Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Aux Armes et cetera. La Marseillaise Reggae

Attending the 14th July Bastile day celebrations at the Town Hall after the States sitting, I encountered a French Anarchist who told me about the Reggae version of La Marseillaise by Serge Gainsbourg.

Eric Hobsbawn in his "Invention of Tradition" notes that Bastille Day is an invention of the French Third Republic and can be dated precisely to 1880. It was an invented public ceremony.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

"They don't like it up em" - Why the political Right is entirely to blame for deferment of the same sex marriage debate.

Senator Ozouf has sought to place the blame for the debacle over same sex marriage in the States upon me rather than where it correctly lies – with a political Right that is beholden to Christian sects –  usually the allies of the good Senator who is "hard" on economic issues. 

It was Senator Le Marquand's last minute amendment that acted as the wrecking motion, designed to put off an awkward decision until AFTER the October election. Members supported the amendment as a “Get Out of Gaol Card”. They feared that if they voted against the principle of same-sex marriage (the substantive basis of Deputy Mezec’s proposition) the “Liberals” amongst the electorate would be shocked; were they to vote in favour then they would alienate their natural voters on the conservative Right, many of whome are religious fundamentalists and whose views include homophobia.

Members who voted to defer a decision to less politically contentious times, when they would have been safely returned to the Chamber, have, ironically, to face the backlash from the LGBT community and socially progressive island opinion. Saturday's demonstration will be the measure of that anger. What the House rejected the Street will demand - and elections are coming.

My remarks in the House merely pointed out this evasion and did not go down well for that reason alone. Yet I was right on the mark – that’s why they are squealing now. As the saying goes "They don't like it up em"

The worst nightmare of the religious fundamentalists may yet occur. The LGBT community in Jersey may be so shocked by this blatant homophobic act, that they will come out to demonstrate in significant numbers, resulting in an organizational outcome – the birth of the first LGBT campaign group in Jersey -that in turn engages in the electoral process resulting in a number of high profile casualties at the 15th October General Election.

The 12th of July is traditionally the day of Orange marching in Northern Ireland; by contrast the colours of Jersey's march will be those of the rainbow.

Make sure you attend the Rally for Equal Marriage and Gay Rights - Jersey's first LGBT Rights Parade - Royal Square - Noon, Saturday 12th July. The march will proceed at 12.20 to Liberation Square to be followed by speakers and music.

Friday, 4 July 2014

REFORM JERSEY - the spur to a revived democratic political system.

Today Reform Jersey was officially registered by the Royal Court as a political party; its name and logo will appear alongside the names of candidates at the October 15 general election.

 The reemergence of political parties was inevitable as they are at the very heart of democracy. Their absence for a decade and more is attributable to the weakness and disorganization of the island’s working people. This is hardly surprising. Jersey is a one party state and the name of that party is Finance.  The interest of Finance has captured the island economically and politically. With that objective reality we live and will navigate to develop politics that allow for the emergence and expression of the working people, so long divided and ignored.

We need to shatter the myth that there is no party politics in Jersey, and indeed any of the Channel Islands. There is no need for a political party to express the interests of capital and the Right since working people are divided and disorganized. There simply is no opposition in existence that poses sufficient threat to the hegemony of the Right that they need to be organised. They will continue to field “Independents”, masking the nature of class rule, for so long as that system functions.

The emergence of party politics, or at least the creation of an organised opposition on a modest scale, is attributable to the economic crisis of which this is Year VI. As I left the States Member’s offices in the Royal Square this evening, a number of members were discussing rumors of emerging deficits in the government budget that the current Treasury Minister is desperate to hide in advance of the October 15 election. The low tax low spend model is coming apart as the state seeks to find ever more revenue by taxing further wages and salaries to the advantage of capital. At some point there has to be an inevitable resistance by working people to the degradation of their lives. The creation of Reform Jersey is one sign of that resistance.

Even sections of Finance are sympathetic to the creation of party politics. They recognise that the present inchoate structure with its half-wit Constables and general amateurism is becoming a liability. They want to see the formation of party of the Right to represent their interests in a coherent manner. This can only be done if there is a spur and the success of Reform Jersey will be that agent.

Reform Jersey has a hard task ahead. To succeed it must break a thick layer of ignorance and indifference that has grown in the minds of working people, who have become deeply cynical about all possibility of change. With voter abstention at dangerously high levels the functioning of democracy is impaired and the rule of the one party state seemingly immovable. Yet we know from history that political regimes collapse with surprising rapidity in response to underlying long term structural fractures. How confident are our rulers and how well can we organise to challenge that rule? This the historic mission of Reform Jersey.