sense of place or belonging. What we are saying is that these are the unintended consequences of housebuilding being seen as an economic activity to generate a profit with only lip service being paid to creating any sense of community. Despite all of this, when you start to scratch under the surface of what appears to be a soulless dormitory, you’ll find there is a lot going on the way of community focused activity that connects people with each other and the locality where they live. The bastards still can’t grind us down, can they?

“Stories of environmental doom will not galvanise the vast majority of people to action. It can only be galvanized through regenerating human connections to landscape.” – Charles Massey.

This is something we have written about at length in this piece: Attachment, connection and a search for meaning 24.11.22. This connection to landscape and nature, despite everything the transhumanists try to do to us, is something that’s still pretty strong. When you start to look at the membership figures for a county wildlife trust and compare that with the combined membership of all the political parties in the same county, the former always seems to be far greater than the latter. People in the main, still care about where they live and the landscape and nature that’s situated in. It’s celebrating this connection to place, landscape and nature that informs our strategy and tactics on environmental matters rather than the doom mongering which in our experience, tends to alienate people.

Will class struggle be back on the agenda?

The inexorable elimination of working class representation in the arts from acting across to popular music continues without any let up as identity politics tightens its grip on cultural life. Looking back at the last year and ahead to 2023, while the working class are continuing to disappear from the screen and the stage, thespian and musical, as a consequence of a growing level of industrial action across a growing range of sectors, we’re making our presence felt. We’ve been active for a good few decades and have to go back a fair few of them to recall the level of industrial action we’re seeing now. What we’re seeing doesn’t appear to be a flash in the pan because the signs of increasing militancy were making themselves felt back in 2021. One manifestation of this were a number of strikes by refuse workers, including a long drawn out one where we used to live back in Thurrock. These were strikes that enjoyed a pretty solid level of support from workers pissed off at councils taking the piss with terms, conditions and pay. A series of victories that as councils backed down and gave the refuse workers what they deserved, did a lot to boost morale and confidence.

We’re in a cost of living crisis. One that has emerged for a number of reasons, including the consequences of shutting down the economy for months on end in 2020 as the Covid lockdowns and restrictions were foisted upon us. This impacted a lot of things ranging from supply chains through to labour availability, the consequences of which we’re still enduring. When it comes to energy costs, there have been structural issues such as the decades long lack of a coherent energy policy in the UK which has led us to a point where there’s very little slack in the system. When this is coupled with the impact on fuel supplies and prices of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, we have what can best be described as a perfect storm. Then there’s just plain greed from the corporations, particularly those in the energy sector, who think they can carry on milking us forever without any consequences.

There has been talk of what’s going on being a general strike in all but name. Some of that is hyperbole from elements on the left desperate to re-establish their credentials with the working class, some of it is anti-working class elements trying to stir up hatred and division. The interesting thing is that so far, despite growing levels of inconvenience, a fair number of people are supportive of the strikes. Back in 2021 when we had the refuse workers strike in Thurrock, our Daily Mail reading former neighbour had a poster up in her window supporting the strikers! Despite decades of neo-liberal propaganda being rammed down our throats, many people still retain a sense of fairness and when they see that a group of workers are being screwed over, they will support them taking action to improve their conditions if there’s no other alternative. In the 70s and 80s, public opinion was more polarised over the issue of workers taking strike action. As things stand at the moment, that polarisation isn’t there. The government and the employers can see this, are rattled by what they see so inevitably, their response will be to vilify and denigrate striking workers at any opportunity.

Going into 2023, we can’t see there being any let up in the level of strike action. That’s because the cost of living crisis is getting worse which means that the factors pushing workers to strike action are increasing all the time. If you’re slogging your guts out for forty hours a week or more and there’s still not enough money to pay the bills, then you pretty much have no option other than to take action. A government desperate to stem the damage strikes will inflict on an economy that has already been damaged by the consequences of the Covid lockdowns and restrictions will feel forced into a showdown of some kind. As stated earlier, prediction is a mug’s game so we’re not going to try and predict how this is going to play out.

Where do we go from here?

In previous posts we’ve pretty much said that we have moved beyond the left/right political divide. However, with the wave of strike action we’re seeing, it could be argued that the left is seeing a reversal in it’s fortunes. What the strikes are showing is that there’s only so much shite the working class is prepared to take before fighting back. There certainly appears to be a revival of class consciousness. How far this maps onto the left as it currently stands is open to debate. Given that a fair few elements on the left have pretty much lost interest in the working class, taking more of an interest in identity politics instead, it could be argued that any moves by them to get involved in these strikes are little more than opportunism. We’d be interested to hear what other people think about that. However, this is an opportunity for the working class to define its own political position, away from a left that has moved itself farther and farther away from their concerns, hopes and aspirations.

As you will gather from reading the above, a lot of what we think, write and say doesn’t really chime with what the anarchist movement, such as it is, has to say on these issues. Which pretty much leaves us politically homeless. Although to be honest, that feeling of political homelessness has been building ever since the end of 2017 so it’s something we’re used to. This is particularly the case after the last three years of the Covid ‘crisis’ which pretty much saw us move beyond the margins of the anarchist movement with little chance of ever being welcomed back in. Not that we’d want to because to be honest, we’re happier being able to ask difficult questions and think freely without having to worry about the reaction from outraged comrades.

We’ve moved beyond the left/right political divide which has outlived any usefulness it may have been considered to have had in the past. What accelerated that was our examination of the various currents of opposition to the Covid lockdowns and vaccine mandates, many of which transcended the left/right political divide and instead, pointed to something seemingly new that was emerging. Namely a belief in our common humanity as opposed to the soulless, techno-fascist evil of the elites desperate to not just merely hang onto what they already have, but also to seize more wealth and power. Part of that belief in our common humanity means trusting each other to by and large, do the right thing as opposed to the desire exhibited by some elements to monitor and control every aspect of our lives.

Those elements aren’t just the elites who we’d expect nothing more from than the sick desire to screw us over. They also include the ‘useful idiots’ on the left and sadly in some sections of the anarchist movement who showed their true colours during the Covid lockdowns by calling for harsher and more intrusive measures, all in the name of the ‘common good’. Some of them are the same people salivating at the proposals to implement ’15 minute neighbourhoods’ in Oxford, Canterbury and other cities and towns across the country. An implementation which relies on intrusive monitoring technology. All for schemes which if implemented, will undermine the laudable notion of reconfiguring our neighbourhoods to make them more liveable in and human in scale.

All of this leaves us seeking new allies to work with. Given the urgency of the situation we face, that’s not something we really want to have to do but needs must and all of that. It’s a process that’s still in it’s early days but as our involvement in the Nevermore https://nevermore.media/ project indicates, it’s one that’s starting to yield results. For sure, 2023 is going to be a challenging year for us but hopefully from this point, it will be a case of onwards and upwards…