I read this article and found it to be very interesting and I thought people should read it.
Trump triumphs, brexit rolls on and all things in the middle are questioned. With Trump’s win in the USA, on the back of a campaign inspired by hate and division but powered by the simple need of jobs, of an income, trumped the ideals of the left. The working class were left behind, that’s a fact, not only in the USA but across the globe. As society progressed on through the 80’s and the middle classes increased, people and politicians no longer had to worry about poverty or low income, they could then turn their focus on how they lived. Human rights, work life balance, yoga, new cars and other technologies.
As we entered the era of making ‘money from money’ things became a lot riskier. As the globe became interconnected through the financial markets (globalisation) what happened on one side of the word now affected the other side of the world.
The crash of 2008 shrunk the middle class, people were now less well off, in debt, behind on mortgage payments and with no disposable income for luxury good or vacations to distract them from the world’s woes, people were now forced to become politically aware and politically engaged.
Over the past 8 years of recession, with slow change and a loss of confidence in the financial policies of the neoliberals, a loss of confidence in the well established politicians and now the media, people have begun to revolt. As mentioned above, Donald Trump won the USA Presidential election and Britain have voted to separate from the European Union. Left wing and right wing parties have gained significant ground. Duterte in the Philippines, openly confessed to killing people has been pushing a new war on drugs with thousands dead in three months, killed by the police, killed by other gangs and vigilantes. Marion-Le Pen, a far right politician in France, presidential hopeful for 2017. Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain which has
transformed the Spanish political scene.
Whats next for 2017? will Europe begin to separate?
will France elect a far right President?
how about war in the South China Sea or in Eastern Europe with the build up of NATO forces in Poland. All I know is that some bad seeds have been sowed and what grows wont be good for anyone.
It is clear that when politicians talk about creating a middle class, what they actually mean is that by creating a middle class, they in turn create a society where the majority of the people are more concerned with the latest technology, fashion, cars and other luxurious items. This majority become depoliticized and reelect those political leaders that keep the gravy train on the tracks. This is what we now know as a stable society . Within this society, fractures begin to appear as wages flat line, growth begins to slow down and unemployment increases. At this point people begin to wake up to the fact that their lives have not been fulfilled and the only thing they have to show is negative equity, shiny watches and whitened teeth.
In 2008 when the financial system crashed, homes were repossessed, job losses were a daily occurrence and suddenly the divisions in society that were hidden beneath piles of money were revealed.
Fast forward to 2015 and the US presidential primaries/caucus begin and not only are the democrats and republicans poles apart but inside the democratic party you also have two candidates who are both supposedly on the left and yet you’d think one was a liberal republican. Senator Bernie Sanders is on the left of the political sphere and a self described Social Democrat. He campaigns for free or affordable health care and Education, higher taxes for the rich and better financial regulation. Hilary Clinton on the other hand, when she speaks, I get the same sense that she is running for the office of President for the same reasons Mitt Romney ran. Both have done so much in their lives but yet they haven’t been able to clinch the top position. Hilary, like Mitt is a careerist and she will do whatever she can to get into office. She will flip flop on policy and move to the left to increase her chances.
In the republican camp, you have an idiot called Donald J Trump. He is a failed businessman, the least innovative person I have come to know, a bigoted racist who, like Hilary and Mitt only wants to be elected because
it is the highest CEO position a careerist could want. He has become the presumptive nominee for the republican party because he has played to the fears of the electorate.
Like all politicians in the Presidential Race of 2016, they have pounced on the divisions of the people, they have separated and dominated their worries, fears and hatred to try and win a political race.These hatreds have been compounded by the likes of Donald J Trump, labeling immigrants as one of the sole reasons for Americas problems. You also have politicians today, trying to reverse laws which protect those who have been marginalized i.e. The Bathroom Bill.
The fact is, these one liners hang around long after the headline in the newspapers are forgotten and are used by extremists around the world to fuel hate and violence. Each and every time hatred is shared as a view or policy position by someone who demands a lot of media attention, under the guise of freedom of speech, it builds up an manifests itself in violence. Just because some things have changed for the better it doesn’t mean everything is OK. Hate has reared it’s head many times. When coupled with lax gun laws you pay witness to such atrocities like the mass shooting which occurred at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. This wasn’t some crazed lunatic, his hatred was influenced and compounded by the likes of the religious extremists group ISIS but also by politicians who share similar views about the LGBTQ community. When you have elected representatives speaking out against the LGBTQ community, what you are getting isn’t only a policy position but also fuel to the fire. The reason these people are elected is because oftheir backward polices and views. The Orlando atrocity was a homophobic terror attack as described by Owen Jones on a Sky News segment to which the host refused to call it exactly what it was.
The simple fact is, capitalism as a financial system, it may be OK for some but to build your society around a financial system will only create much bigger and deeper problems down the road. What we are seeing is the rise of nationalism and patriotism (whatever they are) across Europe and North American and those who will suffer are minority groups.
What’s the solution? well one stepping stone would be for the Democrats in the USA to elect Bernie Sanders as the Nominee and for them to unite around him and defeat Donald J Trump in the general. Another move would be for the Republicans to wake up and defeat Trump internally, his success would mean that the Republicans would lose future elections. The United States as a global leader needs to be united under the leadership of a progressive like Senator Sanders and for once, not lead as an economic power but as a moral and just power.
Recently I seen the movie ‘The Giver’ …
In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the “real” world.
This movie is fascinating. It debates the idea of equality, brought in through a system of sameness. A community where there is no war, pain or famine. A community where people have no choice in life, from choosing their family to their careers.
In the movie, the character played by Meryl Streep says “when humans are given choices they always make the wrong ones”.
It made me think a lot about our purpose and what we do with our time. The average life in Ireland lasts 81 years. When you consider that from the ages of 4-21, which is 17 years are spent in full time education, then the average person works until the retirement age of 65. That then leaves you with 16 years of your life, that’s 44 years working full time.
What is it all for ?
when I visualise this in my head I automatically think of a conveyor belt. The start of the journey is similar for most, but the turns you take, the levels you rise and fall are determined on the situation your family are in. Most likely their financial situation. The more money they have or make the more choices that become available to you as you continue this conveyor belt journey from play school, through primary and secondary school, then into university. To be “educated” in one of the course choices you made on your CAO application, or so you thought! The course you chose can only become available if you attained the required number of points on your leaving certificate, this can be greatly influenced by the school you attended, whether you had an option of support out side of school hours and the educational level of your parents and family at large.
So to cap, you’ve studied for a long time, to get a course you didn’t particularly want, to become “employable” to work a job/career you have zero passion for, to buy lots of overpriced material goods, properties and services. To live through a number of financial recessions only to see your pay decline, taxes increase and public services stripped to the bone, even though you’ve contributed your earnings (tax) to them over the decades.
Now at the age of 45, the income you’re bringing home after years of working hard is now equal to or less than the income you started with on day one. If you’ve been lucky to keep your pay at the level it was before then the new taxes and tax increases will have gotten you, plus you’ve to pay a lot more to use public services like the bus. Did I forget to mention that you’re in negative equity. The 350,000€ home you bought 10 years ago is now worth 265,000€ thanks to the property bubble created by a bunch of lads and some women who don’t seem to have been affected that much, they’re now back in business, buying, developing and selling.
So now you go on your way and be a good citizen, work harder, longer hours, less pay, pay more in tax for reduced services so the government can pay back the billionaires that lost money and blame it one you, the citizens.
So I ask myself again, what is it all about?
Below is a list of Documentaries that I’ve seen and recommend. They are informative and thought provoking.
1. Bitter Lake by Adam Curtis
2. No end in sight. (Critical look at the American lead invasion of Iraq).
3. The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara.
4. Chasing Ice. (A multi-year chronicle of the planet’s rapidly melting glaciers).
5. The Genius of Photography. (mutli-TV series BBC)
6. Inside Job. (An examination of the 2008 financial crises).
7. Finding Vivian Maier (Street Photographer who took over 100,000 pictures)
8. Manufacturing Consent. (Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky)
9. the shock Doctrine. (Naomi Klein)
10. Inequality for all. (Robert Reich)
11. Waiting for Superman. (An examination of the school system in the USA and its decline).
I remember spending 3 weeks in France learning about globalisation and many things associated with that. Homes being destroyed, land being taken, families being separated, workers being under paid and many many more things. I then continued to read and become interested and concerned with similar things from around the world. After all if this you have to ask yourself a question!
Was and is it worth knowing all of this ? Has this information made my life a bit more miserable?
My answer is, as of now no it’s not worth knowing and yes it has made my life a bit more miserable.
All I have felt since is more sadness when I come across these stories. I feel, the changes that are needed in the world to help everyone that needs it, the change needs to be monumental and can only be lead from those in positions of power, corporate and political power.
The only problem with this is that those in them positions are useless and short sighted. Either working for political popularity or working towards a larger profit margin.
We can only hope that by the time the world decides to change it won’t be too late!….