Manifesto for a General Strike for Life

•September 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment

ron cobb old man and pavement

[Written January 2003, just before the US Imperial invasion of Iraq. The General Strike was the key tool in the toolbox of classical anarcho-syndicalism. Image by great 60/70s cartoonist Ron Cobb.]

Manifesto for a General Strike for Life

Martin, I too have a dream
of us coming out of our shells

out of our TV shells, car shells, work shells
fatigue shells, fear shells, mortgage rat-race shells
sex, drugs and rock & roll shells

our shopaholic shells, our party shells
class, age and gender shells
out of our tribe and nation shells
(yep, those especially)

to acknowledge, respect
embrace the others
the others out there
the others in here

the victims
the dark others
the dispossessed, the despised
the downtrodden

the children, women, men
bombed, tortured, starved, exploited
ignored, silences, oppressed
by Empire
on our behalf
in our names
to keep our economies ticking over
the cheap resources flowing
shares and supers growing

I have a dream:
we simply
stop

stop believing in leaders
in pulling our heads in
in private solutions to public problems
in leaving the thinking to others

I have a dream
we finally listen
to what we know already

to the breath of the future
in our bones

unplug our minds from Their sockets
slow down, relax
look, laugh, cry, look again

organise our networks
our debate and dissent
solidarity and solitude

that we use our most powerful weapon:
simply withdraw our support, disaffiliate
from the whole crazy racket

from the powerful, the products
we don’t need, the elections
of different wings of the same Party
media that keep it all nicely ticking over
like a time bomb on speed

that we reach out to each other
and into our deepest selves:
our sisters and brothers
in huts, hovels and high-rises
camps and prisons
forests, farms, rivers

in soil and sea
in the stars of the heavens
in the furthest reaches of the mind
the darkest depths of dream

where we meet ourselves
as others

where we frighten ourselves
as others

where we inspire ourselves
as others

I have a dream
we all sit down
at the table of righteousness

the high and the low
the black and the white
the refugee and the retiree

drink of the wine of compassion
eat of the bread of insight

that we proclaim
a General Strike For Life
for peace, for justice, for solidarity

that we vigorously, seditiously conspire
to wage a very radical peace
against Empire, against the powerful
who threaten our world and our children

that we organise our realised democracy
town by town, valley by valley
continent by continent

till we cover this round blue globe
with the laughing light
of freedom

Shadows. An Essay on Bleakness and Hope 2

•September 10, 2014 • 6 Comments

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[Second part of the Shadows essay. Endnotes have again been left out. Another abstract photo from the beach at Currarong.]

Shadows. An Essay on Bleakness and Hope 2

Hope From Out of the Shadows

In the spring and summer of my ‘politicisation’ (an awkward but widely used term in Germany at the time) during the late sixties and early seventies, the relationships between the collective shadow and the everyday were different, of course, and yet also similar. As conscious participants in the international student movement, youth culture and later eco-movement of the time, the predominant shadow of the fifties and early sixties, the shadow of The Bomb, was largely pushed aside, relegated to the periphery, ignored by us hopeful student radicals. In Germany our adversaries were fairly clear and ethically self-evident: the Holocaust-repressing, Nazi collusion-denying generation of our parents, authoritarian (and even ex-Nazi) establishment figures of all kinds, the pervasive spiritual aridity and meaninglessness of body- and soul-denying consumerism, capitalism’s structural violence of everyday life, western governments’ various collusions with US imperialism and war crimes in Indochina.

We thus chose definable, combatable shadows, as it were, our revolt as much political and moral as it was diffusely aesthetic and cultural. The latter forms or revolt were in fact probably primary in the sense of visceral, non-intellectual, almost biological or instinctual. (Like kundalini energy in the esoteric body of Tantrism, the social energy seems to move first through the primary chakras of sexuality, gut and heart before reaching the head and becoming rational opinion and theory).

We had a global explanation (‘late capitalism’), a clearly responsible adversary (‘the establishment’, i.e. the order-givers of late capitalism) and, above all, a not always articulated but strong and pervading sense of hope. The latter seemed to initially arise spontaneously out of the very synergy – the dynamics, social impacts and vitalising energy ‒ of the movement itself. There was a subtle but definite sense of being-in-sync-with-something-larger, of the real possibility of some vague but sudden planetary shift to something more exciting and better.

When this feeling ebbed (in Germany perhaps already in late 1968 after the Easter riots, the collapse of the wild utopian promise of the Parisian May and the brutal Soviet military destruction of Czech ‘socialism with a human face’), the sense of hope transferred itself more and more to explicit theoretical constructs and utopias of various kinds: ‘socialism’, ‘self-management’, ‘post-scarcity anarchism’, then to ‘eco-topia’ and an ‘alternative society’. In the later seventies the latter then merged seamlessly with the emerging struggles against nuclear power and later, in the early eighties, with the renewed global peace movement against Reagan’s threats of ‘limited and winnable’ nuclear war and the European deployment of new US and Soviet nuclear first strike weaponry that made intentional or unintentional nuclear war much more likely.

The late eighties and early nineties then saw a renewed upsurge of mass interest in all things environmental, stimulated in the main by the twin shock realizations of ozone depletion and global warming. Hope was then bound up with the possibility of the nineties becoming a ‘turnaround decade’ in which the newly liberated post-Cold War global energies (the so-called ‘peace dividend’) would now turn to building ecologically sustainable and socially just societies. This feeling faded quite rapidly after the corporate hijacking of the UN Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 and its ‘ecological sustainability’ agenda, although some hope lingered to a degree at local levels where communities all over the planet endeavoured to facilitate forms of ‘ecologically sustainable development’ within the ‘Local Agenda 21’ process spawned at the Rio conference.

Since then hope has begun to crystallize again in the now very consciously planetary (and mis-named) ‘anti-globalisation’ movement initially surfacing as the indigenous Zapatista uprising against the NAFTA process in Mexico in 1994 and the street riots against the WTO in Seattle in 1999 and then crystallising in the World Social Forum meetings in Brazil and India (with increasingly large numbers of participants from all over the world).

The World Social Forum then facilitated or helped stimulate the first fully and consciously global demonstrations for peace and against an impending imperial war, the second US war against Iraq. Held on March 15/16, 2003 and encompassing between 10 and 30 million people, these demonstrations were, in both scope and deep meaning, an almost millennial, spiritual event and an immense source of hope for a rising global utopian consciousness of the ultimate oneness of the human family and planetary ecology.

So the social movements embodying human hope and countering the ‘objective’ bleakness of social and ecological conditions have continued to evolve since the sixties, moving in the usual, seemingly universal, cycles of surge and ebb, of birth, climax and decay and forming shifting, complex interrelationships with each other.

The Loss of Utopia

However, to a large extent the ‘utopian imagination’, the ‘poetry of revolt’ and radical theory that characterised the essence of the sixties and seventies movements and uprisings, seem to have often atrophied or disappeared under the relentless global march of neoliberalism. The zeitgeist is no longer utopian. In many ways this is very understandable and, especially from a very common sense, pragmatic and rational perspective that is sceptical of all speculative, do-gooding and ‘totalizing’ attitudes , perhaps even to be welcomed. Compared with the sixties, the times are economically, socially and ecologically more dismal, much faster, more precarious and complex, on some levels perhaps even more dangerous. Various waves of historical development seem to be super-imposing and coming to a head on many interrelated levels. The so-called ‘post-modern’ zeitgeist is pluralist, relativist, de-centred, hyper-individualist, sceptical and wary of all ‘grand narratives’, utopian or otherwise. In this radical neo-scepticism it seems both refreshingly anti-totalitarian and an unconsciously conformist, radical regression or ‘dumbing down’, an ideological (unconscious) reflection of neo-liberal economic and cultural hegemony since Thatcher and Reagan.

The necessary consequence of this prevalent stance, however, is the loss of a centred perspective and utopian hope. It would seem the utopian baby has been thrown out with the dogmatic Marxist or ‘grand narrative’ bathwater. As in personal life, social and political issues also tend to fall apart into disconnected single issues (social justice, peace, the environment, genetic engineering etc. etc. and a plethora of local holding actions) and there is no critical perspective of some core dynamic driving events, no directionality, no coherent ‘grand narrative’ if you will, to link these fragments into some cohesive, overall framework of meaning. (It is also part of the naïve or self-contradictory nature of radically sceptical post- modernism to ignore the fact that to say ‘there is no more grand narrative’ is of course itself also a ‘grand narrative’, and one that eminently suits the powers that be).

One of the reasons for this state of affairs is surely the strong erosion or almost disappearance of a sense of history and tradition, and, linked to this and more specifically, of the legacy of the previous ‘grand narrative’. The original, post-Christian and secular ‘grand narrative’ that gave hope and thus meaning to millions of lives in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was, of course, ‘socialism’ in all its many forms.

If ‘religions’ can be anthropologically and sociologically defined as encompassing meaning-providing cognitive, ritual and social frameworks , then ‘socialism’ (despite or, indeed, because of its ‘scientific’ pretensions) certainly was one. Developing out of and against the bourgeois democratic ideals of the Enlightenment and within the historical context of the rise of the industrial working class, for millions it tended to replace the gradual erosion of Christianity as a social binding force in the west. In terms of mass influence it has now joined Christianity in the notorious dustbins of history. And in terms of the well-deserved demise of dogmatic mainstream ‘socialism’ or the ‘Old Left’ since at least 1914, this is only to be welcomed.

However, with nothing really replacing Christianity and socialism, there is a social vacuum of meaning, values and perceptual orientation that is necessarily filled by other things. It can be filled by consumerism, political disengagement and private withdrawal and a corresponding generalised, disengaged bleakness shading off into the mainstream neo-liberal frenzy and spiritual aridity of competitive individualism and the ‘market personality’ (Erich Fromm). ‘We can’t change the world, let’s go shopping’.

The spiritual and social vacuum can also be filled by various religiously sectarian, populist and/or reactionary fundamentalisms often seemingly preparing, or at least awaiting, some modernised form of fascism. Sometimes in direct, mutually strengthening communication with the latter proto-fascisms, moreover, the social and spiritual vacuum can also be filled by the official spectacles and ideologies of nationalism, militarism and imperial wars that attempt to bind together the disengaged and isolated masses for the usual system-controlling purposes of the ruling elites.

War has always been the ‘health of the state’ (Randolph Bourne), both of the existing states and the nascent ones of fundamentalism. The state terror of war increases small-scale counter-terror which increases state authoritarianism and terror in a self-reinforcing downward spiral of violence and repression. The authoritarian, nationalist or militarist forces of all sides need each other to cement and increase their own power and influence.

The hope is that a critical mass of people linking across national boundaries can resist the hegemony of ruling elites in framing the issues as one’s of ‘national security’ and ‘national interest’. The hope is that a critical mass or people can globally network into a powerful force for systemic change and human survival. The hope is that a critical mass of people can come to realise that any ‘national interest’ is now a planetary interest in maintaining peace and a viable biosphere, that any ‘security’ now entails the security of everyone on the planet, i.e. social justice and the elimination of capitalism. The hope is that the spiritual vacuum can be filled by the realisation of being One Human Family on One Beautiful but Endangered Planet.

We are all, consciously or unconsciously, pulled between bleakness and hope. Given both the enormity and urgency of the threats and the gradually emerging, increasingly networking, global movements for deep social change, both would seem eminently rational.

Shadows. An Essay on Bleakness and Hope 1

•September 8, 2014 • 1 Comment

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[Older essay, broken down into two parts. Photo of a puddle in the forest.]

Shadows. An Essay On Bleakness and Hope.

Wenn ich verzweifelt bin, was geht’s mich an?
(If I am in despair, what has that got to do with me?)
– Günther Anders 1979

Erkenntnis allein bewirkt Verzweiflung.
(Insight alone leads to despair.)
– Heinz-Joachim Heydorn (cited in D.Diner 1984, ‘Aufklärer Heydorn’)

Despair cannot be banished by injections of optimism or sermons on ‘positive thinking’. Like grief, it must be acknowledged and worked through. This means it must be named and validated as a healthy, normal human response to the situation we find ourselves in. Faced and experienced, its power can be used, as the frozen defenses of the psyche thaw and new energies are released. Something analogous to grief work is in order.
– Joanna Macy, World As Lover, World As Self, p.16

Beginnings

I am not sure when I started tending to see things bleakly. It has been more a gradual development over many years rather than a tendency whose origins lie in some precisely definable moment, memory, trauma or insight. Specifically, I have not always assumed that humanity, or at least humane civilization, is engaged in a process of self-destruction. I have not always assumed that there may be no future.

My conscious awareness of some form of global reality transcending, and yet potentially impacting on, my personal life probably dates from the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, when I was 13. I knew nothing of the so-called Cold War or the official military paranoid psychosis of the age openly called Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). My parents had no TV and we never listened to the radio news. My father did read the Sydney Morning Herald and I had vague knowledge of the existence of The Bomb, although we never talked about it and I never consciously thought about it. My only clear memory during these days of the nuclear standoff between Kennedy and Khrushchev was of myself standing alone on the third floor porch in front of our classroom at Fort Street Boys’ High looking out over the traffic stream on Parramatta Road and the glare of the limitless expanse of red-tiled rooftops of western Sydney stretching towards the Blue Mountains. Thinking something like: this could be it. This could be the end. Someone’s proverbial finger on some proverbial button. I don’t remember anything but being alone with this feeling of anxiety, utterly alone with a glaring grey sky, the din of traffic and the flat suburban expanse. Bleakness inside and out.

In contrast to this experience of vague fear and an imagined end, the so-called Sputnik Shock four years previously was a real and positive experience. Eight years old, taken out into the backyard in Palmer Street to view the night sky: there, a small point of light moving quickly between the stars. No great emotion, but nevertheless a visible, technological indication of the existence of things (countries, satellites, inventions) not just imaginatively but literally beyond my immediate horizon.

Perhaps I must go back even further, however, to the war stories. Playing by myself, sitting (often under the dining table near the legs and shoes of our German Sunday visitors), listening to all the often repeated stories of the air raids on Berlin or of the post-war escape from Berlin to Hanover as they consumed their Kaffee und Kuchen. Inner images forming (cellars, ruins, phosphorous bomb markers, the whistling of falling bombs) as I listened, quietly absorbing a sense of history beyond and yet deeply impacting on my parents’ lives (and thus on mine, although it has taken me a lifetime to consciously understand this).

Despite such childhood immersions and experiences, my view of the world and self was never consciously bleak, however. People around me have always been kind, decent, non-abusive, non-threatening. I have never had to experience physical or emotional violence, material want, or death. I have always led the privileged life of sheltered affluence common to the middle classes and much of the working classes in the west during the ‘golden age’ of the long economic boom and Keynesian welfare state (1945-73).

If there is a distinction between a dignified form of poverty and abject material misery, it seems that people ‒ particularly in the non-industrialised countries – may live with great self-respect and joie de vivre under the former, though never under the latter. Affluent industrialised countries, in contrast, can be characterised by many things, but a general joie de vivre, most would agree, is certainly not one of them. Epidemics of various addictions, anxieties and depression are commonplace. The possible reasons for such personal and social alienation are of course manifold. For the moment let’s try and stick to the phenomenology of personal experience.

The Phenomenology of Bleakness

Examining my own tendency to bleakness of vision more closely, I find a curious fact. Both in the past and now I find a marked duality of bleakness and non-bleakness, a strange split between the quality of my thoughts about humanity’s probable future and the quality of my everyday experience. Whereas the former is deeply pessimistic about the prospects of any reversal of current trends towards the elimination of democracy and nature by some complex form of state-corporate cyber-fascism and ecocide, the latter is of a quite different texture. It has its normal ups and downs of course but is on the whole characterised by a somehow ‘foundational’ sense of security, stability, humour and ‘un-bleak’ well-being. It is as if the reflective mind and everyday life mostly exist on different planes. As an old German saying has it:

Ich komme, ich weiss nicht, von wo?
Ich bin, ich weiss nicht was?
Ich fahre, ich weiss nicht wohin?
Mich wundert, dass ich so fröhlich bin.

(I come from, where exactly?/ I am, I don’t know what?/ I am travelling, where to exactly?/ I am amazed to be in such good spirits.)

In this feeling, there may be a striking structural similarity to some of English sceptical philosopher David Hume’s famous self-observations in his A Treatise of Human Nature (1739) .

Perhaps we may sum up Hume’s process of reflection in the remarkably personal and charming section at the end of the first book as (a little cheekily) a classically ‘Hegelian’ dialectical three-step of thesis, antithesis and synthesis (or Aufhebung : ‘lifting up’, transcending, superseding) .

He first remarks how any intensive philosophical questioning must lead to radical doubt and deep scepticism about everyday verities (‘superstitions’) such as notions of ‘cause and effect’ and the ‘reality’ both of external objects and the ‘self’. Philosophy pursuing ‘final principles’ necessarily ends up in manifold self-contradictions, dilemmas and absurdities, in short “…in the most deplorable condition imaginable, inviron’d with the deepest darkness…”. The reflective mind, Reason itself “…is incapable of dispelling these clouds…” (On this reading, philosophy itself would be at least as much a ‘dismal science’ as bourgeois economics).

On the other hand, Hume then finds that “nature herself”, the “lively impression” of the senses and everyday conviviality cure him “of this philosophical melancholy and delirium” and “obliterate all these chimeras”. Indeed, the cure of everyday activities is so effective, that philosophizing then seems quite unappealing:

I dine, I play a game of back-gammon, I converse, and am merry with my friends; and when after three or four hours’ amusement, I wou’d return to these speculations, they appear so cold, and strain’d, and ridiculous, that I cannot find in my heart to enter into them any farther.

Nature, the senses, “animal spirits and passions” and conviviality, all conspire to return him to living, acting and talking “like other people in the common affairs of life”, despite his philosophical insights into the rationally untenable nature (‘superstitions’) of the “general maxims of the world”. At such times he is very much tempted to throw all his books and papers into the fire and “resolve never more to renounce the pleasures of life for the sake of reasoning and philosophy.”

And yet he does not. Hume’s last dialectical step is to (in Hegelian terminology) ‘negate the negation’ and ‘lift up’ (aufheben) the previous stage of his reflection. After all the curative conviviality, and then “tir’d with amusement and company”, indulging in solitary reverie or a walk by the river-side, he discovers that he is simply “naturally inclin’d” to philosophize. He finds he simply cannot avoid a basic curiosity about ethical principles, the causes of his own passions and inclinations, the nature and foundation of government, the principles behind one’s judgements of good and bad, true and false, beautiful and ugly. He admits to a need to “contributing to the instruction of mankind” and even to an ambition for fame. All these are part of his nature or “present disposition”, the “origin” of his philosophy, and to deny them or attempt to suppress them by distracting himself in some other business would simply mean a loss of pleasure, the pleasure of philosophizing.

So, following philosophers like Hume or Heinz-Joachim Heydorn (cf. quote cited above), perhaps the bleakness is located within the very process of thinking itself, not in the living.

At least for the more reflective, life itself seems split into living and thinking about living, the former, unlike the latter, containing no bleakness. Living itself seems to be a matter of a natural, biologically inherent (not a reasoned) ‘optimism’, otherwise it would cease. The body and senses would seem to ground and be grounded in a constitutional optimism, the reflective mind in a tendency to anxiety and bleakness. This split between (‘optimistic’) living and (bleak) reflection can be, however, as for Hume, not another source of bleakness or “philosophical melancholy and delirium”, but rather another, specifically human, source of pleasure. As late 19th century German philosopher Fritz Mauthner puts it: to the pleasurable sensations of actual living are added the pleasurable sensations of gossiping, talking and thinking or philosophizing about living (and this may include, as here, the ‘pleasure’ of talking about ‘bleakness’…).

On the other hand, the bleakness does not seem to be exclusively a matter of mere thinking or a purely subjective phenomenon. It also seems to often come from without, or to lurk somewhere in the under- or background, a fairly constant background hum of sorts, an objective collective shadow. It is triggered, or raised into conscious awareness in particular by the planet’s artificial nervous system, the daily doses of media information. These then may be mulled over in fairly repetitive and predictable patterns (often paradoxically pleasurable versions of the social game ‘Ain’t It Awful?’ ) in many conversations with friends, acquaintances, colleagues. Then these subside again into the background and life continues as always, neither predominantly bleakly nor predominantly happily, muddling its way through, oscillating in the usual rhythms of excitement and boredom, happiness and sadness, focus and distraction, private and public. But the shadows remain.

Perhaps something like this may indeed be the characteristic form of the everyday experience of living in the over-industrialized countries since the public catastrophes of the 20th century. This could be summarized phenomenologically as the experience of living under various collective ‘shadows’. First the shadows of the First World War, the Depression and the first totalitarianisms. Then the shadows of the Holocaust and The Bomb. Now the shadows of The Bomb, incremental ecocide, resource wars and neo-imperialism, the intensifying commodification and colonisation of all life by capital and the gradual serious erosion of civil liberties, civilisation and even, possibly, of human nature itself (at least as hitherto defined).

Ode to My Pants

•August 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

This pair of ancient trousers may have belonged to a male shaman

[Third poem of the Domestic Odes suite. Photo shows oldest known pants, about 3300 years old, found in far western China].

Ode to My Pants

now thoroughly duded,
you have served me well
bramble protector,
wind cheater,
buckle-belted work hose,
humble pantaloons,
three dollar op-shop find
suiting me down to the T-bone rump
from the word go

discretely pressed the flesh
without impinging, warmly containing
like a good enough mother,
father, God, lolly wrapper, work
slacks, certainly no slackers

green guerrillero gear,
soft public fence and face
of my privates, your worn militarism
finally went peasant on our farm,
worn and patched at the knee
to withstand the bent-leg prayer
of prolonged planting a little longer

now, unbuttoned, nakedly
housing the first fungi
and slaters of love’s decay,
may our compost’s worm furnace
burn you back down to the earthy
bits that birthed your bright body
on some long forgotten plain
combed by immaculate
machines driven by men
in immaculate denim

Ode to our Stove

•August 26, 2014 • 1 Comment

old wood-stove 19th century

[Another poem from the Domestic Odes suite...]

Ode to our Stove

black squat stomach
of our kitchen,
you eat up wood
like nobody’s business

yet your warmth
is unmetallic, arising
from eucalypts sagging
under the chainsaw drone
of cicadas
in a noonday sun,
or food slowly
simmering itself
into saucy succulence

your fire water
radiates our rooms’ veins
in fourfold alchemy
of air, fire, water,
earth-sprung wood
driving the warm body
of our house
as it sails drunkenly
through wintry space

outwardly unmoved,
silent,
your fiery guts
rage quietly
like a compost heap
or a small blue planet
seen from space

Ode to My Boots

•August 24, 2014 • 2 Comments

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[An older poem from a suite of Domestic Odes, inspired by Pablo Neruda's famous Odes. The boot in the photo is of course not the like the ones in the poem, much too new...]

Ode to My Boots

scuffed like buggery,
paint speckled
like some fairy tale bird
in the Amazons
of the imagination

your elastic sides
firmly and softly
contain my ankles
like a lucky baby

my feet freely bound
moving a little more
in your supple warmths
as you most gracefully
age into the autumnal
beauty of a mellowed red,
the useful, a mountain
peasant’s face, Van Gogh
or the time I saw dead
Boyd’s battered old shoes
still under his studio chair
at Bundanon

the dead cow you were
now strides the farm,
bookshops, shire,
walks itself into poems,
gentle mullings, soapbox
invectives that hopelessly seek
to boot the merchants
from the planet’s temple

even flew to Germany
to bury a father
whose boots
I’ll never fill

now like mine
your soul
is loosening
from the front
letting in water
from bogs or dewy grass

you’ll soon be mourned
as you’re moved like life
from rack to bin
and the sweet moulds,
winds, weather,
forgetting, poetry
return you
to the place
we came

The more I had, the less I was (Or Why I Joined the Movement)

•August 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

icrime baby
electronics_factory_in_shenzhen_1113

[About twenty one years ago I read a version of this poem at a protest meeting of high school students in the Bowral Memorial Hall against a proposed mega-dump for Sydney's waste in our area.]

The More I Had, The Less I Was
(Or: Why I Joined The Movement)

I wanted the breast
They gave me the bottle

I wanted a mother
They gave me a child care centre

I wanted food
They gave me a Big Mac

I wanted to express myself
They gave me a colouring-in book

I wanted love
They gave me pocket money

I wanted understanding
They gave me 12 years of listening to teachers

I wanted excitement
They gave me an amusement centre

I wanted friends
They gave me competitors

I wanted fun
They gave me a video game

I wanted to be touched
They gave me porno

I wanted to glory in the delights of all my goddam God-given senses
They gave me TV and a smartphone

I wanted freedom
They gave me a car

I wanted to be accepted
They gave me brands and designer clothes

I wanted self-empowerment
They gave me the vote

I wanted vision
They gave me politicians

I wanted a sense of collective meaning
They gave me Neighbours and nationalism

I wanted meaningful work
They gave me the dole or a boring job

I wanted One World
They gave me war and flag-waving sheep

I wanted to help save the planet
They gave me animal-friendly nail varnish, recycled toilet paper and The Greens

I wanted a future
They gave me capitalism and ecocide

 
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