2018 & burying the proverbial hatchet

It’s 2018 and while I have no data to measure this, it feels as though a cloud has lifted.

After the toxic cesspool of last year, I was fully expecting 2018 to bring disengagement and apathy en masse. But – at least from the conversations I have been having – it feels as though people are feeling empowered. Reactivated. Reinspired. Maybe it was the Christmas / New Years break. Maybe it was the activism on display at the Golden Globes, and now the Grammy’s. (Look, I’m usually not one to write about pop-culture or entertainment, ok? But bear with me). There seems to be a dawning realisation that it is our threshold for bullshit that is keeping this inequitable system alive.

The rule-book has been thrown out and we’re at the dawn of a new era. And, at least on my end, I am feeling a greater sense of solidarity and inspiration than I ever could have dreamed of. It gives me hope that we can bury the collective hatchet on the issues that divided us last year, forging ahead as a united force ready to take on the establishment.

We come in peace, but we mean business.

I’m sure by now you have all seen the video of Rose McGowan “losing it” on stage after being heckled by a trans activist. Her exhaustion and frustration is almost visceral. This is a rape victim who, after being blacklisted from her livelihood for years, who had to sell her house to fight Harvey Weinstein in court, was told she hadn’t “done enough” by what should have been an ally. We cannot have more of this in 2018.

There are plenty of issues that divide us: Despite what little gains have been made, African American & LatinX communities, the Indigenous, the LGBTIQA and women are still feeling the effect of structural discrimination policies harking back all the way to colonialism and through to the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. Those systems of oppression were so successful in their reach, powerful institutions are now using those very same practices to enslave the rest of us. It is unfortunate that it has taken this long for people to recognise what most of us have known for a long time:

The game was rigged from the start.

Last year, we were all victims of “pluto-populism“. We have let social issues distract us from the fact we are being economically disadvantaged. There is no doubt that work must continue on social issues, but securing the right of every person to meaningful work, and a wage that covers the basic costs of living, is a good first step. Not to mention affordable health-care, education and infrastructure that supports the 21st Century. Achieving financial security means we can remove the vitriol and animus of 2017 and channel it towards building a system that rewards the greatest number of people with the least amount of effort.

The real Resistance can no longer be about White vs Black. Or Male vs Female. Or Cis vs the LGBTIQA, or Jews vs Muslims & Palestinians, or Christianity vs literally everyone else, or the Press vs the Truth.

In the eternal words of Ice-T: ‘It ain’t personal, it business’.

Well, it is personal, but it’s also business. And that’s the greatest insult in all of this. So many of our problems could be solved with a bit of business sense and a true understanding of how money works, where it comes from, and why we have so little of it while profits soar.

The irony is it doesn’t take a whole lot of work to achieve this. (Well, it takes some work). The first step is to let go of the myth that a government that issues its own currency can run out of money, and stop buying into the anxiety over deficits. Realise the market is neither free, nor fair. Accept that government exists to serve the people that elect it, and to plan the economy in their best interests. (Otherwise, really, what is the point? And what does it say about the type of candidates who hate government but want to be President or Prime Minister anyway? Looking at you, Turnbull, Trump, May and pretty much all the leaders that came before them with the exception of Jimmy Carter, Gough Whitlam, Roosevelt, Churchill and some others).

One of the only things distinguishing a government from a business is its ability to issue currency. If we are to believe the rhetoric of the US, UK and Australian governments we ought to be electing the CEOs of Goldman Sachs and HSBC, rather than Presidents and Prime Ministers.

Please understand that when leaders talk about a return to surplus, they are talking about literally taking money out of the economy, forcing workers to take on ever more debt to compensate for the fact the government is taxing more than it spends. Why would you want the government to collect more in taxes than it spends on services?! A government that issues its own currency cannot run out of cash. Do not buy the bullshit. Fallacious concerns over deficits is exactly what is keeping most people in poverty.

It is time to remove the proverbial picket lines between us and join forces. We must focus our energies on the key institutions, individuals, organisations and corporations responsible for the single greatest theft in living history. Churches, banks, governments, the Bretton Woods organisations and the ideologues  and industries of unpaid, unregulated consultants that support them.

Less of this:

More of this:

We are all of us – or at least most of us – victims of some form of systemic discrimination. Whether that is rape, sexual assault, harassment, institutional abuse, be it religious, legal, legislative or police-enforced. Educational. Gendered. Domestic. Racial. Corporate. Financial. We are also, all of us, imperfect allies. All of our stories matter. All of our histories matter. Our experiences make us who we are.

Let’s make 2018 about the power of intent. We may not always use the correct terminology. We may not always be perfect “role models”. But instead of forensically examining the minutiae of dialect, let us instead focus on intention.

There are more of “us” than there are of “them”. And we are wasting energy turning on each other instead of aiming our vengeance at those who are truly responsible: the people and organisations that have divided us into convenient little categories, given us mobile phones, and left us to fight amongst ourselves. It’s convenient for them to have us angry at each other. It’s inconvenient when we turn our pitchforks on the establishment.

Let’s make 2018 a good one.

I for one am up for the fight. I hope you will join me.