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<nettime> e-LITISM (UK and beyond)
Geert Lovink on Mon, 22 Nov 1999 18:13:59 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> e-LITISM (UK and beyond)


OBSERVATIONS ON e-LITISM
By Jim

[Written for the post-caravan European meeting at Exodus, November 1999,
but drawn from a wider experience & with general application.]

This is a message to the e-mailers and discussion group gurus amongst us,
but it should not be taken as a personal attack on anyone. It's a
criticism of unhelpful practices in certain scenes, but not of particular
individuals.  I like many of them a lot! It doesn't come from a
technophobe or, I hope, from an ageing dinosaur unable to cope with new
ways of doing things and new opportunities. But we need to have a sense of
proportion and of what is really effective. Let's beware of rationalising
as useful what amounts to little more than playing with our toys, whether
they be electronic or theoretical. O.K., we all tend to slightly
exaggerate the importance of the activities or methods we enjoy most or
are good at, but we seem to be getting into a dangerous division between
those who have access to the internet and use it heavily for e-mail and
discussion groups and those who don't have access, or can only get on with
great expense, difficulty and time limitations. The problem is compounded
by some sweeping assumptions which need to be punctured. To those outside
the internet ghetto, those assumptions can look like arrogance and
elitism. 

The alarm bells really started clanging in my lugs when I discovered that
a friend, a committed activist, was having to spend more per week on
internet access than on food. That wasn't for hours of cruising round web
sites, but just to download and read routine e-mails and keep up with one
discussion group in internet cafes or libraries. This person lives on
Jobshirker's Allowance. For those who don't know, that's £51.40 per week
or £40.70 if you 're under 25. 

THIS IS UNSUSTAINABLE MADNESS! 

No sweat for those with free or cheap access, like students and academics,
or those who can afford their own computer and phone connection, and have
a reasonably secure home or use of an office, but it just leaves the rest
of us out of the game and on the margins. 

ELITISM & THE NET

Let's get some facts straight. Last time I read a figure (in The Guardian
computer section, within the last year) the proportion of the adult
population of this country who have access to the internet at work or home
was 12%. So that's 88% who don't have access. Coincidentally, the
proportion with access to the internet is about the same as the proportion
who don't have access to a phone at all. And that's "households", so those
who don't have a home to put the phone in don't count. 

We all get mad when we come across assumptions by the advertising
industry, the Daily Mail, etc. that "everyone" drives a car, uses
deodorants, watches soap operas, etc. Well now you know how people feel
when it is blithely assumed that "everyone" can have access to the net if
they want. When challenged the radical netocracy usually responds by
mentioning internet cafes or libraries. 

See above for what it costs to use internet cafes. And they have them in
Worksop, Merthyr and Falkirk, do they? Even if there's one in one or more
of those towns (which I doubt), there certainly aren't in smaller towns or
rural areas. So what about libraries? In case you hadn't noticed, they've
closed loads of them (just about the lot in some places) and many of those
still in existence don't have internet access, or even computers, anyway.
I know one town where the library still exists, but it only opens for 2
hours on a Wednesday and one hour on a Saturday morning. If you want more
than that (and it isn't much more), you have to travel to another town.
There's very few buses and they cost nearly as much as a taxi. In other
places "library" means a van that comes round once a fortnight. Even if
you're lucky enough to live in a big town or city which still has a
semblance of a library service, and it has internet access, and you can
afford the fares to get there, it'll still cost you a lot and the chances
are the facilities will be strictly time-rationed due to the number of
people wanting to use them. 

O.K., there are occasional blags and scams people can organise to get free
or cheap access, and there's loads of activists running round trying to
get on for nowt. But these tend to be one-offs or arrangements which don't
last, and lots of valuable time and money is wasted in the necessary
travelling and hasssling. [See "TOP TIP OF THE MONTH" at the end for a
current access blag which might be handy for people who would otherwise
have to pay.]

The position I am in illustrates the problem. Since about three weeks ago,
I could, for the first time, have access to the internet. But I can
usually only get there once a week and it costs £2.40 in bus fares. If I
need to spend more than 11/2 hours at it, that takes me into late-night
hours when the sensible place to be if I'm to function competently the
next day is IN BED. And the fare home will cost more because night buses
are expensive as well as infrequent. I suppose I could now open an e-mail
account. But as I could look at it only once a week, what would be the
point? YOU CAN GET ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ME MORE QUICKLY BY POST OR FAX. A
fax is much cheaper and therefore more easily accessible technology. You
can get one for about 1 week's dole money, whereas a computer will cost
about 20 week's wonga, which is impossible. Fax polling is a good way of
getting something round a list of people instantly, though polling out
can't be done with the sort of basic fax machine someone like me can
afford. And if we're talking about communicating round Europe, the post is
- in practice if not in theory - a much more secure way to communicate. 

E-mail might be instant, convenient and cheap for people with internet
access at home or in some college or office they visit frequently. 

BUT FOR THE REST OF US, IT'S SLOW, INCONVENIENT

VERY TIME CONSUMING AND BLOODY EXPENSIVE! 

And that's if we can get access AT ALL. 

Any chance of these simple facts penetrating

the perceptions of the netocracy? 

So far, the internet intelligentsia have been remarkably thick on this
subject. 

At least that's the charitable interpretation of the attitudes
encountered. 

CLASS

Yes, the topic that was bound to raise its ugly head! The proportion of
the population with internet access is increasing rapidly. Nod doubt it's
already past the 12% mentioned above. So that's O.K. then. All the
netocracy has to do is hang around for a few years until everyone else
catches up. Is that what you think? If I was to argue such discredited
"trickle-down" tosh about any other subject, you'd shoot me down in
flames, and you'd be quite right. 

What needs to be asked is who are the people getting on line? Students
have fairly easy access for some

time, and so do others in the right sort of comfortable jobs. The
expansion is in people getting on the net at home, and that comes down to
those who can afford it. Largely, it's suburban, middle class, middle
England. Despite Tony Blair's fantasies, that's not the majority of the
population. It's a minority, albeit a largish one. If anyone is daft
enough to think any sort of revolutionary change is going to come from the
middle class, all I can say is...dream on in irrelevance. This is a
class-ridden and fractured society, and it's getting worse. Class is an
increasingly complex issue: there's more class mobility than there used to
be, but that hasn't produced a classless society. On the contrary, class
barriers are wider and higher than they've ever been, at least in this
century. The determinants -the closed gates- are not easily seen by those
on the outside. Since the 1940s, I think education has been the principal
one. But internet access, or the lack of it, is rapidly becoming a very
significant, and related gulf. It's a gulf which will widen as the
internet becomes more widely used and more central to the way this
fucked-up society operates. 

Whose side are you on? Who are you talking to? For what purposes? Above
all, who are you NOT talking to? Who is out of the loop? What might they
have to say? Why aren't you listening? Why don't you even want to know? 

AND WHAT HAPPENED TO DIVERSITY? 

WE'RE LOSING THAT, AREN'T WE? 

In raising these issues, you usually get some feeble rubbish like "Yes,
but in the real world, it's the only way to get things done" etc. etc. My
question is WHOSE "real world"? 

It's amazing how the world of some intelligent and well informed people is
restricted by the limited scope of the internet. They seem to live their
whole political lives within it, and the real world scarcely impinges. For
them, the internet ghetto, and those with access to it is the world. Those
of us outside the bubble don't really count. We're just irrelevant old
farts or poor people without connections or the sort of formal education
they can relate to. We can piss off to the pub and watch sky TV or jack up
some more cheap scag. The thought that there are many people without
access to a phone, never mind a computer doesn't occur to the netocrats. 
They have no experience of living in such a world, and no understanding of
its realities. 

No, I'm not talking here about people in India, Venezuela or Somalia. 
Etc., where this truth ought to be bleedin' obvious (though, apparently,
some people had a rude awakening on the subject at Bangalore). I'm talking
about many people in western Europe, too, and specifically in Britain and
Ireland. I'd like to see how some of the denizens of the internet ghetto
would make out if they had to live on £51.40 a week in, say, Kirkby or
Seacroft or Drumchapel, with public transport a rarely affordable luxury
and huge bills to keep the damp and cold out. True, there's a drugs 'n
blagging economy where everyone has mobiles, but for others a usually
vandalised phone kiosk at the end of the street may be the only electronic
means of communication. The netocrats would have to find out how to
communicate and organise in a much more effective and inclusive way. 

Of course, there's nothing new about elitist circles of
academically-inclined middle class politicos who prefer to live in a
capsule constructed from their own backgrounds and upbringing -people who
fail to comprehend or relate to the wider world or respect and understand
the insights of those with fewer resources and quite different
experiences. Here have always been such coteries, scribbling away and
achieving little, except in their own restricted and often warped terms. 
It's not all down to the internet. What I am saying, however, is that the
internet, and specifically e-mail and discussion groups, has highlighted
and intensified the issue. People -including many with a lot to
contribute- have got carried away with new toys and are so involved in
playing with them that they have lost touch with reality. The fact that
you can now form such cliques across the globe, rather than just in your
own town or country, doesn't mean you are communicating with the world, or
even the people around the world with whom you share a language. It just
means you've found a wider circle of recruits for your cosy little club. 

Yes e-mail has its uses, but they are more restricted and restricting than
most of its users seem to realise. Analysis and theory also has its uses
and its place, but it is not the be-all and the end-all of the struggle
for a just, free and sustainable world. The only worthwhile theory comes
out of that struggle. If it tries to precede or shape the struggle, it
will simply be by-passed, probably unnoticed. Sadly there seems to be a
scene of people who have found in the internet an exciting vehicle for
discussion and disputation amongst themselves, to the exclusion of
everyone else, and are e-mailing themselves into irrelevant oblivion when
they could be much more constructively and widely engaged. As most of us
are outside this elite sphere, we won't even notice when they disappear up
their own arseholes! The only marginally useful aspect of this activity is
that it keeps the political police and so-called "security services" 
interested and diverted. 

The development of the internet was mainly driven by academics, who found
it a very convenient means of talking to each other. More recently,
business has taken it up in a big way and hasn't found it too hard to
adapt the net to the grubby agenda of consumerism. It has had to adapt its
own methods, too, to exploit the net and is still engaged in this process,
but it's getting there without too much difficulty. 

If we want to agitate for justice, to organise direct action, to link
people in struggle together, share our insights and build the revolution
which is our only hope for this planet and its people, WE'VE GOT TO ADAPT
OUR METHODS AND THINKING, TOO. All that seems to have happened so far is
that elite grouplets have carried on with the same methods they found
expedient in academia. The WWWiblies have done a little better. They've
cribbed a few tricks from capitalism and stirred in plenty of imagination
and creativity.  The e-mailers and discussion group theorists have, as far
as I can see, been a disaster. 

I DON'T HAVE ANY MAGIC ANSWERS. IT'S UP TO YOU, THE PEOPLE WHO USE THE
MEDIUM AND ARE FAMILIAR WITH IT, TO COME UP WITH SOME. If you can't be
arsed and are cosy in your little capsule, then sod you. Sail away into
whatever side-track takes your fancy. If you are serious, though, I can at
least describe what I see as some of the more detailed problems, which is
what the rest of this rant does. 

ORGANISING

Have I just been unlucky? Is it mere coincidence that events or actions
wholly or mainly organised through e-mail and discussion groups always
seem to be utterly shambolic? Or that one of their principal features is
often pissing people about in a most unfriendly, rude and arrogant manner?
I don't think so. See my previous waste of paper A RANT AGAINST CHAOS for
an example of this. But it's not just PGA / caravan circles I have in
mind. The same sort of thing happens elsewhere. 

It's bad enough when the people being messed around are those you're
supposed to be working with. Personally I never want to have another
conversation which goes: "What? That's not what we agreed!" "Oh.errm..no,
but x said y and it's all been sorted out on e-mail." "Well why didn't
anyone talk to me? I could have told you a b & c." or "I could have used
my time differently." But when those being pissed around are outside the
group concerned; contacts, supporters or people providing help and
facilities, IT' S COMPLETELY OUTRAGEOUS AND IT'S GOT TO STOP. So I sound
like the fucking headmaster, do I? O.K. then, it doesn't have to stop. You
can carry on making people angry with you and alienating everybody you
want, until there' s only you and your mates left. 

Do these things happen because the people cocking up are just rude,
inconsiderate arrogant bastards? Well, that's certainly what it looks like
to the outside world, but I know most of you aren't and I really don't
think that's the problem. If it was, you wouldn't see me for dust. These
things are allowed to happen, more or less by default, because of the
myopia induced by inhabiting the internet capsule. You sort things out or
change arrangements in the cosy confines of your wee electronic grouplets
and it never seems to cross anyone's mind that this or that person or
organisation is not in your loop and needs to be told or consulted or -for
fuck's sake- ASKED what they think and if it would be possible or
convenient. Once the netocracy have decided, it seems that us oiks on the
outside are just supposed to touch our forelocks and fall in with whatever
is arranged. If we don't, people can get very annoyed at our awkwardness
or presumption. I mean, how dare we! 

NASTY ARGUMENTS

It seems that e-mail has a tendency to promote nasty, vitriolic, personal
arguments. Maybe the people concerned would get just as ratty and
uncomradely with each other if they were face-to-face in a meeting, but I
don't think so. I think the problem is the medium is too instant. People
see a mail they don't like (usually about arrangements or practicalities,
rather than ideas) and go: "The bastard!..trrrattle, rattle,
prattle-click-SEND". It's off and away before the person has really
thought it through or chilled out a bit. What is said isn't moderated by
body language, a smile or a bit of self-parody, as it might be in a
meeting. Neither are the words considered or refined or reflected on, as
they might be in a letter. It's another down side of the hasty,
note-jotting style of e-mail communication I complain about below. And, of
course, it's not helped by the fact that some people involved are running
out of access time / money and are racing through as much as they can
while they can. 

Sometimes, humble pie apology mails follow. Sometimes they don't and other
bemused people catch the backwash at the next meeting. These arguments can
go on and on and are very destructive. 

SECURITY

Well, I shouldn't be having to give you lot any advice about this, should
I? But it seems some people have no conception that e-mail is a very, very
insecure form of communication and they say or do the most stupid things. 
It 's just the same -and just as likely to be tapped - as a voice call or
a fax. It gets worse when stuff is being e-mailed all over the world. 
Again, the cosy capsule mentality leads people to forget that some of the
recipients live in much more repressive regimes than the rest of us. What
might be a perfectly innocuous communication to send from Cirencester to
Sydney, could put people at serious risk if it was sent to San Salvador or
posted to a discussion group that person belongs to. 

The conventional wisdom is: if you wouldn't write it on a postcard, don't
e-mail it! Actually, I'm not sure that's quite right. In some respects
e-mails are less secure than postcards. Certainly, incoming mail can be
monitored at recipient's addresses, but the state's key word search system
for electronic communications doesn't work for postcards! 

To digress for a moment, the stricture about e-mailing what you wouldn't
put on a postcard should apply to length as well as content. The only
justification for an e-mail longer than a postcard should be if the
recipient really wants, or has asked for, the material being sent. 

Some people think encryption systems such as PGP are the answer to all
security problems. They aren't. Even if they're unbreakable, there's
legislation in the pipeline trying to force keys and passwords out of us. 
But that's not the main problem -we won't tell them anyway. The main
problem is that the use of encryption is clocked by the search systems. It
may not reveal what we are saying, but it shows which encryption user
(i.e. subversive suspect) is linked with which others and forms the basis
for the state's conspiracy theories. It's much the same as voice calls
over the phone. Despite what our conspiracy theorists may think, phones
are only rarely tapped. It takes up too much time and resources and
processing all the information is a headache for the spooks. But what they
do much more often is put printameters or similar devices on "suspect" 
lines. They simply produce a list of who is talking to who. 

DISCUSSION GROUPS

These are perhaps the most diversionary, time-wasting and excluding use of
e-mail. As you'll have gathered, I've never participated in one, but what
I see from occasionally looking over the shoulders of people who do, and
getting the (very rare) printed output is appalling. The volume of
material circulating is impossible for anyone to cope with or sensibly
absorb. And what does it consist of? Often lengthy, quite abstract pieces
which have obviously taken considerable time to write. And who reads them?
The other subscribers to the discussion group? Not only is the discussion
group a very small -and usually elitist- sub-set of the people who might
be interested in a particular topic and have something to contribute, but
not even all of them can do so. Some people don't have the time (which
means the money if you don't have access to a computer and a phone line)
even to open and read many of the contributions, let alone consider and
perhaps respond to them.

I am grieved that people with ideas and energy appear to be wasting much
of their lives on this sort of non-communication. They apparently labour
under the illusion that, having clicked on "send", their thoughts have
been widely disseminated to activists interested in the topic(s) under
discussion. They haven't. They've been circulated only within a very small
bubble of the educationally and financially privileged floating in the
internet ghetto -and not even effectively received by all those trying to
stay on the inside of the bubble. 

The netocracy's standard answer to the above objections is to say
"O.K...we' ll print it out and circulate it". My experience is that 95% of
the time this is promised, it's bullshit. It just doesn't happen. Or it
happens only sporadically. You find yourself reading one or more replies
to, or criticisms of, something you haven't got access to, so you can't
judge the validity of what's being said and form your own view. The
impression is given that those of us without internet access aren't really
supposed to form their own view, anyway. We're supposed to be grateful for
whatever crumbs fall from the table of the netocracy and gobble them up
without question. 

Then there's the poor quality of what you get printed out (when you get
it). The layout is poor and takes extra effort to read, lines go astray,
the content is often hastily and badly written, ambiguous and sometimes
verges on the incoherent. This is not a criticism of people whose first
language is different from mine. I don't mind making an effort to
understand the thoughts of someone struggling to express themselves in my
language, especially when I can't speak anyone else's. I have in mind
people who could certainly think and write better in English if they put
their minds to it, but don't bother because the illusory "instant" and
ephemeral nature of e-mail encourages a sort of low-grade garbled
note-writing. Effective communication requires good layout which attracts
the eye and keeps it moving through the text without extraneous effort. It
also needs thoughtful, lucid writing. Unless you're specially talented at
it, that means revision and self-editing. Preferably, it should be as
succinct as possible, though as you can see from this rant, that's not
exactly one of my own strengths! 

Here's some inspiration (well, it inspires me, anyway) from THE DIGGERS,
brilliant land squatting activists at the time of the sold-our English
revolution 350 years ago. We've been commemorating them this year. This is
from the Diggers' main pamphleteer GERRARD WINSTANLEY. Wonder what he'd
have made of some of the discussion groups we indulge in? After producing
his second book of what we would nowadays call political theory he
wrote... 

[SORRY, but this is beautiful writing in an old style and vocabulary which
takes abit of effort to get into. It's too good to mess about by trying to
modernise it. That would take away much of its power. Use the footnotes
and you should be able to follow it. He spelling is different from modern
English -just think of the sound.]

".but still my mind was not at rest because nothing was acted, and
thoughts run in me that words and writing are all nothing and must die,
for action is the life of all and if thou dost not act, thou dost
nothing." 

".everyone talks of freedome but there are but few that act for freedome,
and the actors for freedome are oppressed by the talkers and verbal
professors of freedome.if thou wouldst know what true freedome is.thou
shalt see it lies in the community in spirit and community in the earthly
treasury." 

A Watchword to the City of London & the Armie, 1649

"And the reason is this, Every single man, Male and Female, is a perfect
creature unto himself..so that the flesh of man being subject to Reason,
his maker, hath him to be his Teacher and Ruler within himself, therefore
needs not run abroad after any Teacher and Ruler without him, for he needs
not that any man should teach him." 

The True Levellers Standard Advanced, 1649

"A studying imagination comes into man, which is the devil for it is the
cause of all evil and sorrows in the World; that is he who puts out the
eyes of man's Knowledge and tells him he must believe what others have
writ or spoke, and not trust his own experience." 

The Law of Freedome in a Platform, 1652

SO LET'S GET PRACTICAL

As mentioned above, e-mail is currently being used in our circles in just
the same way as applies in academia and business. It's not what we need
and we ought to develop new methods. Someone who was in Bangalore has
remarked how the very few people in India who have e-mail are like small
publishers. The stuff they get is printed out, copied, recopied and gets
round to dozens, if not hundreds, of people. Very much like the way
radical pamphlets, such as those quoted above, got to the people from
underground publishers in the 17th century and earlier. What a contrast to
the way we work here, where the internet ghetto is more comparable to a
mediaeval monastery hoarding its precious books from the sweaty multitude. 
The internet should not be a private channel for an elite group of
hobbyists. 

See what I have said before about fax polling as one way of widening
electronic networks. Of course, it would only be a small contribution to
what we need. 

Skint activists here can often blag old 386s or 486s. If you've got at
least some sort of housing security and therefore a place to put it, this
can be worthwhile. BUT unless you're very lucky, that still doesn't get
you on the net BECAUSE: 

The reason you can blag old computers is usually that they are knacked. A
common duff component is disk drives. They can frequently be tickled up
and recycled but we're seriously short of

HARDWARE EXPERTISE. There are a few people around who can sort old
computers, but they're as rare as gold dust. You can sometimes buy old
computers for £50-£100, but you usually still need the expertise to get
them running the way we need and compatible with everyone else. WE NEED A
SKILLS EXCHANGE FOR THIS. 

The few such people there are tend to have boxes full of old components
they 're hoping to recycle, but compatibility problems reduce the scope
for cannibalising. Even if you can find the expertise, some replacement
components usually need to be bought, and they can be expensive. It's
probably not worth it if you have to spend more than £100, but amounts
less than that are still hard to find. FUNDRAISING AND MAYBE A RECYCLED
COMPONENTS POOL AMONGST HARDWARE EXPERTS could help. 

The sort of computers we can blag or buy second hand don't usually have
internal modems, so they need to be fitted or external ones found. Useable
old modems are harder to come across than old computers. ANY IDEAS? 

Jim

29/10/99


PERSONAL P.S. Have I wasted my time writing this, especially as it's
addressed to people who sometimes seem to be virtually incapacitated by a
surfeit of "words and writing" on the internet, and by whom I often feel
marginalised and occasionally patronised? There's a fair bit of hurt and
anger in this, isn't there? What I've said is certainly shaped by my life
experience, as much as the inhabitants of the internet ghetto are shaped
by theirs, and inevitably it reflects how I feel now, this week, this
year. Should I have been on an action, or done some real work, or just
chilled out and not got angry, instead of joining them at a keypad? Maybe,
but I've done it now. If it helps to widen perceptions (including mine) to
include other lives, other circumstances and other experiences, then this
time hasn't been wasted. On the other hand, if nobody takes any real
notice, then more fool me. At least I'll have learned something, and
various friends to whom I might or might not have the bottle to show this
will have the satisfaction of saying -or at least thinking- "You idiot
-what did you expect?" 

TOP TIP OF THE MONTH. A wee birdie tells me that FREE INTERNET ACCESS is
currently available at..wait for it..TOP SHOP! Not being a regular habitué
of the emporium in question (jumble sales and smelly armpits are more my
style) I haven't checked it out. Don't know whether it applies in all
their branches or just selected ones in London. I think the wheeze is you
have to enter a name and address to get on, and then they send you loads
of their crap. Don't know how the system would cope with entering
"homeless". Try a politician's address instead. USE IT WHILE YOU CAN, I
RECKON. When they've collected enough addresses or get fed up with
subversives in dreadlocks and old jumpers monopolising their computers all
day, the scheme will no doubt cease to be. 

FOOTNOTES: 

1    Someone afraid of, or uncomfortable with, technology

2    Ringing harshly

3    ears (Scots)

4    Actually, it's called JOBSEEKERS' ALLOWANCE. The state benefit you get
     to live on if you're unemployed.

5    No problem

6    An enlightened liberal newspaper -NOT! Don't even wipe your arse with
     it.

7    Very crappy, trivial, badly acted serial dramas on television.

8    Complacently, without thinking.

9    I've made this word up. =the aristocracy of the internet.

10    Three examples of ordinary, working class, medium-sized towns. One
each in England, Wales & Scotland.

11    Something which at least resembles (a library service)

12    originally meant an armed robbery, but now used to mean any sort of
trick or fiddle by which we get what we need. Can also mean begging it from
someone.

13    Similar. Has the sense that people we get it from don't know what's
happened.

14    Nothing (Yorkshire & Lancashire). Also "Owt" = "Anything", The
Yorkshire saying "Ye can't get owt for nowt" is just wrong. We do, whenever
we can!

15    Making a nuisance of yourself.

16    Useful, convenient.

17    Properly, efficiently.

18    State benefit -usually Jobseekers' Allowance.

19    Money.

20    A system by which a computer can automatically fax out a document to a
whole list of numbers which have been programmed in. It doesn't need to be
printed at the sending end.

21    Getting through to.

22    Awareness, consciousness.

23    Intellectuals as a class.

24    In this sense, stupid.

25    Kind, loving.

26    Wait around.

27    Rubbish, nonsense.

28    Suburbs = the outer areas of a city where most people are comfortably
off (though not necessarily very rich), own their own houses with nice
gardens, wash their cars every Sunday, etc. There's usually trees in the
streets.

29    Although.

30    Stupid (Scots.)

31    Broken.

32    Gap, chasm.

33    Circle.

34    Inclusion, celebration and valuing of many different attitudes,
experiences and contributions. It's been an important word and idea in our
politics and actions through the '90s.

35    Weak.

36    Can hardly find a way in.

37    Literally, flatulence. Smelly gasses escaping from the arse. "Old
fart" = a general term of abuse for someone old and out of touch.

38    Fuck off, bugger off, sod off, go away and stop annoying us.

39    Inject.

40    Heroin.

41    Inhabitants, people who live within some place or building.

42    Kirkby is a so-called "new town" just outside Liverpool. Seacroft and
Drumchapel are huge public housing estates on the edge of Leeds and Glasgow.
These are just 3 examples of places which are completely fucked and trashed.
There's hardly any jobs any more, most of the shops and services have closed
and, apart from the underground economy (mostly hard drugs), nearly everyone
has to live on state benefits. I don't know Kirkby at all, but I'm familiar
with the two other places.

43    Tight little group or clique, usually one with power or influence.

44    Bent, twisted.

45    Exclusive little groups.

46    People ready to join.

47    Warm, comfortable.

48    Go before, lead.

49    A by-pass is a route or a road which goes around something, so you don
't have to go into it. Just what we've been up trees trying to stop them
building these last few years!

50    Argument.

51    Nothingness.

52    World (literally globe or ball)

53    Errrm.unexplainable, but you get the idea?

54    Looking or going the other or wrong way

55    Dirty, scruffy.

56    Literally, stir. Make propaganda.

57    Little groups.

58    Useful, convenient.

59    The academic world.

60    Copied, stolen ideas.

61    In this sense, the means of expression or communication.

62    Can't be bothered, don't want to take the trouble.

63    Just, only.

64    A shambles, chaos, very badly organised so things keep going wrong.

65    Thoughtlessly causing people unnecessary inconvenience, For example,
changing arrangements without telling them.

66    Boss teacher in a school.

67    See K. Marx.

68    Friends (no sexual meaning -the people you socialise with.)

69    In other words, I would be running away -fast!

70    Short-sightedness.

71    Very small (Scots.)

72    Oafs, proles, mere common people who're probably stupid.

73    The salute or act of deference with which servants and labourers used
to (and occasionally still do) submit to or acknowledge the orders of their
"betters" -bosses, lords etc.

74    Trying to get above our appointed status.

75    Literally, acidic. Something which burns your skin.

76    Irritable, nastily argumentative.

77    Relaxed.

78    Softened.

79    Gently mocking yourself.

80    "Eating humble pie" = grovelling, admitting you were wrong,
apologising strongly.

81    Puzzled, confused.

82    Literally, the wave thrown up behind a boat.

83    No idea, no clue.

84    Intercepted.

85    State of mind, outlook.

86    People who receive something.

87    Innocent, safe.

88    The person receiving something.

89    Go off on a slightly different subject.

90    Very strong advice.

91    Coding systems which should make the content impossible to read unless
you have a "key".

92    Laws.

93    Coming along. On its way.

94    Registered, recorded.

95    Secret police, spies, etc. (though literally, ghosts.)

96    Taken part in.

97    Awful, terrible, very bad.

98    Understand, keep up with.

99    Theoretical, without much experience.

100  Sad, upset.

101  Are prisoners of a false idea.

102  Spread around (like seeds.)

103  Rubbish, crap, nonsense, not true.

104  Some times and not others, now and again, irregularly.

105  Value, truth.

106  Eat as if you were very hungry.

107  Style and presentation on the page.

108  Missing or in the wrong place.

109  Very quickly, in a rush.

110  Could mean one of two different things and it is not clear which.

111  Is on the edge of.

112  Completely confused and impossible to understand.

113  False, not real -as in a dream.

114  Not permanent. Literally something which lasts for only a day.

115  Confused and muddled.

116  Unnecessary, not needed, could be avoided.

117  Clear, sharp.

118  Brief, tight.

119  Person who writes pamphlets -short political and agitational books.

120  You -old 2nd person singular.

121  Do -agrees with "thou".

122  Would -again this is the form of the verb agreeing with "thou".

123  (roughly) Wealth.

124  This might not sem the best kind of inclusive language to us, but at
the time it was stunningly radical.

125  Has.

126  (roughly) Elsewhere, all over the place. (Different from the modern
sense, which means a "foreign" country.)

127  Belonging to the Middle Ages (about 1066 - 1450 in England, generally
held to have lasted longer in Scotland and continental Europe.)

128  One of those places where monks lived, usually accumulating wealth and
power for the ..errm...glory of god.

129  Common people, workers, peasants, proles, oiks, etc.

130  People obsessively following a passtime or hobby.

131  No money. Broke.

132  Knackered. Worn out. Don't work.

133  Useless. Not working.

134  Part (of a machine.)

135  Specialised skills.

136  Mend (Scots -but now widely used underground English.)

137  Technically matched or consistent.

138  Cannibalism literally means humans eating each other, but in relation
to any kind of machine "cannibalising" means making one good one out of the
psrts from several old ones.

139  The device which enables computers to communicate through phone lines.

140  Unable to act.

141  A surplus, too much.

142  Pushed to the edge, left out.

143  Looked down on, talked down to.

144  Awareness.

145  Courage.

146  I don't hang out there.

147  Posh word for shop.

148  Sales of second-hand clothes and stuff people don't want, usually to
raise money for something.

149  Bright idea, scheme.



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