I watched , Daniel Blake with my wife this weekend. It left me feeling very, very sad and REALLY FUCKING ANGRY!
This is not a review nor a summary. This is my personal attempt to come to terms with the FOUL WORLD we have all somehow managed to allow to creep into being! I am SO FUCKING ANGRY!
So what are we going to do about the insidious ideological attacks upon ALL OF US? I won't accept the defeatist talk I've heard recently that 'there's nothing we can do', 'we've tried before and look where we are now', on and on and on...
We must have HOPE! We must BELIEVE. We must FIGHT! Yes. Really. WE MUST FIGHT. We must REFUSE to accept the torrent of sordid news demonising everyone from migrants to socialists, from benefits claimants to campaign groups, from homeless people to remainers, from those displaced from social housing to those opposing austerity. And much more as well...
The fact is that Britain's benefit system penalises everyone. Our welfare state was built to look after the most vulnerable in our society. We ONCE celebrated our working class. NOW THIS COUNTRY HATES EVERYONE ON BENEFITS. It HATES MIGRANTS. It HATES DISABLED PEOPLE. It HATES 'FOREIGNERS', EUROPE, SOCIALISTS, ENVIRONMENTAL CAMPAIGNERS, ANTI-WAR CAMPAIGNERS... The UK HATES PEOPLE THAT WANT A DECENT NHS!
What is the matter with us? Why are we frightened to speak out? Why are we SO AFRAID?
Aldous Huxley, in rave New World Revisited, rote that the wilful erosion of our sense of being by the state and corporations not only alienated us from ourselves and our fellow human beings, but it created automatons - people reduced to numbers, being watched, following systems and procedures that we don't understand; it created an abnormal society dressed up normal - an insane world in which people's "perfect adjustment to that abnormal society" was a clear sign of madness. The state has created an insane society in which wellbeing means oppression, freedom means control and community means alienation...
AND THEY TELL US IT'S OUR FAULT!
It is not our fault. It's not our fault. NOT our fault!
THEY are KILLING PEOPLE FOR CLAIMING BENEFITS.
THEY are KILLING PEOPLE BY DISMANTLING THE NHS.
THEY are KILLING PEOPLE BY TAKING AWAY SOCIAL CARE for everyone from vulnerable children and young people to elderly people, from people with mental health problems to victims of domestic abuse, on and on and FUCKING on!
THEY are FORCING US TO WORK FOR FREE.
THEY are FORCING US TO LEAVE OUR HOMES.
THEY are FORCING US TO HATE OTHER FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS JUST FOR BEING 'DIFFERENT'!
We must say NO! We must fight for human dignity. We must demand the 'impossible'. We must make our own alternatives. We must BELIEVE. We must dream. We must shout. We must scream!
THEY SAY THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE.
WE KNOW THERE ARE MANY ALTERNATIVES.
THEY just want to subjugate and exploit us all...
I, for one, won't allow them to destroy our children's futures, people's futures, our futures.
We must CALL OUT THEIR GREEDY, SELFISH, LIES and their DOMINATION AND SUPPRESSION OF OUR HUMAN RIGHTS!
And what does art in Britain do?
Arts Council England wilfully depoliticises everything it supports. Socially engaged art, Creative People and Places, Fun Palaces, 64 Million Artists, and the many, many more 'initiatives' to 'engage' and 'empower' people using art and creativity are NOTHING MORE THAN SOMA - a DRUG TO KEEP US ALL IN OUR PLACE!
Of course, this depoliticisation of art and culture (excepting films such as , Daniel Blake and activist art movements, etc.) is DEEPLY POLITICAL and INTENSELY IDEOLOGICAL. You know where you are when faced with the carnivalesque creativity of activist protestors. It's a different matter when, for example, you are fighting for your social housing rights and against demolition of your estate only to be asked to participate in a collage workshop aimed at making pretty pictures of imagined futures using images cut from the very consumerist magazines that indirectly symbolise the very demise of our welfare state and our communities.
Once, there were many films like , Daniel Blake, any gritty and challenging TV plays and dramas, REAL NEWS and DEBATE! There were many artists willing to lead from the front to fight the system, to incite revolution. They were always part of bigger movements: social movements; radical movements.
Now, all art is NGO art. Socially engaged art offers sticking plasters for amputated communities; exhibitions become little more than harmless titillation; museums squash histories into self-stick compatible containers. Art's social mission is to create missionaries to spread the state's vision and ameliorate the affects of austerity and totalitarianism dressed up as 'democracy'. It's corporate mission is to sell BRITAIN as GREAT, EXCELLENT, POWERFUL whilst artwashing corporate acts of displacement and exploitation.
Art talks of being to impact wellbeing, build communities, increase wealth, create jobs, make people happier, overcome exclusion, increase diversity, more and more and more. IT CANNOT.
UNLESS ART BECOMES RELEVANT AGAIN! UNLESS ART STANDS UP AND SAYS: NO!
Many others are standing up and protesting, refusing to accept the DIVISIVE and ABUSIVE state's drive to subdue us like never before.
ART MUST JOIN THE FIGHT FOR ALL OUR RIGHTS!
Ken Loach has, once again, shown the courage to offer us all a wake-up call; a call to arms; a call for us to (re)find our humanity. We must stand up, believe, hope and act for change. To anything other than this is to condone the types of 'slow violence' being enacted upon vulnerable people, upon all of us.
And I, for one, will not stand by whilst the lives of so many people are heartlessly crushed by our cruel government.