Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Insurance Claws

Fuck I hate anarchists.

I really do. I mean, sure, the odd one is alright, but on the whole they tend to be jumped up little dickheads who get all self righteous about not conforming to 'the man' by getting a job*, or partaking of the key aspects of personal grooming. You can forgive this in a hippy, because you can get away with punching them in the face. They'll just lie in the dirt nursing their wounds, quietly sobbing about non-violence and karma or lentils or some shit. But you even look at one of these little black-blocker anarchists sideways and next thing you know, your mailbox is delivered through your window in a ball of flame. I usually admire this sort of character in a person, but given they regularly behave in this manner to each other too, it just strikes me as some sort of juvenile 'I'm going to act like a spoilt brat because I don't believe in authority' attitude. Of course, their interpretation of 'authority' appears to lead them to the conclusion that consequences, well, consequences as a result of their actions are unjustified and/or irrelevant.

But enough of that. We'll leave them to their dumpster-diving-to-bring-the-system-down antics. Have you ever heard the term 'affinity group'? If so, I expect you're already on the floor in tears of laughter. If not, here's the short version. Clapping is oppressive, so is leadership. Apparently, so are meetings. So clearly, the only way to 'organise' action is to do it in a total non-oppressive, vegan friendly, anti-corporate climate of equaldom or some shit. In short, an affinity group = the meeting for those of us who are not capable of behaving like grown adults.

To quote Luke Hauser :
"Affinity groups serve as a source of support and solidarity for their members. Feelings of being isolated or alienated from the movement, or the crowd, or the world in general can be alleviated through the love and trust which develops when an affinity group works, plays, and relates together over a period of time. By generating familiarty and trust, the AG structure reduces the possibility of infiltration by outside provocateurs."

Oh how lovely, they play together, too. So we can all be a lovely circle of happy little friends and lovers, all holding hands and happy-clapping our path to Gods great arms. Hang on... that's Evangelicals. Meh, close enough. Either way, affinity groups themselves are only the tip of the organising incompetence iceberg. Next come spokescouncils... these are bodies where each affinity group appoints a spokesperson. Then all the spokespeople get together and sit in a circle, each person with their affinity groups sitting behind them in support. They do not applaud each others contributions. No. That would be conforming to those capitalist scumbag ways. No. Instead, they snap their fingers. That's right - they click/snap their fingers in support.

See, to me, this sounds like someone shot a film clip parodying 80's style beat boxing & breakdancing... but then some moron took it seriously and thought to themselves 'Eureka! The perfect way to avoid confrontation/capitalism/oppresion/sanity!' Call me a filthy Trotskyist if you will, but I see nothing wrong with having a meeting and admitting that it is, in fact, a fucking meeting. Call out the icepick brigade.

Anyway. Back to my original point, the one I never actually made. Life insurance - is there anything more fundamentally stupid? I don't think so. I mean, I get the point of it, and it's probably a sensible idea for families paying off a hefty mortgage or some such, in case of a rather nasty, death-resulty, income-stopping accident. But have you ever read any of the policy statements out there? No? Well lets compare a few, shall we...

Policy #1 :

It has a lovely cover, and arrived in my mailbox yesterday. As with many life insurance plans, it features a couple on the front, and a happy, playing kid. Ruthless kidnappers, or god-fearing parents? I'll leave that decision to you.

It smells terrible, and cheaply printed. Disappointing, given it's produced what is a large, and generally reputable bank (as reputable as banks can be, anyhow).

So, for a monthly premium of forty odd dollars, your beneficiary will recieve a payout of $400,000 upon your death... unless...

Your death is a direct or indirect result of:

- participation in a riot, strike, civil commotion, or revolution (!)
- engaging in potholing (?)
- an accident which occurs while you are either drunk, or under the influence of non-prescribed drugs (!?)
- engaging in, or attempting to engage in a criminal offence (?$#!)

Fantastic! Does anyone know what potholing actually is? The mental image I'm getting is someone wandering down the street with a pickax, ripping holes in the street.

This policy also includes a whole bunch of exclusionary stuff about the death being from your own hand (intentionally or not), and so on and so forth. So your beneficiary is unlikely to get any cash unless someone walks up to you in the street and shoots you in the head. Although... that could be considered civil commotion.

So, what's the age limits and all that jazz? Well, this policy rates quite poorly, and will not let you apply after the age of 69, and will not let you renew your policy after you 80th birthday. What a birthday... Congratulations! You just turned 80, and you've spent the last 40 years paying copious amounts to Insurance company A! You're officially never seeing that cash again! Happy Birthday!

I hope they at least send you a cake.

Policy #2:

Ohh! This one again excludes any rioters/strikers/revolutionaries - but doesn't really have many other restrictions, other than suicide. Other than that, this one is pretty boring. It's a nice orangey colour, features more young children, and it cuts applications at age 50 - although you can continue to renew until 99. Ta daaah.

I'm starting to get the feeling that these insurance companies know something we don't about the direction the government plans to take towards strikers...

Policy #3:

This one is encased in even more orange, and features children running about the beach. I begin to wonder if kiddy-fiddlers collect life insurance brochures. Maybe there's a black market for trading the limited edition 'red' ones. Hmmm.

The brochure has no particular smell, as I've downloaded it. However; my office where I'm reading it features the aromas of cinnamon mints, and that shitty Policy #1 brochure that's sitting next to me. Fuck, it smells bad.

This is clearly the plan of choice for the working class, with no exclusions for strikers, revolutionaries, rioters or any other form of social discord (including suicide!). However, if you live to the ripe old age of seventy five, you can kiss your policy goodbye. Still, you shouldn't be rabble-rousing at that age; it's poor form, and the nursing home will kill you in your sleep.

So there you have it. Useless life insurance policies.

It was funnier in my head.

Still, I love some of those exclusions. They inspire me to write my own policies, ones that would void your policy if you were wearing pink at the time of your death, or charge you double if you owned a poodle. My favorite real clause was that you couldn't be paid out if your death occurred over 12 months after an accident that contributed either entirely or partially towards your death. Forget this criminal activity stuff - this is stopping you from claiming on the basis that your death was long and drawn out. Fantastic! In a coma? You're fucked!

I'd like to see the anarchists start campaigning against discriminatory life insurance policies. In between dumpster diving, they can form affinity groups and hold spokescircles in insurance company foyers, clicking like mad at the security guards as they're physically removed and beaten over the head with big sticks during their latest attempt at 'direct action'. Either way, I'm sure they'll manage to smash up a McDonalds or three along the way, so it's pretty much guaranteed to be a fun day out for all.

Da Rantolotl.

* I wholeheartedly support unemployment, but for entirely different reasons.


Anonymous said...

There should be life insurance policies for corporations, so that when our companies die we get paid out $400,000 each.

CJ said...

potholing...the fine art of putting on a silly helmet and venturing deep underground. Sometimes this involves clambering down cliffs where you can't see anything into holes which you can't see. Sometimes it is even more fun - like when you get to slide on your back through a tunnel of mud with just your nose above the muck and it scraping the ceiling of said tunnel - ooohhh can we go this weekend?

Fandango Jones said...

So Potholing is basically an 'XTREME' version of spelunking? Pfft... what a pissweak excuse for a passtime. Unless it includes the use of some kind of dangerous motorized transport, at break-neck speeds, into un-known territory - in the dark... well then its just a mockery of the noble and refined 'XTREME' name.
Potholing... what a cunt.

lisa said...

alienated from the movement, or the crowd, or the world in general can be alleviated through the love and trust which develops when an affinity group works, plays, and relates together over a period of time

am feeling pretty alienated just thinking about the love in. uurrrgh.

aren't we meant to protesting something? I have friends and a partner to play and relate with.

the rantolotl said...

partners are an oppressive tactic of corporations trying to bring us down, don't you remember?