In the film “Malcolm X” the great leader was asked by a young blonde haired girl what she, as a white person, could do for the black cause. Malcolm gave her a one word reply, “nothing.” Malcolm X came to bitterly regret this comment in later life, realising that there were many sincere white people dedicated to his cause.
Many working class people like Jarvis Cocker also fall into this trap, telling the middle classes that they will never understand what it means to be working class. This approach is very short sighted of Jarvis. There are many utterly sincere middle class people out there dedicated to the cause of making life better for the working classes. The champion of these unsung middle class heroes is undoubtedly the young prophet – Owen Jones.
Owen was raised in rural Cheshire, the son of a University professor and a civil servant. He went to school in the middle class, mono-cultural Cheshire town of Bramhall, in the heart of George Osborne’s constituency.
But despite such a pampered middle class upbringing in the idyllic surroundings of Tory middle England Owen has become one of our own, being voted left wing journalist of the year for his commitment to the working class cause.
Owen catapulted to fame and fortune after writing the book “Chavs – the demonisation of the working class.” He is the champion of that old adage, “working class and proud of it,” pointing out in his book “Chavs” that in Tory Britain, “the working classes have come to be seen as something to escape from.” And Owen is absolutely right – we working class people are sick and tired of being told we should be chasing the American Dream. Why should we be aspirational? Almost uniquely amongst social commentators Owen Jones understands that working class people don’t want to better themselves through education – they want to take pride in the fact that, in the race of life, they’ve come up short.
The breadth of Owen Jones’s understanding of social and international issues is nothing short of astounding.
I watched him on Question Time recently where he pointed out that Israel is to blame for the current conflict with Gaza and its elected government, Hamas. Hamas had, according to Owen, been demonised. All Hamas want, explained Owen, is to live in peace with Israel – as can be seen from article 7 of the 1988 Hamas Charter: “Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”
As Owen pointed out, some fascist Tory cynics and Zionist apologists might try and misinterpret article 7 as being in some way aggressive, and then bleat on about how Israel has been attacked by its neighbours in 1948, 1967 and1973. But the indisputable fact remains that Israel ‘s bombing campaign against Gaza has no justification whatsoever. It is an act of aggression which Israel seeks to justify by pointing out that it was in response to Hamas firing 2,700 rockets from within Gaza at Israeli schools and hospitals. But what do you expect when article 7 of the Hamas Charter makes it mandatory for them to kill the Jews? They don’t have a land army. They can’t invade Israel. The only way they can fulfill the requirements of article 7 and kill the Jews is to fire rockets at them.
Barack Obama might have said: “If somebody was sending rockets into my house, where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that, and I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.” But he is wrong and Owen is right to condemn Israel’s military response to Hamas firing 2,700 rockets at Israel as an act of naked Zionist aggression.
Owen also spoke out on Question Time about an Israeli Interior Minister talking about sending Gaza back to the middle ages. Even the most blinded Zionist couldn’t claim that as a desire for a secure and lasting peace on Israel’s part. These are the words of Nazis (as Article 20 of the Hamas Charter makes clear, “the Nazism of the Jews does not skip women and children, it scares everyone.”)
Compare that to the more restrained plea for peace and a lasting settlement made on August 10, 2012, by Ahmad Bahr, Deputy Speaker of the Hamas Parliament, who stated in a sermon which aired on Al-Aqsa TV that:
“If the enemy sets foot on a single square inch of Islamic land, Jihad becomes an individual duty, incumbent on every Muslim, male or female. A woman may set out [on Jihad] without her husband’s permission, and a servant without his master’s permission. Why? In order to annihilate those Jews…Oh Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, destroy the Americans and their supporters. Oh Allah, count them one by one, and kill them all, without leaving a single one.”
Like Hamas, Owen Jones also wants a just settlement to bring peace to Arabs and Jews in the region. Hamas have set out their plan for a just settlement in Article 28 of the Hamas Charter, “Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.”
So Owen Jones, prophet and genious, has sorted the middle east problem in a 2 minute cameo on Question Time.
To bring about a lasting peace and just settlement Israel must end the siege of Gaza; abolish illegal settlements; end their brutal occupation of Palestine and stop retaliating against Hamas rocket attacks. Hamas, on the other hand, must fight the Jews and kill them and destroy the Americans and their allies, killing them all without leaving a single one.
Owen cannot be faulted. Once Hamas has killed all the Jews, the Americans and their allies the middle east problem will be solved.
One obstacle would remain, however, and one which is often overlooked – The Rotary Club. Article 17 of the Hamas Charter states that “Muslims must fulfil their duty and wipe out the Rotary Club because it is the enemy of humanity and Islam.” You wouldn’t catch Owen Jones applying to be a Rotarian!
But it’s not just Hamas that Owen sticks up for. He is also concerned that working class people spend more time on the toilet – and he’s not talking about the public conveniences on Hampstead Heath – he means, of course, proper toilet breaks for working people. In an article in the Independent he told the heart-rending story of call centre workers who are limited to only four minutes for a toilet break. That is surely a breach of the Human Rights Act? As Owen points out, it’s barely enough time to read The Sun.
Owen might have sorted out those two great burning issues of the day (the Middle East conflict and proper toilet breaks for call centre workers) but his main campaign has always been against the demonisation of those on benefits.
The fascist Tory government has introduced a “Mandatory Work Programme” where unemployed people have to do unpaid work in exchange for their benefits. This inhuman workfare programme requires me, in return for my basic safety net of benefits (jobseekers allowance; housing benefit; free bus travel; Christmas bonus benefit; free prescriptions; pension credit; free legal aid; child benefit; crisis loans; budgeting loans; community care grants; council tax benefit; cold weather payments; warm home discount scheme benefits; free dental care; free school meals, etc, etc, etc,) to do up to 35 hours a week of unpaid work at Tesco. Is this fair I ask you? Not according to Owen Jones. He sees it as nothing short of slave labour and yet another example of the demonisation of the working class.
I bumped into Owen in McDonalds last week and he explained to me how this demonisation worked.
“Take that incident with AC Milan last week,” he said, “when the whole football team walked off the pitch because the opposition fans were chanting racist abuse at their black players.”
“But don’t you think they were right to do that?” I asked.
“Absolutely,” he replied, “racism is abhorrent, but do you know why the press decided to give the incident massive media exposure?”
“No,” I was forced to admit.
“Because it happened at a football game,” he explained, “a working class sport. How come you never read about racist chanting at middle class sporting venues like Twickenham, Wimbledon or Lords? Because the press ignore it, that’s why. It doesn’t fit in with their campaign to demonise the working classes.”
“So how are you going to stop this demonisation?” I asked him.
“I will not rest,” Owen replied, “until working class pride is restored. Until we have built a society where people can take pride in living off benefits or working for the minimum wage and middle class traits like education, ambition and the Rotary Club are demonised.