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‘Politics and Parasites’

August 3, 2013

‘Politics and Parasites’ might once have been thought an unusual title but I doubt that anyone wonders at it now because the term ‘parasitic’ has had such currency since the 2008 crash… ‘Parasitic’ Bankers, Politicians, Plutocrats, Benefit Claimants and so on.

Nevertheless, I want to extend the analogy beyond the usual description of individuals/groups/professions as ‘exploiters’ of the host population aka ‘we, the overwhelming majority’.  Specifically, there are two tenets of parasitology which offer insight, warning and hope in challenging the corporate-financial-political nexus.

The first is a warning that the potential risks of contemporary politics are very high.

‘Over-parasitism’ can lead to the extinction of both parasite and host communities.  In other words, too many parasitic demands on the host may be lethal, which in turn, will spell the end for the parasite… unless of course, the ‘parasite’ has a ‘get-out’ in some cosy tax haven or climate-regulated dome.

The hope is to be found in the notion that parasitism has ‘fueled’ evolution.

Clearly, there is a selection pressure for the host community to evolve better ways of resisting parasitism.  Hence, evolution is ‘fueled’.  In human terms, resistance and politicisation evolve from understanding the realities of exploitation and current politics.

However, host ‘resistance’ also sets up a corresponding pressure on the parasitic population to evolve responses to avoid host defenses.

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 01.39.04

As Jason Read suggests an important strategy of parasites, both human and other, is to shroud the true nature of the exploitation in ‘smoke and mirrors’, obfuscation, deceit and secrecy.  There is also another … ‘the boiling of frogs’ tactic … slowly turning up the heat so that we ‘frogs’ don’t notice.  Over the last 30 years, the ‘boiling of frogs’ strategy has been very much in evidence… for example, the creeping privatization of the NHS.

Nevertheless, there is a selection pressure on the parasitic population which is commonly known as ‘not killing the goose that lays the golden egg’…. in other words, for the parasite to become less pathogenic to the host.  Not only are the workforce and the natural world, the ‘golden egg’ producers of wealth (not the ‘masters of the universe’ and fictitious capital) but, as Henry Ford knew, it is the wages of the workforce that create the demand that creates the jobs and drives the real economy.  Ultimately, the current financial paradigm is unsustainable, but in order to preserve the control and wealth of the 0.01%, we are being steered into a neofeudalist world.

To date, capitalism has found ways to ameliorate the potential for the system’s implicit inequality to trigger civil unrest (rioting/revolution) by hiding or limiting (as little as possible) the wealth accumulating excesses.   We see a farcical pretense of this, in Osborne’s determination to ‘go after the tax dodgers’.

To be honest, David Cameron doesn’t seem very significant.  He is the PR boy who likes being PM.  The focus should be on Osborne and the Treasury because ‘following the money’ is the most straightforward way to cut to the chase.  Furthermore, George Osborne’s obsession with the US and the Republicans is a clear indication that US politics is extremely important.  The US is the template for what is, or will be, happening in the UK.

Interestingly, we are told that George Osborne treats politics as a game of chess:

… it is one of those three-tiered chessboards. The lower tier is tactics, the art of winning day-by-day scuffles. The middle tier is strategy, which is planning for the next election. The top tier is grand strategy.’

‘Politics and Parasites’ primary focus is the top tier – the grand and global strategy.  It is obviously essential that the policies and day-to-day tactics of this ‘Tory’ government be confronted but it needs to be understood that activity within each layer of the board is predicated on the intentions of the topmost…

For example, the ‘Bedroom tax’ is the strategy.  The strange rationalization… that government is trying to ‘reduce overcrowding’… is the tactic.

But the grand strategy is the age-old one of dispossessing low-income people from the high value land that they occupy… the long-term aim is social cleansing of the inner city.

The dire impacts of the ‘Bedroom tax’ on individuals are heartbreaking but the real targets are the social housing associations whose viability are threatened by the likely large scale rent arrears… and their subsequent difficulties in arranging finance:

The social housing sector is an intricate machine; significant manipulation of policy and funding levers without fully understanding the potential impacts, is likely to cause major disruption to the way the sector works, both in terms of its ability to support its tenants and its ability to attract investment for development of new affordable housing.‘ (1)


Why would the Tories want to cripple housing associations and clear the inner city? …Just think of the rents that private landlords will be able to charge for newly acquired ex-social housing in Kensington and Chelsea… and the prime locations that will become available for purchase.

But perhaps more importantly, it moves away potential ‘trouble’, creating much more easily defended areas for the wealthy (just like the heavily defended citadel in Soylent Green)(2).  By relocating individuals and families to cheaper areas, the assault on social housing also provides the means to break up natural communities of mutual support.  Public protests and rioting are invariably urban phenomena, as we saw in the London riots.

Boris may have said that there would be ‘”no Kosovo-style social cleansing” of the city’s low income households on his watch, but he has diverted 80% (£93.3 million) from affordable housing programmes to the Mayor’s Housing Covenant, which aims to help middle income earners into homeownership.

In war, the first casualty is truth … and as Warren Buffett said:

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

The policies of the coalition government should be no surprise.  They were implicit in the 1994 Uruguay round of the GATT treaty, and explicit in the recently released 30y old Cabinet papers of Margaret Thatcher’s government.  A decision has clearly been made that it is more important to dismantle public services than worry about winning the next GE.  As a result, there are no brakes on this government’s behaviour.  They intend to leave public services and the economy in as much of a mess as possible which they hope will prevent future governments from being able to reinstate the welfare state (3) … and which will drive all who can afford it into the hands of the private sector.   In any event, if the US-EU FTA is implemented in time (projected for 2014), a corporate tribunal will be empowered to supercede parliament and will be authorized to demand changes to any corporately inconvenient domestic UK legislation (4).

We live in difficult times when the water is heating up nicely.

‘Politics and Parasites’ is a sister blog to Think-Left and shares the same red-green values and priorities.


(2)  Soylent Green, George Osborne and Plutonomy.

(3)  Has George Osborne been taking Trans-Atlantic lessons from Jude Wanniski and the Republicans?

(4)  Are we already in the post-democratic era?

  1. Reblogged this on paul8ar and commented:
    #bedroomtax But the grand strategy is the age-old one of dispossessing low-income people from the high value land that they occupy… the long-term aim is social cleansing of the inner city.

  2. Wotiz permalink

    Its funny the thought crossed my mind that the coalition were dismantling knowing full well rebuilding over a parliament term would not be possible. I dismissed it reasoning no one could be that Thatcher-like. After all who misses the miners other than people who actually pay for energy. I repeat rich people couldn’t if poor people didn’t!

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