Necessary Anxiety

The Prime Minister of Australia has condemned Greta Thunberg for creating “needless anxiety” amongst young people. His statement makes me feel very angry. Following Thunberg’s angry address to the United Nations, the Establishment and it’s lackeys have gone overboard to vilify and dismiss her rather than address the challenge of global warming.

“16-year old Greta Thunberg is too young to make her own mind up and has been groomed” argue exactly the same people who condemned the 15-year old British Muslim, Shamima Begum, for knowing exactly what she was doing in offering support to Islamic Fundamentalists, and ensured she was punished for her beliefs and actions.

You’re only too young when they want you to be. 

It is the same political agenda. When Scott Morrison, Australia’s Right-wing, religious conservative, coal-supporting, anti-migrant political leader, suggests the children should be given “context and perspective” he means they should adopt a specific ideological belief. Belief in Capitalism.

The United Nations has heard a raft of particularly right-wing world leaders so far this week, and Morrison will back them up, Trump, Bolsonaro et al, when he addresses this power-group tomorrow. Theirs is the creed of competition and accumulation of wealth, exploitation and oppression.

Clearly, Greta is getting in the way. And “belief systems” have always been at the heart of the struggle in any human society based upon class. Karl Marx, an early socialist, observed human history and suggested “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force..”

It stands to reason. If the majority of a society disagree strongly with the ideas generated by the ruling class and it’s outlets in the media, schools, universities and churches, then that elite can no longer rule. So long, that is, as the ideas of dissent lead to mass action.

I would suggest that ideas are born as much from our emotions as our intellect. An age old adage is that, whilst we can be told by politicians that “we’ve never had it so good”, when the final-demand bills for fuel and rent come through our letter box, our senses, heart and stomach tell us very powerfully that not all is well and we’re not in a good place. If we can’t pay the bills, all the Establishment propaganda in the world can’t convince us that the System is good and we’re fine as we are.

And so it is with the current emotional climate. Already the media of the global ruling class is shutting down and minimising the science and impacts of global heating, whilst their politicians are spouting denial at every opportunity. We’ve never had it so good!

It is those with strong vested interests in the current Capitalist System who are quickest to anger and denounce the climate protests. Their emotional response, seeping into a condition of hatred and quest for retribution, belies their condemnation of Greta and the youth Movement as over-emotional and immature.

Being “above politics” should not mean we take no notice of the statements of the Political Class, nor that we are “outside” of political debate. “Politics” being “of the People” by definition describes each and every human interaction that combines or disunites us. All our thoughts, feelings and actions are political by default, as they are only given context and validity by the response we receive from those around us. 

Those responses come from a political base. To demand System Change is to evoke feelings of support from those who have little faith in the System, and feelings of opposition from those who feel the System as it is works for them. We are not all on the same side, nor can we ever be, because System Change means those with abundance, privilege and power will have to give up too much. 

Greta should be on a roll. The Capitalist System has never worked and is certainly now not working for the overwhelming majority of people in every society across the world. And the System is very obviously destructive. Yet many, with illusions in the Capitalist Dream, choose not to believe the Climate Emergency, and are driven by hope for a better personal future to maintain trust in the current system and the status quo.

The Extinction Rebellion Movement, the School Strikes and other initiatives have not yet broken through. Despite the record size of current protests, only a tiny, a minuscule number of human beings are involved at this time. At the same time, the whole world is watching and waiting to be convinced.

This is why the leaders of nations are standing-up, one after another, and denouncing Greta. Some, like Trump, take the piss out of her. Others, like Bolsonaro of Brazil, challenge her head-on as he rushes to destroy the Amazon. And others still, like Morrison of Australia, belittle and seek to infantilise Greta and the youth strikes she has invoked. Their responses expose their anxiety.

The Climate Movement is engaged in an ideological struggle for hearts and minds, deep and divisive as it undoubtedly is. Putting forward ideas of democracy and mutuality – the Citizens Assemblies being just one manifestation – is of vital importance in our challenge to the power and domination of our current ruling classes.

The ruling class has the overwhelming control of communications worldwide – newspapers, internet servers, radio, TV, telecommunications in total. But history has proved that all the ruling class ideas in the world cannot convince us emotionally.

We can maintain beliefs contrary and independent to theirs and break their ideological stranglehold. To do so we must have our own media in order to publicly answer the likes of Morrison, Trump and Bolsonaro. We have to use all means to spread the facts, the scientific evidence and the call to action. And ultimately, to remain convinced, we must own our honest anxiety.

Wednesday 25th September 2019

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