Okay, my very minor piece about revisionist history in the UK is clearly not going to cut it in terms of what the fuck is going on right now. So for the sake of this, the Hatstand, as my own electronic journal, I figured I’d better make a summary.
Now, I’m going to keep it real, and disclaim that most of this is shit that’s happening in the US, not here in Finland. But make no mistake, where the US leads, the western world will follow – at least until the US fails once and for all. Is that coming? Ehh, for some reason my gut is saying no on that, but I am by no means any sort of expert.
Some of this crap is hitting places like the UK (no longer part of the EU) and Europe in general, and all of it is worrying, but I have never been so happy to live in the Nordics and I have never been so worried about the steady erosion of the things that are making me happy to do so. Our social systems appear in constant danger at the hands of the centrist parties both inside the government and on the opposition. And the less said about the fucking Perssut, the better.
Yes, we have right-wing authoritarian white supremacists in our government, at least in the opposition party. So far it’s been okay, they are imploding over the current situation because they simply cannot face the reality of a leftist socialist green government actually managing to handle things and do a good job without brutalising brown people. But anyway.
So what have we got in these new Roaring 20s?
Well, we have a worldwide increase in income inequality and a massive rise in billionaires (and soon trillionaires?) who do not pay taxes. That means class warfare and revolution from the proletariat. The more the system becomes unbalanced, the less recourse the people have to fix it due to rigged machinery, the more violence becomes inevitable. This has been going on for a long time. Is it reaching boiling point now? Does it signify change is on the way or does it just mean another step along the path?
Connected to this, we have a global economy on the brink of collapse, or at least that’s the threat we seem to see from conservatives who want us all to “get back to work” and “return to normal.” Of course, taxing the mega-wealthy would not only make this go away, it would turn this planet into a fucking utopia. But then, so would admitting that we’ve let this whole “money” concept get out of hand. Whatever it is, there is a recession, a depression, and mass unemployment. And it looks like the Elysium-dwellers have realised they need drones to make their riches meaningful. As I’ve pointed out before, the overlords will survive the global pandemic and the global recession due to their hoarded resources, but the former running rampant is the safer bet than the latter, for their largely imaginary wealth.
We have a rise in right-wing and authoritarian governments across the globe. This is interconnected with all of these other problems, both a symptom and a vector. A fearful and ignorant population faced with apparently insurmountable threats will turn to populists and totalitarians who promise to handle things. If, in the process, they can handily demonise a group that a large portion of the population have been wanting to demonise forever, well. That’s very much part of the package. This has been at once sensationalised and done at a slow creep, it’s very difficult to see it happening in some cases. A Reich has not been set up and death camps have not been – okay, in the US they have. But anyway. It seems pretty clear-cut to me, that if “antifa” is labelled a terrorist organisation, that gives fascist governments free rein to arrest anyone who disagrees with anything they do. This dovetails perfectly with the creeping policies of a great many national governments regarding “terrorism” in the past couple of decades.
We have a global pandemic. Covid-19 seems to be dying down here in Finland, but we’re keeping an eye on cases and they still appear to be dropping (double figures now as far as I know) as we re-open things. It’s practically gone from Australia, I heard that a couple of schools re-closed due to cases spiking, and a ship from Iran was crewed by some folks who tested positive but they are now in quarantine (“at the taxpayers’ expense, harumph!”), and New Zealand has been downright depressing in its amazing handling of everything – everything – on this list. If I had to move anywhere from Finland, it would be New Zealand. Elsewhere in the world, Covid-19 still very much seems to be a huge problem, but our attention-spans are only as long as the media is letting them be. It’s up to us to remember shit for more than a week, even if new horrible things happen every week.
We have race war. This, of course, is almost entirely linked to the class war because race and class (and money, by the way) are socially-imposed and reinforced constructs and the “minority races” are kept in the lower classes by design. When that design is threatened, the authoritarian governments crack down in defence of their interests – corporations and the billionaires who run them. In the case of the US riots, the race and class wars have met in a perfect storm, the disenfranchised and frustrated of all colours standing together against murderous militarised police. I’m deeply concerned for the safety of my friends, and the violence is the least of it. The pandemic is not adequately contained or controlled, and mobs are forming. I see activist friends (contrary to the conservative Covid-19 Hoaxer line of “oh, so now suddenly there isn’t a pandemic?”) reminding and warning protesters to mask up and continue practicing safety measures, but it’s a bit hard when you’re in a crowd or being mowed down by a police tank. I want to thank Damon and Aaron for their firsthand perspectives here. Australia is not doing much better here, with the rioting and protests in the US casting an uncomfortable light on the brutal treatment of Aboriginals in custody (and in general).
Speaking of race and class wars, what’s going on in Hong Kong? Anti-government protests, violence, polarised views and mass misinformation. I’ve been following it as much as I can but I don’t have any eyes there, sorry to say. It seems to be another symptom of the issues sweeping the world.
We have a rise in anti-intellectualism, the veneration of ignorance disguised as free thinking, and an erosion of trust in science and education in general. It is no longer enough to be a trained expert with experience. Your knowledge can be dismissed as fraudulent and practically any crackpot conspiracy theory dreamed up can be corroborated by a Google search. This has turned the Covid-19 threat into a disaster, and you can quite clearly see it divided country by country along precisely these lines. Places where “my ignorance is equal to your knowledge” have been fucked in the arse by this thing. Sadly, those places are ‘most everywhere … and there are other places, places where “the glorious leader’s words are equal to God’s”, and we don’t even know what’s happening in those places. *cough-cough-cough-Russia-China-North-Korea-Saudi-Arabia-cough-cough-cough* … don’t worry, it’s not a dry cough. Anti-intellectualism is a key underlying exacerbating facet of everything I’ve listed (and yes, I’ve saved the worst for last). If you don’t have education, you lack the critical faculties to approach a problem and deal with information. And education is a privilege. We can’t look down on those who lack it – we can only condemn those who are denying them the opportunity.
And I firmly believe that the full fury of the climate crisis is still to come, and it is going to make all of these issues look like a fucking joke.
 I used to write a diary in paper books. Still plan on it from time to time. I started in the early ’90s and stopped, amusingly, right after getting my first Internet connection a few years later. There was a bit of a gap then, until 2005 when I started the Hatstand, but I did check back in on the diary once or twice and attempt to fill in what I’d missed. Always seemed like a lot, when you leave it five or ten years between entries. When the time comes for me to resume keeping a journal with pen and paper, that’s when part of me thinks I’ll be acknowledging that things are really falling apart.
 There is no official group, like the Poor Boys or ISIS, called “Antifa” that can be accurately labelled as a terrorist group. In a way, this makes it a perfect (if not definitive) terrorist group … but it also means anyone who says they are anti-Fascism can reasonably be dropped under the umbrella. Some of these people are violent and criminal and need to be stopped. But don’t pretend for a second that this won’t be used for political purposes.