The Second World War was the People’s War. A war not just against the obscenity of Hitler, but a war for a decent and secure society. That is why servicemen and women, returning to vote in 1945, voted for the Labour Party rather than Churchill. They had risked their lives not for more of the same but for something better.
Over the past week, the tabloid press has shown yet again that it is in service to the criminal billionaire class that owns these titles, rather than to the sacrifices of the British working class. They choose to get clicks out of hijacking the moving remembrance of the dead by a soldier and a nurse from Extinction Rebellion, who laid a wreath to highlight the core message of the war – “never again”. These two individuals have given decades of service to protection and health to this country. They represent the real voice of the dead: the millions who died, not just from this country but around the world, for a future which ensures ordinary people’s desire for life and happiness.
The obscene and treasonous betrayal of these newspapers lies in their thirty-year refusal to see the world as it is – that we are entering a social catastrophe without parallel in human history because governments refuse to stop allowing carbon to be put into the air. We are now looking at thousands of millions of people forced to flee their homes, facing slaughter, rape and starvation, as carbon destroys the climate and our ability to grow food; this is the in-your-face reality of the crisis: “there is no greater crime” as a leading London lawyer has put it.
There is no greater betrayal of the dead, no greater desecration of their ultimate sacrifice, than to appease the murderous corporate class which is knowingly taking our children into this endless hell, to make profits for another few years. It’s disgusting beyond words.
Of course, working-class tabloid readers know only too well not to take them seriously – a bit of good entertainment and a catch up on the sport. Tabloid journalists and editors are now addicted to the “get clicks to make money” mentality. They don’t care about anything other than holding back the losses these newspapers have been making for years. In their desperation, there are no limits to their nihilism – they will fuck over the dead as long as it makes headlines. Nothing has changed since the Sun’s outrageous coverage of Hillsborough.
For decades now, these papers have been dirty, dying, and full of bullshit. If the editors and the journalists had even a fraction of the courage of the working people who give their lives to save this country, they would go on strike against their billionaire owners – not least Murdock himself. They would leave in mass and set up a working-class newspaper proud to serve its readers. But they are cowards. They are nothing compared to the dead men and women they cash in on. And they are nothing compared with the brave people who have been arrested and gone to prison from Extinction Rebellion to wake up this country to the fuckery that is now coming down the road. This is what genuine patriotism looks like. People may not like what we do, but they know we’ve got guts; something totally missing from pathetic journalists, slaves to their corporate bosses.
The bottom line is that the tabloids are rage porn sites. They serve up distractions to the millions who are lost and desolate at the descent of our society into bollocks and emptiness. But there are plenty of signs people in this country are waking up to the real thing – taking their rage onto the streets and meeting in their communities to take back political power. It is only a matter of time before the spark comes along to light the fire.
There will be no return to normality after Covid: the ecological crisis of which it is part is now locked in. The rich are squeezing the poor as they always do when the shit hits the fan. It happened in 2008, and it’s happening now. But you can only have so much of a good thing, and sooner rather than later the whole thing is going to collapse. After all, its physics stupid.
And then there will be Nuremberg-style trials for the criminals who lied to the public and served the mass death machine for decades. Editors, remember this: those that live by the sword die by the sword.
And one last thing. If one of you is brave enough to debate with me openly, a co-founder of XR and leader of new political party Burning Pink, then you only have to pick up the phone. A silent response will speak volumes at your upcoming trials.
Roger Hallam, November 2020.
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art: “My illustration of the action at the cenotaph”,
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