22nd April 2017

After a tiring couple of days, the Western Monastery’s Process feels to me like some sort of parasitic creature living on people’s backs. The Process is far removed from the everyday struggles people are living with, and drains energy rather than providing a way to exercise power. The Process, once claimed as a form of liberation, is a vampire. Which does not mean we should ignore it – but we must try to ensure it doesn’t sink its fangs into us.

I was just talking to The Driver, who says she just finds politics confusing. Policies are announced on the news and they make no sense to her, so she ends up largely ignoring the whole game. The elites have tried to make of politics such a technical matter, she said, that there is no way she feels able to input to it. She suspects this has been done on purpose, but she can’t see a way forward in which she would feel able to play a part.

Her partner meanwhile, recently arrived from off-Island, is amazed by how few people are able to talk about politics here. Time and again he meets blank faces when he tries to discuss it, as though politics has no impact on the lives of those he is talking to. I have felt this too, and the road to this level of cultural degeneration has been a long one. Most importantly the Enemy Press has framed the political language people use. That language allows them to say nothing. I’ve been accused of being patronising for talking about the influence of the Enemy Press, as though I’m accusing everyone of being hoodwinked. But let’s not pretend that our upbringing and education and environment don’t profoundly impact us. And isn’t the language we are exposed to one of the most important elements of this?

A campaign against fake news online has been gathering pace, but think about this: after thirteen years of compulsory education, many people appear unable to distinguish a bad source from a good, or to read the bias in an article. Thirteen years! Think about what you can do in thirteen years. Think about how much you could learn.

If people truly can’t cast a critical eye over a newspaper article, it sometimes seems to me that the omissions in their education must be deliberate. But I don’t know: perhaps it is simply decades, centuries of accumulated ignorance, passed on through the system. I am so often amazed at what people don’t get taught at school. Few people come out of their compulsory imprisonment in chidrens centres understanding what science is, for example, and thus what its strengths and weaknesses are. They can do a basic equation for acceleration (until they forget it the week after the exam), but can’t tell you that science is a social process based on reproducibility of results. Why is this? I confess to being puzzled. Thirteen years. If these weird distortions and failures can creep into the less politicised subjects, think how much more they creep into the more political ones such as history.

Many people believe that the streets of Londres have been tranquil over the years, because this is what they are taught. They don’t know the bosses had to set up volunteer groups to try to keep the city running during the General Strike, that there was a great fear of a general uprising. They don’t know how often the kings had to hide in the Tower for fear of the wrath of the population. They don’t know that people fought on the streets for the right to pleasure, and for the right to control their own lives. Some other myth dominates, some myth in which ‘politics’ is not worth bothering with. In this mythological world The Process is offered as a sop to the idea politics might be worth bothering with. But few think it truly is, and so The Process hangs heavy on us all.

22nd April 2017