Not In My Name

I’ve been getting angry on the internetz, again. I was about to go for a walk, try to calm down and disconnect from the rage, but I’ve decided to write this instead. Because sometimes it’s good to have that rage, sometimes it’s what’s really needed. So here goes.

letthemstay

It’s yet another day of yet another barbarity inflicted on yet more innocent people. Today’s is that the High Court of Australia just said “yeah sure, go ahead and send 267 innocent people (including 80 children – 41 of them babies for crying out loud) to our homegrown, corporate profiteering, torture chamber. Sure, women and children are raped and abused and men are tortured and die from curable illnesses there, but that’s OK, carry on”. Because apparently that’s the kind of country Australia is. That’s apparently OK in a 2016 world.

I don’t get it. I cannot for the life of me understand why we are letting this happen. Not just this despicable treatment of refugees, already so desperate for a better life that they risk such a dangerous journey in the hope of finding safety, but all of it. The climate, racism, employment and welfare systems, gender inequality, profiteering warfare, the TPP, all of it. Our governments are inhumane, corrupt and disconnected from reality. Their laws are defunct, designed to protect corporations instead of wethepeople. AND YET WE CONTINUE TO ELECT THEM. What in the fucking fuck is wrong with us?

I know no one likes to be blamed for anything, especially when we feel ourselves innocent victims as much as the next person. But this is our fault, guys. WE did this. WE do this every election by voting them in. WE do this every day with our compliance within this system. WE are responsible. Us. Every Single One Of Us. I don’t care if there’s ‘no one else to vote for’, that’s just a cop out. By voting them in -and by accepting their governance- we agree to live in their house by their rules. Repeatedly these governments demonstrate that morality has no place in their house or rules, and by accepting their ‘leadership’ we have to face up to the fact that morality no longer has a place in ours, either.

Yes, I just told you that you have no morals. Worse, I told you that you have no right to have any morals. Pissed at me yet?

My typical mantra at this point is “we don’t know why we exist on the planet and yet we’ve somehow ended up in a nightmare, 9-5 commuter belt, feedback loop to hell”. Once upon a time a bunch of human-shaped bodies somehow arrived on this sphere. Sometimes we bumped into each other and fought, sometimes we fell in love and had babies that connected us as families, tribes. Mostly we learned how to adapt; with each other, the ravages of weather and terrain, seasons of plentiful foraging, and periods of drought, famine and disease. I wasn’t there at the time so I can’t really assume much more than that. But however it all worked out in the details, we somehow continued to keep going without decimating each other entirely.

If we’re prepared to listen, Aboriginal culture -the oldest living civilisation on the planet- tells us that we have a responsibility to each other and the Earth. The basis of Aboriginal lore is “do no harm”, to each other and to nature. You take care of the planet, the planet takes care of you. Sounds simple, eh? Once upon a time in much more recent, westernised human history, we had The Commons – communities shared land and waterways for hunting, grazing, foraging, travelling, living. Then we had Enclosure, where we supposedly exchanged protection for our communities with a percentage of our crops. Then that protection became oppression, if we didn’t share all our crops then we were enemies of the state and must be punished. Then we had the Industrial Revolution, where we all (regardless of age) worked in the factories with our meagre salaries docked for ‘food and board’ (if you’re lucky, meaning a bed in a shared house with some stale bread and water for sustenance) while trying to not get mangled in the machinery. Then we had a more official form of slavery, where white underclasses finally had someone else to officially look down upon – hello racism. The white rich get richer while the white and non-white poor die of starvation, slavery, or just plain old legalised murder.

But that’s just history, right? Things are better now! We have a UN declaration on human rights! We have medicine so people live healthy lives for longer! We have an abundance of supermarkets and fast food joints so we’ll never run out of food! We have welfare for the old, infirm and unemployed! Um. Yeah. We have human rights abuses that continue, legally, on our own doorsteps and all over the world. We have bigpharma so those who can afford medicine can live forever and everyone else can just get addicted to things they don’t need that’ll kill them when they try to come off them, while naturopaths are quacks and cannabis is criminal. We have a healthcare system that suffers cut upon cut, privatisation upon privatisation. We have welfare recipients who have to justify their existence in a jobless future, fighting for a pittance on a debit card system which controls where they spend it, all while being labelled doley bludgers. We have pensions which force the average Jo/sephine to work until they’re 75, without carers, heating/aircon and the little things in life… like food. We have farmers who battle against genetically modified crop corporations while being told ‘customers don’t like curved carrots but you’re under contract to us supermarkets so you can’t sell them elsewhere, and here use this pesticide which kills bees’, adding entire harvests to landfill whilst people starve. And we have fast food outlets that serve up what can only be described as ‘plastic’.

“Do no harm” has become “Get rich quick”. The “Aussie fair go” and “American dream” have become an expectation that we work under conditions devised during the Industrial Revolution – long hours for minimal pay; living in tiny rabbit hutches with huge mortgages which we can never pay off, unable to afford (or have time to grow) the fresh fruit and vegetables that we so fundamentally require. Attempts to take care of the planet have become “lawfare” with whistleblowers and activists being sent to overflowing prisons. People who live any kind of life which veers from the mainstream white, western, corporatised dominance are labelled “other” or “terrorists”. And people, like me, who were brought up within the Western model and chose to drop out of its controlling tendrils are called ‘radicals’, ‘selfish rabble‘, ‘hippies’ and ‘lefties’. Hell, Jeremy Corbyn, the only UK potential-PM in my lifetime who both has morals and lives by them, has been labelled a radical socialist by his own damn party, simply for returning to the core values on which the original Labour Party was built.

But it’s OK guys, we’re gonna be fine, because we have celebrities and TV and Hollywood and the internet, right? Wrong again.

“What movies like Harry Potter 7 and Star Wars the Force Awakens take away from our psyche is that sometimes fascism doesn’t come all wrapped up in the trappings and trademarks of Nazi Germany. Sometimes fascism comes with a smiling face and promises of wealth and security. Sometimes fascism comes slowly, endorsed by the major media networks and seeming so innocuous, just slightly worse than before, maybe a little overzealous with the patriotism, but not too far gone to come back from…. And before you know it, your country is running concentration camps where children are sexually abused, women are raped, and young men are allowed to die of curable illnesses and injuries… and whistleblowers can go to jail for 10 years for exposing the truth. Fascism is here, but you wouldn’t think it, because Hollywood has us believing that unless the cops are wearing khaki grey Hugo Boss uniforms and shiny boots, there’s nothing to fear. [Millie Bird’s facebook status yesterday]

I’ve ranted before about the dangers of our current internet culture, so I’ll leave that one for now. I love a good bit of escapism, and I have a lot of love for well written and produced TV drama (though I have a rant that one day I’ll share about its evils). I’ve recently been watching “The Man in the High Castle”, based on the 1963 novel by Philip K Dick. Its premise is an alternative history where WWII ended differently; Japan and Nazi Germany run the world with totalitarian dominance. I’ve been watching this thinking that actually, the inhumanity depicted there, the lack of basic human rights, basic freedom to just be, is exactly the kind of authoritarianism that we all face today.

Aboriginal peoples talk about assimilation, the eradication of their own culture and connection to country by submitting to white, western ways. But we’re all assimilated, it’s just that so many haven’t seen it yet. I find myself feeling sorry for those Reclaim Australia racists and Men’s Rights/’neomasculine’ types. They’re scared, hurting, lost, struggling and desperate, and they think it’s just them, that no one sees their reality, that no one cares. The crazy thing is that they’re kicking out at the wrong people. People of colour, of different cultural/religious beliefs and women are not to blame for everything wrong with the world – how could they be, when they have never been in control of their own lives, never mind anyone else’s?! Our governments, our legal systems and capitalism are the culprits. Fight the real assholes, ffs.

So, it’s all broken, we’re all powerless, wtf do we do?

I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

[snippets from “We were made for these times, Letter to a young activist during troubling times“, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes]

What I think we need to do, what I am trying so hard to do myself, is to stop for a moment. Get off the hamster wheel and look deep into ourselves and around us. Peer behind the curtain and reveal the lies which hide behind, the world we have become. Then fight back, in any way we can. Not amongst ourselves, tearing down those on even lower rungs of the ladder, but upwards and outwards. Call out inhumanity, stand with the oppressed, engage in dialogue – especially outside of our physical and social media echo chambers, especially with ‘otherness’. Listen, with patience, tolerance and a willingness to be proven wrong. Educate ourselves without waiting to be taught and question those voices which may have their own motives. Trust our instincts, wear our hearts on our sleeves and our souls on our faces. Stand together, in all our glorious differences, and say loudly, and for as long as our lungs have breath:

NOT IN MY NAME.