Wokeness is the militant wing of neoliberalism.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill


On Saturday, Brendan O’Neill spoke at the annual party conference of the SDP. His speech is published below.

As we gather here today, there is a great deal of shock and even grief in woke circles, and especially among LGBT campaigners. They’re in shock because the High Court has made a ruling that they find repulsive and even oppressive.

The High Court ruled last week that a woman who gave birth to a child is the mother of that child, not the father. It said that a woman who was delivered of a child in the normal way is a mum, not a dad.

The woman wanted to be called the child’s father, because she identifies as male. But the court said: Nope, sorry. In this society – in the realm of reason – if you get pregnant, carry a child to term, and then give birth to it, you are a mother, not a father.

Cue woke meltdown. In the words of the Independent, this is a ‘move that has shocked LGBT campaigners’.

This is where we are now at with woke politics, with identity politics, with the eccentric and narcissistic politics of the new so-called left. We’re in a situation in which it is tantamount to a speechcrime to call a mother a mother. Where it is shocking to say mothers give birth and fathers do not.

All that the High Court really said is that 2 + 2 = 4. But apparently you shouldn’t say that these days. If you want to be considered good and decent and woke, if you want to avoid demonisation and harassment by legions of PC warriors, you must say that sometimes 2 + 2 = 5. You must say that sometimes a mother is in fact a father.

This is the case of Freddy McConnell, a Guardian journalist who is a biological female but who identifies as male. Freddy gave birth and brought legal action against the General Register Office for the right to be recorded on the kid’s certificate as its father, not its mother.

As I followed this case, one thing really struck me – just how incredibly anti-social it all was; how staggeringly cavalier McConnell and her supporters were about social ideals, social meaning, and about the broader community itself, in which words like mother and father have real, historic importance.

If this case had been successful, it would have had some serious anti-social consequences. This would have been the first time that a child had no space for mother on its birth certificate. That would have set a precedent of erasing a central community role – that of mother – from a key social document – the birth certificate.

If the court had ruled that a biological woman who gives birth can be officially registered as a father, it would have thrown into disarray some of the core ideas that underpin family life. It would have set an incredibly relativistic precedent. Blokes could go about calling themselves mums. Perhaps kids could have themselves retrospectively erased from their birth certificates if they no longer identify as the offspring of their stupid, un-woke parents. And as for recording the sex of a child on a birth certificate – let’s stop that, too. What right does a doctor or a registrar or society more broadly have to tell a kid if they’re a boy or a girl?

This case, if successful, would have wreaked havoc on society’s basic ability to record facts. It would have seriously undermined our ability to record who is born and who they are born to, and also to maintain the meaning of words like mother and father, male and female… truth and falsehood.

And yet none of this seems to have mattered to the campaigners. That’s the striking thing. All that seemed to matter to them was the validation of an individual’s identity, of their belief that they are male, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

That therapeutic quest for official recognition of a personal whim apparently overrides everything else. It is more important than social convention, truth, meaning and reality. It’s the most important thing in the world, it seems.

I think this is where we get to the heart of woke politics.

The new, switched-on, woke approach to issues presents itself as a form of leftism. But to me it looks like a celebration of extreme individuation, of epic narcissism, to the detriment of collective ideals and collective institutions.

I don’t want to single out Freddy McConnell. I think the same can be said for woke politics across the board: it values the psychic comfort of the individual, of the self, above the health and freedom of society. It treasures the self-esteem of the individual more than the solidarity of community life and all the things that solidarity requires: common language, common meaning and common values.

The woke think nothing of trampling all over the ideas and institutions of collective life. From marriage to the family, from the community to the nation – they tend to view all of these things as oppressive institutions that are a barrier to the preservation of their own self-esteem.

Witness how LGBT activists, aided by virtually the entire establishment, have completely redefined the meaning of marriage by opening it up to same-sex couples. That this institution played a very specific, heterosexual role for centuries, that it was the glue of family life and community life, mattered little to woke activists. LGBT individuals’ need to feel socially validated mattered more than the meaning of marriage, it seems.

Or see how family life, and especially the complementary differences between the sexes, is increasingly being erased by the cult of genderfluidity. That’s why I think the Muslim protests outside Birmingham schools are so interesting. I see this as a parental pushback against woke state intervention into family life; a positive parental protest against woke officials indoctrinating children to believe that there is no real difference between gay and straight relationships and to see sex as something you can change if you want to.

That it has fallen to Muslims to lead this charge is very interesting. Perhaps their attachment to traditional beliefs, to the kind of beliefs so many other people have been dragged away from, makes them strong allies in the collective stand against the creep of woke politics and hyper-individuation.

Democratic solidarity is under assault, too, not only by the woke but by virtually all sections of the political elite. The war on Brexit – and of course woke people loathe Brexit with a passion – is another effort to undermine people’s search for solidarity, their preference for the collectivity of democratic decision-making over the dog-eat-dog atomisation promised to us under the technocratic and neoliberal rule of the EU.

And then there’s the nation. How the woke dislike the nation! They see it as the key unit of oppression; as the starting point of all racism and hatred and fear. If you ever go on a protest these days, you will notice that the most woke attendees will be carrying banners saying ‘Borders = Death’. This is more than a plea for a liberal immigration policy – it is a demand for the erasure of borders and nations. It’s the infantile, nihilistic John Lennon approach: imagine no countries.

And they despise national flags. It is now a risky business to wave a Union flag or an English flag in this country. Emily Thornberry will sneer at you on Twitter; people will call you a fascist.

All of this is an assault on the most important building block of collectivity and solidarity: the nation. Leftists used to understand how important the nation was. They supported national-liberation struggles. They opposed foreign meddling in self-determining countries. They knew that democracy was only really possible within national borders.

But they’ve abandoned all of that for the cult of self-esteem, for the validation of the existential psychic needs of me over the broader question of what benefits the people. In their world, anything that stands in the way of self-esteem, including the nation, must be removed.

I’ve been thinking recently: who else behaves like this? Who else behaves so cavalierly towards social institutions and community life? Who else is this contemptuous of community integrity and of the nation itself?

Then it struck me: the capitalist class. And in particular it’s the neoliberal elites. They also have a tendency to behave like this.

These elites also tend to view community life as subordinate to their own economic needs. They will sometimes abandon communities, by removing their factories or their businesses, often with devastating consequences. If their narrow interests are better served elsewhere, then the community no longer matters very much to them.

And they loathe the nation state, too. This is why the business class is so hostile to Brexit. They love the free flow of finance and labour facilitated by the European Union.

These days it can sometimes be hard to distinguish between a woke manifesto and an HSBC advert. Look at all those HSBC ads on billboards saying that Britain is not actually an island and celebrating all the multicultural contributions to life in this country. This is really just a business version of the hostility to nationhood, to the idea of national identity, that you find among woke people and the liberal elite.

It seems pretty clear to me that far from being a new kind of leftism, the woke ideology is really the militant wing of neoliberalism. It is a campaigning arm of the neoliberal outlook.

This is why woke activists and big business make such comfortable bedfellows. Banks and hedge funds and other capitalist outfits love to adorn their buildings in the Pride flag. They’re always putting lesbians in their adverts. The FT’s list of the Top 100 women in business recently included a bloke called Phil. Well, he’s Phil on some days and Pippa on other days. I’m not making this up. He works for Credit Suisse. The business world loves him and his genderfluidity. Of course it does.

These days there are really only two places where you see woke nonsense in action: among the trendy, supposedly leftish political class and in the capitalist class. Among the woke-ing class, as Julie Bindel calls them, and the ruling class. These people profess to hate each other, but in truth they have a shared outlook.

You don’t see this woke idiocy on building sites or in factories. You don’t see it in old people’s homes or among our friends in the Muslim community. You don’t hear about it from black-cab drivers or busy mums in Merthyr Tydfil. You really only see it in the noisy woke liberal elite and in the self-consciously PC business world.

This is a really important thing to point out. Because we really should stop seeing wokeness or PC or any other aspect of the so-called new left as being left-wing at all. We should stop seeing it as a wrongheaded left that we need to counter with our better version of what it means to be left.

Instead, we should view these new elites, these woke elites, as being a fairly key part of the neoliberal drive against social solidarity.

They share the same outlook even if they express it in different ways. Both prefer the divisive dynamic of identity politics and racial politics over the powerful, post-racial solidarity of working-class communities. Both prefer the technocratic expertise of the EU bureaucracy over the wisdom of the throng, of the masses, of the democratic crowd. Both are obsessed with re-educating the plebs. The capitalists do it with advertising; the woke do it via the education system and the political sphere.

And both despise borders. And they do so not because they truly believe in freedom of movement, but because they see borders as a restriction of their own narrow and eccentric needs. The woke loathe borders because they restrict the movement of people who might one day be their students or their au pairs or their cleaners; capitalists loathe borders because they restrict the movement of people who could be their underpaid, exploited workers.

I think this is the best way to view the woke so-called left. Wokeness makes a virtue of the atomisation that is a key feature of life in capitalist society. Wokeness doesn’t challenge the individuation and corrosion of social solidarity that neoliberal society brings about. It simply repackages it as PC and celebrates it. It commodifies our atomisation and sells it back to us as right-on politics.

These weirdly conflated groups, this unified woke-ing class and ruling class, all salute their new flag – not the national flag, but the Pride flag. That omnipresent rainbow flag, seen everywhere from schoolgates to bank offices, from lefty bars to government buildings, is the flag of the new elites. It fundamentally symbolises the success of the capitalist elite and the woke elite in replacing the collective aspirations of old with the divided, regimented and heavily policed identitarian organisation of society today.

How do we respond to all of this? To me it is quite simple.

First, we point out that none of this is really about struggling for individual freedom, which explains why the woke are so hostile to freedom of speech, the most important freedom of all. Rather, it is about celebrating the hyper-individuation and racial division of life that takes place under the technocratic rule of an aloof capitalist and political class. There is nothing remotely positive in that.

And secondly we make the case for the thing that people are longing for, which people crying out for – solidarity.

That’s what the vote for Brexit was about. It’s also what much of the vote for Trump was about, even though Trump is a far more complicated idea than Brexit! These 2016 populist revolts were about ordinary people looking beyond themselves, looking for something bigger than themselves, looking for connection and commonality and solidarity.

It was a revolt against the relentlessly individuating and divisive dynamic of the new woke elites as much as it was a rebellion against the staid old Clintonite establishment, in the case of the US, and the technocratic tyranny in the EU, in the case of the UK.

People want to connect. They want to feel part of a collective. They want their families and their communities and their votes to matter. They want respect and power. The bravest and most ambitious political party today will speak to these people. It will completely oppose the anti-community, anti-democratic, anti-solidarity, anti-freedom outlook of the woke elites and the business elites and seek to provide people with that sense of collective belonging and collective influence that they are crying out for. A free and democratic and connected society – that is what we need now.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: Getty.

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Robert Davies

4th October 2019 at 8:54 pm

I would replace the description “capitalist” with Globalist.
Capitalism should not be tarred with this brush generally, big Corporations, international organisations maybe.

Dafyd Jones

2nd October 2019 at 12:02 am

I rather resent being captured in the LGBTI (or ‘legbiters’ as we say in my pub) fairy tale. Maybe they will be one day too.

Janet Mozelewski

1st October 2019 at 10:11 pm

I am sure I am not alone in thinking what my dear old, long-departed. dad would have thought of all this. He was a man who was a labour member in the 30’s at the same time as being a sidesman in the local church. He then went to war for 5 years and came back to no home (mum and dad lost the new house they had bought in 38 because mum was working in a munitions factory and couldn’t pay the mortgage. Still, they rebuilt their lives and raised their kids. In spite of rationing, austerity, strikes and the rest.
I have tried to crystalize what he would have said about Woke politics. ( It wasn’t easy because he was far too busy trying to keep bread on the table and coal on the fire to even consider his Wokeness.) But nevertheless I can see him, in my minds eye saying: ‘Our Janet, stop talking nonsense and go and see if there is anything in the pantry.’

Claire D

2nd October 2019 at 4:23 am

Brilliant Janet, and that is exactly it, technology has made our lives so much easier and of course we take it for granted, but only 40 years ago never mind 50 or 60, what a different world it was, much tougher, but the stoicism required to handle the toughness somehow helped us as humans. My father was the son of an agricultural worker, he became middle class but his opinions were those of people who work the land and animals, he would have had no time for this nonsense.

Claire D

1st October 2019 at 8:46 am

It’s a good speech but I’m not sure I can agree with Brendan’s suggestion that the Woke are ‘ the militant wing of capitalism ‘. Not all woke are militant, or not yet anyway. I would argue that they are the neurotic wing of capitalism, which certainly contains militants within it. Wokeness as a neurosis may be the inevitable consequence of the ever more extreme individuation promoted by the consumerism and capitalism we live with in the West, but it is also a result of other factors, overcrowded cities, a general incoherence socially and weak leadership politically.

There must come a pivotal moment when individualism v’s tolerance becomes untenable, I’m guessing we’ve reached that point, which is why the militancy of the Woke is on the rise.

Claire D

1st October 2019 at 8:58 am

So perhaps what I mean is Brendan may well be right but ahead of the position we are in at present. It would be good if something positive could be done to prevent the situation we are in from deteriorating any further.

In Negative

1st October 2019 at 9:28 am

Turn off the internet.

Claire D

1st October 2019 at 9:46 am

In Negative, why ?

Claire D

1st October 2019 at 10:10 am

In Negative,

Your knowledge of political philosophy and ability to analyse are way over my head. I would’nt know a solipsism if it jumped up and bit me on the nose, but this is a comments page, if someone says something foolish, and I’m guessing you think what I have said is foolish, then it would be better either to argue or ignore.

Just because my approach to the matter in hand is less sophisticated than yours does not mean I should keep quiet. Rudeness is usually a sign of anger or dislike, if either of those are behind your reply there is nothing I can do about it, but it’s a pity.

Hana Jinks

1st October 2019 at 2:02 pm

I agree wholeheartedly with you Claire. Something desperately needs to be done before things get any worse. It just seems so scarily inevitable that things are gonna get a LOT worse.

I don’t know what in negative is on about either. People drink too much and say silly things sometimes, so hopefully a case of that.

Claire D

1st October 2019 at 2:37 pm

Thanks Hana, yes, it is worrying and I do fear that it may have to get worse before it gets better.

In Negative

1st October 2019 at 5:57 pm

Bah, I’m really sorry @Claire. I knew when I read that back that it would probably be misinterpreted as something insulting, but didn’t have time to fix it.

You said something like “What can we do to stop the situation deteriorating further”. My “turn off the internet” was a reply to that. I think the internet has accellerated all this polarisation and I’m pretty sure it will all get a lot worse before it gets better. I think the internet is what Marshall McLuhan would have called a “hot medium”

Claire D

2nd October 2019 at 3:56 am

In Negative,
I might have guessed it was a misunderstanding, that is a relief. Anyway not to worry, all forgotten.

Winston Stanley

1st October 2019 at 12:16 am

> M. Proudhon the economist understands very well that men make cloth, linen, or silk materials in definite relations of production. But what he has not understood is that these definite social relations are just as much produced by men as linen, flax, etc. Social relations are closely bound up with productive forces. In acquiring new productive forces men change their mode of production; and in changing their mode of production, in changing the way of earning their living, they change all their social relations. The hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill, society with the industrial capitalist.

The same men who establish their social relations in conformity with the material productivity, produce also principles, ideas, and categories, in conformity with their social relations.

Thus the ideas, these categories, are as little eternal as the relations they express. They are historical and transitory products.

There is a continual movement of growth in productive forces, of destruction in social relations, of formation in ideas; the only immutable thing is the abstraction of movement – mors immortalis. (Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy)

steve moxon

30th September 2019 at 11:01 pm

Brendan O’Neill STILL DOESN’T GET IT! ‘Identity politics’ is political-Left backlash against ‘the workers’ for not playing their part in the Marxist script. The workers, as the supposed vanguard of the revolution, were envisaged as men, obviously; but having not played their part had to be replaced in neo-Marxist imagination. Out went men, and in came women. Then with civil rights and Stonewall, as seeming proto-revolution, out went ‘white’ and in came ‘black’; and out went ‘straight’ and in came ‘gays’.
This is where everything ‘woke’ comes from. It’s zombie Marxism, Brendan.
Own your own faeces, Brendan. Stop being in denial.

steve moxon

1st October 2019 at 12:06 am

Brendan here reckons ‘identity politics’ / ‘PC’ is about ‘capitalist’ ‘individuation’: how dumb can he get? It’s nothing whatsover to do with individuals; it’s to do with the Left demonising the very group of people it formerly claimed to want to liberate [[ ‘the workers’ — and substituting other, faux groups.
It’s all part of the Left’s game of trying to grab status whilst pretending they aren’t: ‘projecting’ their own faults on to others and claiming they’re egalitarian. A giant fraud.
That’s the basis of Leftism.

Brandy Cluster

2nd October 2019 at 7:25 am

This is a completely brilliant observation and 105% correct. Well done.

Gre Taylor

5th October 2019 at 6:13 am

I’d say it’s an attempt at a cultural revolution. Out with the old, in with the new. Maoism through and through.

steve moxon

6th October 2019 at 9:02 pm

Cheers, Brandy. I do strive for more than merely 100%!

Ramsay macdonald

30th September 2019 at 10:36 pm

Hmmm, very Durkheimian if I may say so. What seems to me to be a flat fact is that without nations, any nations, there cannot be culture. Language, religion, literature, philsophy, science, cooking and courtship are all cultural artefacts, and we as individuals are also cultural artefacts. Society is and must be present in the individual. A borderless world is impossible it would degenerate into a mongrelised mish-mash of a sub-human barbarism. It would perish in very short order. In Thomas Hobbes’ words ‘A war of everyman against everyman.’

In Negative

30th September 2019 at 7:46 pm

“Steer your way through the pain
that is far more real than you
that smashed the cosmic model
that binded every view.”

Winston Stanley

30th September 2019 at 11:40 pm

Check out the latest reggae / psy trance fusion. Only recognisable to the already initiated. Low on the words, deep on the wisdom.

Nali – Old Illusion

Jerry Owen

30th September 2019 at 5:08 pm

BON / Spiked were advocating support for the ‘Brexit party’ at the last GE.. do they now support the SDP, if so why the change ?


30th September 2019 at 4:52 pm

An excellent article from Brendan as usual.

But this analysis has also been done by several others in the past.

Christopher Lasch had foreseen and described much of this 40 years ago.

In France Eric Zemmour has been making exactly the same analysis for many years now.

This is well understood by those who keep their eyes and minds open. But the changes are still being steamrolled over everyone.

Brandy Cluster

2nd October 2019 at 7:27 am

I’ve read Lasch’s “The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an age of Diminishing Expectations”. From 1979, Lasch is prescient but offers zero solutions.

In Negative

30th September 2019 at 4:33 pm

And on the shifting sands of ‘reality,’ what is the meaning of ‘father’ today anyway? One assumes that we must mean “the parent with the penis,” but this is surely a massive redefinition, for previously, it meant far far more. “Father” in previous times meant ‘head of the household’, ‘provider’, it related to God and religious leadership. Assuming it is to mean “parent with the penis”, it’s already little more than a bureaucratic box ticking exercise.

If you were a lesbian couple and you wanted a traditional division of labour, would it really be so great an affront to ‘reality’ to designate the provider a ‘father’ and the nurturer a ‘mother’? I would argue that felt more right than there being two mothers with unnameable yet distinct parental roles.

In a sense, ‘father’ understood as ‘parent with the penis’ is a far worse definitional category – pallid, administrative, a-historical – compared to its function in designating a role in familial co-operation.

Isn’t reality fun?

alan smithee

30th September 2019 at 7:53 pm

That’s not reality and I doubt that 2 women bringing up a child would be happy at being called fathers.

In Negative

30th September 2019 at 11:25 pm

What is not ‘reality’?

The word ‘father’, I assume, is intended to designate something. It is intended to point at something in the world and I assume that thing in the world is felt to be real.

My point was that it used to refer to something more important than ‘the parent with the penis’. It took on a cultural meaning greater than a biological fact. To reduce it to a biological fact is already to radically redefine the word.

And it is perfectly plausible that 2 women raising a child may take on traditional roles with one calling themselves mother and the other father. I’d say the cultural weight of the word was more resonant than what it supposedly refers to in biological fact. Father defined as ‘provider’ or ‘masculine care-giver’ seems closer to what the word originally meant than ‘biological male parent’.

Tim Hare

1st October 2019 at 1:26 am

Maybe even ‘traditional roles’ need to be re-questioned. Tradition is not a good reason for doing anything.

In Negative

1st October 2019 at 9:38 am

Traditional roles are in a constant state of being questioned, and at light speed. We question them before we’ve even had time to digest the last answer.

Jane 70

30th September 2019 at 3:09 pm

“The nineteenth century French pioneer sociologist Émile Durkheim borrowed the word from French philosopher Jean-Marie Guyau and used it in his influential book Suicide (1897), outlining the social (and not individual) causes of suicide, characterized by a rapid change of the standards or values of societies (often erroneously referred to as normlessness), and an associated feeling of alienation and purposelessness. He believed that anomie is common when the surrounding society has undergone significant changes in its economic fortunes, whether for better or for worse and, more generally, when there is a significant discrepancy between the ideological theories and values commonly professed and what was actually achievable in everyday life.”

Durkheim’s pioneering theory of anomie- the atomisation alluded to in BON’s article.

We are indeed becoming increasingly atomised and anomie could be construed as the driver for Trump and Brexit : loss of cohesion, commonality, removal of limits to what is acceptable behaviour, dismantling of fixed identity, whether of gender or nationality.

Me myself and I reigns supreme and now the resistance to this embedded narcissism is spreading.

Andrew Leonard

30th September 2019 at 3:34 pm

Spot on Jane

Jane 70

30th September 2019 at 4:44 pm

Thank you

In Negative

30th September 2019 at 4:41 pm

I was watching Annie Hall again the other day and there is a scene in it where Alvy (Woody) is trying to have sex with Annie in the kitchen whilst a bunch of her new intellectual friends are in the other room talking:

“They’ll all be in there talking about alienation and we’ll be in here humping”


Michael Lynch

30th September 2019 at 7:47 pm

Excellent post, Jane. Trouble is that it’s way too factual for the ‘woke’ brigade. You can’t reason with zealots.

Brandy Cluster

2nd October 2019 at 7:29 am

Jane, it’s always all about who gets what. Drill down and you’ll find this is all about money. And the Left wants you to believe that even though most of them have no money they have impeccable moral credentials which the money-lenders and traders do not. They’re just so transparent.

Andrew Leonard

30th September 2019 at 3:07 pm

“I think the same can be said for woke politics across the board: it values the psychic comfort of the individual, of the self, above the health and freedom of society.”

Superficially, yes it does. However, I think we need to start looking beyond the professed values of the woke, and start exploring this as more of a cognitive issue. Cognitively, here is the problem:

The woke are not mentally maintaining the distinction between what is true, and what is official.

If Johnny is says he is a woman, that belief can be enforced by the state. Truth is what is official. To deny that Johnny is a woman is to deny officialdom, which means truth is being denied, and therefore Johnny’s identity is being denied – almost as though Johnny had been murdered.
Similar case with Europe and the EU. Europe does not exist unless the EU exists to makes it official. Comments from Elton John indicate this is precisely how he thinks about Europe.
Same with gay marriage; no marriage cert, no official relationship, and therefore no relationship.

The woke have merged the official with the truth. The state is the main source of officialdom in society, so they benefit most from this ‘merger’ – hence the ruling class’s support for Woke ideology.

Jane 70

30th September 2019 at 4:42 pm

A very pertinent point,which had not occurred to me. My feeling is that truth has become relativised-in that it can mean whatever any one person or group claims it to mean.

Where will this end?

As BON says-2+2=5 9f enough activists make enough noise; everything is relative:

” Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”

WB Yeats, a true prophet for our times

Andrew Leonard

30th September 2019 at 5:06 pm

“Where will this end?”

Not sure, but it sure seems the West is becoming hyper-individualised.
It is like the opposite of Fascism – instead of the individual being subservient to the state, now society must bow to the whims of the individual.

Nearly 70 years ago, John F. Kennedy recognised this trend and tried to reverse it –
“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”

Ayn Rand hated those words and made a speech about JFK and the politics of the 60’s Democrats, called ‘The Fascist New Frontier’. As time goes by I lean further from AR, and closer to JFK’s worldview. I guess that make me a Fascist 🙂

Claire D

30th September 2019 at 2:20 pm

It is worthwhile remembering that ‘ marriage ‘ the institution as we know it only became established after 1070 AD under Canon Law. Prior to that Anglo Saxon marriage from the arrival of Christianity in the early 7th century was more easily dissolved than today, people could just walk away. We know very little about pairing off before that, but it was probably similar to Anglo Saxon marriage, which simply codified existing customs.

‘ Marriage ‘, the word, is relatively new, whereas pairing off is as ancient as the hills, according to the anthropological and archaeological evidence. Therefore the addition of gays (only approximately 2% of the population in 2017) into the pair bond equation is not perhaps as relevant as it feels, but it does fundamentally challenge the religious concept of marriage as a sacrament.

Hana Jinks

30th September 2019 at 2:52 pm

…which is the idea. Satanic destruction of everything Godly. God definitely considered Abraham and Sarah to be married, whichever word they were using.

People would be surprised at some of the things God does, right down to choosing our (heterosexual) mates for us.

Claire D

30th September 2019 at 3:43 pm

Hi Hana, good to see you, it’s not the same without you.

Hana Jinks

30th September 2019 at 3:58 pm

Really? That’s a very nice thing to say, Claire. Thanks.

Winston Stanley

30th September 2019 at 7:00 pm

The Bible allows polygamy, concubinage and sexual slavery. Abraham had children by various concubines. (Genesis 25:6)

> Genesis 4, you have Cain’s son Lamech taking two wives.

Moses had two wives as well. The Mosaic Law likewise accommodated the practice of marrying more than one wife, including captured prisoners from foreign conquests (Deuteronomy 21:1-17).

The picture gets even dicier when one considers the practice of the kings of Israel. King David, the “man after God’s own heart,” had eight wives. “I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I have given you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your bosom.” (2 Samuel 12:8)

For the record, Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

In Negative

30th September 2019 at 8:05 pm


Where are my 700 wives and 300 concubines?

Winston Stanley

30th September 2019 at 9:04 pm

This is Solomon, “Wow, G-D has sorted me right out, a different woman every night for 1000 days, just enough time for the wet nurse b/f it is their time again. I is THE man. This is THE G-D. Let this be a lesson to all the heathen. I is the KING-MAN of G-D, the women know it and the heathen know it!”

Claire D

1st October 2019 at 8:05 am

That made me laugh, but The Bible is not a rule book, it’s important to distinguish between the history of the Jews which it contains and the Christian religion which it inspired. Polygamy was/is both a status symbol and a practical strategy. I’m not sure that, despite the laughter, it is not still thriving today under a different guise. Plenty of men today have had at least two wives and at least 1, often 2 or 3 children with each, as well as probably sleeping with various other women in their youth.
As the writer Barbara Pym wittily put it in a novel written in the 1960s, as spoken by a disreputable male character, ” Young women are so very obliging these days.”

Mark Lambert

30th September 2019 at 2:07 pm

Yes it is interesting about the “school protest”, mainly by Muslims, but that is no reason to side with them on the whole debate. Because if you do, you will be throwing regular homosexuals under the bus. Being against homosexuality was their absolute main point.

That has to be separated out, even if there is an overlap of agreeing about bad “trans” teachings.

Claire D

30th September 2019 at 2:27 pm

That’s a very good point Mark, I had’nt managed to sort that one out so clearly. Thanks.

Claire D

30th September 2019 at 2:33 pm

Though I am still adamantly opposed to the No Outsiders programme aimed at children under 11.

Jane 70

30th September 2019 at 2:46 pm

A very good point and moslem parents against trans lobbyists : a rock and a hard place.

Andrew Leonard

30th September 2019 at 3:36 pm

One can recognise where and when interests align with another party, without endorsing that party

Gareth Edward KING

30th September 2019 at 6:49 pm

It’s interesting, yes, and they, the Birmingham Muslim parents, do have a point. However, their being anti-Gay would be against the law if they decided to go further with their anti-homosexuality supporting Shariah law per se. Presumably, this is where O’Neil’s support for these parents would not lead. The Shariah is in direct contradiction to British law and cannot be allowed to flourish on British soil.

bf bf

30th September 2019 at 2:03 pm

Woke = bad LSD trip

Michael Lynch

30th September 2019 at 2:41 pm

The woke generation of today have been raised by people, who in turn, were raised by the hippies of the late 60s. No wonder we’re all in trouble. A bunch of loons spaced out of their minds on LSD. We were brought to believe that if you wanted to expand your mind then go and get yourself down the Library. There are some surprising similarities with the current wokes and their grandparents; they too called working class men a bunch of baby killers from their draft dodging pulpits. They are merely cowards who cannot face up to the responsibilities of their privileged positions.

Brandy Cluster

2nd October 2019 at 7:33 am

110% correct. I was around in the late 60s/early 70s when hippies and drug-taking were widespread. The Pill facilitated women sleeping around and, at the time, I said to myself that this would have long-term consequences. It has; these drop-outs had children who are now running the institutions. I’m pleased that I was right but sorry it’s happening anyway.

Brandy Cluster

2nd October 2019 at 7:35 am

Last night upon the stair,
I met a woke who wasn’t there;
He wasn’t there again today;
I wish that Woke would go away.

Hugh Bryant

30th September 2019 at 1:42 pm

Yes. As Emily Thornberry might say if she possessed even a little self-awareness: “Let’s convince all the little people that their problems are caused by other little people, that way they might not notice it’s us that are screwing them”.

But I think there is something more profoundly visceral going on here – and it is revealed in the titling of Ian McEwan’s incontinent rant against leavers. Once the governing class starts calling the mass of the population ‘cockroach’ as did the Rwandan interahamwe in 1994, I think we must suspect that something much more profoundly and frighteningly atavistic is in play.

Ian Davies

30th September 2019 at 1:33 pm

I identify as a 67 year old, can I have my pension please?

Mike Ellwood

1st October 2019 at 1:59 am

“Sorry mate, the age is 75 now, and no you can’t!” 😉

Brandy Cluster

2nd October 2019 at 7:34 am

You don’t look it!!!

Michael Lynch

30th September 2019 at 1:19 pm

Just been watching SKY News and one can only conclude that they’ve all gone start staring mad! All we get now from them is American style interviewing. Following Boris around trying to cloud out what we all want to really here with daft questions regarding old allegations of groping and giving money to old alleged girlfriends. It seems it all that they have now to try and stop Brexit. As if the general population give a fig about this stuff. Most of us aren’t ‘woke’ and we won’t be fooled by this nonsense anymore; we all know that these allegations are politically motivated. SKY has become CNN. I knew this when they banned FOX from their News Channel option soon after Trump got elected. What a shame and it seems that Adam, Ruth et all better get themselves back to Journalist school and learn what it really is to be objective. Mind you, if the BBC, the gold standard of journalism, has been infiltrated by this crap, what chance is there of actually getting balanced news anymore? Thank God for Spiked.

Hana Jinks

30th September 2019 at 1:53 pm

Whenever anything is written from even a remotely conservative perspective it always remains unattributed. They need to ditch the Fey Squad. They’re all delusional liars.

Jerry Owen

1st October 2019 at 7:22 am

M Lynch
I watched sky news last night. The sky female news anchor asked him about the 19 years old claim .. ‘he put his hand on my thigh ‘ allegations. He brushed it off, rather than move onto the conference agenda which Boris went on to do, the anchor quickly said ..’ but I have to come back to these allegations again ‘.
Really !!

Hana Jinks

30th September 2019 at 11:31 am

Beta No’Zeal.

I saw somewhere yesterday where some far-left loons were attempting to smear you as faaaarrr-rigghhhttt for just these kinds of views, and l had a quiet chuckle.
It’s one thing to go about stating the obvious about these fruit-loops, but wouldn’t you have voted “yes” in a fag-referendum? I’d take very long odds-on that you would have – personal whims, and all that.
Before reading this story l actually held high hopes that you might be able to escape your lies, but that’s gone, and l believe you now to be total ars ehole. Why is it suddenly intersesting to you that muslims are pushing back in Birmingham? Does this imply that you’ve been deaf to what Christians have been saying? You cnt.
“Muslim attachment to traditional beliefs” Are you out of your f**cking mind? Traditional beliefs like cutting out their daughters’ genitalia? Are you f**cking serious? Running the fags off the buildings? Chopping the hands off thiefs? Rap ing girls right in your midst? I’d punch you now if you were in front of me.
You’re a self-righteous cretin – decrying pride and yet hosting tatchell. Fark ura w nker. People don’t want to be a part of any collective at all – and most especially a part of any collective that consists of farking communists, fags, infanticidilists or goat-pharquers. We just wanna be left alone. Far away from meddling leftist-cretins like you who abuse your platform to be a virtue-signalling imbecile on behalf of fake news.

Hana Jinks

30th September 2019 at 12:51 pm

Would you be happy to let plague-carriers in your country?

Hear the black-death rising moan, BON. WE IS THE ISLAMIC STATE.

Hana Jinks

1st October 2019 at 6:04 am

Jerry Oven-Kraut.

Remember when l had a Dungeon List?

Well, I’ve decided to start a SHITLIST –

For all the squares that creep me out.

A Game

30th September 2019 at 11:09 am

A little distracted by the comments but:

A really, really fine read. Enjoyed it immensely. You’ve pieced together some apparently disparate, puzzling elements that have been domineering our lives and hit on the truth of it. They are in on it, together.
The first hint has definitely been the overtaking of worker’s parties. That’s been a mind f**k. Shouting from the rooftops, their socialist goodness, their virtue, how much they care, how much they LOATHE the rich, the ruling class, those yucky, cheeseburger-pushing capitalists.
But we’ve been puzzled because it hasn’t been adding up for the working classes. The policies pushed haven’t made a grain of sense from a socialist perspective and the reality of their policies have been destructive to those they apparently want to fight for.
And then globalisation arrived, the creation of the somewhere/anywhere binary (which is so accurate), the shifts in capitalism and how it utilized workers, the changing landscape, technology improving everyone’s lives, but especially the middle classes. They are richer than they ever have been, comparatively, quantitively.
Then the love affair with social engineering. Post modernism showed them a new way to grab for power/control, not financially, that’s for the capitalists, but socially. And its been a successful, evil collaboration.
Its also been a very clever tactic of the two party system being owned by the ruling class and their lieutenants. You have conservative parties in our countries, you have the left of centre parties in our countries, and both are happily serving the desires our rules. One gets money, the other gets status.

On another note. Camille Paglia noted in a speech somewhere, sometime… I watch/read things but don’t think I’ll be citing it sometime down the track… she had observed that the end of empire was always preceded by a gender-bending, androgynous, queerist decadence. Then the warring, savages from outside the empire would move in. (The modern day parallel is the Islamic world, but perhaps it will be China instead. I think CP might have said the muslim world currently plays that role. Empowered, committed, faithful to their ideology, focussed, driven. And this isn’t a dig at muslim immigrants. Its a threat from outside…)
Look around, you can see she was completely right to equate the two.
The woke might actually find they have skin in the same game as the working classes, one day. F**k em I say.

I thought of Julie Bindel when you spoke of same sex marriage. I’ve read where she was against it. Of the school of thought that homosexuality, especially for women, was liberation from the chains of the marriage game. The way most heterosexuals treat it, it would appear they agree on some level, but also, they have shown that this tradition has been diminished.
I was reared an atheist. I also never understood this idea that a wedding was “the best day of my life”. Women still have that goal. You could say its their families and society talking it up, creating the interest, creating the ambition… but I personally struggle with the concept of it being seen as an achievement. You do it because you want to. Its as simple as that.

Australia had a same sex marriage, postal plebiscite in 2017. (Government didn’t dream of reneging on the promise of adhering to its result, even though it was voluntary… postal… its like living on a different planet to poor Brexit, and those who disagreed, abstained from voting, voted against it, or voted with it on principle. Good for them.)
So the campaign was on.
Mostly religious objection to SSM was the voice of opposition. Some… conservative/traditionalist types as well, but they seemed a very small percentage.
Their opponents of course were vicious, bullying, nasty, enraged fascists screaming about bigotry and tolerance. Showing that the woke are only nice people when it suits them, that it is not an innate quality, always present. (As we all know by now.) The only defence the anti SSM was what BON cites in his article. A traditional bond, an ancient bond, a sacred bond etc. I get that historically, I just can never understand how, except for the religious, where their “Guide for a fulfilling life” texts says its wrong, its against God, etc, and that’s what they believe and live by, so that makes sense, that applies to the current day.
I don’t see SSM as undermining the family unit, I see it as making it available to more people who want it, even though they aren’t the traditional candidates for it.
And the big thing I’ve based that on, and this will undoubtedly change with the societal changes surely coming into effect from generations of children now growing up with single parents, multiple step parents, absentee parents… but that most homosexual grew up in a nuclear family. They had a mum, dad, siblings, dog, cat. In a house, with a garden, their toys, their hobbies, being fed and looked after and sitting down to watch television together on a Sunday night, picnics, holidays, etc.
They experienced all the benefits of the family unit. That they love their own biological sex, rather than the opposite sex, wouldn’t change the desire for all the benefits and happiness of what they knew growing up and the wish to create it for themselves now that they are the adult.
And in many ways, the desire to break the family unit down, sneer at it, see it as redundant, has gone after something many homosexuals hold dear.
And this is where the Pride push has been so strange. (I think you are spot on in how LGBTI has been used as the poster child of the success of the new world order.) Its like its been determined to break that bond, even for its own. Homosexuals are now being displaced by the T and the Q and especially the +. Is that why the gay aspect is still so strong? Is it to dupe gay men into thinking this is all for them, not against them?
And this is where I bring up my own experience. I just can’t see homosexual marriage as just societal validation. Homosexuality, at its core, is that they are literally exactly the same as heterosexuals, but for the same sex orientation. With a few lifestyle tweaks. Who grew up in nuclear families.
Marriage is two people choosing to be each other’s partner and create their own little unit of solidarity and protection and support and solace in the big wide world. Working together to build a life. A signed, sealed agreement. I think that’s a wonderful thing. Strange that its fallen out of fashion and is sneered at in a dog eat dog world.
Again, I don’t disagree with how SSM has been politicised for an end.
The Trans etc is a whole different paella. And that it does, fundamentally undermine both heterosexuality and homosexuality… that for it to exist in the form they want, society now has to truly turn itself on its head. Language, perception, reality, gone, gone, gone. And then that leads to everything you so accurately, insightfully described, kicks in. The militant wing has wheeled into action, undermining reality, creating another division, another fight… very distracting.
Its also the militant wing to go after the final taboos society still maintains. Children.
Everyone, everyone, can see exposing children to the concept of sexuality without the intellectual ability, or the sexual urge to relate any of it to, voiding any ability to create context for the information being given, is outright grooming. Confused but manipulated into an openness to accept everything and anything without judgement.
So there is so much ground to be recovered in fighting to get the collective interest reestablished. To get the sense of shared interest back.
To push against the devices deployed to deliberately divide.
And find the new champions of the working class who are looking for the economic solution that will never, ever be coming from the traditional places again.

Stellar piece. Really great read.

James Hillier

30th September 2019 at 10:54 am

Good speech. Though I disagree on gay marriage.

We shouldn’t be surprised that there is a convergence of interest between neoliberalism and identity politics. Neoliberalism is also a blank-slate ideology, in which the individual is just a container for units of labour.

Amelia Cantor

30th September 2019 at 10:33 am

This is more than a plea for a liberal immigration policy – it is a demand for the erasure of borders and nations. It’s the infantile, nihilistic John Lennon approach: imagine no countries.
But I thought the Revolutionary Communist Party has always believed passionately in open borders. My mistake. The RCP believes passionately in “a liberal immigration policy”, which wouldn’t be the same as open borders at all. I must therefore alert the comrades that saboteurs have been at work on this very web-site, altering passionate pleas for “a liberal immigration policy” to passionate pleas for, um, open borders:

Yet if those of us [i.e., Spiked / the RCP] who support an open-border policy are going to win the argument, and win people over, then surely we need to take on the likes of MigrationWatch.

Anyway, yes, Comrade-Commentator Brendan is right: we members of the Woke Community and the “neo-liberal elites” all believe in open borders and the abolition of the nation state. But this is because the neo-liberal elites don’t realize how they are cutting their own throats by allowing progressive voters to flood into the UK. As the RCP’s great hero Lenin once said: “The capitalist will sell us the rope with which we hang him.”

IOW, it’s the neo-liberal elites who are dancing to the tune of the Woke Community, not vice versa.

Andrew Leonard

30th September 2019 at 3:58 pm

“Anyway, yes, Comrade-Commentator Brendan is right: we members of the Woke Community and ” “[…] the “neo-liberal elites” all believe in open borders and the abolition of the nation state.”

Yes, and the reason for this is straightforward. The Woke do not believe the peoples of the third world and other less developed nations can make it on their own, or even with masses of Western aid (that’s been tried). No, these people should pack their bags and head for the West, by whatever means necessary. On leaky boats or by walking hundreds of miles – it doesn’t matter, they should not bother trying to build up their own societies, they should just go West, so the Welfare State and the Woke can look after them.

So what inspires this belief in the general incompetence of non-first world people, that we must save by opening our borders to any and all of them? What is it about people like Amelia Cantor that they suppose that nothing less than the abolition of the nation-state can save the black and brown skinned people of the world?

The answer is simple: Amelia and her Woke friends are racists. Amelia knows her lot are racists, and they enjoy being racists. Racism is in their minds, and in their hearts. The Woke are mentally sick.

Jane 70

30th September 2019 at 4:57 pm

The woke are deranged ,deluded and could be described as the iconoclasts of our time. Tear down society’s mores and foundations and bring on the brave new world of what exactly?
What is it that they want? Anarchy? Endemic narcissism? The end of history? Do they see endless flux and the policing of speech,thought and opinion as progress?

Amelia Cantor

1st October 2019 at 11:14 am

When will you rightards understand that calling the Woke Community “racist” never works? Communities of colour see through your whitesplaining and vote overwhelmingly for progressive parties like Labour and the Democrats.

That has always been true and always will be true. The accusation of “racism” from rightard racists doesn’t work. For obvious reasons. But you rightards can’t grasp this simple truth. You’re not called rightards for nothing.

Andrew Leonard

1st October 2019 at 1:52 pm

“Communities of colour see through your whitesplaining and vote overwhelmingly for progressive parties like Labour and the Democrats.”

Your premise that leftists cannot possibly be racist because they have strong support from non-white ethnicities is incorrect.
Observe Dinesh D’Souza answering a question on this very subject @38:37

Brandy Cluster

2nd October 2019 at 7:39 am

You’ve nailed it!! The Left are miserable because the Right has the money and the means of wealth creation = employing people and building business. They’ve got hot air, impeccable moral values (so they tell us) and little else. That’s fair.

Amelia Cantor

2nd October 2019 at 10:44 am

Your premise that leftists cannot possibly be racist

Are you autistic, Andrew? Looks a lot like it.

because they have strong support from non-white ethnicities is incorrect.

As I said: rightards gotta rightard. You are now claiming that non-white ethnicities cannot recognize racism when they see it. They vote overwhelmingly for “racist” parties such as Labour and the Democrats. Are they stupid? Incapable of acting in their own best interests? Yes?

Observe Dinesh D’Souza answering a question on this very subject

OMG! Dinesh D’Souza! The greatest political analyst who ever lived and ever will live! And he’s answered a question on this very subject! And who could disagree with Dinesh D’Souza? Tell me: Who? Who?

Just the overwhelming majority of “non-white ethnicities”, that’s who.

Anyway, Andrew the rightard: continue believe in your fantasies while “non-white ethnicities” vote steadily for parties that will, in the end, destroy rightardism for ever.

Andrew Leonard

2nd October 2019 at 12:51 pm

Amelia, you never got back to me about having coffee at Pret.
Disappointed, and furthermore, we could ask the POC waiting on our table why they vote left, and I could learn that it has nothing to do with welfare handouts or getting their relatives into the country.
Please consider.

Amelia Cantor

3rd October 2019 at 10:48 am

Amelia, you never got back to me about having coffee at Pret.

I never saw the invitation. I now decline it with a shudder. If you think I want to be mansplained to by a rightard, you must be mistaking me for a masochist.

Disappointed, and furthermore, we could ask the POC waiting on our table why they vote left, and I could learn that it has nothing to do with welfare handouts or getting their relatives into the country.

If you don’t want open borders and maximal Muslimization, I apologize for mischaracterizing you as a libertarian. You are a racist who understands the logic of mass immigration: that it imports progressive voters who will vote for parties that will destroy racism, “free speech”, and other cis white male fetishes.

Please consider.

Please see above.

Andrew Leonard

3rd October 2019 at 12:30 pm

Even more disappointed now, but I must admit, I do get a kick out of you talking nasty to me.

So tell me, do you include Muslims in your definition of progressive voters who will destroy racism? Seriously, how is it that you radical leftists get to call yourselves anti-racists, when championing migration from Islamic states? I’m aware that these states are more than a wee bit antisemitic – aren’t you?

I actually do consider myself a Libertarian, to some extent. I support abortion rights, for example, unlike the author of this article:
However, you have to wonder about Margaret Sanger and the Democrats after reading that. Do you?

Kind of arrogant of you to dismiss free speech as a “cis” white male thing, in the process of enjoying that very right – a right provided to you mostly by white males. And what’s with the hatred of straight white males anyway? We might have a few faults – who doesn’t? – but we did build most of civilisation.

You’re not just one of these girls who only dates black guys, are you Amelia? This is more than a fetish, isn’t it? Is Replacement Theory a real thing, that you and your leftopian friends are plotting against us decent right-wing straight white guys?

Neil McCaughan

2nd October 2019 at 9:42 am

I suppose the words all mean something, if taken one at a time.

In Negative

30th September 2019 at 10:16 am

So, I reckon I’ve been banging this drum for the best part of 10 years and the world seems in many quarters now to be catching up. I’m with you that Woke is an identity of modern techno-capitalism. Capital deterritorialises – gender-fluidity is deterritorialised gender; cosmopolitanism is socio-geographical deterritorialisation; identity politics is a strategy of hyper-retribalisation that opens up new truth-systems and therefore new markets. Postmodernism is the language of deterritorialisation – a toolbox as Foucault would have it, for the liberation of the individual and the production of a personal system of truth. Postmodernism is the metaphysical factory of self; a machine for identity production in the age of deterritorialised, instantaneous capital flows. It’s the language of the day.

But I have a “but” and my ‘but’ is this: this is a thing that is happening to us at a much deeper level than BON is giving it credit for. I just don’t buy this idea that a woman claiming to be a father is equivalent to saying 2 + 2 = 5. I think there is a sense in which it is very real for what we call a biological woman to identify as a father. I think there is a very real obsolescence of a language here (the biological language) for the person that is rejecting that language and I think their desire for a new language is sincere. I agree that the imposition of this neww language on the rest of society is very problematic and society is under no obligation to provide for them, but I wholeheartedly reject the idea that they are defying ‘reality’ – mostly, because I do not believe in ‘reality’ myself.

Postmodern techno-capitalism is changing the human psyche (and therefore ‘reality’). The backlash too, which BON here represents, is in any case another identity factory, albeit a counter-factory. The emphasis on ‘social solidarity’, ‘tradition’, ‘history’, ‘community’, ‘the ordinary person’ – these concepts begin to acquire a special force of emphasis in-so-far as the Woke identity gains ground and deterritorialisation becomes more apparent. It is another part in the same system – a system that is atomising, retribalising and individuating.

I’m currently pretty interested in the role of ‘democracy’ in these conditions. At a time when we appear to be flagrantly destroying and undermining it, I don’t think it’s ever been more relevant. If you live in a world of tribes of increasingly sophisticated radical difference, we need some kind of political solution to that. Something through which we can discern some kind of collective social consensus. “The Woking class” need to wake up to what they are and become more honest about what is taking place before they’ll find any genuinely progressive path through this. More Baudrillard, less Foucault.

A Game

30th September 2019 at 11:22 am

In Negative.
I’m not convinced this call to arms is for you. I don’t feel you have any stake in it. If reality, for you doesn’t exist, and the desire to please the individual’s perception of reality and themselves… what’s the common ground and what role does democracy play in what sounds like adherence to solipsism and individuation. Why are you unhappy with the woke neoliberal project?

In Negative

30th September 2019 at 12:49 pm

@A Game
“I’m not convinced this call to arms is for you.”

Well, I’m not so big on being called to arms, so I agree with you. A call to arms is not for me.

My preference would be to find a way through without arms. There is no way back from these increasingly disparate psychological states. They are in the nature of our technology and our ‘progress’. The world is increasingly hallucinogenic – a flood of competing illusions. Taking up arms won’t make that go away.

For me, a new politics should work to understand and provide for them. Once you start down the road of letting people call you to arms, we’re probably all fucked.

“You have no stake in it.”

I have a stake in my own self-craft and the ownership of my own psyche. I have a stake in the social conditions that permit me to unfold, discover and pass through that psyche and its ‘truth’, as do you with regard to your own truth. It’s precisely there that I take issue with the woke project – it pretends to be liberational, but it is also extremely authoritarian. It only accepts certain kinds of truth. It seems to me to be just as warlike as its adversaries, which is a very poor manifestation of what I think drives it.

“If reality, for you doesn’t exist, and the desire to please the individual’s perception of reality and themselves… what’s the common ground and what role does democracy play in what sounds like adherence to solipsism and individuation.”

Well, I’m not committed to solipsism and individuation, for a start. The pursuit of one’s individual truth and the honest negotiation of one’s own inclinations does not commit everyone to themselves alone. For many people, ‘community’ and ‘the social’ are deeply held aspects of their truth. Different people are motivated by diffeerent energies, different forces of meaning in different degrees.

Democracy then appears to me to be a way of identifying a consensus illusion in a society of perpetual psychic and technological revolutions. Democracy is the best way I can see for us to reach collective consensus.

“Why are you unhappy with the woke neo-liberal project?”

It’s authoritarian and dishonest about what it is. It’s understanding of itself appears to me very poor indeed. It is just as desperate to own ‘reality’ as its supposed competitors.

In Negative

30th September 2019 at 12:58 pm

(The new comments filter on here drives me nuts.)

@A Game
“I’m not convinced this call to arms is for you.”

Well, I’m not so big on being called to arms, so I agree with you. A call to arms is not for me.

My preference would be to find a way through without arms. There is no way back from these increasingly disparate psychological states. They are in the nature of our technology and our ‘progress’. The world is increasingly hallucinogenic – a flood of competing illusions. Taking up arms won’t make that go away.

For me, a new politics should work to understand and provide for them. Once you start down the road of letting people call you to arms, we’re probably all done for. Though admittedly, it is more meaningful for some that they live in worlds of calls to arms, and for those people, political language has a different use.

“You have no stake in it.”

I have a stake in my own self-craft and the ownership of my own psyche. I have a stake in the social conditions that permit me to unfold, discover and pass through that psyche and its ‘truth’, as do you with regard to your own truth. It’s precisely there that I take issue with the woke project – it pretends to be liberational, but it is also extremely authoritarian. It only accepts certain kinds of truth. It seems to me to be just as warlike as its adversaries, which is a very poor manifestation of what I think drives it.

“If reality, for you doesn’t exist, and the desire to please the individual’s perception of reality and themselves… what’s the common ground and what role does democracy play in what sounds like adherence to solipsism and individuation.”

Well, I’m not committed to solipsism and individuation, for a start. The pursuit of one’s individual truth and the honest negotiation of one’s own inclinations does not commit everyone to themselves alone. For many people, ‘community’ and ‘the social’ are deeply held aspects of their truth. Different people are motivated by diffeerent energies, different forces of meaning in different degrees.

Democracy then appears to me to be a way of identifying a consensus illusion in a society of perpetual psychic and technological revolutions. Democracy is the best way I can see for us to reach collective consensus.

“Why are you unhappy with the woke neo-liberal project?”

It’s authoritarian and dishonest about what it is. It’s understanding of itself appears to me very poor indeed. It is just as desperate to own ‘reality’ as its supposed competitors.

Stephen J

30th September 2019 at 10:01 am

Brilliant piece Brendan, as always.

I don’t suppose McConnell could appeal to the Supreme Court, I expect they would be able to find a reason to abolish centuries of tradition, and a method by which they can invoke it.

The jury is out as to whether anything they decided made any sense though.

Jane 70

30th September 2019 at 1:15 pm

When will common sense make a welcome return? We can but hope

A Game

30th September 2019 at 9:42 am

Just gotta quickly say it before I forget it.

The wealthy, in whatever epoch of time. Tiny minority. Elevation of the middle classes via bureaucracy, in particular, definitely not trading class anymore, academia, administration, management, giving them their immigrant servant base, more and more resemblance to the aristocracy of old, let them create their gated communities (and call it things like Primavera Estates – who used to have estates?) to protect them from the ethnic melting pot of division that continues to serve their purposes, but keep them chained and faithful because they rely on the state more than capitalists, so they are being rewarded with wealth but without real power, just the façade of it and then tie this in with BON’s marvellous deduction that the woke are the militant wing of neoliberal capitalism and you now have a better numbers game against the working class whilst tethered to this pesky thing called democracy.
The middle classes are now the useful idiots of the ruling class… but they don’t mind because they get to boss everyone around and feel extremely “elite” and important.

James Chilton

30th September 2019 at 8:24 am

Best commentary I’ve ever read on the “theory and practice” of Wokeness.

Tim Hare

30th September 2019 at 6:37 am

A society that is based on the desire for community is not much of a society. Nor is a society based on common opinions about marriage and gender and family. A true society is based on freedom, justice and peace.

If someone does not share my opinions about marriage, gender and family then it does not impinge on my freedom to have differing opinions. It does not matter what opinions people have if I am firmly convinced of my own position. To say that their opinions which differ from mine are a threat to society is to try and scare people into unnecessary action to stifle those opinions. One man wanting to be called father instead of mother is not a threat to society. I still have my freedom to define mother and father as I see fit.

Let people have their opinions and disagree with them if necessary but where is the necessity in any of the issues raised by Brendan? Which of those opinions actually impinge on anyone else’s freedom to express contrary opinions?

By all means discuss the issues at hand and may the best arguments be adopted but do not resort to fear-mongering about the end of society as we know it. We are better than that. We strive for civilized society which solve its problems by discussion and reason and logic. This is much more valuable than some imposed form of ‘community’ based on similar opinions about issues which ultimately do not matter and which can never threaten the existence of society.

Jane 70

30th September 2019 at 8:03 am

The trouble is that the we do not solve problems by discussion and reason and logic do we? Witness the recent disgraceful scenes in parliament, the hounding of the likes of the late Magdalen Berns, or Germaine Greer , Julie Bindel, Douglas Murray, Rod Liddle; the noisy persecution of academics who question trans/woke ideology. The assumption that women like me are ‘internal misogynists’.

I agree that a narrow definition of community can be stultifying but the domination of public discourse and policy by a noisy minority does threaten our sense of solidarity and stability: extreme tolerance leads to chaos.

Just consider that many of us now feel alarmed and threatened by the removal of female only changing rooms and public lavatories.

Prisons are already experiencing problems with trans inmates in female facilities.

Open mindedness does not sanction a get out of jail free card for those activists who wish to challenge much of what many of us still hold dear.

Tim Hare

30th September 2019 at 8:23 am

“The trouble is that the we do not solve problems by discussion and reason and logic do we?”

Most of the time we do but there are some issues that get out of hand not because they threaten society but because they threaten some individuals in that society. There is no good reason why those individuals should feel threatened if they are secure in their own opinions.

Why should you feel ‘threatened’ by the loss of women only change rooms? You don’t have to use change rooms. You have had them in the past and now that right is being challenged by others who think they have the right to use them. If you do not agree that they have that right then say why not. Your ‘feelings’ are no more valid than their feelings.

A Game

30th September 2019 at 8:24 am

T. Hare
Yeah, you disagree with someone who has laid a profound, passionate case for freedom and community and solidarity. And you’ve reduced it to a squabble over having a f**king differing opinion. He pointedly brings up freedom of speech. That means you get to have your opinion, ya know?
Good job.
Now take your woke, precious, nit-picking neuroses and f**k off.

No more dead weights!

In Negative

30th September 2019 at 10:31 am

I think the problem for Brendan is more that if the judges agreed that a biological woman could be recorded as a father, then that does have implications for the structure of society more generally.

Where it is built into the technical structure of society that biological men are fathers, this represents the ordinary social perception. For the majority it also represents a ‘real state of affairs’.

When your society begins within its very technical structure to say biological women can be fathers, you change the parameters by which your whole society operates. You underpin it with a new set of metaphysical principles which I’m not even sure have been well explained or understood.

I doubt BON has any issue with biological women calling themselves fathers. He just worries about the implications of imposing this alien and ill-defined notion of reality on the whole society at an operational level. It’s a very legitimate concern.

Tim Hare

30th September 2019 at 2:12 pm

If that was the only issue he was concerned about then that is the issue he should talk about and present arguments for his point of view. He also talks about issues relating to marriage and gender and without arguing his point of view he presents views other than his own as threats to society. Why is marriage and gender and even fatherhood and motherhood so vital that society is under threat if we do not agree with his opinions on them?

Operational issues have been based on opinions about these issues which have gone on unchallenged. Maybe it is time to challenge whether or not those things are fundamental to a society at all. If they are not then they are non-issues and do not deserve our attention.

Hana Jinks

30th September 2019 at 1:30 pm

Timmy Threadbare.

I don’t want fags and other diversity-communists to be anywhere near our schools, as long as that isn’t impinging on your right to be a virtue-signalling sook. I can’t believe what you just said about the change rooms.

Hana Jinks

30th September 2019 at 2:16 pm

This kind of thing makes my blood boil, Timmy.

Jane 70

30th September 2019 at 3:17 pm

Quite right Hana, and I note that he didn’t address my point about trans inmates in female prisons, instead making the rather dumb comment about changing rooms.

Hana Jinks

30th September 2019 at 4:04 pm

Pretty horrifying actually. Very distressing.

Jane 70

30th September 2019 at 5:45 am

Another thought- have the bemused inhabitants of Woking realised that they’re now ahead of the cynical plebs?
Pole position for Woking in Titania world.

Jane 70

30th September 2019 at 5:32 am

All this woke- wash is simply a route to anarchy: as I’ve just written on another thread, open borders will lead to social and political chaos; loss of national and personal identity and confidence in, and acceptance of, one’s biological/ genetic identity will ultimately lead to a breakdown in all accepted norms of personal and social behaviour.

Recently the curator of the new Vagina Museum-??, assured the less enlightened members of the public, that not all women have vaginas. Presumably, being in possession of male bits is no reason for exclusion from the female community.

Big business is ahead of the game as always; green wash worked, so now we have woke wash.

Jane 70

30th September 2019 at 6:09 am

And another consideration: if the wokesters succeed in turning the world into one vast fluid human soup, what will become of stability , loyalty ,commitment and allegiance?

Imagine the consequences for governance, infrastructure, maintenance of essential water and energy supplies, company ownership, employment practices, legal and environmental guidelines, basic rules of civic conduct.

The imminent advent of AI and increased use of automation will play its part as well.

James Chilton

30th September 2019 at 11:42 am

This fad for Wokeness will pass, as the history of fatuous opinions proves.

Opinions, like fashions, descend from the upper to the middle sort and thence to the multitude where they are dropped and vanish. ~ Jonathan Swift

Hana Jinks

30th September 2019 at 1:33 pm

The fruitloops have a home now. Where do you see them passing too? We are surrounded by them.

Ian Davies

30th September 2019 at 1:41 pm

You have actually answered your own question. If you want to eradicate borders, nationalistic tendencies, pride in the country, democracy itself but are experiencing some resistance then what do you do? You fill the country with a mish mash of others from different back grounds, cultures and religions until nobody really cares anymore. As long as I can get my fee shit that some other tosser is paying for, who cares about all this stuff. And no better culture to bring in than that of the RoP. Subservient to their religion first and foremost, family next, country way down the list.

Thomas Swift

30th September 2019 at 4:31 am

Good article and I agree that “radical individualism” is to blame but only partially. The left does play a role in this too, having migrated from old, materialist Leninism to new biological Leninism. But, with that said, the triumph of wokeism could not have been achieved by the left alone.

Winston Stanley

30th September 2019 at 4:06 am

I largely agree with the description if not necessarily with the prescription. In fact I myself make no firm prescriptions.

Ideology reflects social relations rooted in the current stage of material development. Ruling class ideology reflects the current needs of the economic base. Capitalism is now global and international, supranational and supra-community. And that finds its counter-part in the “PC” or “woke” ideology that the state promotes, as abstract commonality rather than the older more concrete commonality, as I will explain below. Capitalism makes workers proletarians, much as feudalism made them serfs. Global capitalism is emphasising what it is to be a proletarian – interchangeable wage labourers, all that matters is their exploitable labour. Capitalism thus atomises individual workers. What is current is the stripping away of the older more concrete commonalities to the identities of proletarians.

The nation state is a 19th century capitalist construct. Old communal commonality, or more concrete sameness, like national identity, ethnicity, language, culture, values played an important role in the support of the national capitalist state, and workers identified with the whole in which they thought of themselves as a part. They identified with the capitalist ruling class of the nation (and with its feudal leftovers). They fought wars on its behalf and glorified in its victories as their own. As such they were not merely proletarians, individual wage labourers, but national proletarians, who identified with the national capitalist state via their national commonality, which they internalised and packaged as their own personal identity. It suited the interests of the capitalist state at that stage of capitaist development to promote of all that.

It no longer serves the capitalist state to maintain the old commonalities. Capitalism has moved on and the proletariat is no longer as similar. With the loss of empire and colonies, and with the fall in the birth rate, the capitalist state relies on mass immigration of foreign workers to expand its workforce, its domestic markets, and to maintain profits. The old similarities are gone. Workers now come from all over the world, they are of an hundred different ethnicities and national identities, they have their own cultures, religions, languages and values. And capitalism is integrated now, with block international markets in which the capitalist states swap money, workers and goods. It now suits the capitalist state to emphasise more abstract commonalities, like equal rights and dignities, rather than the old commonalities which are now a hindrance to the further development of the economic base.

The major shift within the workers is ethnic and cultural and that is the real concern of the capitalist state. The idea now is to subsume all workers under the principles of abstract commonality in “equal rights” rather than under the old principles of more concrete commonality. Gay and trans fit into that overall emphasis of abstract commonality in individuality. The more “kinds” of workers that the state can subsume under those abstract principles, the more that it makes them the guiding principles of all. It is presented as “morality” but really it reflects the material interests of the ruling class and the aim is to condition and to orientate the workers to accept their place under the capitalist state in the context of the new social relations, the new abstract individual commonalities that replace the old, more concrete commonalities. It all comes down to that the state wants to expand its workforce and it seeks to do that by promoting the principles of abstract commonalities over the older more concrete commonalities. The workers are now diverse and the state needs to condition the workers to accept and to internalise that diversity as their own identity. It does so through the enshrinement of abstract commonalities.

So much for the description of the situation. Presciption is not so easy. Arguably BON wants to maintain or to go back to the old more concrete commonalities with which workers were subsumed to the national capitalist state. At least in part. He wants to accept foreign workers (indeed he is one) yet he seems otherwise uneasy with the idea that workers have more abstract commonalities rather than more concrete commonalities. He imagines that foreign workers are all going to have the same national identity, language, culture and values with which he assimilates himself to the national capitalist state. The reality is not like that. Communities have their own identity, culture and values and that is fine. It works. BON seems to be cool with that only when, like Muslims about gays and trans, they take a view more in line with the old commonalities. It is tempting to say that BON simply takes a reactionary cultural position. He advances it as a critique of contemporary capitalist tendencies, and he is thus far correct, but his prescription is largely to revert to forms of ideology that applied in a previous, if quite recent, stage of capitalist development.

From a materialist perspective, one simply accepts that ideological forms reflect material development and social relations. They do so such as to further the development of the economic base. A reversion to older forms of ideology would hinder that further development. Contemporary capitalism simply does not need everyone to commonly identify as straight, Christian, English, with common identity, language and values to make a profit. That stuff may have made sense to the national capitalist state back in the old days when they had their capitive labour force to go and fight wars for them to expand the empire and to establish colonies against other national capitalist states with their own capitive labour forces united by concrete commonalities. But those days are over. If the capitalist state no longer bothers with all of that then it is likely for a good, profit-minded reason. The capitalist state is cool with gay marriage, it gets its workers from abroad anyway, and it all reinforces the principles of abstract commonality over concrete commonality, which suits the needs of the state.

So my position would be along the lines of that, if you are going to have a capitalist economic system then you have to accept the way that it develops and the shifts in ideological forms as it develops. You cannot reasonably hope to do the one without the other and without hindering further progress. All “morality” is relative to the current stage of material development and there is no “objective” or “eternal” moral standard by which to evaluate the current. Capitalism always broke down old forms of commonality, as when it destroyed the feudal economic base and cleared the old local communities out of the contryside and into the cities and the factories. It suited the capitalist state for a time to maintain national concrete commonality – but it does no longer and the state is again clearing the old commonalities to facilitate its new workforce, now with more abstract commonalities. The capitalist state has trashed old identities and commonalities many times before – with the Reformation, with the expansion into Ireland and Scotland, with the empire and colonialism. It is what the capitalist state does. It is what suits the state. And we have to accept that if we are going to have capitalism and capitalist development.

What is the alternative now, to revert to old ideological forms on a newer economic base? What would be the point? If there is no alternative to capitalism then we have to accept the new ideological forms that it develops. And on what basis would we oppose them, on the basis of previous transient ideological forms that no longer apply?

Graham Wood

30th September 2019 at 8:50 am

Winston. Younpen thousands of words about the theories of a minute number
of people who can only be described as oddball cranks. Why bother?
BTW my dog is woke

A Game

30th September 2019 at 9:31 am

You see capitalism as a constant, unchanging presence. All your posts when you’re talking about the worker/capitalism are always spot on. But I don’t think you have detected the changes in capitalism.
You are still seeing the worker dynamic and how the labour resource is to be pushed around as required. But how money is made has changed.
Money markets don’t require a work force. Big Tech hardly employs anyone. Manufacturing has gone to countries that have barely moved beyond their own industrial revolution, so for them, they are just on the start of their journey that our countries are sort of coming to the end of.
Also, capitalism is still an ongoing experiment. Where does it begin, where does it end? The mistakes being made at present (fighting the recession that patently needs to happen – capitalism needs to bleed now and then and they are all in denial of that and push push push to keep the current crowd in business) – where will that take things?
The truth is, we’re not required, in western countries, as workers anymore. We are consumers. Whatever two bit job gives a penny to spend or, even better, the middle classes’ taxes prop up a consumer underclass.
I think you are missing this important change from the 19th C until… well, what? 2000? And the quest for this strange, disjointed, atomisation began. We were ripe. The ability to spread propaganda, to create mass communication was just beginning.

Trans is very interesting, because its extending the plastic surgery for beauty industry. Healthy people who didn’t plan on breasts or bitty noses or skinny thighs or pectoral implants, if you can plant the idea that they are defective, then the need to fix the defect creates more consumption for these fields. Capitalism does very well, has done very well convincing people that everything is wrong with them, their children, their home, their life so they must seek the remedy outside of themselves. The damage done… meh. Consume, consume, consume.
Promotional products, trends, brands, laid on so thick, directed at those who wouldn’t traditionally have bought luxury… now the working class secretary is to push to be wearing $600 shoes because it is fashionable and says something about her – that she is successful, current, valuable. The working class man is to want a car he can’t afford for the same reasons. Poor shaming has been going on, yeah… I think about 20 years, too. Now have to spend money you don’t have to pretend you aren’t poor. The masses have fallen for it. Which then puts them very nicely into the path of the newest capitalist beast – the financial game.

Immigrant workers fit into this narrative beautifully. They begin as the cleaners and servants (and BON is 100% on the true purpose of all this humane human trafficking they’ve busily been selling – with enough immigrant workers, the middle classes can finally have servants. Like REAL servants, just like the mega rich, just like the aristocracy. – Ironic, that, aint it? Who are the real traditionalists?), the native workers are pushed more into the role of idle, poor consumers.

So they have cleverly separated who are the workers, (in countries they are not required to be the consumers, they don’t pay them enough), who are the consumers – with the opening of more and more markets that don’t require workers.
I think this is the profound shift that the working classes just haven’t seen coming. Probably from the distracting, constructed noises of sport, sex, acquisition of the material, spot of travelling, your looks etc.
That the destruction BON describes this system of causing, well, when have the ruling classes ever cared about that?
Next war? Poverty will drive people forward to serve but still in the hearts of those exploited, neglected people, will be the sense that there must be something worth fighting for. Usually based on the sentimentality marketed in our culture. Books. Films. Aspiring tales of success against all odds type stuff. We do get that pushed at us mercilessly.
I have this idea from a very successful Aus entrepreneur called Dick Smith. I read somewhere once, a comment he made that we will be a country selling each other coffee. It has stuck with me. We just aren’t the proletariat anymore. That is now elsewhere. The gig economy makes more servants.
I don’t know why people automatically assume what BON has written is a reversal of progress, going back to tradition. I didn’t get that.
I think identifying these problems is the beginning. That the capitalists and caring middle classes have cut the working class loose… it means the working class have to stop looking to their usual patrons, because the changes in capitalism – globalisation, public companies, means the traditional underpinnings that created community, will never be there again. Unless its recreated somehow, but I don’t think it can be the same version it has been, historically. And that may be the path to the solidarity BON is talking about, not the backward looking but the evolving solidarity of survival in a world where you have been cut loose.

But you are very right. The desire to control the masses, the needs, will always be there. As the workers perhaps… maybe disengage, pull away from the consumerism, what tricks will be produced to haul them back? Or just replace them with new. But then you teeter on the problem that the ruling class now live in overcrowded shit holes. What gives?

Democracy will serve a very important role. There are those who want to be politicians. As Brexit has shown so magnificently, a quiet shift had been happening, where representatives had forgotten what it was really all about, and seemed to see themselves as… celebrities? With power? That they were entitled to be elected, rather than it being something earnt.
But if the workers/consumers can manipulate their ambition and force them back into their traditional role (and this is another thing – mass democracy is still so new… its just interesting how quickly they decided they didn’t want us to have it. Even amusing. Oops. Quick. Go back, go back. Ahhhh. Another interesting angle. The ruling classes showing another push back towards tradition. Get them back to serfdom. “We don’t like them voting in the odd nutty, lefty government.”) they might actually truly look at the elements of capitalism that are proving to be the most destructive.

A Game

30th September 2019 at 9:55 am

I’ll just add:
There is also I think, a massive determinate in play. Literally the land mass you sit on. What’s it got going for it? My country is very different from your country. That I think could either speed up or slow down how the capitalists try to push the proles around.


30th September 2019 at 12:32 am

If Brendan doesn’t have a problem with national flags, or nationalism in general, then he won’t object if I hoist a Sinn Fein flag over the Palace of Westminster.

L Strange

30th September 2019 at 1:07 am

The Sinn Fein flag isn’t a national flag, it’s the flag of a political party.

John Reic

30th September 2019 at 7:15 am

the Tricolor flies in Gerry adams office which is right next to parliaments enterance

John Reic

30th September 2019 at 9:59 am

In 1993 Migration staff deporting Joy Gardner taped her up, she suffocated to death Commissioner Paul Condon Called up Tottenham MP said he would get to the bottom of it can Grant go on TV ask for locals not To Riot
When Tommy Robinson was falsely imprisoned this time last year he lost 3 stone in weight he nearly died I know police chiefs were not only worried the EDL and the DLFA would have rioted if he’d died in prison police chiefs had Heard that Labour party members would have rioted had he died ,not only Blue labour, but Corbynites

Billy Bragg Emma Kennedy, Blairites and Ash Sarkar have all called for Brendan O’neill to be banned form TV after he said there should be riots if Brexit is stopped
Imagine if there’s riots who would the elite call to stop them, if they’ve banned Brendan O’neill from TV


30th September 2019 at 1:04 pm

You know what I mean.

Michael Taylor

30th September 2019 at 2:33 pm

Since Sinn Fein is a legal party, I’m sure he’d have no problem. The SDP, unlike all the other ‘liberal’ parties (ie, Conservative, Labour, LibDems) are in favour of free speech, even if you don’t like the speaker.

Meanwhile, the SDP conference probably contained more thought, more wisdom and more genuine enthusiasm than you’ll find at any other party conference right now.

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