Siol nan Gaidheal
Home Rule or Global Rule
The world as we draw in the dregs of the twentieth century is a complex and confusing place. The pace of technological change is increasing and few of us have the time and money to keep up with our constantly changing social and economic environment.
Traditional patterns of living and value systems which served humanity well and ensured our survival as a species over countless thousands of years of developmental progress are despised and ridiculed as being inadequate to meet the social challenges of the constantly volatile swirls of economic storm fronts generated by the spinning globe of corporate capitalism.
The twentieth century is often glorified as the era of the common man, a progressive timespan when liberal democracy, triumphed over the social dictatorships of fascist and communist totalitarianism. Yet, at the end of this turbulent century, are we not regressing to an older less democratic view of the role of the individual in society?
The previous (nineteenth) century was characterised by domestic service and the merciless working conditions in pit and mill. Unemployment was inevitable and pensions and medical treatment were non-existent. The free enterprise system was sovereign and welfare was considered an interference in the free flow of free trade market conditions.
Sounds familiar? The science fiction optimism of so many post-WWII atomic comics is turning into a 'war of the worlds' scenario where the "Time Machine" has taken us to a twenty first century where, in a neat reversal of the H. G. Wells story, a genetically enhanced "alien" leisure class metaphorically eats their workers.
Science Fiction? Sorry, social fact! Domestic service is now the "UK"'s largest growth industry with the amount spent on hired help quadrupling over the past ten years to £4.3 billion. Property developers are now adding "live-in staff" accommodation to private security, C.C. T.V. and razor-wired penthouse gates. The demand for domestic service among the monied middle and upper-middle classes is increasing with 2.1 million families employing staff of some kind. There is even a "Which" guide to domestic help.
Since the collapse of Cold War communism, laissez-faire capitalist ideology has triumphed with free movement of capital and labour, complete deregulation of all investment and all environmental and social controls, the permanent enthronement of deflationary (so-called sound money) financial policies. The deployment of the free market and free trade flexibility has significantly been accompanied by the dismantling of burdensome social welfare systems and the associated and largely imagined disincentive that high taxation regimes constitute.
Working people, by whom we mean every one of us who is reliant entirely upon the ability to sell his/her labour, have lost the war that the liberal capitalists have won. The corporate profits of the victorious financial interest continue to soar while the industrial infantry are cut down and downsized as the sacrificial casualties of a hypocritical system that offers only the free choice of mass unemployment and part-time, temporary wage slavery.
Culture seems to function correspondingly through a fundamental antagonism, through the clash and/or fusion of different traditions. Cultural struggle is based on competition and is in a state of permanent revolution.
Globalisation and the influence of multinational corporations have produced a model for people based on a form of cultural homogeneity. Yet it relies on economic inequality, social authoritarianism, the control discipline inherent in contractual employment or mass unemployment and worse, it promotes an ecological instability based on the destruction of the environment.
Cultural tension has shaped the politics and economics of the modern world. Mutual antagonism between nationalism and globalism is creating a complex matrix of struggle including seemingly separate battles between environmentalism and materialism, the rights of the individual and the collective, and capital and labour.
Increasingly the focal point of the dialectic of cultural antagonism at the beginning of the twenty first century is the battle between global business values and complete home rule with its emphasis on individual and collective economic security.
The ideal of home and heartland is fundamental to human life and culture. Home rule means security and independence. A home base is the necessary condition of the fraught adventure that is modern life. Nationalists instinctively realise this. Globalism despises the values of the "home" in its most organic, historic and ultimately cultural sense. Its adherents would gamble it out of existence for the price of a few pieces of silver.
Global business culture claims it is above freedom, that is economic freedom, giving management back the right to manage, shaking off the dead hand of the state, liberating the talents of the people, rolling back the frontiers of collectivism and trade union power. Yet in reality business ditches freedom and uses the weapons of order, discipline and control.
Business culture with its profit-centred heart is coldly formal. This new formality is part of the return to Victorian values that the business ethic so admires. Mind you, like the original, it is a hypocritical "do as I say, not as I do" philosophy. The global elite can do pretty much what they like, give or take a few cosmetic impediments. Social rules and regulations are for us lower orders only.
Crinolines and frock-coats are not yet compulsory office wear but much of the business lifestyle is pure Victoriana. Business culture is defined by rigid codes of behaviour, established performance targets and strict surveillance. Companies and public institutions have mission statements to define their role and staff are trained and re-trained to think in the right way, management consultants constantly restructure to create autonomous profit centres within organisations and any opposition ends up being downsized or re-engineered.
Business culture is inherently arrogant. As with Christian or Muslim fundamentalism, there is only one way of doing things and workers have to be drilled until they get on board the programme, and obediently throw themselves to destruction like the soldiers who slow-walked themselves towards the machine guns of the enemy lines on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
Business culture is greedy. Resources must be spent only on what is rarely adequate to do a short-term job.
Traditional methods of doing things are uneconomic. Business culture sees no reason why education should be an end in itself rather than simply a functional mechanism for providing business with plentiful and adequately docile supplies of labour.
Business culture is reckless. Paying no heed to the contradictions between the individual as a consumer with unlimited choice and who as a customer is always right, and the individual as producer, the seller of his/her own labour or product who is subject to ever more stringent control.
The typical corporate businessman wants his own workforce to be cowed down by de-unionisation, labour market flexibility and the threat of the sack, but wants the workforce of every other business to spend until it drops, taking advantage of financial deregulation to borrow themselves over the credit hilt. Small wonder such contradictions have created an age of insecurity and anxiety for the mass of the population.
The Home Ruler fights for a home base which provides meaningful employment, steady income, decent housing, healthy living and welfare for those in need. Home is the platform for the exploration of both the inner and outer "social space". It is the place we return to, to recover, relax and refresh ourselves to take on anew the struggle that is our societal condition.
Scotland is such a home, a homeland from which we can build within autonomous parameters the foundations of a new, better, more creative and progressive world. Radical nationalists should take up the ideology of the home ruler and challenge the siren values of globalisation. Our struggle, the historical role of Siol nan Gaidheal is, as it were, to dispute utilitarian orthodoxies, saving the future for us not as mere economic and materialist cogs but as culturally centred constituents of the human race.
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