Sunday, June 05, 2005

Radicalism in a new age, a ramble for Max

If you take the view that we are headed for a future that is at the best ghastly and that we are living under the oppressive cultural hegemony of capitalism, then what can one do to affect change and what does it mean to be political in the modern age?
What it means to be Australian it a tricky question but whatever that culture is, it doesn't amount to anything when we, in effect do not live in a culture created by us (Australians). The society in which we wile away out small lives is predominately American and this makes it very difficult to have a political identity based on a sense of nationhood. We cant really hark back to the good old days, when true blue Ozzies could walk proud and say to visitors in a firm and confident tone "I am an Australian"(except for a brief time after the establishment of the eight hour day in the 1850s) . There wasn't a time for us (us white bastards) when we made contact with a foreign power and our culture became colonized by another. There was no time of conflict when publicly calling ones self Australian got you beaten in the streets by occupying troops and torched to death in a cell (a la Tibet). This makes it hard to say the least to fight against something (cultural, economic, and political colonization) for something (a (socialist) culture of out own) that we never had (we did for a while however have one of the best welfare states in the world (1900s again)) That fleeting time of unionised hope is the only thing we can look back on and wish for again but that is not enough to counter the current political nightmare and also provide a convincing alternative to the dead, empty consumer driven culture that has been pressed upon to us. What we must do is forge our own alternative, not from dreams of the past but from a solid vision of the future.
But how can we (those who care) go about making out own future in a country that is in effect no longer a democracy (come july), in a world ruled by the few with a populous televised into apathy? It it disheartening when people ask why we need to struggle, exemplified by the whole poster fiasco at school some people saw no point in needing to express a view and challenge the status quo (Max knows who I mean).
Does the new age in communications herald a new form of political protest? Maybe blogs will be the tool of the new generation, perhaps radical pod casters will rouse people from their couches and possibly online democracy will lead the peoples of the world to freedom. I personally don't believe any of that, I think that blogs are a clever tool for adsorbing political energy, giving a false impression of having a say. While dedicated blogers are belatedly bloging about current events and ideas for protest the world glides by around them and the power structures they supposedly challenge just smile, nod and make their own blogs. That doesn't mean we should give up on them just that they don't convince me as been the way to go, perhaps just another brick in a multitudinous arsenal needed to break out of our dire situation. Taking down a bill board or two is a form of political protest, but it wont change the world, what it does change are people involved and thats just as important. Been able to do more that just talk is liberating and gives a new way of looking at the world. When such an act as taking down a bill board is proposed it is met with bewilderment; "What? You cant do that, what's the point,? Its illegal anyway." But once done you can see that although we are a colony of an empire whose only master is money, things are only like that because we let it be so.
You can equate installing a wind/solar system that allows independence for the grid to Ghandi making his salt, why should we be slaves to private companies who care only for our money?
Anyway, where was I going? I don't know. But whatever, the way things are, is bad. They are only getting worse and, by the looks of things, are going to become very bad indeed. We need to do something to change, how we should do I don't know and what we should change to I don't really know either. But we will find a way and a future of our own.
Cost of the War in Iraq
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