In the lead up to the 15th anniversary of the 15th February 2003 global anti-war protest it struck me that much of the cross-campaign solidarity, that we had achieved at that time has since seemed to disappear and our movements fragment back to their original single-campaign focuses. There was a moment fifteen years ago, that seemed like we may really be able to start addressing inequality and exploitation at it’s source. As all the various campaigns and activists were coming together in order to share each others objectives and build on each others strengths there was a real sense of change. And just as the Occupy movement was building into something that appeared to be very special, someone got hold of the various threads and started pulling on them. And once again, we were all slowly subsumed back into the systems specifically designed to arrest democratic progress, the political forums established and approved by the ruling class.
Now that is not to say, that the role of the various international campaigns like ‘Black Lives Matter’ and #metoo, and the political successes of Podemos, Syriza and Labour Momentum aren’t massive in raising the spectre of inequality and exploitation in our societies. They have been, and are still huge. But in the case of the campaigns, their voices have now been subsumed back into the framework of the historic power relations, namely the ‘legitimate’ political process, and in the case of the political movements, well, one needs only to look at how the establishment took the sting out of Syriza and then Podemos to see how that panned out.
I, like many others, feel that our calls for equal societies are drowned out by the establishment dictating which are the acceptable campaigns. Rather than demand absolute gender equality, we instead found ourselves focussed on sexual harassment in the workplace. Rather than demand absolute race equality, we instead found ourselves campaigning for police to stop shooting young black men. Rather than demand an end to climate destruction, we instead campaigned to stop plastic water bottles. In short, rather than address the root causes of inequality and exploitation, we were instead shepherded towards the symptoms that the establishment were willing to compromise on.
It was shortly after the news media had shifted it’s focus from ‘black lives matter‘ to ‘#metoo’ that I was doing the background research on gender inequality and the role pornography plays in it, for an essay and article that I was planning to write later. As part of that research I had got caught up in the quite brilliant works of Kat Banyard, Gail Dines and Dr Cat Woman. Each time I looked up from my research and checked in with the corporate media, something kept bothering me. It appeared to to me that the mainstream media was taking an extremely narrow focus of the #metoo campaign, while arguably ignoring the much wider remit of the actual movement itself. There was something quite sinister about the coverage of a campaign about violence against all women, being played out within the very narrow framework of Hollywood and it’s superstars, arguably one of the main cultural propagandists for violence and female subordination.
Because of the research I was doing at the time, one of the key problems I was having with the media’s coverage was the fact that not only was it ignoring the role of the motion picture industry in subordinating women en masse, but it was nearly silent on the industrialised sexual violence against women occurring only a couple of miles down the road from the studios themselves. By ignoring the wider inequality and exploitation, I felt that the media was undermining the campaign and it’s potential for real and lasting change. I couldn’t wait and felt the need to start writing immediately.
After writing the original extended essay I decided to talk to the Morning Star about the possibility of writing an abridged version. This article was also called Consumed by Mistrust and Resentment, We Stand Alone and the Morning Star published it on the 15th February 2018, fifteen years to the day after we had marched in our millions across the entire planet. To read a fully referenced version of it here or to download a .txt version please click through to the page.