the pork-bolter
ISSUE 102, JULY 2011

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IT'S TIME TO DEMAND REAL DEMOCRACY

SUDDENLY people all over the world seem to be waking up to what's happening.

When they told us we lived in a 'democracy' they were lying. As the rich bankers continue to get richer, while the rest of us are expected to pay off their gambling debts for them, it seems there is nothing we can do about it.

Tens of thousands of British young people, enraged at the the prospect of a lifetime of slavery to student debt, voiced their anger on the streets at the end of last year. But the answer from the authorities was just brutal police violence and a media propaganda campaign to turn the public against them.

In Spain, there are similar issues, with massive youth unemployment. Their 'socialist' prime minister turned out (who'd have thought it?) to be yet another puppet of the global bankers and the public were clearly expected to voice dissent in the usual way at the local elections in May by voting for their version of the Tories. And then something snapped. They had had enough and hundreds of thousands of people occupied the main squares of Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia and all across the Spanish state, declaring that the politicians simply did not represent them. They had seen through the trick of our phoney democracy and wanted a real one in its place - one where people's views actually counted for something.

This new movement, non-party political and declaring itself beyond the usual "left versus right" stereotypes, has since spread elsewhere, particularly Greece. People's assemblies are a main feature of the phenomenon - a grassroots voice for real people that cannot be stitched up and controlled either by the parties in power or by those who would like to be.

So when is all this coming to Worthing? Well, maybe sooner than you think. There have already been a couple of encouraging meetings on this theme in the town. Campaigner and employment lawyer Tim Hart (timhart@justice.com) talked at a recent Worthing Alliance meeting about his new paper on 'Democracy Through the Rule of Law'. Stressing the links between power and corruption, he writes: "The individual citizen must be equipped with the tools to dismantle concentrated power and this must be regarded as a continuous task." An informal group of people in Worthing have also been discussing the idea of people's assemblies with London-based campaign group A World To Win (http://aworldtowin.net).

One thing that emerged was the importance of any Worthing initiative coming from Worthing people themselves and taking on the shape that people feel is right. And that's where YOU, our readers, come in. It doesn't matter how you define yourself politically, or whether you think in political terms at all. This is democracy we're talking about, so all points of view are valid. We'd like to encourage you to get involved with a project to build real democracy in Worthing - people's assemblies that would initially run alongside existing authorities, but would hopefully one day replace them.

Nothing concrete has been set up yet, but we aim to be part of it when it is, and if you contact us at porkbolter@eco-action.org we will make sure you know about future meetings and you can get involved. A lot of people, with a lot of different ideas and skills, are going to be needed to make this work so please don't be shy!

As they say in Spain: "Un pueblo organizado no vota, decide!" An organised people doesn't vote - it decides!

But would it really make a difference?

THERE may well be some of you out there saying: "Oi! Porkie! Hold on a minute! This real democracy malarkey is all very well and good, but would it really change anything deep down? Would it actually make any porkin' difference?" To turn that around, try asking yourself why we haven't got real democracy at the moment and instead are stuck with a system where corrupt politicians get away with basically whatever they want, on a handy colour-coded rota system.

Think of all the big controversies in recent years and how they might have played out differently. Would we have illegally invaded Iraq in 2003 if we had real democracy in this country? If you remember the millions of people protesting against Bliar's war, you'll know the answer is no. Would greedy property developers be allowed to destroy our precious countryside in the name of profit if we had a real grassroots democracy? No, of course not. If we had been asked, would we have gone along with the bright idea of bailing out the Fat Cat bankers to the tune of trillions of pounds and then slashing funding for schools, hospitals, care services, buses etc etc in order to pay for it? We think not!

In short we would be living in a very different kind of country if the people actually had a direct say in how it was run. That's exactly why the people in power won't let us have real democracy and exactly why we must demand it!


Apple bytes into our freedom

ONCE upon a time a lot of paranoid protester types thought technology was a threat and issued dire warnings about a future in which Big Brother ruled us all and crushed freedom under his jackboots. Then one day everything suddenly changed. Twitter and Facebook were revolutionary heroes in Tunisia and Egypt, and aided real democracy protests erupting in Spain, Greece, France and elsewhere. Meanwhile, back at home the new Coalition government had scrapped the hated ID card scheme. The Orwellian nightmare was banished and everyone lived happily after. The End.

Errr... not quite. For a start, while those liberty-loving Tories did cancel the national identity card scheme, they are quietly setting up a new 'national identity system' (Daily Telegraph, May 23). This will apparently involve us having to log in with credit cards to use all public services online, with campaigners suspecting it will quickly morph into the very same database they hoped they had seen off.

Meanwhile, disturbing news of the much-feted Apple iPhone. It has been discovered that it "keeps track of where you go - and saves every detail to a secret file on the device which is copied to the owners' computer when synchronised. The file contains the latitude and longitude of the phone's recorded coordinates along with a timestamp." (The Guardian, April 21). Very handy.

Where there is the slightest whiff of a new threat to public liberty, the Metropolitan Police always likes to ensure it is leading the way and so it comes as no surprise to hear that it has just invested tax payers' money in "Geotime, a security program used by the US military, which shows an individual's movements and communications with other people on a three-dimensional graphic. It can also be used to collate information gathered from social networking sites, satellite navigation equipment, mobile phones, financial transactions and IP nework logs." (The Guardian, May 12).

Geotime boasts it can also throw up previously unseen connections between individuals. "Links between entities (do they really mean us?) can represent communications, relationships, transactions, message logs etc and are visualised over time to reveal temporal patterns and behaviours." Needless to say, police have "declined to rule out its use in investigating public order disturbances." In other words, while our rulers noisily support the rights of 'rebels' in Libya and elsewhere, when it comes to Britain we're regarded as a bunch of troublemakers fit only to be treated like criminals.


Clivio in shock pull-out!

A PALL of dark despair still hangs over the borough of Worthing with the news that Clive Roberts will not, after all, be mayor in 2012. The controversial Tory was due to become 2011 deputy mayor at the mayor-making meeting on May 20, but before the formalities could begin, Mr Roberts took the unprecedented step of asking to speak. He stood up and announced that he was withdrawing from the election - and thus from the mayoral role next year.

We will have no truck with the scurrilous rumours that his decision was in some way related to our report in Porkbolter 101 or that he even alluded to this in his speech. Readers will recall that we looked back on the allegations levelled at him at West Sussex County Council and compared him to Silvio Berlusconi. We declared, in our naive optimism: "Clivio Robertsconi is going to provide the best entertainment we have had from a mayor in many a long year...". So who's going to keep us amused now?

Meanwhile, the coalition between the Tories and the Lib Dems may still be holding nationally, but locally the relationship is decidedly sour. The mayoral machinations haven't helped. The Lib Dems feel it is their 'turn' to have one and when Robertsconi pulled out, they proposed long-serving councillor Norah Fisher (Tarring) for the vacant 2012 role. But the Tories voted instead for their very own Charles James (Durrington), a little known character only recently elected on to the council - a move described by one narked local Lib Dem as a "studied insult". Things got worse when the Lib Dems quit the council's budget advisory group after deciding they had only been allowed to chair it so they could blamed for unpopular cuts (Worthing Herald, June 2). Amusingly, Tory leader Paul Yallop's> response only confirmed the original complaint, when he said: "I think the Lib Dems need to remember that, nationally, they are not Tory cuts, but Coalition cuts, put forward by Lib Dem minister Danny Alexander." No wonder people have had enough of party politics!


Legal warning - do not read this

READERS will be aware of the recent controversy over the use of super-injunctions. We cannot say whether or not we are bound by one and firmly deny having released the content of the first half of this sentence. We have no comment at all to make at this time. Furthermore, there is nothing on which we could comment, even if we so desired. For legal reasons, we should point out that by using the word 'we', we are not implying the existence of a person, persons or body who could be seen as being collectively represented by that term. Furthermore, the term 'existence' should not be interpreted as suggesting any kind of positive actualisation of potential form or as proposing that the universe is anything but a complete illusion. [Does that cover us?]


PORK-SCRATCHINGS

THE PORKBOLTER is 100% behind the trade union members who have found the courage to stand up to the pernicious national regime with strike action, notably on June 30. Ignore all the propaganda about "gold-plated pensions" and the like. These are ordinary working people being asked to pay for Fat Cat greed - and they're not taking it!
* * *

THERE is much angst in Worthing about the proposed sell-off of the town's theatres. We share this concern, but in all honesty would be more upset if there was ever anything worth seeing there in the first place. A story in the Worthing Herald on May 12 spoke of the 'tooth and nail' battle to keep the Wurlitzer organ in the Assembly Hall. Said its 92 year old owner Jim Buckland: "There is no musical entertainment in Worthing to match it." This is probably true, but not necessarily something for us all to be proud of!
* * *

THE BATTLE to save the Titnore trees may have been won, but the proposed 700-home development in West Durrington is still attracting a lot of opposition. A new blog (http://www.dontoverdevelopdurrington.blogspot.com) is urging residents to write to the council objecting to the plans, quoting reference West Durrington 11/0275/OUT, and to get in touch regarding holding a public meeting.


Pulp pigtion for Worthing

THE PORKBOLTER is a newsletter produced for and by Worthing people that has been battling for democracy and justice for the last 14 years under the leadership of a cartoon pig. You can also pick up a copy at 'Green' at 63 Victoria Road, Worthing (near the station). Or read it at www.eco-action.org/porkbolter, which includes a regularly updated events section. We also run an email list, which you can join on request from porkbolter@eco-action.org and issue occasional Tweets via @porkbolter.

Published and printed by The Porkbolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. No copyright, no more pointless porkin' party politics please!


and finally ...
Reclaim Your Town, Reclaim Your Life!

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