24 June 2008
Political farts and class war wolf whistles
Popular resistance to capitalism's advances can take many forms. As we have seen in Iraq, tribalism and religious militias are often far more effective at mobilising that resistance than some pillock with a well-thumbed copy of Das Capital. How could popular resistance work in the UK? Well, in the same way that it has always worked: by drawing on popular attitudes that are rooted in our culture. The job for the socialist activists would be then to organise on the basis of that popular culture. However, the resistance has to come first.
You're not with me, I can tell, so I have an idea: let's take a stroll down memory lane, shall we?
Many years ago I had a mate named Frank Higgins who worked as a mill yard man. Cotton would arrive on the lorries and Frank would see that it got moved from the yard to wherever it was going to be stored in the warehouse. Then he would move the finished rolls of cotton from the warehouse to the lorries that carried it away. Basically, if it happening in the yard, then it happened because Frank wanted it to happen.
Frank had a quite amazing talent: he could fart at will. So when some under-manager came into the yard and gave Frank some old buck, Frank would just take the weight on his right foot, lift his arse a couple of inches and let rip. He would then look the lump of management filth in the eye and come out with his catchphrase: "Good arse," he would say.
What happened next really depended upon the order that Frank had received. If he had been told to do something that actually was his job to do, then he would light a cigarette - always taking his time, so that management filth knew that things were not always going to go their way - and then he would slowly walk off to carry out the task. If he knew that he was being asked to do something that was not his job, then he would just ignore the directive and leave the person stood in the yard, surrounded by the pungent odour of a Frank Higgins' special.
I suppose at this point you are expecting to be told that Frank was the union steward or mill convener, but he was nothing of the sort. He wasn't interested in the union and only went to his meetings when a pay rise was being discussed. He was just a typical bloke who had a very rare talent for farting. Like all of us he did his hours, but he was able to demonstrate both by word and arse the utter contempt that he felt for the boss's place, boss's problems and boss's profits.
I thought about "Good-Arse" Higgins yesterday when I read this load of old wank in the Daily Telegraph. A Further Education college wants to stop its female pupils from whistling at some building workers. On one level it is silly, but if you read through the article, then you will see that The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill will make it a criminal offence to whistle! All of a sudden it ceases to be silly.
It is a demonstration of class power, nothing more and nothing less. It is no longer enough that we do our bastard hours, now we are being conditioned to do them in the way that the middle class management filth wants. We have to behave in a manner that they find acceptable.
Now I know what the reply of "Good-Arse" Higgins would be to all this. It should be our reply as well. There is a river of blood that separates working class attitudes, culture and values from those held by the vermin that stands on the other bank.
Let's be honest - our women are well used to handling Jack the lad when he gets fresh and are quick with the old two fingered salute and stream of obscenities. However, the next time you see some little lower middle class tart, make sure that you drop her a whistle even if she is so fucking ugly that if she had the last cunt on earth you would sooner have a wank. In your own little way you are making your very own political statement.
Although not as ripe a statement as the ones that Frank Higgins used to make.