INTERVIEW: LOWKEY DISCUSSES THE 2017 GENERAL ELECTION AND HIS SUPPORT FOR CORBYN

LOWKEY FT

Lowkey speaks on his stance on the 2017 Gen­er­al Elec­tion and why we need to be engaged in the polit­ic­al pro­cess with fel­low artist Apex Zero for I Am Hip Hop Magazine and Glob­al Fac­tion. 

Apex: You’ve come out, in past inter­views and your social media, strongly in sup­port of Jeremy Corbyn. You’ve been clear and unam­bigu­ous with that sup­port. So for any­one who hasn’t heard your views, could you tell us why you sup­port him?

Lowkey: He is rep­res­ent­at­ive of dis­sent, rep­res­ent­at­ive of a rejec­tion of an eco­nom­ic philo­sophy that became pre­val­ent in this coun­try (and the U.S) since the 1970–80s.This ideo­logy, which became the dom­in­ant and defin­ing eco­nom­ic philo­sophy of our time, is neo­lib­er­al­ism. The idea of neo­lib­er­al­ism is that the mar­ket must be left unim­peded to be allowed accu­mu­late as much cap­it­al as pos­sible. What that leads to is a polit­ic­al class that believes in a weak state. At no point have we had the oppor­tun­ity to elect a lead­er who has been unequi­voc­ally clear about the inequal­ity and des­pair caused by neo­lib­er­al­ism. Instead, we have been offered crypto-pro­gress­ives of the mod­el like Obama & Tony Blair, who appeal to aes­thet­ic needs (in some ways) through mys­ti­fy­ing lan­guage. Jeremy Corybn has been abso­lutely clear. He is talk­ing about ren­ation­al­iz­ing the energy, water, rail­way and postal sec­tors that in the Thatch­er era had privat­ised.  Our pub­lic ser­vices have been turned into busi­ness com­mod­it­ies to be bar­gained over.

We see this hap­pen­ing across the board. Brit­North­Sea Oil is now part owned by a Chinese com­pany. BP is now owned by Amer­ic­ans.  So what I find so amaz­ing is that the Con­ser­vat­ives are able to employ the sym­bol­ism of pat­ri­ot­ism whil­st sim­ul­tan­eously dam­aging the coun­try. That’s why I use the term, ‘glitch in the mat­rix.’ That’s what Jeremy Corbyn is. That’s why he’s been pro­pelled to this pos­i­tion. He goes again­st New Labour, who stands for the accept­ance of neo­lib­er­al­ism as the most ideal way for a soci­ety to func­tion.

The myth behind neo­lib­er­al­ism is the idea of ‘trickle down’ eco­nom­ics – which has been proven to be a com­plete lie by people like Joseph Stiglitz. It leads to more inequal­ity, not less. We are now in a coun­try where 250,000 people are home­less. 1 in every 59 people with­in Lon­don are home­less. We have mil­lions of chil­dren offi­cially liv­ing in pover­ty. Two-thirds of those chil­dren are from homes with work­ing par­ents. How are we going to alle­vi­ate these issues?

Corbyn has come in and said ‘I’m going to build 1 mil­lion homes, half of them coun­cil houses’ and ‘I will get rid of zero-hour con­tracts and bring in a £10 per hour min­im­um wage’. Mean­while Teresa May com­pounds the afore­men­tioned issues by intro­du­cing tuition fees for nurses to ensnare them in debt.  Corbyn pri­or­it­ises try­ing to invest £30 bil­lion into the NHS. It is a choice about what kind of soci­ety we can live in.

The oth­er thing that is so insi­di­ous with neo­lib­er­al­ism is that it hides behind the ambi­gu­ity of bur­eau­cracy. For example, if the Tor­ies cut dis­abled liv­ing allow­ance and you are someone who relies on it to live, who can you blame? Can you blame your loc­al bene­fits officer? You can’t, because it wasn’t their per­son­al decision. Jeremy Corbyn is rep­res­ent­at­ive of an idea; dis­sent again­st neo­lib­er­al eco­nom­ics.

Apex: I hear you. That is a strong and val­id point. Espe­cially the idea that he is a pro­duct of a move­ment, and this is not just about Corbyn, it is about chal­len­ging the cur­rent mod­el.

For me, to hear you, who in the past has been extremely crit­ic­al of the polit­ic­al sys­tem as a whole, to back someone who is a part of that sys­tem, sounds very strange. The Labour Party, who Corbyn is the lead­er of, has been a part of cre­at­ing and uphold­ing neo­lib­er­al­ism.

Lowkey: Jeremy has held his Labour con­stitu­ency since 1983, but it was the decision of the James Callaghan gov­ern­ment that lead to neo­lib­er­al­ism becom­ing the eco­nom­ic philo­sophy of this coun­try when he took his $3.9 bil­lion loan from the IMF. What the IMF has done all over the world is con­demned many soci­et­ies into cor­por­ate ser­vitude. Once the loan is taken, they come in and push their struc­tur­al adjust­ment plans and sell off huge parts of the state The IMF are essen­tially a con­glom­er­ate of the bank­ing sys­tem. You are right that Corbyn is a mem­ber of that party. But if you look at his vot­ing record and the cam­paigns, it’s clear that hav­ing him in num­ber 10 is bene­fi­cial. Moreover, if we look at the mani­festo he’s put togeth­er, it is by no means rad­ic­al, but it is bat­tling the cor­por­at­isa­tion of this coun­try. Jeremy is talk­ing about rais­ing cor­por­ate taxes to 26%, that’s not massively rad­ic­al; it’s merely bring­ing it back to the level it was at in 2010. The big argu­ment again­st this is that cor­por­a­tions will leave this coun­try and that will cause mass unem­ploy­ment. I’ll tell you why that’s not true; dur­ing the Thatch­er era the cor­por­a­tion tax was about 50%.

So, to answer your ques­tion dir­ectly, what would make me sup­port Jeremy Corbyn? I, as a human being, develop, and my ideas that develop. If we had a con­ver­sa­tion in 2007 and then again in 2017, it’s inev­it­able we would develop and our ideas would change. In many ways, we may also be the same per­son. In terms of judging this situ­ation; I’m judging the mani­festo, I’m judging off his vot­ing record. The Iraq war has been the most opposed mil­it­ary action, quite pos­sibly, in human his­tory. No oth­er war mobil­ized so many people to demon­stra­tion it in oppos­i­tion. We now know com­pletely futile our protest was as the war still went ahead. The mech­an­isms of the state and the viol­ence still went ahead. We’re still deal­ing with the rami­fic­a­tion to this today. On another point, 75% of people going to uni­ver­sity will die without pay­ing off their debt. We pro­tested that too. We were beaten by police and they still went ahead raised the fees. Now we have a politi­cian say­ing he’ll erase that debt, alle­vi­at­ing the issue for people already in that debt. I have a mor­al imper­at­ive and oblig­a­tion to sup­port someone com­ing through with that kind of mani­festo. For me to turn around and not sup­port someone like that – it’d be an act of crass selfish­ness that I could not for­give myself for. As an artist, I am in a pos­i­tion where I can be a con­duit for cer­tain ideas.  Most of the time people who have a fol­low­ing like I do play the role of a con­duit to big busi­ness. I have the oppor­tun­ity to be a con­duit to sub­vers­ive action. There­fore, I use my voice to the abso­lute fur­thest extent. This is some­thing that our chil­dren may thank us for.

 Apex: I hear you. It’s raised two key things I want to ask you. I under­stand that his mani­festo has made a lot of beau­ti­ful sound­ing prom­ises. I also agree with your point about protest­ing again­st the war tuition fees which was ignored…

Lowkey:  And he (Corbyn) was there protest­ing with us.

Apex: Sure. Even if we say ‘he voted again­st the war’ – he’s still been a part of the sys­tem that allowed it to hap­pen. He’s believes in the polit­ic­al pro­cess that sup­presses his and our wishes. As someone who was also involved in those protests, I believe that the situ­ation isn’t futile, but the sys­tem is. My issue is that even if he is the most genu­ine and caring politi­cian; could he even change the sys­tem that we have? That’s the first ques­tion. He still has to con­vince par­lia­ment to vote in favour of his agenda, which is incred­ibly dif­fi­cult to do. Then you have still have pass it up to the Lords who can reject it. Secondly; I think the ques­tion isn’t wheth­er we should vote May or Corbyn, it’s should the people even engage with an arti­fi­cial form of demo­cracy? The sys­tem sug­gests it has par­ti­cip­a­tion by people, but if you study the actu­al nature of what demo­cracy is sup­posed to be – this is not it. A lot of politi­cians rep­res­ent big busi­ness not the will of the major­ity. For me, by par­tak­ing in that pro­cess, you are in a sense legit­im­at­ising it.  I agree you have an import­ant voice as an artist. I feel you are lead­ing people back into a sys­tem a lot of us, your­self included, have been telling people to be scep­tic­al of. I know those are two big ques­tions!

Lowkey: Ok, num­ber one, I’ll break down in two ways. Jeremy Corbyn is not put­ting him­self for­ward as a revolu­tion­ary. What it seems to me is that you are put­ting for­ward is a revolu­tion­ary argu­ment. Undoubtedly, we live in a time where state oppres­sion is powered by tech­no­lo­gic­al advance­ment. To pur­sue civil dis­obedi­ence has a place of import­ance. How­ever if you are pur­su­ing revolu­tion­ary activ­ity, the oppres­sion is so strong that it’s not really a likely you will suc­ceed. Corbyn is a social-demo­crat; he believes that he can use the bal­lot to pur­sue change. What you’re allud­ing to is what Shel­don Wolin refers to as ‘inver­ted total­it­ari­an­ism’. Essen­tially point­ing out how the epis­odic nature of ‘demo­cracy’ we live in is over­shad­owed by unchangable things, i.e. people can vote for a new pres­id­ent but can’t vote again­st the interest of Wall Street or private banks. Same thing here, we can’t vote again­st North­ern Rock being sub­sid­ized in a semi-privat­iz­a­tion of the treas­ury of this coun­try, we can’t vote again­st, say, the Mon­archy; that’s not open to your vote. But we vote for a more par­ti­cip­at­ory pro­cess and this is an oppor­tun­ity for that. You may sup­port that, you may not. You are in a situ­ation where you have to choose between your chil­dren being ensnared in debt for the rest of their lives or being able to go to uni­ver­sity, which would you choose? You have to choice between help­ing a dis­abled per­son afford 3 meals a day or sur­viv­ing off a car­ton of milk, which do you choose? That’s what this is about, it’s not about the wider polit­ic­al issues that you’re talk­ing about, but that doesn’t in any way neg­ate their valid­ity. We have the abil­ity to effect change through par­ti­cip­at­ing in vot­ing. That doesn’t mean that the deep­er state isn’t con­spir­ing again­st this change. That doesn’t stop the mil­it­ary say­ing if Jeremy was to get into power they would con­sider launch­ing a coup. I just don’t believe in per­ceiv­ing polit­ics in such an abso­lut­ist way as many do, and I think that is dis­ap­point­ing, as we have a chance to make a real change.

If the Tor­ies win, people will die. We can sit there with our arms fol­ded and say, ‘oh it would have happened under Corbyn’,  but we don’t know that it would would. If May wins, it will hap­pen. She will privat­ise the NHS. Look at the U.S, people can’t afford to get urgent treat­ment so they have to chose between their health and debt. It’s not the kind of sys­tem that you want to live in. These are things that are pos­it­ive about this soci­ety and we can’t deny that. As much as we have exper­i­enced the bru­tal­iz­a­tion at the hands of this soci­ety; on a spir­itu­al, emo­tion­al, and psy­cho­lo­gic­al level, it doesn’t neg­ate that the positive’s aspects that were fought for and won by people like Corbyn. At every point through­out his­tory there have been people who’ve said ‘noth­ing pos­it­ive will come of par­ti­cip­at­ing in the polit­ic­al pro­cess’. Then they (those who par­ti­cip­ated) passed a law that out­lawed chil­dren work­ing under the age of 12, and then they gave women the right to vote.  Why par­ti­cip­ate? – Because people’s lives will improve.  It is silly not to.

Apex: That’s the point I think – it’s not about win­ning the argu­ment over who is right, it’s about improv­ing and sav­ing lives. My strategy has been not to legit­im­ize the pro­cess, which in itself is ille­git­im­ate, and imposed the laws that we are try­ing to erase in the first place.

Lowkey:  Wheth­er we legit­im­ize or not, it exists. It’s not wait­ing on my indi­vidu­al recog­ni­tion of it. I buy food to live and I pay tax to this state. So in that way we are sup­port­ing the state. I don’t think any­one should be con­demned for want­ing changes to the con­di­tions of people’s lives. I think your point is, can we have hope with­in that equa­tion? My answer is, yes we can.

Apex: There are people who will argue to their grave that Theresa May is the per­son who will best improve the mater­i­al con­di­tions of people’s lives.

Lowkey: Yeah but they’re actu­ally wrong. People will fac­tu­ally, mater­i­ally be stolen from.It is Robin Hood in reverse – the dis­tri­bu­tion of wealth upwards. That is what happened when they cut bene­fits.

Apex: Agreed. Mov­ing on to another point. After the Blair era, voter par­ti­cip­a­tion slid rap­idly, until this elec­tion. In the last elec­tion had a 56% voter turn out. Dav­id Camer­on has argued that if less than 50% of uni­on mem­bers vote, it should be con­sidered ille­git­im­ate. So if vot­ing turnouts sink under 50% in this elec­tion, it would show the ille­git­im­acy of their own sys­tem. That could poten­tially for­ce big­ger sys­tem­at­ic changes. I under­stand it’s not always just about massive ideo­lo­gic­al shifts. The small changes are import­ant. But to me, this was a win­dow of oppor­tun­ity to make a strong state­ment. To then encour­age people to re-engage with the sys­tem goes again­st all of that.

Lowkey: I think that’s an inter­est­ing idea. But one of the things your idea is rely­ing on is the idea of inver­ted total­it­ari­an­ism. That revolves around the demo­bil­iz­a­tion of masses by the cor­por­ate media. So while I think what you’re say­ing is def­in­itely inter­est­ing and may be a pos­sib­il­ity, it rely­ing on a pop­u­lous that has been largely de-politi­cised though neo­lib­er­al pro­pa­ganda to act in the oppos­ite man­ner.

We could philo­soph­ize with each oth­er until the cows come home, but what really counts is human being beings live’s. These policies will actu­ally affect who gets to live. Why let people die, when people have the chance to con­tin­ue liv­ing. To me, that is the begin­ning and end­ing of it. I’m not here wav­ing uni­on jacks and singing ‘God Save the Queen’, that’s not me bruv, but it’s not Corbyn either. I think if we were to pass up this chance, we’d regret it.

Apex: I hear you. But this hope in a polit­ic­al lead­er, haven’t we been here to a degree before?

Lowkey: I don’t think we have.

Apex: Prom­ises are made by politi­cians are usu­ally broken. Things are given in one hand, and things are taken in the oth­er. Even worse, often atro­cit­ies are com­mit­ted whil­st good things being imple­men­ted. Prob­ably the best example of this in liv­ing memory is Obama. You laid out per­fectly in ‘Obaman­a­tion’. Des­pite the ‘hope’ and ‘change’ cam­paign, the dream of hav­ing being a black pres­id­ent – all we got was neo­lib­er­al­ism and war mon­ger­ing. I under­stand he has some dif­fer­ent polit­ic­al ideals to Corbyn, but it’s a very sim­il­ar set of cir­cum­stances. A cham­pi­on of the people who has voted for ‘pro­gress­ive’ (I hate to use that term) prom­ises. He prom­ised to shut down Guantanamo, he prom­ised to with­draw from Iraq and Afgh­anistan; none of those things happened, not to men­tion the war atro­cit­ies that were com­mit­ted dur­ing his terms.

Lowkey: Corbyn and Obama come from an ideo­lo­gic­ally dif­firent place, that’s why I focus on neo­lib­er­al­ism. The state is not com­pelled to act again­st com­pan­ies. It has led to things like ‘TPP’ which is a law where cor­por­a­tions can bring charges again­st states if they try to reg­u­late them. For example, tobac­co com­pan­ies have taken charges again­st the Aus­trali­an and Uruguay­an gov­ern­ment for want­ing to put health warn­ings on cigar­ette pack­ets. That’s what neo­lib­er­al­ism does, it is a mor­ally bank­rupt eco­nom­ic philo­sophy that has been proven to be harm­ful, that it causes inequal­ity, that it causes pover­ty, that it causes people to die.

To be hon­est I feel you are paint­ing a false equi­val­ency between Obama and Corbyn because they are both polit­ic­al fig­ures. Again I, pose the ques­tion to you, if you have to choose between a mem­ber of your fam­ily hav­ing 3 meals a day or sur­viv­ing off milk. If you have to choose between a mem­ber of your fam­ily dying in debt or being able to go to uni­ver­sity. If you have to choose between a mem­ber of your fam­ily dying from cold or liv­ing in warmth, what would you choose? That’s what this is about.

Apex: I under­stand. That ques­tion you pose there is a very is poignant one. But I can’t answer a short term ques­tion without think­ing about the long term rami­fic­a­tions.    

Lowkey: Of course, you’re right, it is short term because it’s 5 years. Look at the United States, their lead­er is will­ing to let fuel com­pan­ies dic­tate their cli­mate poli­cy; they’re allow­ing mil­it­ary indus­tri­al com­plexes to dic­tate their for­eign poli­cy. On a wider scale we have a choice between the between the sur­viv­al of the human race. The choice of do we con­tin­ue waging wars. Jeremy, as imper­fect as he may be, is far less likely to kill hun­dreds and thou­sands of people in a heart­beat. Some­thing May has said she would do.

 Apex: Well, we don’t know that for a fact.

Lowkey: I’ll tell you why we know that. We are deal­ing with some­body that was cam­paign­ing again­st wars since before we were born. It is wrong to for us to turn around and use oth­er polit­ic­al exper­i­ences (like Obama) and some­how apply it to this situ­ation. It is not right.

Apex: If he does become prime min­ister and shit has hit the fan, where he is being told by his peers that you need to attack a cer­tain coun­try, or you need to press that but­ton. It is impossible for us to say, ‘no, he would not do that’. He might have a more con­sidered opin­ion but we still don’t know that he wouldn’t do it.

Lowkey:  Then it is impossible to say that he would.

Apex: I’m not say­ing that he would, I’m say­ing we can’t deny that it is a pos­sib­il­ity.  

Lowkey: It is impossible to say if Jeremy would, but it is def­in­ite that Theresa May would. So there’s your choice – who are you going to chose?

Apex: It’s dan­ger­ous to paint a pic­ture to people that this guy is not going to that. 

Lowkey: This idea, this nihil­ism, this apathy is dan­ger­ous. Hon­estly, I believe that if some­body sits really stud­ies his track record and his mani­festo; they’ll see that it is in their own interest to vote Labour. Even though, they’ll be para­dox­ic­ally vot­ing in many people who are mem­bers of the party who are anti-Corbyn off the back of this.

Apex: Yeah, for sure.

 Lowkey: Two-thirds of his party are saboteurs, essen­tially again­st him. Yet many are going to be voted into their seats off the strength of him. This is con­tra­dict­ory, nobody’s deny­ing that. Just ask your­self, are we in a bet­ter pos­i­tion with him in num­ber 10? It’s as sim­ple as that. It’s an easy decision.

Apex: This is going to sound very nihil­ist­ic. There is an argu­ment he can’t make much of a dif­fer­ence at all, because, as you said, he has a massive amount of saboteurs in his party. If he wants to pass the motion to say, abol­ish fees, he has to con­vince two-thirds of his party, who think dif­fer­ently. Not to men­tion the oppos­i­tion or the House of Lord.

Lowkey: The labour party have all signed on to the mani­festo.

Apex:  To win an elec­tion, to win an elec­tion bro.

 Lowkey: You’re say­ing to win an elec­tion. But in life, we can’t pass spec­u­lat­ive asper­sions on oth­er people’s motives. We’re deal­ing with people’s lives here, we’re deal­ing with real prob­lems in this coun­try, we have to try and address them. If we have the chance to address them and we don’t address them, it’s selfish. We have a small win­dow of time and oppor­tun­ity to do good in this world. If we can have some kind of pos­it­ive affect on oth­er people, we should use it. That doesn’t mean that the wider, over­arch­ing issues of injustice and our unfreedom aren’t import­ant. In no way, shape or form I am say­ing that injustice should be given a free pass.

I think we’ve reached a point of dis­agree­ment. I’m com­pletely con­vinced of my point and it seems you’re con­vinced of yours. That’s fair enough man, that’s com­pletely fine. I will implore you, and any­one read­ing this to vote because – I’ll say it again – this is a ques­tion of people’s lives.

One thing that Jeremy spoke about, which was def­in­itely sig­ni­fic­ant for me, and I ima­gine for you, as well as many oth­ers in our coun­try; is put­ting the colo­ni­al his­tory of the Brit­ish Empire on the edu­ca­tion cur­riculum. This would make a cog­nit­ive dif­fer­ence on a soci­etal level. It would make us, as a soci­ety; recog­nize all the cul­tures of its own cit­izens that have been com­pletely wiped out by the Brit­ish Empire.  This is some­thing that nobody else in his pos­i­tion has ever pre­vi­ously spoken about and is sig­ni­fic­ant for real change.

He has also men­tioned issu­ing offi­cial apo­lo­gies for the 2003 Iraq inva­sion. That would open up leg­al pos­sib­il­ity for the pro­sec­u­tion of Tony Blair. That is why they (the polit­ic­al class) fear him. This action could open up the poten­tial for repar­a­tions and help atone, on a soci­etal level, for our deeds.

You know the very idea of ‘Brit­ish­ness’ is amal­gam­a­tion of oth­er cul­tures which we have taken. The quint­es­sen­tially Eng­lish prac­tice of drink­ing tea is not nat­ive to Bri­tain. There’s not one tea plant in this coun­try. The sug­ar we put in tea came from the slave trade. Even Prince Philip, the father of the future king, is an immig­rant. The idea of Brit­ish nation­al iden­tity is a con­tra­dic­tion. Corbyn is cer­tainly pro­gress­ive in terms of recog­niz­ing these aspects of this country’s his­tory. This is import­ant, as I believe so many of our society’s prob­lems are rooted in this deni­al of the past.

Apex: Well, this won’t be easy. Is that enough to chal­lenge the cen­tur­ies long colo­ni­al ideo­lo­gies?

Lowkey: He said that he would try, he would aim to make it part of the new gen­er­a­tions edu­ca­tion­al cur­riculum. Now, is that a pos­it­ive thing or no?

Apex: Of course.

Lowkey: What he is sug­gest­ing is not rad­ic­al. I sense may­be you are look­ing for a more rad­ic­al change. I am as well, but he is address­ing import­ant points and try­ing to make a pos­it­ive change. Mean­while the oth­er side (right-wing) is only try­ing to push neg­at­ive changes.

Apex: Sure, I agree with that. My issue is that should we be try­ing to assim­il­ate to the sys­tem? I feel like from my own stud­ies and exper­i­ences that we have star­ted to move away from the idea that we should be ask­ing for help from the oppress­or.

I am not neces­sar­ily say­ing this about Corbyn, but rather the polit­ic­al sys­tem, which, as you know, stemmed from the Empire you just men­tioned. This polit­ic­al sys­tem was the for­ce that enabled the crimes of colo­ni­al­ism. To ask that very polit­ic­al sys­tem to solve your prob­lems is some­thing that I’ve strongly dis­agreed with for a long time. I’ve played with the idea that may­be we should in some ways engage in the polit­ic­al sys­tem. I have thought may­be we can make short term changes; may­be we can aim for a restruc­ture of the sys­tem. But if you are going to encour­age change, shouldn’t we do it whole­heartedly?

I under­stand that this elec­tion rep­res­ents a cru­cial moment between a really fucked up cur­rent gov­ern­ment party and a pos­sibly more pos­it­ive oppos­i­tion. How­ever, wouldn’t sup­port­ing him be re-assim­il­at­ing us back into a polit­ic­al pro­cess which bought my ancest­ors here through slavery, which is cre­ated con­tinu­ous wars on our home­lands? I don’t believe that Corbyn, or what he rep­res­ents, is going to undo or stop what has been done over cen­tur­ies. Small domest­ic issues might be improved, but there is more at stake than that.

I think it’s neces­sary for us to not legit­im­ize and sup­port the sys­tem, regard­less of who the face is. What do you think of the idea that we shouldn’t even be invest­ing in this coun­try any­more? That we should go back to our (ances­tral) home­lands, wherever they may be, and aim to build up those places. To no longer engage in the sys­tem that was nev­er been cre­ated to bene­fit us, even with Jeremy Corbyn involved. A sys­tem that doesn’t even work in the interest of the so-called ‘indi­gen­ous’ (people whose ancest­ors might have immig­rated a sev­er­al gen­er­a­tions earli­er via the Romans, Gauls, Ger­man­ic, Scand­inavi­ans ect). May­be there is some­where else we can go instead of try­ing to keep this sink­ing ship afloat?

Lowkey: This is the inter­est­ing argu­ment. I think what it comes back to is the com­mon belief in the idea there is abso­lute good and abso­lute evil; that there is a purely good God and an evil Dev­il, which comes from the (ancient) Per­sian reli­gion of Zoroastri­an­ism. How­ever there is the philo­sophy of Ibn Sina who argued for acci­dent­al evil. What do I mean by acci­dent­al evil? Well think about fire, it warms people, it cooks our food right? So it’s essen­tial thing for the world to func­tion. How­ever fire can also burn down a vil­lage and kill people. So you have acci­dent­al evil com­ing from some­thing which is essen­tially good. The point I am try­ing to make is that there is good in us vot­ing for pro­gres­sion, even if it does have an acci­dent­al evil bypro­duct.

I agree with many of your points, but I don’t think I see the polit­ic­al sys­tem in this coun­try as an abso­lute good or evil. I don’t think I see it as purely neg­at­ive. I think there’s no shame we, the dia­spor­ic pop­u­la­tion, being the chil­dren of empire. We’re products of things that we didn’t choose. We have been born into situ­ation that we had abso­lutely no con­trol of, but we can choose what we do with the con­di­tions we are put in.

Apex: To me the big pic­ture is just as import­ant as the small things are, if not, more essen­tial. So we might get some short term advant­ages, like improv­ing the NHS now, but we might miss out on a big­ger oppor­tun­ity; like cre­at­ing a bet­ter health­care sys­tem all togeth­er. I don’t want to make it seem like I am say­ing we shouldn’t par­ti­cip­ate, but we need to con­sider the long term effects of what we do.

I left the UK for a few years and now I’m really see­ing these things from the out­side. For a men­tal per­spect­ive change I think it is import­ant to phys­ic­ally move ourselves to dif­fer­ent parts of the world. I know you have trav­elled as well, and I am guess­ing you must’ve felt these things. You see things from the out­side and you learn that Brit­ish or West­ern sys­tem is not the way to live. There are all kinds of soci­et­ies out there who wel­come you with open arms; Skilled or unskilled, edu­cated or uneducated. As long as you are will­ing to help build up that place.  Rather than try­ing to fix a res­ist­ant sys­tem, we can build up oth­er soci­et­ies who may­be have more pro­gress­ive life­style. May­be we should be defend­ing those cul­tures again­st the colo­ni­al onslaught. That is what I would aim to encour­age people to do. If you’re going to vote, then vote and if you’re not then don’t; but aim bey­ond this elec­tion. Aim bey­ond this polit­ic­al sys­tem.

Lowkey: I agree def­in­itely. I don’t think, that either of our points neces­sar­ily neg­ates to the oth­er.  I think that both of them can be brought togeth­er and acted upon.

Apex: Def­in­itely.

Lowkey: It depends if you have faith in this polit­ic­al sys­tem. If Corbyn is in put into power, then we have to voice the points you men­tioned. That is role of the people that pro­pelled him into this pos­i­tion. We can’t just relax and enjoy just him being there.

Apex: I think that’s a good point to end on. A lot of polit­ic­al debates talk been divis­ive with the men­tal­ity of either; ‘if you don’t vote and you’re fuck­ing up,’ or ‘if you do vote you’re fuck­ing up.’ People can make their own decisions about vot­ing, but we still have to togeth­er and make pro­gress hap­pen. Regard­less of the elec­tion out­come, we need to press for­ward.

Lowkey: Yeah of course. It needs to start in a way where we can build a way to co-exist. Not just with each oth­er, but with the nature of the world.

We need to apply our ideals into our daily exist­ence. The­or­iz­ing and debat­ing is all good, and it’s been a part of my life, but we have to see if it works in real­ity. When I came into uni­ver­sity I was armed with so many emo­tion­al invest­ments. Many of the things that I thought I believed in, essen­tially, didn’t stand up to rig­or­ous invest­ig­a­tion. For me it has been a con­tinu­ous pro­cess of break­ing and re-break­ing.  I have ideas I believed in for years and seen it proven wrong in one after­noon. I think that is def­in­itely a healthy the pro­cess.

That’s also one of the reas­ons why I think it’s so import­ant that uni­ver­sity do not become some­thing only the rich can access. Higher edu­ca­tion allows for more social mobil­ity, but it also allows for people to develop their ideas. That’s not to say people can’t cre­ate ideas thoughts without going to school. Many people are auto­di­dactic, but uni­ver­sit­ies cre­ate a space for people to think crit­ic­ally.

Any­way brother, I enjoyed our talk and learned from this exchange.

Apex: Yeah, like­wise.

Lowkey:  I implore any­one who reads this to vote for Labour on the 8th June. I’m not say­ing it will be the key to everything. We won’t wake up on Fri­day morn­ing to be in heav­en. But we will have the chance to build a soci­ety which func­tions in a more healthy way. And we will have a chance to build more healthy rela­tion­ships with each oth­er. That’s what I feel.

 Art­icle edited by Merz 

*** This is an abridged ver­sion of the dis­cus­sion. To read the full dis­cus­sion vis­it http://designchaos.co.uk/ ****

The fol­low­ing two tabs change con­tent below.
Apex Zero

Apex Zero

Apex Zero is an emcee and beat maker who has been express­ing his anti-polit­ic­al views and extend­ing his work towards defin­ing, inspir­ing and cre­at­ing last­ing change through Hip Hop for over a dec­ade. Apex has been work­ing with grass­roots and mil­it­ant organ­isa­tions, edu­cat­ing him­self and oth­ers, organ­ising and build­ing towards over­turn­ing the oppress­ive mech­an­ism at large since his mid-teens, around the same time that he entered London’s under­ground Hip Hop scene as part of his crew, First and Last with his brother OMeza Omni­scient. Years of earn­ing respect and enhan­cing their repu­ta­tion, which lead to col­lab­or­a­tions and work­ing rela­tion­ships with many of the scenes most prom­in­ent artists and organ­isa­tions, mani­fes­ted in the Octo­ber 2013 release of Apex’s debut solo album ‘Real­ity Pro­vok­ing Lib­er­a­tion’. The 15 tracks of self-described ‘Neo-Hard­core Hip Hop’ gathered inter­na­tion­al acclaim from both fans and crit­ics, fur­ther enhan­cing Apex’s repu­ta­tion as one of the strongest and clearest voices in anti-polit­ic­al, ‘revolu­tion­ary’ Hip Hop in the UK. Based in Beijing, China since 2014, Apex has been trav­el­ling out­side of the UK, seek­ing new per­spect­ives and aim­ing at enhan­cing his out­look, explor­ing dif­fer­ent soci­et­ies, con­nect­ing with Hip Hop heads, act­iv­ists and schol­ars world­wide. Like his music, his writ­ing is often an exten­sion of his ideas and efforts to effect change in the world whil­st enhan­cing and elev­at­ing both the cul­ture of Hip Hop and the people who embody it.

About Apex Zero

Apex Zero
Apex Zero is an emcee and beat maker who has been expressing his anti-political views and extending his work towards defining, inspiring and creating lasting change through Hip Hop for over a decade. Apex has been working with grassroots and militant organisations, educating himself and others, organising and building towards overturning the oppressive mechanism at large since his mid-teens, around the same time that he entered London’s underground Hip Hop scene as part of his crew, First and Last with his brother OMeza Omniscient. Years of earning respect and enhancing their reputation, which lead to collaborations and working relationships with many of the scenes most prominent artists and organisations, manifested in the October 2013 release of Apex’s debut solo album ‘Reality Provoking Liberation’. The 15 tracks of self-described ‘Neo-Hardcore Hip Hop’ gathered international acclaim from both fans and critics, further enhancing Apex’s reputation as one of the strongest and clearest voices in anti-political, ‘revolutionary’ Hip Hop in the UK. Based in Beijing, China since 2014, Apex has been travelling outside of the UK, seeking new perspectives and aiming at enhancing his outlook, exploring different societies, connecting with Hip Hop heads, activists and scholars worldwide. Like his music, his writing is often an extension of his ideas and efforts to effect change in the world whilst enhancing and elevating both the culture of Hip Hop and the people who embody it.