Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Louise Mensch Beverage Scale of Permitted Capitalist Criticism

Following Louise Mensch's remarkable revelation of a new form of critique of political economy on Friday

I have reflected on this remarkable insight. If she's right, then whilst the liberal left are 'swooning at her brio' we're missing valuable research time. As Marxists we are bound by our own credo to rigorous materialist analysis, and beverage consumption is such an obviously materialist habit that it deserves close attention. Let's elaborate this remarkable theory, I thought to myself in my secret underground Marxist lab at Proletarian Towers. And to that end, I have devised the 'Louise Mensch Beverage Scale of Permitted Capitalist Criticism' heretoforeafter referred to as the Mensch Scale.

The Mensch scale is a comparison scale between 0 and 4, where a level 4 subject is permitted full criticism of capitalism up to and including promoting anarcho-syndicalism as an alternative means of the self-reproduction of society, and level 0 represents someone whose consumption of beverages enmeshed in the capitalist system of production should just keep their fucking mouths shut, the ingrate serf scum.

Like the Beaufort Scale, we must have examples so that if we are in conversation with someone we know exactly the point at which any criticisms of the capitalist system or any of its constituent parts goes beyond the permitted maximum. As soon as this point is reached, the correct response is to raise your hand firmly and instruct the vagabond to halt their discourse. 'Cease your mimsy prattle, fool,' instruct the presumptuous ignoramus, 'for the way in which liquids that trickle through your digestive tract AS YOU PRESUME TO PEDDLE YOUR CRITICAL MIND-TURNIPS THIS DAY were produced preclude your being given an attentive ear.'


As an alternative, you may use the classic 'T' symbol beloved of basketball sportspersons to indicate a 'time out'. In our case of course, the 'T' will stand for actual tea.

Enough elucidation - I realise that you must be gagging to classify yourself, family and friends!

Level 4
Permitted criticism of capitalism = Total. Academies, Goldman-Sachs, concentration of capital, etc.
To achieve level 4, you must drink untreated mineral water collected yourself from a babbling mountain brook near your hermitage. Of course, you must not boil the water before drinking it, unless you mine the metal to create a kettle yourself. Purchasing so much as a camping kettle with one of those little whistle cap thingies on it basically takes you right back to the level of the Koch brothers.

Famous Level 4s: none.

Level 3
Permitted level of criticism of capitalism = TNCs, sweatshop labour and the military-industrial complex.
To achieve level 3, you are allowed to drink water from the tap, despite its being produced by privatised water companies. You *must not* add Robinsons' Barley Water to it to make a weak lemon drink, however.
Famous Level 3s: basically, this is John Harvey Kellogg.

Level 2
Permitted level of criticism of capitalism = privatised train networks, quality of the gifts in Kinder Surprise.
To achieve level 2, you may drink tap water and fairtrade tea and coffee. On no account must you purchase this coffee from some kind of franchise or drink Ribena. THIS WILL RENDER YOUR UNHAPPINESS WITH TRAIN JOURNEYS NULL AND VOID.
Famous Level 2s: Lucy Mangan, probably.

Level 1
Permitted level of criticism of capitalism = the speed of service in Nando's. AND NOTHING ELSE.
Level 1s will drink Fentiman's lemonade at National Trust gift shops, then think NOTHING of washing it down with R Whites. Why don't these people just FUCK OFF AND DIE? They probably drink Ty-Phoo, the despicable BASTARDS.
Famous Level 1s: YOU. If you're LUCKY.

Level 0
Permitted level of criticism of capitalism = What on earth makes you think you can criticise capitalism, you insignificant, smelly turd? IT PROVIDES YOUR BEVERAGES.
Level 0s would drink Coca-Cola at a Showcase Cinema, EVEN IF SOMEONE WAS WATCHING.
Famous Level 0s: given the size of the sample, it was hard to narrow it down, but here's two:

Luis 'Chile' Eduardo, Columbian Sinaltrainal union official working with employees of Coca-Cola bottlers, who routinely receives messages like this:

The Paramilitaries of Magdalenena Medio, The Black Eagles, call on the terrorist Coca-Cola trade unionists to stop bad mouthing the Coca-Cola Corporation given that they have caused enough damage already. If there is no response we declare them military targets of the Black Eagles, and they will be dealt with as they prefer: death, torture, cut into pieces, coup de grace. No more protests![1]

Erol Turedi, one of the Coca-Cola Icecek (Coca-Cola Turkish subsidiary) workers sacked for asking for a wage increase and organising union representation in their workplace. At a demonstration where 200 sacked workers walked into the Dudullu plant,

'1,000 police [were] drafted in to cope with the 200 protestors. The Cevik Kuvvet - 'robo cops' in full body armour - mass outside and are deployed into the building in groups. They fill the corridors. They occupy the balcony. They take the floor above the workers. Hundreds of police appear in the atrium, with riot shields and batons at the ready. The police charge nets six arrests and forces the protestors into a corner, the women and children huddled at the back by the walls. The men stand in front of them. They have linked arms together in an effort to protect themselves and their families, but when the assault finally comes their efforts are proved to be instinctive rather than practical. In front of them are 1,000 police and behind them the children have started to cry.

Finally Coca-Cola's managers agree to talk to the union. So while the police corner the families downstairs [union] President K and the union lawyer go upstairs for talks. It is late afternoon when they gather in a meeting room, which is small. Around a table, which is large. Alongside the managers, which is essential. And next to the police ... which is baffling.

... If events were going badly upstairs, events downstairs took an unexpected turn for the worse. On the frontline Erol looked out at the police - 'they just pulled down the gas masks and that was when we knew.' ... Their eyes widen as they tell of stumbling into each other in panic and blindness, gasping for breath. Thye curse the polie as children were separated from their parents and the men beaten with riot sticks. And they hold out their hands when they talk of being bundled into the police wagons outside, of reaching up to the small windows to gasp for fresh air - only to be sprayed in the face by the police.[1]

Shut up! You drank Coke! What do you think you're doing, Level 0s?
[1] Mark Thomas, Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola, 2008

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

highly amusing