The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Deaths of Despair Soar in the UK

But hey, who can imagine why so many Britons were so angry at the status quo that they decided to chance Brexit?

Yes, yes, the EU is mostly not to blame for the misery of Britons. (The EU is still evil, as shown by their treatment of Greece, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Mostly it’s the Conservatives (though Labour, before Corbyn, often voted for Conservative austerity bills).

But when people are hurting, they turn against the current order. People in this much agony are rational like animals caught in traps. If they have to chew off their leg to escape, so be it.

The British have only one real chance, right now, to end the pain. Ending austerity is far more important than Brexit, far more to blame for Britain’s woes, and the only person who will end it is Corbyn.

If you’re British, and you vote against Labour/Corbyn in any riding where Labour can win, no matter what happens around Brexit, you are voting for increased misery (and for policies like taking away wheelchairs from cripples).

What people just don’t seem able to understand is that “more of the same” doesn’t offer any hope for people for whom “more of the same” is so unbearable, they may wind up deciding that killing themselves is better than being alive.

If your life sucks, and you have no hope for the future, you need change, and you’ll take a chance on almost any change.


But British elites demonize Corbyn (lying about him at least three-quarters of the time). Eventually, this is going to turn actually nasty, and, well, guillotine.jpg if they aren’t lucky.

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The Telecom Revolution Is Mostly Authoritarian


Open Thread


  1. “Labour, before Corbyn often voted for Conservative austerity bills” looks really weird! Might want to add a comma after Corbyn! 🙂

  2. Willy

    This town, is coming like a ghost town. Again.

    Now’s a good time for angry British music to make a comeback. The youth need places to go and vent, as their forbears did. Maybe the disenchanted not-so-youth-anymore are afraid of restarting up a rebel-music-hooligan scene because of what seemed to result last time – Thatcher, austerity and the EU.

  3. Hugh

    In the US, we have a pretty clear split between the lower 80 and upper 20 percent of the population. I don’t know what the exact split is in the UK, but it has something similar. Even the NYT had an article a couple of days ago about the “shrunken” lives of rural Brits. Indeed you can make the comparison between the rural, not Ile de France, gilet jaune movement in France and what’s going on in both the US and UK.

    All these countries are wealthy. All of them have the resources to take care of their citizens and provide them with the wherewithal for a meaningful life, and they aren’t because the ruling classes of these countries are too greedy and have stolen too much from the rest of us. They would rather see us die of despair than lift a finger or return a cent they have stolen. This is the reality, and what we need to internalize is that this was something that we did not do to ourselves. It was done to us. And it is a crime, as deep and fundamental as crime can get, and those who did it are criminals of an equally deep and fundamental kind.


    Willy, there is a place they go now. It’s called online or the internet. It’s a great neutralizer/pacifier. People go there/here to vent and that’s enough of a short-term fix to inure them/us from ever taking any effective collaborative action.

    For the older generation, religion, and/or Wall Street, may have been the opiate of the masses, but for the younger generations, it’s the internet and social media.

    Despite the psychotic cray cray it produces en masse daily, it effectively serves to neuter any fight they/we have left in them/us and it completely eviscerates any notion of solidarity by fragmenting everyone into tribal, warring factions.

    A Facebook in every pot…….

  5. bruce wilder

    @ Hugh


    Most of the “20%” are not really the ruling class of course, just the high class servants, but they remain remarkably confident they will be protected and that their credentials justify a relatively protected position in a system of immiseration they administer.

  6. Stirling S Newberry

    Brexit will be worse than stay in, this is because Brexit is about reducing taxes on the rich. Labour needs to stay in, Coryn notwithstanding.

  7. someofparts

    From my personal experience, the deep arrogance of an upper-class Brit makes the snootiest American I know seem like a hillbilly. If those are the people who need to give a damn to save the UK I am not optimistic.

  8. Hugh

    The rich and well-to-do in the UK voted and supported Stay in the national referendum. Those who voted for Brexit were those who had lost out when the UK joined the EU.

    Parenthetically, as per the BLS, real weekly wages seasonally adjusted for the lower 80% were flat in April. They actually lost 15 cents. Apr-Apr real weekly wages increased 1.1%. So when you hear all the talk about strong wage growth blah, blah, blah, just know it’s BS.

  9. Bill Hicks

    Sames dynamic as here in America–only substitute “Bernie Sanders” for “Jeremy Corbin” and “Democratic Party” for “Labor.” Main difference is that because of our presidential system, voting for a corporatist Democrat like Joe Biden is about as bad as voting for Trump–and 90% of Democratic office holders are corporatists.

  10. Tom

    Corbyn is a wimp and won’t fight it out and leave blood on the floor. The whole Antisemitism Scandal walked all over him, and he failed to throw it right back in their faces and rally with Anti-Israel Jewish Groups that are sick of Israel and Zionists hijacking Judaism for Apartheism.

    Labor needs a fighter, not Corbyn.

  11. someofparts

    Speaking of oligarchs, there was a stunning news segment last night on the local CBS affiliate.

    Our local poohbahs moved the baseball stadium out to the wealthy suburbs. The venue is now difficult, if not impossible, to get to using public transportation.

    So last night, with hilarious fanfare, game attendees were reduced to a panic-stricken mini-mob because the ride-share people were nowhere to be found. The entitled doofuses kept going to the spot for ride-share pickups and going to pieces when no rides showed up for them.

    It reminded me of what Ian says about having to make these people uncomfortable to get their attention. I’m going to check the local papers this morning to confirm it, but it looked like those doodle-heads at the game did not even know a ride-share strike was underway, so I suspect the local press did not even publish the news.

  12. StewartM

    I’m sure that Stephen Pinker would object strenuously to this post, Ian, telling us all that things are really getting better each and every day!

    (I’m thinking that Voltaire should have renamed Pangloss as “Pinker”).

  13. Everythings Jake

    I have struggled with suicidal depression my entire life based on a very bad history of child abuse. It was handed down, best as I can deconstruct, from two sources: 1/ a gentle Polish kid who enlisted in the U.S. Army for WWII and came back with shell shock that no one new how to treat; and 2/ a slightly less gentle Russian kid who went to Fordham to be a linebacker in the days when leather helmets were the standard issue uniform for those who entertained the masses. Both took their own lives, the first when he inadvertently lit a cigarette that set his whisky doused clothing aflame, and the second when he put a gun to his head to relieve what we now know has to have been CTE. Both of their kids, my parents, are irrevocably damaged, even though one was \”successful,\” and they left both myself and my sister bleeding like so much road kill. Neither really knows how to fix that, even on a recognition in late life that they are \”culpable\” in some fashion, because society has no place for that, and, in fact, cares little for it because it doesn\’t make money (still the strangest fictional concept we all ever agreed to). It can\’t deal with the generation in front of it, and the substantive problems it creates actually persist over multiple generations. It is the individual\’s job to be adaptable, but to what? A species that races to its own extinction? Sometimes one just has to scream, for whatever it\’s worth, because that is what society has collectively chosen to leave us (I want to note Rosa Luxembourg\’s the only thing worse than being abused by capitalism, is not being abused by capitalism). Abuse, as Derrick Jensen pointed out so well, is the system\’s lifeblood. But yes, some kind of violent change will come, Michael Parenti\’s warning notwithstanding that the elite are delighted to resolve class conflict with fascism, and despite the fact that the police where I live are very well practiced in it. But I think there are many who find no comfort in bread and circuses, and anger is potent, and moreover, uncontainable at some level. I have a \”good\” job and there are days I\’d happily loose the guillotine\’s blade myself.

    Apologies, I will go practice my Metta now, a practice for which I am eternally grateful. I just needed a place to scream today.

  14. Guest

    Just read a blogpost about Pelosi having successfully squashed any talk of impeachment in the Dem caucus. It sure makes this headline very relatable. With “resistance” like this, how is fascism not inevitable? I know, marge, were already soaking in it…

  15. S Brennan

    Upper class Brits know they have nothing to fear, the plebeians weapons were seized two decades ago…of course, the upper class got to keep their weapons.

    While Corbyn has decent ideals, he doesn’t have the steel nerve required.

  16. Herman


    Pinker would likely say that the recent rise in “deaths of despair” is merely a bump on the road of progress that moves ever forward. Of course, it is easy for him to say that since he is an affluent academic. As usual, for many people problems are not “real” until they start to harm them or people they are close to.

    People like Pinker underestimate how complex systems can decay and collapse. At one point it seemed like the Roman Empire was eternal. It sure seemed that way to the people living in the Empire. We all know how that story turned out.

  17. Hugh

    As Upton Sinclair said, :“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” But Pinker is more than this. He is a well paid propagandist. He is perfectly willing not to understand, and promote his brand of not understanding, as long as he continues to get his cut.

    It’s interesting the circumlocutions that are used to paper over millions of people having their lives’ ruined: economic dislocations, creative destruction, globalization, free trade, the Marketplace, etc.

  18. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    “…this was something that we did not do to ourselves. It was done to us.”

    I must disagree about the part of “us” which includes the American White working class.

    Labor’s turn to Nixon — and to Wallace before him — predates the decline in unionism & the introduction of right to work laws.

    The white working class didn’t adopt a socialcon, revanchist stance as a salve to their declining workplace organizing opportunities — they did it precisely because the economic strength of their then-strong wages allowed them to branch into extracurricular interests outside of work.

    One major reason, maybe THE major reason, the Democratic Establishment got cozier with the monied Establishment is that the Dems were desperate for campaign money to try either to win back the non-elite white bigots, or to find other voters to replace the white bigots.

    In other words, the white working class deserted the Democratic Party first.

    So the mean dumb shits did it to themselves. Darwin Award time.

  19. StewartM


    There is plenty of blame to rightly spread around about that war between the hard hats and the hippies.

    Yes, racism played a role. Yes, the hard hats took their gains for granted and thought that the Repugs too were “their friends” (George Meany and the AFL-CIO endorsing Nixon over McGovern in 1972). Yes, you see the effects of the defense industry working-class vote (Scoop Jackson’s following). One of the problems with a successful economic system is that the more people ‘win’, the more they become conservatives, defenders of the status quo. The hard hats couldn’t conceive that the real goal of the Right was to move them back to the Guilded Age, even though if they had paid attention to Reagan and Goldwater they could have seen it (I have book on my shelf, ‘danger on the right’, which discusses what it calls the ‘extreme right’ of that day, which includes William F. Buckley, Goldwater, and Reagan, and which shows you the extent the Overton Window shifted. Now all these people are our ‘blessed icons’).

    But then again, many of the hippies also thought America had too much affluence, too much materialism, and that material stuff didn’t matter. So there was a disconnect there too.

  20. S Brennan

    What nonsense, the you two guys need to listen to the man who engineered the Democratic party takeover instead of offering up fantasy histories.



  21. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    The Pure Left is heard from–oh, right, this is a Pure Left site. My bad. 🙄

  22. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Oh, I still support democracy, but now only for the same reason that Churchill did:

    “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others which have been tried.”

  23. StewartM

    S. Brennan,

    History and culture are not driven by sekrit conspiracies and lone individuals or handful thereof, in the final analysis. It’s run by the vast bulk of people voting with their feet, pursuing what they think is in their short-term best interests.

    Now, all those people are often wrong about their choices; misinformed, biased, and foolish. They often think they are getting something that they are not, or can’t see there is a long-term huge negative consequence of their choices that will occur after they get their short-term bird-in-the-hand.

  24. S Brennan

    “History and culture are not driven by…lone individuals or handful thereof”

    @ SM; Thanks for making a strawman argument to discount critics of your Orwellian re-write of the Democratic party.

    A history as told by you [and ibwp], in which, elitist blame the working class for the elitist takeover of the Democratic party. You [and ibwp]’s, sound a lot like a rapist blaming the victim for walking home after dark un-escorted.

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