Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Iron makes a Nation Strong

I've been hearing the sound of tons of metal continuously roaring through the stratosphere this morning. Even though the New Depression  has resulted in a decline of living standards for millions in the United Kingdom, the UK as does America, persists in spending an astronomically high percentage of its GDP on military hardware. Indeed the export and sale of military weapons to whoever can pay the price, regardless of their human rights record, continues to be a big export industry worth billions to the British economy.

In many ways the domestic policies of the UK now differ little from those of pre-World War II Germany. Blaming and scape-goating the dispossessed for the Nation's economic woes, rampant xenophobia and hostility to all who question authority, are traits the UK now shares with pre-World War II Germany. Although the UK likes to imagine it possesses a higher moral stance, the recent  proposal to make the unemployed engage in unpaid work for benefits, differs little from the policies of 'solving' unemployment as implemented in large-scale public works projects in 1930's Germany. 

But it's not so much the domestic policies of the incumbent Right-wing in the UK which induce fear and trembling to any sane thinking mind, as much as its foreign policy. It's becoming glaring obvious for example, that intervention in Syria, ending the atrocities being committed there daily, will not happen, simply because Syria, unlike Libya, does not possess the coveted spoil of 'liquid gold', namely oil. Similarly, sabre-rattling towards Iran continues apace, with a 'window of opportunity' in September or October this year being publicly announced by the USA's White House, the UK's long-time ally in numerous wars. And one can look forward to lots of jingoistic nonsense 'celebrating' the 30th anniversary of the Falklands war soon. As ever, nations continue to be ignorant of their own atrocities, only ever seeing the speck in other's eyes without noticing the beam in their own eye.  (Matthew 7 : 5)

The German artist John Heartfield (1891-1968) with his background in  the Dadaist art movement,  utilized the very latest in photographic imagery to denounce extreme right-wing propaganda. His photo-montage images continue to be influential. The British punk-rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees directly alluded to Heartfield's photo-montage in their song Mittageissen on their album The Scream released in November 1978 on the cusp of the West's lurch towards right-wing thinking in 1979. The other major world-event which continues to haunt the West is of course the Iranian revolution of 1979. 

Because the British, like their American cousins, are in general little inclined to study and learn the language and cultures of others, its necessary to provide a translation of the caption above. Loosely translated it reads- 'Hurrah the butter is gone'  followed by - 'Iron has always made a nation strong, butter and lard have only made the people fat'. Such propaganda statements are not-so-far removed from the polemic now being voiced by the UK government. For although the present-day UK government imagines itself far removed from such crude thinking, its worth remembering that the world economic crisis of the 1930's was eventually 'resolved' in a large part by an arms race between Britain and Germany which resulted in World War and genocide. Expediency, without moral compunction, parcelled-up in propaganda justification, remains the touch-stone of many nation's foreign policy. 

Unless radical, humanitarian thinking is swiftly implemented for the benefit of the majority by Western governments, and not only for the privileged few, the present-day economic crisis may once more be 'resolved'  by a military 'solution', in which Britain, with its delusional belief in its world-power status, sleep-walks into an Armageddon-like apocalypse. Such an Armageddon will doubtless be preluded by the shunting of military metal roaring daily through the sky.

Wiki-link - John Heartfield

1 comment:

teegee said...

Well, some right-wing authors are convinced that the Lend Lease program enabled, or even tempted, the horrendous attack on Pearl Harbor. I won't rehearse all the arguments (which have been in our Press since 1946, if I recall rightly from Colliers Magazine, et al.). That is not a justification, but there it is.