Archives for posts with tag: anti-capitalism


Capitalism presents us with a world largely stripped of playfulness and spontaneity because these are the human characteristics most deeply threatening to a society that functions upon principles of “absolute predictability and remote control from the centre” (Mumford). To the architects of a production rather than a demand based economy, the very idea that the people should be free to do as they please, to act in random or unexpected ways, is a terrifying concept – for what if the people were to suddenly lurch sideways into a spontaneous samba renaissance whilst they were supposed to be buying microwaves? What if they were to lose interest in upgrading their games consoles and their home cinema systems and started playing dominoes with their neighbours instead? To the greed driven capitalist psyche, the concepts of unhindered cultural development and genuine freedom of choice are abominations of free will. If the people stopped buying what they were told to buy, if they demonstrated genuine variety and individuality in their tastes and their interests, the financial markets of the world would quickly collapse under the destructive weight of a super-abundance of worthless and unwanted consumer goods. Thus, the entire capitalist racket hinges upon the coercive principle that the people must be made to behave in as predictable and obedient a fashion as possible at all times.

It is a depressing realisation that any society in which millions of people are centrally governed by a small capitalist elite must by its very nature, work upon principles of generality and mass appeal; the variations and deviations of the individual, be they brilliant or sublime, have no place in a system founded upon principles of servile predictability and enforced order. Thus, encoded into the very fabric of mass governance and control is the guiding principle of absolute banality. It is this increasingly bland and mechanistic model of society, with its flick switch predictability and its blind obedience to a centrally planned, profit driven culture that marks the true cost of contemporary consumerism upon the soul of man.

The teenager, beaming at his new mobile phone as he dies of boredom in a classroom, is not a teenager fulfilled by the wonders of the world before him or the opportunities for play that the world presents. The triple headed suction valve of the housewives new vacuum cleaner is, no doubt, an impressive technological feat, but after the smell of new plastic has worn off, the drudgery of her housework remains stubbornly intact. The joys mankind is afforded within the disabling limitations of an enforced mediocrity are scarcely joyful at all. For with every purchase of the latest gadget, with every music trend that is reverently followed, with every diet fad that comes and goes, humanity affirms the burial of its own creative principles.

The “freedom” to choose between a blue sweater and a red sweater cannot, in any meaningful sense of the word, be considered a freedom… and there can be no such thing as a moderately free society because freedom exists only as an absolute. It therefore follows that the freedoms we are presented with as consumers of the capitalist programme are not freedoms at all, but false freedoms… and what are false freedoms, if not systems of control and limitation – the prefabricated “spontaneities” of a system that fears the genuine intellectual and artistic play of its people. For in the free play of the mind exist the seeds of revolution.


1. Politicians stockpile nuclear weapons… monkeys don’t.

2. Monkeys masturbate in public… and will unashamedly shag anything that moves – with monkeys, what you see is what you get. Politicians on the other hand spend half of their lives indulging the lecherous and debauched fantasies their new found power gives them access to… and the other half trying to convince the voting public that they’re paragons of clean living “traditional family values”.

3. Monkeys live a sustainable lifestyle in rainforests and jungles, completely in harmony with their natural environment. Politicians tend to live in mansions… and happily allow rainforests and jungles to be ripped from the face of the earth whilst they dedicate their entire political energy into staying in power for a second term.

4. Politicians take bribes, and do favours for their multi-millionaire friends, and use off-shore tax havens – monkeys on the other hand never even bothered to learn the concept of money (it seemed rather dull and boring… and they were too busy eating bananas and shagging in the tree tops).

5. Monkeys are cute, and lithe, and agile, and graceful. Politicians are paunchy and bloated and generally resemble closet alcoholics with a weakness for KFC.

6. Politicians spend most of their time making shady backroom deals with dodgy corporations and psychotic dictators. Monkey’s don’t give a fuck about dodgy corporations and psychotic dictators (because they’re too busy eating bananas and shagging in the treetops).

7. Monkeys are illiterate and have low IQs, and don’t care who knows it – politicians spend their entire overly privileged childhoods surrounded by private tutors and enrolled at uber-expensive educational establishments to cover up this very same fact.

8. Human beings have the terrifying DNA capacity to create genetic abominations like Michael Gove – monkeys don’t.

9. Politicians write painfully self gratifying memoirs in multi-million pound book deals as part of their retirement plans. Monkey’s don’t care about retirement plans or lying about stuff to be remembered better (because they’re too busy eating bananas and shagging in the treetops).

10. Monkeys have retained the “Common touch” and will happily pass the time of day with any other member of their community. Politicians stay at the world’s most exclusive hotels, eat in the world’s finest restaurants and get chauffeured around the world’s capital cities in Limousines and Rolls Royce’s… they too claim to have the common touch – and pay public relations gurus vast sums of money to prove it.


So it’s the morning after a quiet night in with The Big Lebowski, and I’m firing up the laptop to hunt down a Creedence playlist on youtube when my stupid touchpad sticks and I find myself staring at Google’s hilariously earnest “mission statement!” Before I give you the quotes in question, just remember that to enjoy the full effect it’s important that you remove any trace of irony from your reading voice and serve up the lines like they belong to one of those 2am infomercials for vegetable dicers – a sort of manic self-confidence tempered with the zealous dogmatism of a cult leader:

Google’s mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Google’s Mission? Why are they even on a mission in the first place? It makes them sound like they’re about to head off into the wilderness with a suitcase full of bibles… and forgive my ignorance but I always labored under the false assumption that companies existed to make profits for the shareholders. Still, it’s nice to know that at least one of the world’s transnational’s is a non-profit organization working selflessly for the betterment of mankind. Oh, hang on a minute…

#1: Focus on the user and all else will follow.

“If you book them, they will come…” and I love the fact that we’re all known as “users” like some sort of squalid Junkies shooting up Google in a basement somewhere! And what the b’jesus do they mean by “all else” exactly? Could they possibly be referring to profits, growth and market domination perhaps? What happened to all that grandiose philanthropy they opened up with?!

Since the beginning, we’ve focused on providing the best user experience possible. Whether we’re designing a new Internet browser or a new tweak to the look of the homepage, we take great care to ensure that they will ultimately serve you, rather than our own internal goal or bottom line.

“Since THE BEGINNING!!!” What’s with this whole pseudo biblical thing, man? The beginning of what exactly? Time? Space? Creation? Still, at least they admit that they do in fact have an “internal goal…” and a “bottom line”… if only we had some idea what that “Internal goal” might actually be? And who exactly is this “you” that Google so adamantly claim to be serving? In my head, the “you” in question is someone young and pretty and dim and white and affluent… call me cynical but it really doesn’t feel as though they’re talking to a Somalian kid at an internet café in Darfur or an Afghan housewife… funny that.

Semantic nit-picking aside though, there really is something fishy about all of this corporate PR flim flam. The idea that Google are seriously interested in spreading Information in a universally accessible and useful format seriously starts to creak the second you type your very first letter into the Google search bar and check out the autocomplete predictions it throws up.

Here in the UK, if you type in the letter “a” for example, Google’s only suggestions are “Amazon, Argos, Asda and Autotrader”. Four gigantic multi million pound companies! No mention whatsoever of “Africa” or “Asia” or “Apples” or “Anteaters”. A nice smooth ride for anybody wanting to part with a few of their hard earned pennies of course… but doesn’t it feel more like some sort of product placement racket than a genuine attempt to serve the world its collective stockpile of knowledge and wisdom? If Google are serious about wanting to organise the world’s information, then the autocomplete function offers us a disturbing window into the corporation’s views of what we do and don’t need to know about.

At first I thought maybe I was doing Google a disservice – it’s all just algorithms right? Perhaps the people of Britain really are more interested in cars than in continents… but would the failing chain of camera shops “Jessops” really get more hits than “Jesus”? And is it really possible that “American Express” and “American Apparel” (two more corporate giants) get autosuggested before America itself? I begin to wonder if Google use shorter spikes in phrase popularity to generate their suggestions and (repressing a shiver) start to type out the letters for “Kate Middleton” – whose current pregnancy seems to have left a depressingly large slice of the nation drooling in bovine excitement – but the first “K” I come across is “KFC”! As the hunt for an unpolluted and meaningful autosuggest list continues I feel myself getting increasingly frustrated. It’s as though I’ve just opened up the world’s biggest encyclopaedia only to discover that it’s filled with nothing but adverts for hairdryers and slimming pills.

Perplexed, I dig around for a while and find myself reading an article aptly entitled “How Google Instant’s Autocomplete Suggestions work”. The following quote in particular catches my attention:

How are the suggestions shown ranked? Are the more popular searches listed above others? No.

Popularity is a factor, but some less popular searches might be shown above more popular ones, if Google deems them more relevant, the company says.

So there we are then! Problem solved. It really is just a question of what Google does and doesn’t deem relevant! As a cold sweat brakes out on my brow, I quickly head back to Google’s homepage to find out whether or not information on marginal little issues like “poverty” might be deemed in anyway “useful” to the world’s online population… only to find myself staring at “adverts” for “paypal” and fucking “poundland!” If you take the time to try it out for yourself, you’ll find that this catalogue of horrors and atrocities to the organisation of the world’s information goes on pretty much indefinitely. In Google’s fucked up consumer culture view of the world, “Famine” is less relevant than “Facebook”, “Family Guy” or “First Choice Holidays” (perhaps they’d argue that there are over a billion active facebook accounts and only a billion hungry people in the world?), “Genocide” is less relevant than Asda’s supermarket clothing line “George”, and “domestic violence” is something you might want to worry about after you’ve bought yourself a pizza from “Domino’s” or browsed the “Debenhams” website for a new blender or a fucking lampshade.

And if you were hoping that Google might use their monumental sway to quietly guide people towards good causes like Oxfam – rather than away from them, into the grey wilderness of mindless over consumption, you’d be disappointed to discover that the suggestions for “o” neglect to include a charity that helps 15 million of the world’s most criminally impoverished human beings a year… in favour of the cinema chain “Odeon” and the telecommunication giants “O2” and “Orange”. For an organisation that claims its informal corporate motto to read “don’t be evil”, I can’t help thinking that Google have got a hell of a lot of work to do. As things stand at present, the phrase “callously indifferent” seems more appropriate… and no amount of corporate responsibility posturing or pseudo-minimalist web design can hide the fact that if they really did give a shit about the stuff that matters, Google’s “universally accessible” and “useful” catalogue of the world’s information would be organised in a damned sight more compassionate and socially conscientious manner than it is right now.

“There is no greater illusion than fear” Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching – Chapter 46)

As with most proverbs, “it takes a village to raise a child” was probably something of a truism at one time or another in the history of human “development”. Indeed, just repeating the phrase brings to mind sepia tinted images of apple-cheeked peasants passing around children like so many bags of potatoes; dandling them on sturdy knees in village squares; clipping them round the ear for stealing cider from the pantry. Today of course, things are different, and as we’re shuttled back and forth in our drab little space pods – soulless commuter belt to sterile grey office, sterile grey office to soulless commuter belt (perhaps, if we’re really lucky, the palliative misery of a designated “consumer experience” in a prefab leisure park) there is no village anymore – even in the “city neighbourhood” sense of the word – and the concept of a communal “child of the village” was buried under the same shopping centre car park as the village itself.

Try speaking to a random 5 year old from the end of your street in a lot of urban environments and you’re likely to end up being chased around the estate by a gang of pitch-fork wielding Sun readers who won’t consider themselves to have performed their civic duty until they’ve bounced your head off the nearest pavement and mailed your severed balls to a testing laboratory in Sweden. Maybe not, maybe that’s too much of an exaggeration… but the fear is real. And it’s the same fear that a man feels when he accidently finds himself walking in the same direction as a lone female on an empty street and his heart sinks into his boots when he sees her make the same turn he’s about to make himself:

“Shit! Maybe I should speed up and overtake her so she knows I’m not a weirdo? But If I speed up she’ll think I’m trying to grab her or something… no don’t cross the street there, that’s where I need to cross the street… bollocks… maybe I should just shout something out to reassure her… but that would look well dodgy… Fuck! She keeps glancing over her shoulder? Maybe I should just turn around and find another route… but then I’m likely to get reported to the cops for being some sort of stalker… man, I’m gonna end up on Crimewatch or something… Wait a minute… I’ve got it! I’ll pretend I need to tie my shoelaces until she’s gone.”

Can there be anything as damned depressing and isolating as living in the grips of such a pandemic of social paranoia?

And yet this is where we find ourselves, bolted into the confines of a Fritz Lang nightmare – trapped by the geographical inhumanity of the modern city; ever more fragmented by the continual division of space, time, labour, leisure, race and “community”; driven into our own personal wildernesses of alienation and social-disconnect by a capital driven system that places production and consumption before the wellbeing of its own species! Here we are, terrified of our own shadows lest they tie us to a chair and pull out our toenails; the age of omniscient danger, the age of heightened surveillance, the age of magnified fear… and distrust… and intolerance. Clinging to whatever limited forms of familiarity and safety we can find. Panicked into submission by a horror of “the Other” and compliant to the whims and dictates of anything that promises to make it all go away. It’s the same old Hell and redemption racket we’ve always been sold, only this time it invades our living rooms and our earphones, every waking minute of our media augmented reality. This it seems, is where the fantasies of the industrial and technological ages have finally landed us – a naturally sociable and playful mammal (the greatest communicative force in the known universe no less) trapped in a perverse dystopian farce whereby the second we step out of the hermetically sealed safety of our immediate circle, everyone we walk past in the street, or sit next to on a bus, or queue behind in the supermarket, is quite literally (in a manner that would have been utterly incomprehensible to previous generations) a complete and total stranger.


Stranger danger.

“Don’t talk to strangers”

“I don’t know what it is but there’s something very strange about Frank”

“It’s not that we don’t like him dear, it’s just that he’s a bit… y’know… strange…”

Stranger. The very word is loaded with such negative connotations that random man X and random woman Y quickly cease to be neutral unknown quantities in the eye of the scared and alienated observer and morph into a strange amalgam of Jungian archetype, and media fuelled hate figure. The orthodox Muslim with the flowing robes and long black beard could only be a terrorist. The teenager with his hand in his pocket is probably concealing a razor blade. That man over there by the coffee stall has brown skin – very suspicious – better look away quickly. The two ladies with the short skirts, they look Polish. I bet they work in the sex industry. I wonder if they smoke crack? That old lady with the ancient shopping bags and the old world shawl – ten to one she pisses herself, better not get too close, a question of hygiene. Look! The big guy in the overalls who’s dragging his leg! Fuck! Hide the kids! he’ll kill the lot of us! And what about the wino at the bus stop – should I run in terror before he starts breathing his alcohol fumes in my face and babbling about Jesus like the maniac I’ve already written him off as, or should I treat him with the condescension of charity and assume that his addiction requires the infantilism of a clean living citizen such as myself? That way, when he tells me to fuck off… I can shake all over with moral indignation and call the cops because he’s causing a scene. A good citizen. A dutiful citizen. Protecting the world from strangers.


Stranger danger.

Don’t talk to strangers…

…until your world is so fucking narrow that you’re crawling along the length of it like a rat in a drainpipe. Don’t talk to strangers, watch TV instead – it’s safer that way. Don’t look at that beautiful girl with the innocent smile and the honey coloured hair, her boyfriend might stick you with a knife – re-edit the banality of your own existence on facebook instead, it’s safer that way. Don’t go outside, there are homosexuals there, and teenagers, and immigrants, and people that talk to children they don’t know, and all sorts of dangerous strangers – stay in your house and play those little games on your mobile phone until it’s time to go to bed. Seriously, it’s safer that way. Being human is dangerous. Turn yourself off. Turn yourself into a robot. Turn yourself into a square of fucking carpet and lay low for a while. Shoot yourself in the back of the head so that you can resist the temptation to go outside forever. Stay safe.

Forget about freedom, forget about spontaneity, forget about playfulness and creativity and the bird-twittering joy of human contact, just keep your head down and buy more stuff. After all, this is the age of Capitalism, it’s your civic duty to buy more stuff. The economy depends upon it. If you stop buying more stuff the wheels will fall off. Forget about human contact. Focus on consumer goods – bright and shiny bits of plastic, the soothing fishbowl glow of a blue screen; safe and dead and passive. And if you feel bored or lonely, or you’re not quite sure what it is you feel anymore, or maybe you gave up even trying to feel anything a long time ago, then just buy even more stuff… and keep buying it… until you’ve got enough electronic gadgets and gizmos to pacify your consciousness on a more or less permanent basis … or go to the cinema to take your mind off it… but don’t forget to buy the dustbin full of popcorn and the giant tub of coke…it’s your duty… and don’t sit next to anyone if you can help it, they might try and touch you up in the dark… and don’t talk to anyone about how shit you thought the film was on the way out of the theatre in case they turn out to be a bit of a psycho or they’re related to the director… and for god sake don’t get a taxi back home, the drivers are usually foreigners, and what they do is, they drive you out of town to a bit of waste-land and then they execute you like at the end of Kafka’s The Trial so they can steal your wallet and mail your shoes to their relatives over-seas… and don’t get the bus because for some reason the bus is always full of angry drunk white-trash coming back from a night out… make sure you get a friend to drive you home… and if you don’t have any friends left you’ll have to skip the beer and drive yourself… but don’t forget to lock your doors because you go through some pretty dodgy neighbourhoods to get back home… and someone might try to jack the car… and make sure you’ve got your keys ready before you get to the door because of the rapists… and if you make it home, congratulations… you can now go on facebook and tell everyone what a marvelous time you’ve been having, happy in the knowledge that your life is so rich and full with the cacophony of human experience.

I thought I’d set the tone by publishing a divorce letter I wrote to Tesco a few years back when I’d just come out of hospital after knee surgery… and was stuck in an armchair for seven weeks with a stash of anti-capitalism books and the complete “Monkey” DVD boxset. Good times!

Dear Tesco,

Please find enclosed the shredded and charred remains of my Tesco clubcard personal-surveillance device, which I return in its present condition as a symbolic gesture of the utter contempt in which I hold your odious corporation. I am writing this letter to demand that my name and personal details, underwear measurements and grocery preferences, along with any other purchase related data I may have generated, be erased in its entirety from your Stasi-like web of databases and index systems… and if that means altering sixteen thousand pie charts by a millionth of a percent then so be it. It’s my data, and I want it back. I make this demand on the grounds that I have decided (belatedly I admit) to cease frequenting your stores on a permanent basis, and as is the case in all such divorces, it has come to the point where by the parties in question must crouch over the carcass of their relationship and take what is theirs. I also see this letter as an opportunity to get off my chest some of the Tesco-related moral outrage and pent up frustration it never seemed fair to call forth upon an innocent checkout worker desperately trying to earn a living on the insultingly low wages you callously insist upon palming people off with.

That’s right Tesco, I have finally gained enough of a sense of my own humanity to opt out of your globally destructive suicide mission for good. I am ready at last to turn my back on your in-store psychological blanket bombing and your multi-million pound ad campaigns and walk away. I have clambered off the treadmill of mindless over-consumption upon which you placed me as a child and cast your two-for-one offers, your piss poor self-service checkout systems and your eerie lack of shopping baskets into the giant wheelie bin of disgruntled customer oblivion. Never again will I find myself crippled by the sheer banality of my own indecision as I stand alienated and dehumanised before a 50ft wall of assorted male grooming products, slowly dying inside, at 7.45 on a grey Tuesday evening. Nor will I have to endure again those endless hours of catatonic drift past mile upon mile of tasteless pre-fabricated junk food… air fresheners that will pointlessly vary the chemical stench of your home on a 20 minute basis… gleaming mountains of status boosting electrical goods with a built in obsolescence that will barely see you across the car park… schizophrenic stockpiles of slimming aids and cream cakes, health supplements and cigarettes… the vacant expressions of former human beings pushing their weekly piles off hollow dreams towards the flashing light and automated voice recording that used to be a person…

It feels good to be rid of you Tesco – liberating and life affirming, like waving goodbye to a tumour or a crack addiction. And of course, none of the above are even amongst the more important reasons for giving up the cankerous blight of your free market imperialism. Far more rewarding indeed is the knowledge that I will no longer have to worry about blinding a 12 year old girl in a Bangladesh sweatshop when I place a pair of socks on a checkout conveyor belt, or stop up my ears against the uneasy babbling of my own conscience as I knowingly toss two pence (seriously. Two pence) at the blistered feet of a half-starved plantation worker in the developing world for a £1 bunch of bananas – my tacit contribution to Tesco’s global dragnet of child labour and worker exploitation, has finally come to an end. Gone too are the days in which every grocery purchase I make hammers one more nail into the coffin lid of another local business; where every penny I spend is instantly sucked out of community circulation into some distant capitalist tax haven, further impoverishing the already vague and atomised sprawl of my local neighbourhood. While we’re on the subject of money, is it really true that your chief executive takes home an astonishing four million plus a year in pay and bonuses? And what, might I ask, are those bonuses for exactly? Certainly not putting the health and happiness of some of the world’s most vulnerable people before the avaricious profit requirements of fat-arsed, jag-driving city banker types… or providing a decent supply of shopping baskets for that rare breed of shopper who doesn’t intend to cart home three times his own bodyweight in freezer foods every week. Unless of course you want to try and convince me that people on the other side of the world enjoy working 80 hour weeks, and that they do so out of an inordinate love for repetitive manual labour rather than any grim financial necessity?

Any corporation that can so brutally dismantle the economic infrastructure and cultural diversity of its host environments in favour of the bland and homogenised dystopian blueprint Tesco seems to favour, isn’t just a little bit naughty in any loveable rogue “business is business” sense of the word, but fundamentally and irreversibly Evil. Even a five year old child, once presented with the facts, would come to the obvious conclusion that it simply isn’t possible to commit such an abominable catalogue of crimes against the basic principle of universal human compassion by accident. And that, in the proverbial nutshell, is the heart of the problem – your entire business model hinges upon your ability to discreetly ravage the collectively torn sphincter of the world whilst smiling at the people like some sort of saintly and benevolent service provider. I see you in my dreams Tesco. Or should that be nightmares? You are a bloated and repugnant lounge lizard, stalking the nightclub of life with an etherised hanky and a stash of Rohipnol. You have paid off the doorman, and the police officers, and the magistrates of the land, and the only thing that stands between yourself and your victims, is their ability to stay clear of your dubious charms and your spiked free drinks. Behind the grease paint façade of “consumer choice” and the “feel good shopping experience” is a cold and ruthless machinery of exploitation so criminally adept at hiding all the nastiness it gets up to behind closed doors that the average consumer is too busy cod-eyeing a pile of mobile phones or looking for a bloody shopping basket to even notice. I suppose that’s how supermarkets, in their ecological wisdom, can get away with flogging locally produced “five mile and closer” vegetables that they’ve flown to Poland and back to get washed and packaged on the cheap by underpaid Eastern European workers (you couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried!).

Think about it Tesco, in previous generations the only people who showed any interest in wrestling control of the food supply and managing society’s access to basic human provisions were despots and dictators. As Lewis Mumford points out in “The Myth Of The Machine”, wherever traditional agrarian cultures have given way to urbanisation, “the political agents that collected and distributed the grain could control the entire population” It really is the oldest racket in the book; and one that you have obviously done very well out of over the years. When you see the population, week in, week out, crawling around your stores in supplicant obedience to the power and pull of your overwhelming control of the market, it must make you very proud of yourself. Of course, once upon a time, the idea of creating a world that could be governed entirely in accordance with your own capricious and self serving desires was reserved for the likes of a Caesar or a Napoleon – rather than a boardroom full of flabby middle-aged executives. Perhaps you’ve simply forgotten that you’re supposed to be a supermarket (that humble place where people buy tins of pilchards and rice pudding), rather than an axis power? Let me clarify something for you from a slightly more human perspective; if it really is true that one in eight pounds in the UK is spent in your stores, that doesn’t mean that there are seven more pounds to “go after” as your head honcho once famously suggested; what it actually means is that you need to stop being such greedy monopolistic bastards and give us our money back before we start getting ideas about descending upon your stores in an altogether different mood and expropriating some of those millions of hours of hard earned wages you have taken from us.

It is for these reasons (and many more along similar lines) that I refuse to help sponsor your international campaign of worker misery and cultural degradation any longer. Since finally leaving behind our abusive relationship I now enjoy the incomparable pleasure of shopping at a pair of family run local grocery stores, and even if they do only provide me with a shockingly poor selection of 6 breakfast cereals combined (how will I ever manage?) the hardships I endure as a choice-less consumer are more than recompensed by the warm and fuzzy feelings that spontaneously well-up inside me when I am recognised with a smile, talked to like an old friend and treated with patience, sincerity and kindness. Not possessing a soul yourself, I imagine this particular argument is hard to comprehend so I’ll move on to something more concrete.

Much to my surprise – thanks largely I suppose to your endless barrage of perception bending media – I soon realised that my non-Tesco shopping bill is between 10 and 20 percent cheaper every single week! Even with the far tighter profit margins smaller shops must surely have to contend with! 20 percent! And before you get the wrong impression, this figure does not include the bloated cost of all those chemical convenience foods and other toxic perishables I would have been tempted into buying from your stores – it comes from running my current grocery receipts through your crappy website delivery service for a direct comparison. It seems that somebody’s price fixing policy – sorry, price flexing policy – has been ripping people off more than they might have imagined: just one more example of your Evil master plan at work I suppose. One thing I really would like to know is what will happen to your pricing policies once you really have killed off all of the competition? Will you stick to your immensely condescending “every little helps” marketing slogan or go for something more honest, “pay or die – there is no alternative” perhaps? I suppose, if you’re the only store left, there will be no need for you to assault our senses with your shinny happy advertising campaigns at all? Every cloud has its silver lining as they say.

More than a hundred years ago, in his seminal text “The Conquest of Bread”, Peter Kropotkin passionately argued that if the people were ever to free themselves from their social and economic enslavement, it was imperative that they fought to once again control the destiny of their own food supply – that the parasites and the exploiters, the merchants and the middlemen that stand between a population and their “bread” (this is you of course), needed to be permanently cast aside in the name of justice and equality. I want you to know therefore, that as I cultivate the scrap of land that my suburban existence and the horrors of private property afford me, I do so as an act of open defiance: I refuse to deplete the worlds dwindling supply of natural resources pointlessly shunting about potatoes that could happily generate themselves in half a dozen sacks in the corner of a patio. I refuse to swell the profits of greed driven corporate shareholders buying farcically priced strawberries that would just as well grow in a row of old plant pots. I refuse the inherent perversity of complacently sanctioning the payment of slave wages – silently endured by millions of agrarian labourers around the world – when a little care and attention, a little sweat and elbow grease can bring forth a myriad of home-grown organic vegetables of a quality and freshness the cryogenic produce departments of your over-lit stores could never even dream of.

And if all my words and actions be written off as the inconsequential ravings and futile gestures of just another angry lefty (as doubtless they will) at least I can take solace in the happy realisation that I am but one of an ever growing number of ordinary people who have knowingly rejected participation in your sordid bid for world domination; that I can go to bed at night with something approaching a clear conscience, and the quiet hope that I may be but the first of many to “burn and return” my Tesco clubcard to HQ. I also hope, in a more poetic sense of the word, that I live long enough to enjoy the priceless spectacle of your Empire of exploitation crumbling beneath the boots of a galvanised proletariat who, having awoken from the media induced slumber of the last century, burn their TV’s in ceremonious piles on the corner of every street and arm in arm, reconnecting in a disconnected world, make a stand for what is right against the wrongs of the capitalist system you so perfectly embody.

If of course, after removing my data from your records, you find yourself unable to comply with my more general wishes by ceasing to exist (an evolutionary certainty of your unsustainable business model at any rate) please at least consider finally relinquishing your painfully dreadful blue-and-white-striped corporate branding. It’s hideously ugly, overwhelmingly tacky, and makes me want to vomit on sight.

Yours faithfully

Steven Pepper

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