DREAM DIARY

Looking out through lockdown windows
The world in view is too sombre
My mind wanders to pastures new
To party times with good old friends
To singing in the Poppit dunes,
Picking those lost forgotten tunes.
Of how we’ll change the world to come
A glass half full for everyone
The gig economy we’ll shun,
Eugenicists? We’ll make them run.
Hold hands together down The Strand,
Spill wine to our favourite band,
We’ll dance together after dark
Like lovers smooching in the park
All this for future enquiry
Written now in my dream diary.

Harry Rogers, a la Chambre rouge, 2nd April 2022.

COVID PANDEMONIA

It’s bizarre to sit and watch images and words flash across the myriad of screens each of us own at this time early in the third millennium and watch with a sense of horror as the major cities of the globe descend slowly into a state of anarchic pandemonia. Each city has the potential to a greater or lesser extent to metamorphose into, what Milton named as the Capital of Hell, Pandemonium.

What sickens me the most is the realisation that there is absolutely nothing I, or for that matter you, as individuals can possibly do about it. The major news media outlets are busy trying to portray the Covid 19 pandemic as just another major news story that can be presented to the people in the same old time honoured fashion that they done since the birth of Television. However, this time the story is too big for corporatations to control. Little snippets of truth about the sombre reality of this dreadful situation are poking out and are revealed on a daily basis. The never ending howling of ambulance sirens echoing along empty streets, the conversion of skating rinks and other civic amenities into makeshift temporary morgues, the requisition of football grounds and other sports stadia and conference facilities as sites for massive health treatment and combined hospice style centres. All this clearly visible for everyone to see but once the full horror of this disease takes hold then it is right to ask the following question. For how long can the media hold the line and continue to showcase reports that, it’s true, show the level of distress the people will be suffering?

To watch as country after country pass Draconian legislation enabling them to take extreme decisions when it comes to social control is alarming and will precipitate outbursts of fear, paranoia and anger. In Europe this might be easier to control than elsewhere, and in particular the USA. At the same time as we were stocking up with pasta, lentils, rice and canned vegetables, there were queues around the block at all gunshops and purveyors of ammunition across America. With politicians in leadership positions making difficult decisions on a a daily basis the pandemic is hard enough to deal with, but to have somone that makes last minute decisions based on his gut instincts instead of listening to experts in a plethora of important fields as President of the USA is not only frightening but is also indicative of the fragility of the whole geo political system of governance.

In my view The United Nations should be convened and should take over the handling of this crisis. It is too big for crazed egoist individuals to be allowed to have control over the future wellbeing of billions of human beings through the creation of artificial states of emergency designed to prop up their own deformed political, and often corrupt, ideologies for their own gratuitous economic gain. I doubt this is going to happen until after the grisly masquerade has played out and the whole world has to clean up in the aftermath.

The plural of Pandemonium is Pandemonia. Unless there is a global approach to dealing with COVID-19 it’s quite likely we will witness the emergence of a whole swathe of cities that, for a significant period of time, will become replicas of Pandemonium, the Capital of Hell. I hope I am wrong and Trump is right when he posits a miraculously speedy recovery. Somehow though, judging by recent history, I doubt it.

Harry Rogers, March 31st 2020.

Spud Headed Spad

SPUD HEADED SPAD


A gaunt gangly spectre haunts Downing Street
This spud headed spad who speeds out the door
A Monty Python type praying mantis
Giant rucksack strapped to it’s skinny back


He runs in a John Cleese funny walk style
Away from plague infested number ten
To it’s nihilist lair to self isolate
Whilst it forces the rest to self hibernate.


The new default set to procrastinate
Journalists learn new ways to masticate
Fake four five leaches from across the pond
Key workers die in the back of beyond


The servers creak and wheeze with new data
We watch irrelevant adverts, later.

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, Pencnwcau, Aberbanc, March 30th 2020.

ICE RINK

Ice rink in Madrid turned into a morgue

Dublin old bill point guns and send you home

Football stadium dormitories

Spring up all around Paris, London, Rome.

Whilst Macron freaks out his Euro neighbours,

Four five locks New York into Quarantine.

Brexiteers dreaming daily of the Blitz,

Wonder when buffoons will wheel out the Queen.

Cumberland to Devon, Cornwall to Kent,

We’re told to look out for one another.

Fuck the hoarders and all those selfish gits

Who gave Covid nineteen to my brother.

Downing Street did not practice what they preach,

I’ll not watch one more propaganda speech.

Harry Rogers In the yellow room, Pencnwau, 28th March 2020.

MILLIONS OF BRAZILIANS

Millions of Brazilians
Have witnessed all these scenes before
Paliamentary pantomime
Has locked down everybody’s doors
The army ringed now around London
Stock markets fall down through the floor
There’s no knowing where this leads us
The MPs bluster on, so sure
Their nationalistic reactions
Echoed loudly on radio four
Butterfly show goes on and on
No dreamliners fly anymore
We are told it’s for our own good
For the aged, for the poor
Evoke the spirit of the blitz
Best wishes from second world war
Spout about spiritual health
Whilst televising martial law
Soon round up any dissidents
Is that what this is really for?

Harri Rogers, in the red bedroom, Pencnwau, 19th March 2020

C O V I D 19

Recorded in Harriboy’s Hut.

C O V I D 19
1 – Cover old values in dirt
2 – Career over, virtuous institutional doings
3 – Complicated oversold vast international developments
4 – Corrupt outsized voluminous imperial druglords
5 – Callous orange voterigging incorrect dirtbag
6 – Consciously order vilification intending death
7 – Call on visionary inspirational dominoes
8 – Correctly overturn Victorian inept dukedoms
9 – Constitute octagonal video introductory deals
10 – Consult outmoded vehicular inbound data
11 – Crave oxygen vial infused datura
12 – Consider overeating vegan imported Dhansak
13 – Collect Obama virtual introduction ditties
14 – Cynically obtain villain’s imperative doldrums
15 – Climb outside votive iron dormitory
16 – Crash our vituperative invisible dogsbodies
17 – Congregate onboard Venusian interstellar dreamliners
18 – Coronaviral overkill visualizes instantaneous deprivation
19 – Collapse onto virus infected deathbed

Harri Rogers, Pencnwcau, in the Yellow Room, March 11th 2020

Now See The Vengeance

Now, see the vengeance
Reaked on the many.
Gimcrack politics,
Shone up for one day,
Like fake silver plate
Polished away, through.
Truth? Justice? Honour?
These tattered flags fly
Blown on the rubbish
Tips alongside rolled up
Banknote snorting tubes
Discarded by spads
Infected deeply
With Randian lies.
Whilst they “Get IT done”
We drown on sun drenched
Flood plains developed
By slick racketeers
Who sail sunseekers
All over the globe.
Pangolin virus,
Classless, ironic,
Infects me and you
As well as the few,
Who will more likely
Stand within six feet
Of a carrier
In an airport queue,
The automatic
Democracy of
Nature in action.
Too late, all fall down,
Red in tooth and claw,
Hail natural law.

Harri Rogers
In the red bedroom
Pencnwcau, Aberbanc
28th February 2020.

The Salisbury Incident

Article by Johnny Gaunt & Harry Rogers

The Salisbury Incident

As many governments across the Western world begin to exile their Russian diplomats back east, the most fundamental questions relating to the Skripol case remain not only unanswered, but the faintest sniff of any real evidence is yet to make an appearance before the public.
There is no doubt that Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd, et al, have worked hard to achieve a consensus amongst Nato and EU states, and has had some success in persuading other leaders to condemn and react to the unproven Russian involvement.
Many of these leaders, perhaps, have reasons of their own for latching on to such a flimsy agreement. France, Germany, Italy, and Holland are among a number of nations reeling from their own domestic political turbulence. Collapsing centrist parties have watched their traditional voter bases divide and file off to the left and right, as all over Europe the political polarisation hardens. Being seen to be part of a new unified front will, they hope, strengthen their domestic positions. It is a familiar response from desperate neoliberal administrations; instead of taking responsibility for the declining interest in their policies, they would rather fall back on the policy of fear in a dangerous attempt to appear ‘strong and stable’.
Manipulating fear of a common enemy of the West, brings with it certain benefits for the ruling classes. Not only does it present a superficial ‘toughness’ that leaders can exploit at home, it also makes large sections of the public easier to control and susceptible to further misinformation. Chomsky suggested: “Democratic societies can’t force people [to go to war, in this case]. Therefore, they have to control what they think.” You could also finish that sentence, “Therefore, democracy must be undermined.”
With the Skripol case we have seen the UK mass media swing into action in order to ramp up public fear, obliterate individual analysis and control the narrative of how Brits, loyal to their country, should respond. The BBC, ITN and Channel4 News outlets have each backed Theresa May’s assumptions and reactionary behaviour towards Russia. Jeremy Corbyn’s perspective, that the government needs to wait until real facts emerge about who is responsible, has been purposefully vilified and distorted by these networks, to echo George Bush’s infamous, “You’re either with us, or against us,” mentality. The BBC, for their flagship political debate programme, Newsnight, even went so far as to alter Jeremy Corbyn’s flat-cap to look more like a Russian bearskin, before pasting the doctored image onto a deep red backdrop of the Kremlin.
Heightening hysteria of a Russian threat is win-win politics for many hawkish MPs, who will gain increases in their arms industry share profits, and political leverage to turn up Defence spending. Simultaneously, the shrill is loud enough to drown out domestic criticism of such scandalous acts as cutting free school meals for a million kids from struggling families.
Of course, the main driver of much of this remains ideology. The golden rule of the British establishment has long been to stamp out any sign of socialism long before it can develop into anything meaningful; and it has done an excellent job since destroying Michael Foot’s 1983 manifesto.
It has been a long 35 years for the principled socialist. But in that time, things have changed radically. The commercial scraps from military technology found their way into public homes in the form of computers around the same time. Within 10 years, the world-wide-web had organised the internet into something accessible by the new generation, for whom computers were as everyday as television. In 2005, one of this generation, began hooking up Ivy League universities to his social media software, Facebook. The use of social media data by companies such as Cambridge Analytica to subvert global democratic processes is a negative outcome of the growth of ICT. Whilst big-data is a worrying aspect of the growth in digital industry, the ongoing rush by both Google and the Chinese government to bring about the singularity in artificial intelligence, where machines are equal in intellectual ability with human beings, is even more worrying for those of us concerned about the future of militarism. We are told that there are great social benefits that flow from AI, but the thought of autonomous weaponry making decisions on who lives and dies in the many so-called theatres of war is truly scary, and no longer just the dystopian rambling of science-fiction writers.
Whatever the truth behind the Salisbury Incident, we have witnessed the UK establishment’s completely cynical exercise in ramping up public fear of war, through the demonization of a major state. This behaviour is nothing new and has been used unsparingly since the end of the second world war; however, since 2001 and the commencement of the War on Terror, this fear and war mongering has intensified and become more frequent. These are the desperate actions of an ideologically bankrupt set of inept politicians; and, they are not exclusive to the Tory Party.
However, the establishment’s persistent use of its mainstream media arm to concuss the public into consensus, appears to be losing some of its punching power. This has been in no small part due to Jeremy Corbyn’s consistent message of doing the right thing, as in this case where he urged restraint before rushing to judgement. Nevertheless, the governments in Nato, will continue to use the threat of war to justify increasing expenditure on more and more technologically sophisticated methods of arm’s length killing, mostly of the dispossessed, in countries that don’t, or seem unlikely to, conform to Western hegemonic ideology.
Prevailing facts surrounding incidents such as the Salisbury poisoning, become almost irrelevant once the narrative has been set out; the public simply needs to choose between loyalty to, or betrayal of, Britain. Manipulation of public opinion in this way will no doubt carry on until it is either fully exposed for what it is, or until a genuine anti-war government can turn us away from the ‘unavoidable’ conflicts we are purposefully being steered towards.
Johnny Charles and Harry Rogers are both members of the Labour Party and Ceredigion Stop the War. On 28th April, the panel event, “Why the UK needs a new Foreign Policy” will take place in Aberystwyth, and will feature talks from Mark Serwotka, Lindsey German, Adam Joannes & Ayla Gol.

Failed By The State – The Struggle in the Shadow of Grenfell (part 1)

 

This is a ‘must watch’. Explains the mechanism seen across London and other big cities of social cleansing. It’s the same one as is being used on the NHS, education, Fire service, police etc…. run them down, privatise and sell off the land. It’s the dispossession of high value land from low income people. It’s […]

via Failed By The State – The Struggle in the Shadow of Grenfell (Part 1) — Think Left

LILITH LIES DEAD

 

Lilith Lies Dead

They shot Lilith today,
Because she ran away,
They ended her short taste of freedom.

With her beauty so proud,
We should all cry out loud.
Tourist zoos? Do we really need them?

All those fat bureaucrats
In their murderers hats,
Should we continue to feed them?

There was no need to kill,
A ground up sleeping pill,
Would save her from permanent sleepdom

Now Lilith lies dead
With blood on her head,
Our tears are all shed,
Whilst we lie abed
I am seeing red,
They shot Lilith dead.

Harri Rogers, In bed at Pencnwcau, 11th November 2017

PEACEMAKER

Seeing Red LogoPeacemaker

Cowboy movies in the fifties
Showed us Colt forty five power,
Flickering up on silver screen,
Long barrelled pistols every hour.
The lawmen and the cavalry,
In the street and behind the rocks,
Killing bad guys and Indians,
Using spitfire substitute cocks.

They called it
Peacemaker,
The Frontier
Peacemaker,
Model P
Peacemaker.

Went to the toy shop with my mum,
At Christmas nineteen fifty five,
To choose my holster and my gun,
I was the Cimarron Kid live.
The outlaws used peacemakers too,
The anti hero movie stars,
With their chiselled looks and cars,
Showed us all how to kill a man,
Upfront guns, hole and corner plan.

I chose it
Peacemaker,
My silver
Peacemaker,
My cowboy
Peacemaker
Gun.

A toy to you but real to me
This is what movies did you see,
Identified an enemy,
Shot them in Technicolor dreams,
False heroes on cinema screens,
Killing while Geronimo screams,
Long before truth showed wounded knee,
Those lies behind land of the free.

They called it
Peacemaker,
The Frontier
Peacemaker,
Model P
Peacemaker,
Life taker
Peacemaker,
Colt four five
Peacemaker,
Las Vegas
Peacemaker?

Harri Rogers, In the hut, Aberbanc, 3/10/2017.

Poem – Centre Ground

Centre Ground

The wild buddleia and the straggly old man’s beard,
Running rampant on the waste ground by the railway.
Can this be the place that they call the centre ground?
Where democracy and truth die between the weeds?
Where the bindweed strangles freedom in the sunshine?
Where the brambles riot as nettles choke the land?
Honest folk are liars made by giant hogweed,
Sown by fake news vendors that have no hearts to bleed.
Surely now we understand, this thing centre ground,
Where nothing good or wholesome ever shall be found.

On the train to Reading 11th August 2017.

From California to Cardiff via Gaza and Missouri

From California to Cardiff via Gaza and Missouri

From California to Cardiff via Gaza and Missouri
Drone manufacturers rub their hands with glee
Their pals the police chiefs and all the military
Wait with bated breath for each new insurgency

There at the lectern next to some flowering plant
Politicians stand and lie just like Charley’s Aunt
All those perfect promises move from shall to shan’t
Funny how Yes We Can turned into No You Can’t!

Harry Rogers, Aberbanc, 20th August 2014

Radio Activist Weekly Almanac Special Mayday Edition.

This is a special Mayday edition of the Radio Activist Weekly Almanac with music from Blind Willie McTell, and Memphis Minnie, an interview with Red Poets of Wales founder member Mike Jenkins, a Tony Benn speech outside the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth in 2003, and part one and two of an historic radio show from the original Radio Activist himself, Studs Terkel, called Bound For Glory The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie.

Radio Activist Logo 2

The Legacy Of Tony Benn – People’s Parliament audio clip

On Wednesday 9th of April at 7.00pm I attended a packed out committee room 14 in the House of Commons for the People’s Parliament meeting on the legacy of Tony Benn and what an inspiring meeting it was. John McDonnel and the five speakers on the platform gave very poignant and interesting accounts of their recollections of working alongside Tony Benn inside the house of Commons and also in the many campaigns and struggles both within Britain and across the world. It was clear that Tony was a tireless campaigner on a wide range of socialist issues right up until the very end of his 88 years. It is difficult to name another left wing activist in the British labour movement that put in as many hours, or travelled as many miles as he did. It is clear that he not only spent a lot of time campaigning but also spent a lot of time researching issues and talking to people in the field and on the shop floor. His pursuit of democracy and belief in the people’s ability to take decisions for themselves is very far removed from the realm of the majority of mainstream politicians for whom the electorate are just a vehicle into the corridors of power rather than a resource to be listened to and consulted on the myriad of issues that affect their everyday lives. It is remarkable that he remained in the Labour Party throughout the years of New Labour and the inexorable march towards right wing corporatist government, privatisation and war mongering. Many activists, including myself, have long since torn up their party cards out of feelings of sheer frustration and, it has to be said, total disgust at the move towards being a right of centre party. And yet, despite the fact that he retained his loyalty to the labour party all his life, whenever he appeared on a platform at a demo, on a picket line or at a public meeting, the fondness and esteem within which has he was held by all sections of the movement was clearly palpable. Quite simply Tony Benn was not only a tireless and hard working socialist he was truly inspirational, unwavering in his belief that a better world where peace, equality and justice for all is the norm. As everyone has said his death is a great loss to the cause of socialism, however, whilst the great man may be gone his ideas live on. It is encumbant on those of us who agree with his ideas to pick them up and run with them and when we are asked why we do so the reply must surely be, as he would have wanted, Tony Benn Encouraged Us.

MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL – A lyric for Bob and Tony

MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL

ALL THE GOOD HEROES ARE DYING
ALL OF THEIR COMRADES CRYING
RANDIAN JOURNOS PROCLAIMING
THE END OF AN ERA OF FAILING

I DON’T SEE IT THAT WAY
JUST BECAUSE THEIR BODY HAS GONE
EVERYTHING THEY HAD TO SAY
ALL THEIR DREAMS AND IDEAS LIVE ON

MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
I AIN’T GOING AWAY
MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
I’M ACTIVE EVERY DAY

OUR STANDARDS ARE STILL FLYING
OUR TEARS ARE SLOWLY DRYING
WE’RE OUT THERE ON THE STREETS
WE LEARN FROM OLD DEFEATS

WE ALL WANT SOMETHING NEW
IT’S COMING IF WE ALL STAND TOGETHER
WE ALL KNOW WHAT TO DO
IT’S REALLY OURS WHEN WE STAND TOGETHER

MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
I AIN’T GOING AWAY
MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
I’M ACTIVE EVERY DAY
MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
AIN’T GONNA GO AWAY
MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
I FIGHT ON EVERY DAY
FIGHT ON EVERY DAY

Harry Rogers
24/03/2014
Aberbanc

Drone Warfare – From Wales To Gaza – Conference Speech – Cardiff 25th May 2013

SPEECH

Good afternoon comrades, friends and colleagues. Can I start by saying how pleased I am to see this conference taking place and can I take this opportunity to thank the organisers for inviting me to share the platform today with such distinguished friends. My name is Harry Rogers and I live in West Wales about 12 miles from Aberporth where the MOD have been carrying out their tests on the Watchkeeper Drone.

I am sixty five years old and I almost never got born because of a UAV. My mother and my aunt were in the back bedroom over the top of my grandfathers public house in West Croydon in June 1944 just ten seconds before one of Hitler’s V1 doodle bug flying bomb drones blew the back of the pub clean off. Ten seconds earlier and I would never have been born. My point here is that UAVs have been around a long time and the Watchkeeper is nothing really new in concept. A lot has been written about this piece of almost obsolete already Army surveillance equipment so I won’t add to the reams you can find on the internet.

I am a member of a local peace group called Bro Emlyn For Peace and Justice and we formed in 2003 as a response to the decision by Bush and Blair to attack Iraq. During the time we have been involved in a number of campaigns including the campaign against the development of Cardigan Airport as a testing ground for UAVs, also the proposed introduction of an unmanned aerial systems technology hub at Parc Aberporth and also the management buyout of the MOD missile testing base at Parcllyn by QinetiQ.

There is much I could talk to you about concerning the history of this campaigning but that is not why I agreed to come here today. The past is something that we can learn from but not something that we can undo. My speech today is primarily about the future of drone technology and why it is vital that we all start to pay attention to what the research and development bods at MIT and DARPA, QinetiQ and BAE systems are cooking up for the future. I make no apologies for basing most of this speech on a report made by the RAF in October 2012 about the future of Unmanned Aerial Systems to the Government.

I am interested in ensuring that we all go away from today with an understanding that the big issue we face in terms of UAV development is that of Autonomy. The next generation of drones may well be able to think for themselves and act autonomously, that is without any human in the loop as the Military say. That means flying machines that can make their own decisions in search and destroy operations based on a set of algorithmic decisions pre-determined by human masters who may or may not be benign in their intentions.

Sceptics amongst you are already muttering balderdash and hokum, science fantasy and other such epithets. Well virtually all of the rest of the speech will, I hope, convince you otherwise.

* The RAF say that “As UAVs are developed with increasing levels of automation it will reduce the requirement for operator training in the more traditional piloting skills of flying the aircraft, such as landing and takeoff, and focus the training more towards operating the payload.”

* The MOD and in particular the RAF are discussing issues about the levels of automation they are comfortable with. They recognise that highly automated weaponry systems are unlikely to be able to apply judgement and pragmatism to “situations”. They are worried about legal and ethical considerations that occur when there are no human beings in the loop leading to loss of life or injury.

* The future is one where outdated weaponry will give way to what they term “precision weaponry” and where the battle-spaces increasingly involve unmanned and cyber operations.

* Autonomous weapon systems are capable of understanding higher level intent and direction, and perception of their environment, leading to the ability to take appropriate actions to bring about desired states. To be able to decide on a course of action, from a number of alternatives, without depending on human oversight and control. Although the overall activity of an autonomous unmanned aircraft will be predictable, individual actions may not be.

* Low intensity tasks for Autonomous UAVs requiring minimal human oversight rather than continous control include the following:-

– pattern of life surveillance tasks over fixed locations or in support of littoral maneuver

– maintenance of standing anti-submarine warfare or anti-surface warfare radar barriers

– counter-piracy tasks; monitoring of arrays of sonobuoys or other sensors

– electronic warfare tasks

– acting as a communications relay

– air-to-air refueling tankers

* The RAF consider the use of UAVs ideal in hostile environments for a manned aircraft or it’s crew in operations related to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear. Tasks include the following:-

– Could carry sensors for local, tactical or global use

– systems easily sacrificed in a safe area after data gathering

– use in situations where fire and smoke make human activity hazardous

* In risky situations UAV systems can be used instead of aircrew or soldiers where the threat of ground to air action is high and also where it is necessary to suppress an integrated air defence system.

– multiple cheap UAVs used sacrificially to swamp detection and command and control systems

– to encourage enemies to fire large numbers of missiles

– observe engagement tactics and transmit data back to intelligence collators

– convey tactical supplies

– sweep for improvised explosive devices

* Of course UAVs are used in scenarios which are highly distasteful and we all know that they are used for surveillance and targeting, and carrying out, weapon attacks inside the borders of countries such as Pakistan and Palestine. All of this is currently done with “man in the loop” systems but it will not be too long before drones are flying with what the RAF says is ” the ability to independently locate and attack mobile targets, with appropriate proportionality and discrimination.”

The RAF are worried about issues relating to the Geneva Convention with regard to autonomous UAV development and usage and they say that “compliance will become increasingly challenging as systems become more automated. In particular, if we wish to allow systems to make independent decisions without human intervention, some considerable work will be required to show how such systems will operate legally.”

Already there are automated weapons systems in use in Afghanistan, for example, the Phalanx and Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar (C-RAM) systems used because there is deemed to be insufficient time for human response to counter incoming fire.

Future autonomous UAV systems will have to adhere to legal requirements and civilian airspace regulations. This will require political involvement in getting the necessary changes made. In my view it is absolutely vital that politicians understand the issues clearly and concisely because once made it will mean that there is going to be a lot of military and civilian hardware flying about in the airspace without any human interface whatsoever. The RAF say “As systems become increasingly automated, they will require decreasing human intervention between the issuing of mission-level orders and their execution.” and they go further saying “It would be only a small technical step to enable an unmanned aircraft to fire a weapon based solely on its own sensors, or shared information, and without recourse to higher, human authority.” They also discuss the timescale for the introduction of increased autonomy via Artificial Intelligence, saying ;- ” Estimates of when artificial intelligence will be achieved (as opposed to complex and clever automated systems) vary, but the consensus seems to lie between more than 5 years and less than 15 years.” Their words, not mine.

Currently the MOD “has no intention to develop systems that operate without human intervention in the weapon command and control chain, but it is looking to increase levels of automation where this will make systems more effective.”

The RAF are clearly worried about the direction all this is going in and they say “As technology matures and new capabilities appear, policy-makers will need to be aware of the potential legal issues and take advice at a very early stage of any new system’s procurement cycle.” I believe this highlights a degree of paranoia on the part of the RAF vis a vis it’s own future role.

Not only are the RAF exercised about legal dilemmas. Ethics and morals related questions also are in their thoughts such as when, where and how automated and autonomous unmanned systems may be used. This applies not just to the use of drones of course but also to all other forms of weaponry in any environment. Will all future wars be fought remotely with little or no loss of friendly or military personnel? Will future conflicts be waged between increasingly complex unmanned systems?

In my view a problem that we face today is that the accountants have control of governments and the most expensive resource used in public services is human beings. So autonomy offers massive savings in manpower and support for that manpower both before and after conflict occurs. As artificial Intelligence comes on board we are likely to see more complicated tasks arising that are beyond the capability of humans to deal with due to speed, complexity and information overload. No doubt some of you are probably suffering that now, but I only have a bit more to say before I will take questions, so bear with me.

The RAF and many others in the field are grappling with issues such as whether it is possible to develop AI that has the capability to focus on the unique (at the moment) ability that a human being has to bring empathy and morality to complex decision-making. The RAF say “To a robotic system, a school bus and a tank are the same – merely algorithms in a programme – and the engagement of a target is a singular action; the robot has no sense of ends, ways and means, no need to know why it is engaging a target. There is no recourse to human judgement in an engagement, no sense of a higher purpose on which to make decisions, and no ability to imagine (and therefore take responsibility for) repercussions of action taken.”

So we need to pose the following questions to our politicians:-

Are they happy to allow Autonomous Robots to take on the responsibility of choosing which of us lives and which of us dies?

Can an autonomous robot be considered capable of waging ethical and legal warfare?

Can software and hardware accidents be distinguished from war crimes when robots go wrong?

Is it possible to establish clear policies on acceptable machine behavior?

How far out of the bottle is the technological genie?

Are we doomed to a Terminator style future?

Is it possible have a sensible debate about technological development anymore?

Do we really want Artificial Intelligence with a greater capacity to think than a human to be in any way involved in future theatres of War?

 

The RAF pose very important questions when they ask the following:-

– Do military planners and politicians understand the full implications of the systems they are currently tasking and those they hope to procure?

– In the current economic climate, who will decide the best balance between keeping existing equipment and personnel, or whether to give these up to fund new unmanned systems?

– Do we understand even the basic implications of such decisions for the associated defence lines of development?

– Crucially, do we have a strategic level of understanding as to how we will deliver the considerable number of changes that will need to be made to existing policy, concepts, doctrine, and force structures?

* Finally we must expect to see governments bringing in changes to the law of armed conflict in order to accommodate the use of autonomous UAS and we must shout our opposition to this from the rooftops.

So there we have it friends, there is a lot for us to consider when we look into the issue of drones. We have to view all of this in an holistic way. That is we must not just lumber along from one demo to the next thinking only about the impact of the current use of drone warfare, terrible though that is. It is absolutely vital that we start to consider what future implications there are for the maintenance and development of basic human rights. We must also consider what the use of technology means in terms of social control measures such as we see the beginnings of in Gaza and elsewhere. I believe we are at, if not all ready passed, a dangerous turning point in the way we occupy this planet.

It is incumbent on us all to make a fuss about these issues if we want a planet where Human Rights are protected. If we don’t then we condemn the world to a dystopian future where all kinds of as yet un-thought of technology is used to maintain the position of a global elite above and beyond that of the majority of the people. The choice is ours, make a ruckus or bury our head in the sand and wait for the worst possible sci-fi future to engulf us all.

Thanks for listening, I’m happy to take questions and take part in debate.

Harry Rogers 24/05/2013

Drones at Aberporth demo 18/05/2013 – report.

On Saturday afternoon last week I attended a small demonstration organised by local Quakers outside the MOD base in Parclyn just above Aberporth.  There were only ten activists there on this cloudy day plus one desultory police car parked 5o yards down the road.

MOD Aberporth is renowned for having been one of the main missile testing ranges in Britain. However it has effectively been privatised and, following a management buyout, it is now run by QinetiQ. QinetiQ is a research company with many links to the MOD.

There have have been a number of arms sales fairs held at Parc Aberporth, in particular focused on UAVs and UCAVs.  Since 2010 the base has been involved in the testing of the Watchkeeper drone (developed by Thales) for the British Army flying out of West Wales airport. Members of Bro Emlyn For Peace and Justice and other local resident groups have been monitoring the ongoing drone development at Aberporth for the last ten years.

It is quite clear with the opening of the new drone facility in Lincolnshire that the British Government, like the rest of the world, are intent on maintaining and increasing the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for use by the armed forces in all current and future theatres of war, However it is also clear that there are other uses to which this technology can be put, including surveillance and social control within the home borders.

It is a fact that many police forces across the world have invested large sums of money in drones and are now using them on a regular basis. It is also clear that there is now a lot of interest in the development of autonomous weaponry and surveillance systems using AI (artificial intelligence). Such Autonomous weapons are already in use in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the form of anti aircraft weapons that don’t have to wait for a human to give it an order to deploy.

There is a lot of discussion going on between the MOD and The Pentagon about the use of autonomous AI in drones and other robot development. All of this research is partly driven by political aims in that it is becoming less and less acceptable for young men to be seen coming back from the front in body bags or severely damaged by conventional war.

Many people argue that the spectre of autonomous UAVs and other forms of social control technology is just pie in the sky sci fi fantasy. This is a dangerous delusion. QinetiQ has it’s own AI division and has been linking it’s work with its UAV development for about 7 years now. The pentagon via DARPA and The MOD are regularly discussing the ethical dilemmas associated with selling the concept of drones that take their own decisions to the politicians and the people.

In West Wales we have fought a lone battle against the developments at West Wales Airport and Parc Aberporth. Local politicians who are desperate to try and solve some of the economic development problems caused by recession and unemployment have been beguiled by the false promises of government agencies and arms manufacturers and have largely turned there back on the issues outlined here. It is time for the people to take action and we need national co-ordinated support from peace activists for future events.

AI, Robots and Psychology

BBC Radio Four aired this show today and it demonstrates that there are some serious voices with major concerns about the development of autonomous killer machines.  This is well worth a listen and I urge all readers to share this link.

“Robots probably won’t take over the world, but they probably will be given ever greater responsibility. Already, robots care for the elderly in Japan, and drones have dropped bombs on Afghanistan. Professor Noel Sharkey fell in love with artificial intelligence in the 1980s, celebrated when he programmed his first robot to move in a straight line down the corridor and , for many years, judged robot wars on TV. Now, he thinks AI is a dangerous dream. Jim al-Khalili hears how Noel left school at 15 to become an electrician’s apprentice and amateur rock musician before graduating as a Doctor of Psychology and world authority on robots, studying both their strengths and their limitations.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01q8mm0

Pull the Plug on Killer Robots

This video from Human Rights Watch is interesting but behind the curve a bit in that there already autonomous weapons deployed in Afghanistan and elsewhere (more on this in a future blog) however they are right about the issue being something that should exercise everybody who is concerned about the abuse of surveillance and weaponry in an increasingly weaponised and autonomous world.

LIVING IN THE NO FLY ZONE

LIVING IN THE NO FLY ZONE

LIVING IN THE NO FLY ZONE

HEAR THE SOUND OF A DRONE

NEIGHBOUR MAKES A GROAN

BEEN LEFT ON HIS OWN

HAPPENING MORE AND MORE

LIVING ON THE FLOOR

UNDERNEATH A DOOR

THIS IS MODERN WAR

 

DON’T WANT NO UCAV

BOMBING YOU AND ME

DON’T WANT NO RFID

TRACKING YOU AND ME

DON’T WANT NO CCTV

WATCHING YOU AND ME

ALL WE WANT YOU SEE

IS A COUNTRY THAT IS FREE

 

SOLDIERS HAVE ALL GONE

BUT THIS WAR CARRIES ON

THE CEASEFIRE IS A CON

IT’S OUR ARMEGEDDON

 

DON’T WANT NO UCAV

BOMBING YOU AND ME

DON’T WANT NO RFID

TRACKING YOU AND ME

DON’T WANT NO CCTV

WATCHING YOU AND ME

ALL WE WANT YOU SEE

IS A COUNTRY THAT IS FREE

Copyright: Harry Rogers – 05/06/2012

SAVILLEGATE -WHAT NEXT?

Well there we are then Tom Watson says that the person he is referring to is not Sir Peter Morrison (a close ally of Thatcher) so the plot thickens. As I said earlier to my mate in London there are an awful lot of skeletons rattling in an awful lot politicians closets and now the allegations are starting to fly even Pandora would have a job closing this box of tricks….. the next couple of months are going to see some of the most vicious politics we have ever seen in the UK. My breath is well and truly bated as someone said to me today WHAT NEXT?

THE GIRL IN THE GARNET COLOURED DRESS

I wrote this after thinking about children dying by accident in Palestine.  Marc Gordon and I recorded the video very quickly in his monthly guitar shop in Cardigan in our usual let’s bang it down straight away manner.  We are having fun doing these Tuesday session videos and it looks like we will get out and about for more in the coming months as I am retiring from wage slavery next weekend.

THE GIRL IN THE GARNET COLOURED DRESS

SUCH A BEAUTIFUL LITTLE GIRL

IN HER GARNET COLOURED DRESS

THE PERFECT IMAGE OF SERENITY

CARRYING A PILE OF TABOON BREAD

 

FROM HER GRANDMOTHERS OVEN

GOLD COINS GLINTING ON HER CAP

SMILING AT LEMONS IN THE SUNSHINE

WITH ASSURED STILNESS OF HER HEAD

 

STOPPING BEFORE CROSSING THE ROAD

SHE CRUMPLES TO THE DUSTY GROUND

ANOTHER COLLATERAL OBSCENITY

AN ISRAELI RICOCHET LEAVES HER DEAD

 

ARE WE CRYING YET?

 

ARE WE CRYING YET?

 

ARE WE CRYING YET?

 

ARE WE?

 

Harry Rogers: Sunday 16th September 2012

Julian Assange makes an amazing stand and upstages the world

This is an historic speech from Julian Assange and is an astonishing stand against the Cameron Government.  Such powerful words make it quite clear that Assange will not go quietly.  Why won’t the Swedish prosecutors ask him their questions in the Embassy in order to determine whether or not they are going to press charges against him?  It will be very interesting to hear what Cameron and Obama have to say in response to this.  Listen to the speech, it is an amazing political moment.  Assange has brilliantly upstaged the world.

Also read the article

‘I was the fall guy’: Julian Assange in his own words

at the following link:- http://www.newint.org/features/web-exclusive/2012/04/01/julian-assange/

The Impossiblism of Olympic sport for all

The utter impossiblism of a total sport for all policy in such a period of austerity defies belief. Clearly this is all a nonsense, but it won’t stop the politicians from making false promises in the afterglow of the games.  They’ll have us protesting on the streets demanding sailing,cycling and riding for all…… Equality is all about access, always has been and always will be. It just ain’t gonna happen but we will be sold a whole lot of dodgy pups along the way to make it seem as if they are trying to make it happen.  The Games make us believe that there is some semblance of reality about the whole shibboleth when in fact it is a gross confection designed to make us substitute spectacle for real life, hence the massive increase in the sale of Doritos, Lager and Coke. These are the days of the couch Olympics….

Trying to make us all strive to attain artificial recognition for achieving what in most cases (apart from distance running) amounts to a few centimetres is a distortion of what it means to really make a difference in this world.  When I was young I was good at swimming and swam for m school in the county championships, however I was a total dork at athletics and gymnastics and I gave up trying at those things I was not either good at or interested in.  The Cameroons will have us believing that it is all about competition.  Where is freedom of choice in this debate?  How will children who don’t want to compete be dealt with?  I already feel ostracized because I have not watched the games.  All this Strength Through Joy type propaganda is really dangerous and leads us into murky waters.  Still I will not stay silent even though I am outnumbered in my disquietude. Let’s see how much of a free country this island of ours is…..

So come on Olympics supporters say your piece but don’t think for one minute that I will not fight tooth and nail to destroy your pointless shallow arguments, bring it on if you’re so keen on competition lets have a ding dong, any place, any time, if you think you’re intellectually hard enough…

Every dogma has it’s day (nod to H G Wells)

Just a little rant written whilst playing poker on Facebook this morning, I had Marcuse’s essay On Repressive Tolerance in mind whilst bashing the keys for this one.  The title is a quip from H G Wells, I thought it was neat so I nicked it.

EVERY DOGMA HAS IT’S DAY

In the interest of balance
They have to keep it fair
Not just on the BBC
But every fucking where
Every Huckster politician
Has to have their say
When you’re watching television
Every dogma has it’s day
But anarcho syndicalism
Is nowhere to be seen
They keep real alternatives
Off of every screen
When you’re watching Panorama
Or Paxman on Newsnight
There is no more analysis
Just phoney left v right
No wonder the electorate
Can’t be bothered anymore
When they don’t even notice
We don’t want their bloody war!

Copyright: Harry Rogers July 1st 2012

An All American Boy

I finished writing this song lyric on 28th February and a week later this happened… http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17330205 .

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

THEY POSTED HIM OUT TO AFGHANISTAN

HIS DAD HOPED IT WOULD MAKE OF HIM A MAN

LIKE IT HAD FOR HIM OUT IN VIETNAM

RISKING LIFE AND LIMB FOR UNCLE SAM

HIS GIRLFRIEND AND HIS MUM WERE REALLY SCARED

EVERYBODY SEEMED AS IF THEY CARED

 

HE WAS

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

 

HE SPENT MANY WEEKS FIGHTING WITH THE TALIBAN

GOT A NEW TATTOO THOUGHT IT PROVED HE WAS A MAN

GREW A BEARD THAT MADE HIM LOOK LIKE CHARLIE CHAN

THEN HIS GIRLFRIEND WROTE HE WAS IN THE DUMPER VAN

THAT’S WHEN THE SITUATION BEGAN TO GET HIM DOWN

THAT WAS WHY HE RODE HIS JEEP INTO KABUL TOWN

 

HE WAS

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

 

DRINKING ILLEGAL HOOCH WITH THREE OTHER GUYS

HE LOST ALL REASON ANGRY TEARS FILLED UP HIS EYES

PICKING UP HIS M16 HE RAN AMOK IN THE NOONDAY SUN

SHOOTING SHOPPERS WILLY NILLY FIRING ON THE RUN

A SNIPER WITH A LAZER SIGHT AIMED A BEAD OF RED

SLOWLY PULLED THE TRIGGER AND SHOT HIM IN THE HEAD

 

HE WAS

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

Copyright: Harry Rogers, Aberbanc, 28th February 2012

Weird Naked Indian

I wrote this in January 2010 and Marc Gordon and I recorded it for the first Chilly Dogz CD album of Performance Poetry “Boom-Time In Dystopia”. This is the demo version recorded on my hand held Olympus WS-560M digital voice recorder.  It’s so sad all those poor bankers who had breakdowns and never got it back together again…..isn’t it?   Ha ha ha…..

Here is the poem:-

WEIRD NAKED INDIAN
There’s a weird naked Indian living in our wood
Yesterday he told me he’d like to stay for good
He lives on nuts and berries and a handful of brown rice
He tells me that he’s found the keys to paradise!

I watch him from my window, foraging for food
Strolling through the bushes, completely in the nude
He says he’s had enough of living in the West
And who am I to tell him that he doesn’t know what’s best!

He’s weird,He’s naked

And he says, He’s an Indian

Pitched up by the stream in his tie-dyed bivouac
He’s given up the booze, the cocaine and the crack
He’s got a lot of stories, waiting to be told
I hope that I can hear them all before I get too old

Tales of town houses and his gleaming Maserati
Of Kruger Rands and parties with the banking glitterati,
Bent shares and dodgy mortgages, and how he lost it all
And the minor role he played in Lehman Brothers fall

There’s a weird naked Indian living in our wood
This morning I told him, he could stay for good

He’s weird, He’s naked
And he says, He’s an Indian
If he says
He’s an Indian
He’s an Indian!

Copyright: Harry Rogers – Aberbanc – 27/01/2010


What The Tories Want, and What to Do to Stop Them.

Posted on Facebook on Friday, 1 July 2011

It is absolutely clear what the Tories want, namely a massive increase in the reserve army of labour so that wages will be forced downwards and their privatising pals can make massive profits on back of the emisseration of the masses. I listen to their measly words on the BBC saying they want to make sure the lowest paid public sector workers get the very best pensions. That is such a lie and is insulting. As a low paid civil servant I take home £702 a month, I will get about £800 per year as a pittance pension from my job. What would really help here is for a campaign on wage levels across the country to increase, for tax avoiders like Phillip Green to be disenfranchised, for part time workers to be given equal rights no matter how many hours they work, for all defence spending to be frozen pending a referendum on what we need it for, and for a state pension that really reflects the respect we owe to our senior citizens, as they do in Germany and other European Countries. And let us not believe that the country can’t afford it, it can if it taxes the rich until the pips squeek (to coin a phrase), and if the rich bastards try to hold us to ransom by saying they will leave, then nationalise them, seize their assets and send them off on a boat to a destination of their choice. It is time we stood up for ourselves. The teachers and other public sector workers who struck yesterday are heroes in my view, and I hope the rest of the workers in this country have the will to join them in solidarity when the current talks inevitably break down (as they surely will as I believe it is Camerons plan to take on the Public Sector unions in a fight to a finish). This current dispute is not like the Miners Strike in one major way, Margaret Thatcher was able to stockpile millions of tons of coal in the heart of the Yorkshire coalfields prior to the miner’s strike, thus enabling the power supplies to remain turned on. Cameron however does not have the luxury of hundreds of thousands of trained public sector workers waiting in the wings to step in and keep the services running. This is why I believe the current dispute is winnable, what it needs is for all of us to mobilise support and have the argument with as many people as possible. I want a pay rise, a decent pension and decent publicly owned and run services, and I will fight tooth and nail for them. Public opinion is our opinion, we are the public so when you hear people trotting out the Tory propaganda, don’t just stand there, take them on in argument, we have right on our side this time, it is time to make a stand.

Have you got all the footage you need….

Another post from Facebook written on on Saturday, 11 December 2010

As I watched the coverage on BBC news 24 of the students protesting in Parliament Square it seemed as if the police were deliberately allowing, indeed cajoling people making, acts of destruction and disfigurement in order that the media could have something to focus on.  The BBC journalists spent all day talking about the violence coming from the protestors and filming students smashing windows and trying to batter down doors on government buildings.  At the end of the day in Parliament Square the damage was superficial, some broken windows, a couple of phone boxes smashed up and dabed with paint and a few slogans sprayed onto buildings and monuments.  This was portrayed as if the country was facing the break down of law and order.  Not true, in fact the state want to be able introduce much tougher legislation in case there is more serious unrest against the ideological attack on the public services that the people of this country have spent generations nurturing and building.  The Coalition want to destroy common ownership and replace it with privatisation in as many areas of state provision as they possibly can get away with before 2015.  It was amazing to see the polce stand back whilst “students” were allowed to aim a battering ram at the doors of the Supreme Court building for half an hour whilst Sky News and the BBC filmed it, eventually the police cleared the doorway and there was a policeman politely asking the camera operators “Have you got all the footage you need?”.  How revealing, the police had an agenda here as they did on a previous demo where a police van was deliberately allowed to be vandalised in order that pictures could be posted in the organs of the yellow pres, (Sun, Mail, Express, Star, Standard, Telegraph, Times, Standard etc) and used in TV programmes all across the globe to show what a lawless bunch of people the police are having to deal with.  Kettle the students in confined space, club a few of them, terrorise them with mounted officers weilding battons, and generally wind people up in order to provoke civil disobedience, this is the tactical approach of the police now that they have a sympathetic government in power that will not hesitate to give them whatever powers they need.  Political change is in the wind, young people are too clever to be hoodwinked by this approach, they are now getting organised in a way that was not envisaged so soon by the Tories.  In the new year when the ramifications of cuts start to hit people full force and mass redundancies start accruing, when VAT increases hit people in the pay-packet, when housing benefit cuts been people start losing their homes Cameron and his cronies want to ensure that they have the necessary powers to enforce order on the streets.  Of course as the events of Thursday 9th December 2010 show sometimes things get out of hand as the Chas and Camilla episode shows.  An unelected government bringing in policies made up on the hoof that were never put in front of the people is a recipe for disaster, either there will be an early election or there will be the impletation of a total police state, keep the cameras rolling, I need a little bit more footage…….

Freedom For The Pike Is Death To The Minnow

 

<a href="https://harriseeingred.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/all-in-it-together.jpg”>This is another of my previous notes from Facebook.

We need to protest about the way that the blue and yellow Maoists are imposing their outlandish policies upon our country without any democratic mandate whatsoever. Of course the media in the this country are prepared to roll over and allow what is in effect a right wing coup to occur without any real protest. We need a general election and we need it now, it is time to demand a rerun of last May’s debacle immediately.  When people voted Liberal at the last election most of them did not vote for a Thatcherite coup.  Nobody asked me, or anybody else, whether we accepted the idea of a coalition government.  Nobody voted in favour of the Big Society and yet it is being imposed in a truly gung ho approach to politics.  I read the prime ministers article in today’s Observer where he talks about moving away from state imposed controls.  He sees the decimation of public services a some kind of delivery of freedom to the people.  He says he is going to set up financial arrangements where people can bid for funds to run post offices, schools, leisure facilities, anything they feel like bidding for.  But these things already belong to us, we have paid for them with our taxes over the years and they are not in the possession of transient politicians to do what they will with, giving them away willy nilly to any group who comes forward to run them.  All those people who have invested their lives to being public servants from University and college onwards, being trained and educated to manage and implement services in ways that have the benefit of collected wisdom from practioners acquired over years of experience are being tossed aside with the kind of attitude one expects from a bored two year old tossing aside a toy they have got fed up with.  I fully expect to see all kinds of organisations and political whiz kids trying to spin the Egyptian revolution to suit there own ends.  I predict that Cameron and the rest of his cadre will be extolling the virtues of freedom inherrent in their Samuel Smiles Self Help approach to running the economy and the state in the same way way as the shiny representatives of the current Arab revolution are doing.  There is, quite rightly, a feeling of euphoria flashing around the world in the belief that the people of Egypt have, through the use of people power, overthrown a hated despotic and corrupt dictator, and this is true, Mubarrak has gone.  However, how quickly the airwaves in the West are filling up with right wing exponents of US style democracy claiming that this is what the people of Egypt want and that things will be great when the elections come.  I see all those American Republican spin doctors the BBC love to trot out on Newsnight etc emerging into the light of day claiming that this is the kind of thing they believe in whilst at the same they have acquiesced in the rendition of political prisoners for torture by the secret police of the very regime they are now reviling.  Freedom of expression is something that everybody wants until it gets to a point when their own point of view is being overturned by the wishes of the majority.  Those people who are in a state of reverie believing that democratic freedom is just around the corner need to wise up in my view.  Democracy is something that is hard to define, let alone implement.  The Western media have already embarked on their spinning and twisting, rewriting events and conducting interviews in slidy ways with untrustworthy pundits.  In Britain we see the wholesale destruction of the welfare state taking place in front of our eyes.  All those Butskellist rewards given to the people as a result of the deprivations suffered during the titanic straggle against fascism culminating in the second world war are being taken away trashed by lunatic idealogues who want to give all their school friends massive tax breaks and ensure that they maintain their, unearned, hegemony in what they laughably call a liberal democracy.  I am reminded, yet again, of this quote from R H Tawney, “Freedom for the Pike means Death to the minnow”, We all want freedom but there needs to be a bit less rose tinted spectacle wearing during this period of global economic crisis.  Elections in Egypt and Britain are needed ASAP and then maybe we can find out what the people want.  Of course the real debate that democrats everywhere have trouble with is not being talked about about in the open at present, namely that of the General Will versus The Common Good, that is for another day………..I hope that they manage it in Cairo, we may see but not if Murdochs minions have anything to with it……

Copyright: Harry Rogers 13/02/2011, all rights reserved. Permission is granted to download, forward electronically, or e-mail to others, provided the essay remains intact and the copyright note is displayed

Happiness is a Blue and Yellow Smokescreen

On sunday morning I pulled the Observer out of the letter box and into the hall and saw that they had given me a free book called “Happier” by Tal Ben-Shahar Ph.D.  Subtitled Can you learn to be happy?  As I worked my way through my boiled eggs I idly looked at the index of this tome under Karl Marx (I always do this just to see if the great man is mentioned) and sure enough there is one entry, so I read it whilst dipping my soldiers and this is what it says:-

“I believe that the spread of happiness perception can bring about a society-wide revolution, no less significant than what Karl Marx had hoped to achieve.  The Marxist revolution ultimately failed, though not before claiming millions of lives and making many more miserable.  Because the means it used were immoral from the outset – taking away freedom from the individual – it was doomed to bring little more than destruction and unhappiness. The Happiness Revolution, when it comes about, will lead to radically different outcomes, through radically different means.

In contrast to Marx’s proposed revolution, which was going to be externally driven, the happiness revolution must come from within.  Marx was a materialist, he believed that history was driven by material conditions and therefore that change had to come from the outside, through material means.  The happiness revolution, which is about the change from material perception to happiness perception, is mental and therefore internal.  No outside force is required to bring about this change.  Conscious choice – the choice to focus on happiness is the ultimate currency – is the only change agent.”

So that’s all right then, as long as each individual is happy everything will be hunky-dory.  I then started to think about the Blue and Yellow coalition and it’s well-being policy agenda .  There is currently an ongoing social survey programme being carried out by the ONS following David Cameron’s conversion to whole idea of changing peoples perspectives of what makes them feel good about themselves and their lives summed up in the term “well-being“.  This survey asks four very basic questions about perceptions of happiness and anxiety.  What is the political reasoning behind this addiction to what people are calling “fluffiness”?  In my view I think that the Tories want to be able to tell the world that despite the real deprivation and hardships that their programme of austerity is wreaking on society there are large numbers of people in all sections of society that still feel relatively happy and that anxiety levels are low amongst even the poorest in society.  Ben Tal-Shahar sums his book up thus:-

“To realize, to make real, life’s potential for the ultimate currency we must first accept that “this is it” – that ALL there is to life is the day-to-day, the ordinary, the details of the mosaic.  We are living a happy life when we derive pleasure and meaning while spending time with our loved ones, or learning something new, or engaging on a project at work.  The more our days are filled with these experiences, the happier we become. THIS IS ALL THERE IS TO IT.”

This is all there is to it?  What if you don’t have a job, what if you don’t have enough to eat?  What if the educational system is failing your children?  What if capitalism is collapsing?  Cameron is a con-man of the highest order and this whole Big Society, all in it together, happy clappy agenda is just the biggest smokescreen attempted by the ruling class in a long time.  I will write more on this later, meanwhile comments are welcome.