Surviving neoliberal cultural warfare


I’ve just come across an AlterNet article entitled ‘5 Ways Trump Is Mentally Torturing Us Now’.

UK readers might struggle a bit with this as this is America wearing its heart on its sleeve, something which in Britain is culturally alien to us. But before dismissing this with any of the usual cynical, and frankly smug, hauteur with which many this side of the Atlantic view America, this is a very serious matter and one that, not only should we pay attention to, is something we are also grappling with, albeit in a less overt way, but at the cost of thousands of lives.

The western world and significant developed countries across the world have been privileged to enjoy a relatively peaceful existence since WWII, and we have also been fortunate enough, in the process, to take that for granted, despite living in a world in which less privileged nations have suffered dictatorships, warfare and invasion ever since the second world war, much of that at the hands of the greedy west.

The rise of economic colonialism, which we call Neoliberalism, has seen the rapacious corporate greed which has torn so many countries apart turn inwards on those countries which have reaped the most benefit from advancing technology and capitalism. In the UK this began with Thatcherism, but which, on the back of the bankers criminal global crisis and financial robbery, has seen, since 2010, a gloves off attack on our entire way of life. They began with poor, sick and disabled people and have been ramping it up ever since to cover more and more social groups; those who live less fragile and precarious lives, one such group being junior doctors.

It remains, though, that we are not yet experiencing anything like the terror of the apartheid regime in South Africa, Chile under Augusto Pinochet, the genocide in East Timor, the horror of the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, to name but a few in which there has been and is untold suffering which westerners generally have quite comfortably ignored, including the many wars of aggression for which the west is entirely responsible for prosecuting in the name of democracy.

David Cameron said in 2013, “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.” Of course he did not tell us what plans he had in place to attack us and our way of life, we had to wait for their imposition and at every stage people have been driven to despair, poverty, deprived of the means of survival, causing death and countless suicides and we were entirely unprepared for the onslaught.

To be clear, although so many other nations have, and are, experiencing very much worse, the situation we are in is no less serious and, as so many are discovering to their great cost, we ignore it at our own peril.

What we are having to learn in the UK is that we are, in the current climate, in this for the long haul. Despite the many cries that we should, ought or must do something, what those cries ignore is that right now there are no ready solutions available, and we all need to learn to toughen up and go the distance, to fight and never give up fighting and, frankly, we are unprepared and out of practice. Relatively speaking, we’ve had it easy, notwithstanding that those who have suffered the violence of poverty over the years are a little better prepared for the war on the poor and the escalation of right wing oppression.

We are, perhaps, just slightly ahead of America in this, again, not withstanding the millions in poverty, without health care, living in tents, abandoned by capitalism, but still America was not prepared for Trump and many in middle class America are shocked and traumatised newcomers to the internal war of neoliberalism and last gasp vulture capitalism.

This is not the time to gloat, this is the time when we need to find common cause across the globe, this is the time to stop segregating people by nationality, race, colour or creed, and finally accept that we are neighbours, sisters and brothers.

We have a common enemy, the corporatised world of global greed in which our governments are fully complicit and it is, in fact, time to grow up, if we can, if we are willing, if we are able and if we have the courage to go the distance. Every death and every suicide is a tragedy and many of us have already lost friends and family and our grief is yet more of the burden that we must carry. Whatever happens, the solution is not going to come from above and there are no pills that will cure this, if people need therapy and can get it, so much the better, but this is the fight of our lives and for our children’s lives and our common future.

KOG. 25 March 2017

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