Lately there has been a lot of talk about how goth music is political, which in turn would mean that the subculture is political as well. When it comes down to it is the subculture actually politically minded?
Everybody reading this knows that the goth subculture was birthed out of the punk subculture. The punk subculture has always been political to varying degrees. There are famous punk musicians such as Jello Biafra and Dick Lucas who have always talked the talk and walked the walk. When they write songs about supporting equal rights or about how evil corporations are they mean it. They aren’t being political to gain ‘scene’ points, they are being political because they think that speaking against injustices is important and something that must be done.
Do goth bands speak up about injustices? Sometimes, but not as often as their punk cousins. Sex Gang Children have recently put out the most politically charged album that I have ever heard come out from under the goth umbrella. It’s called Oligarch and it speaks up against corporations, religious hypocrisy and fascist politicians. I honestly hope that other goth bands listen to it and are inspired to make their own politically charged art. Christian Death is another band that has openly made politically charged music through the years. Both the Rozz and Valor versions of the band have done this. Then there are modern anarcho deathrock bands such as Mystic Priestess and the Creeping Terrors who make music with a political bent. With one foot in the punk subculture they are carrying on the tradition of speaking up against what is wrong in society.
If you spend any amount of time in online goth communities you will see people ask if they can be right wing and goth at the same time. The goth subculture has always leaned left because of the acceptance of those who society sees as the ‘other’. Are there racists within the subculture? There have always been those in the subculture who think that a person has to be white in order to be goth, which is a load of shit of course. Do some people wear white foundation and try to look as pale as possible? Of course but you don’t have to look like a Victorian ghost to enjoy the music. You don’t have to be a certain weight, a certain colour or dress a certain way to take part in the subculture.
All of this could be called political, but do people in the subculture actually stand up for the rights of others when it comes down to it? I would like to argue that there are some that do, but they are heavily outnumbered by those who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. The most important thing about being politically minded is standing behind what you say, even if it inconveniences you. A huge example of this are all of the people in the subculture who will be attending the Cruel World festival, even though the person putting it on is a proven homophobe. They will post about how they are for the rights of those who identify as LGBTQ, but they don’t want to be inconvenienced by missing a show. It’s hypocritical to not stand behind what you say.
Back thirty years ago the subculture was largely not political at all. To the point that Nazi skinheads would attend the clubs and nobody would lift a finger to boot them out. Seriously, I witnessed this shit myself. Back then I weighed 100 pounds and I knew that it would be impossible for me to do anything physically about it. However, there were several times back then that I told Nazi skins off because I didn’t like the crap that they were saying. I did all that I could do back then but when it came down to it there were definitely others who just didn’t care. As long as they could dance to their favourite songs everything was hunky dory.
When it comes down to it the goth subculture can be political, but there are many people in it who need to learn to stand up for what they claim to believe in. Supporting the LGBTQ community online is good, but if it is not followed through with some sort of physical action then that support becomes meaningless. Go to marches and events that are against racism and homophobia, and don’t attend events that are put on by racist or homophobic promoters.
Everybody is losing their minds over this festival. It’s the culmination of all of the 80’s worshipping that has been going on for the last ten plus years in society. The fact that PiL and Morrissey are on the bill has scared some people off of it, but there is a HUGE issue going on behind the scene that is even more heinous. Philip Anschutz, the man putting this show on, has been donating money to anti-LGBTQ causes: Alliance Defending Freedom, the National Christian Foundation, and the Family Research Council.
The Washington Post broke this story about five years ago, and the Daily Beast three years ago also wrote about it. The Daily Beast story is damning and really dives deep into the issue. When confronted Anschutz claimed that he didn’t know about his money funding those groups and that he would end it. He stated that his company was diverse and that he is for equal rights. Then a year or two after that it was found out, through his tax filings, that he had indeed stopped donating to those three anti-LGBTQ groups. However, he was now donating his money to two other equally problemic groups Dare 2 Share Ministries and Young Life, a youth ministry. On top of that he has been donating millions to conservative and libertarian groups, including ones linked to the Koch family.
I am really disappointed that some groups that I love are playing this show. I won’t stop listening to them, but it makes me wonder whether they actually do care about LGBTQ rights or not. The same thing can be said for all of the people planning to go to this. I think it’s highly hypocritical to go to this while also supporting LGBTQ rights, because they are handing a wad of cash to a man who has been proven to not give a shit about LGBTQ folks. I’m going to give people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to this because I know that not everybody has heard about it. However, if they learn about this and still go then I will be questioning who they really are.
Within the last few years there has been a resurgence of interest in anything having to do with the 80’s. Everything from endless posts about mediocre 80’s ‘post-punk’ bands to people asking questions as to how to directly copy the look of ‘trad’ goths litter the internet. Then there are the truly special individuals who constantly talk about how cool the decade was and how they wish they could have lived back then. They should never wish that. You want to know why? Because for the most part the 80’s was a hellish landscape of conservative neo-liberal politics mixed in with a highly conformist society that punished those who were in any way different.
I was a teen in the 80’s and graduated high school in 1989, so I spent pretty much the entirety of my teen years in that decade. I was very politically aware during that time and paid attention to the world events going on around me. For example, I went on a trip with some classmates to Washington DC in late 87 that was called Close Up. Teens from all over the US go every year to learn about politics. You get to meet your representatives and talk about important issues with others. We got enough free time to wander about the area exploring and one day two friends and I were walking near the Capital Building when a motorcade appeared. During that week Soviet officials were there to draw up the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty along with officials from Reagan’s cabinet which included the Secretary Of State George Shultz. I hated, and still hate, Reagan with the burning heat of a thousand suns so I was obviously not a fan of anybody serving under him. The first limos going past us had Soviet flags attached to the front, rolled down windows and Soviet guys waving at us with smiles on their faces. Seriously, it was as cool as it sounds. We smiled and waved back of course. Then the limos infested with the lice off of Reagan’s head rolled by and not one of them rolled down their windows. However, it was easy to see through the tint that one of them contained Shultz. I started yelling to him that he sucked and gave him the finger with both hands. Yes, I told a high ranking US official to basically go fuck himself. My friends were panicking telling me to stop but I wouldn’t. To this day I am still proud that at the age of 16 I had the balls to do something like that.
Now that you have learned a little bit about me I will now tell you a little bit about what it was really like to live in the 80’s.
THE COLD WAR AND THE CONSTANT FEAR OF NUCLEAR ANNIHILATION
I don’t think that younger people right now quite realize just how close we came to all being killed in a nuclear war. This fear was largely due to the constant posturing of Reagan. He would call the USSR the evil empire and threaten them on a very regular basis. Frankly I was way more afraid of Reagan back then than I was of the USSR. To the credit of the USSR back then they didn’t give in to Reagan and start a war. I honestly think the professional war mongerers who stood behind Reagan wanted an all out war with the USSR because they would have made billions from that. Both empires fought a proxy war in Afghanistan when the USSR invaded the country while the US backed and trained the rebels. By the way one of those rebels was Osama Bin Laden.
Nuclear war was such a possibility at the time that two powerful tv films were made about it happening. Threads in the UK and The Day After in the US. Since I was living in the US at the time I saw The Day After when it was first aired in 1983 when I was in the 7th grade. It freaked my friends and I out so much that we went to our vice principal and asked about whether the school had a nuclear fallout shelter. Think about that for a second. Imagine being a young teen and having that kind of fear hanging over your head on a constant basis. It sucked. A few years ago I finally saw Threads and it shows the reality of a nuclear war; people being burned alive and the unsanitized reality of what would happen after a nuclear conflagration. If I had seen it back in the 80’s I would have had full blown nightmares.
IF YOU WERE IN ANY WAY ‘DIFFERENT’ YOU GOT CONSTANTLY SHIT ON AND CONFORMITY WAS A WAY OF LIFE
I always see younger people in online goth communities say that they wished that they could have experienced an ‘alternative’ subculture back in the 80’s. With confidence I can say that the vast majority of them wouldn’t have been emotionally equipped to have handled all of the shit that they would have gotten from others. It wasn’t just the ‘normal’ people that you had to deal with back then, you also had to deal with intense pressure within the alternative community to fit in by liking the same bands and behaving the same way. Woe onto you if you actually acted happy or liked a band that wasn’t considered cool. People think that ‘gatekeeping’ is bad now? They have no idea.
There was a huge amount of pressure back then by society to fit in. Reagan constantly preached about how America was better in the good old days, which were actually not good for anybody who wasn’t wealthy and white. If you didn’t go along with his not so hidden racist agenda you were seen as unpatriotic and a traitor. I am not exaggerating. You had to hate the USSR, be scared of black people, and look just like everybody else. If you didn’t have a perm, didn’t dress in the trendiest clothes and didn’t listen to the latest pop bands you didn’t fit in so you were considered fair game to tease and even physically attack. Luckily I was never physically attacked but I know that lots of people were. Far more violence happened back then than now. However, I had things yelled at me on a constant basis, for doing such things as simply walking down a street. In high school I was even told by a teacher that I wouldn’t have as many problems if I just dressed like everybody else.
IT WAS DIFFICULT AS HELL FINDING OUT ABOUT BANDSAND SHOWS
There was no functioning internet back in the 80’s. There were some bulletin board type communities but computers were expensive as hell so most people did not have them. There were thee ways of finding out about bands back then. You could be one of those lucky people that lived near a radio station that actually played alternative and punk music. These were usually college radio stations, but sometimes pop stations would play less popular music in the the middle of the night. There was a pop station in my area that did this. So much so that by the very late 80’s they became an ‘alternative’ station. However, by that time they played more radio friendly bands than experimental ones. However, I did learn about some bands by listening to them. Another way to learn about bands was by getting mix tapes from your friends. In early 86 I got one from a guy, who then ghosted me. There was no track listing written down so it took me literally years to figure some of them out. However, I had another person introduce me to Joy Division by handing me a tape with Unknown Pleasures on one side and Closer on the other. The last way to find out about music was by cold buying it. You would see somebody cool wearing a mysterious band shirt and you kept a log of those band names in the back of your head. I actually cold bought November Coming Fire by Samhain using this method, and more times than not I had really good luck.
On top of all of this there was a code of silence that the uber goober type people would pull when you would ask them about what bands they liked. Seriously. There was some sort of strange code that some weirdos lived by that made it very uncool to share musical knowledge with anybody. It was as if they were going to be killed by an evil cabal if they dared to utter the sacred names of bands. These were the same types who would try to dictate how you behaved in clubs.
Wanted to see your favourite band play a show? Good luck! Most of the time the only way you would find out about shows was at club nights, but if you were under 18, and sometimes 21, you weren’t allowed in them. I actually went to one that let you in of you were 17 or older and another that was all ages so I was lucky when it came to that. However, that didn’t mean you would find out about all of the shows because venues were usually total shit at advertising shows unless they were some of the better known ones that also hosted metal shows. There were some ‘alternative’ weekly papers where I lived so I would find out about some of them that way, but there were two times that I accidentally saw bands because I thought it was going to be a regular club night. I saw Meat Beat Manifesto and The Call that way which looking back on it was pretty darn cool.
Well, that’s it for today. I realise that I have probably broken some hearts and crushed some dreams but the amount of misinformation about the 80’s really needs to be balanced out with a reality check. I don’t look back at that decade with rose coloured glasses, even though I lived through those years. It could be fun, but it was also really difficult. If I had the ability to go back in time to those years I wouldn’t.
Here is a quick rundown on what has happened. Last year there were some screen shots of some very old problematic Facebook likes that Brandon Pybus made years ago that were passed around the internet as proof that he was racist. Then Brandon appeared on a show explaining his side of things, and what he said made sense to me so I believed him. My thought process at the time was that if he was currently actively racist why would he agree to speak about being against racism. Some people have been telling me that there was more evidence, but I personally never saw any. I based my opinion on those old likes that I saw and what Brandon said and that was it.
This all changed yesterday when definitive proof was produced. It has been shown that Brandon has been an active member of the Sons Of Confederate Veterans since 2015. This is considered to be a hate group because they want Confederate statues to be kept in place, Confederate flags to be flown freely and they spread lies about why the Civil War was fought.
To say I am pissed off at Brandon is a huge understatement. In the past we had actually spoken about the Civil War because I have several ancestors who fought for the Union and who were from West Virginia, an area that he lives near. Never once did he say anything about the Confederacy or about being a member of that group. Of course he didn’t, because he knew that it would instantly piss me off and that I would tell other people. If he thought it wasn’t a racist group then why would he hide being a member of it? He had also told me in other discussions that he was in no way racist and that he wasn’t that kind of person.
I am not the only person that he has majorly lied to. He has worked with many other musicians as either a producer, a guitar player or as a vocalist. I feel for these musicians more than anybody else because they were closer to him and knew him as a personal friend, as somebody that they would help if he needed it. He really put himself out there, helping people and being friendly with everybody. It felt like he was doing something that the goth subculture really needed; a musician that was willing to work with everybody instead of against everybody.
There isn’t very much money to be made in the subculture so I don’t think he did all of this for that reason. I witnessed the WAR (white aryan resistance) skins, in the late 80’s/early 90’s, try to heavily infiltrate the goth and punk club scenes on the US West Coast and there is something about this whole situation that reminds me of that ordeal. They had more success in the goth subculture because back then the people within it were generally more passive and not as political as now. I’m not saying that everybody ignored politics but a certain percentage of people really couldn’t be bothered. That is one of the reasons why I have always kept a foot in the punk scene because people tend to be more reactive when bad shit happens. The punks and SHARP skins did all of the heavy lifting back then and drove the WAR skins out. Maybe Brandon thought that the goth subculture would be an easy place for him to infiltrate because he thinks that a lot of the people within the subculture are still very passive? That in the end people would support him no matter what he believed or said?
I would like to state for the record that I’m sorry that I hurt the feelings of the people who shared those Facebook likes last year. I supported the wrong person in this whole situation. I tend to defend friends to the death if I think they have been wronged, so that is why I reacted the way that I did. I fully support BLM, stand against racism and want everybody to be treated equally no matter who they are or who they love.
My heart feels crushed right now. However, I am not going to let Brandon’s lying racist ass get to me. I have scrubbed all mention of him and Sonsombre from this blog and I have deleted all of Sonsombre’s music from my computer. I plan on making the Sonsombre vinyl records that I own into bowls, because I don’t want to make money off of them and throwing them away isn’t exactly environmentally friendly.
EDIT: Apparently Brandon has made a non apology and is blocking people from actually asking questions about the racist organization that he belongs to. He blocked me even before I could comment, go figure. I’m not linking it because I don’t want to give him any views. It’s easy to find on Sonsombre’s Facebook page. I dedicate Gwar’s song Sick Of You to him. It’s very apt at the moment.
We are all aware of the Trump supporting domestic terrorists who stormed the Capital Building and trashed the offices of various politicians, with the visible help of the police. This event was a staged coup brought about by Trump, make no mistake about it. He riled them up, and like the stupid lemmings that they are, they obeyed him. When asked to send in the National Guard Trump refused to do so. Of course he did, because he wanted his gang of terrorists to hurt and possibly kill his perceived ‘enemies’. This whole event was meant to scare the politicians, and the American people, into submission so that he could hold onto his power, rather than get arrested the moment he leaves the White House.
I’m not scared. If anything this whole twisted event has galvanised me into making my opinion more widely known. Even before he was elected I would go onto his Facebook page and call him a racist lying fascist pig. There are those who say that he, and his staff, don’t read the responses to his posts. Well, about two years ago his staff blocked me from commenting not only on his posts but also from Pence, all of the White House staff and also his relatives pages. I had only ever commented on Trump’s posts so I must have really, really pissed somebody off big time. They also did the same thing to the press and others, so the ACLU threatened a lawsuit. Like magic I got my commented privileges restored. I wear all of this as a badge of honour and I’m proud as hell that I pissed off the fascist pigs.
Despite all of this the congress and the senate still confirmed Biden. That is except for the Republicans, over one hundred in number, who still contested the results in Arizona and Pennsylvania. These seditious morons took the side of the terrorists and gave them what they wanted. Every single one of these politicians who voted against a democratically elected candidate ought to be named and shamed and ejected from office. Sedition is not a difference of opinion, it is an act of treason that goes against the will of the people. I would like to point out the fact that these white domestic terrorists were only able do this because they had a massive amount of privilege. If they had been black, or any other colour that is not white, they would have been shot dead and there would have been a pile of bodies on the front steps. The difference between how the domestic terrorists were treated by the police and how the BLM protestors were treated by the police is stark as hell.
Do not let a group of terrorists scare you into submission. Fascists, such as Trump, only gain power when nobody speaks up against them. Speak your mind loudly and often. Fuck Trump, his Republican bootlickers and his domestic terrorist thugs.
For those of you who don’t know, I am a US citizen who now lives in the UK. Since I am still a US citizen I get to vote in US elections. I received my ballot a month ago and mailed it back the next day. I don’t like either candidate, they are both neo-liberals, but Trump is far more dangerous than Biden. If you can’t see the difference between them then I think you should learn how to critically think.
Just because I have voted for Biden doesn’t mean that I will sit back and let him make neo-liberal economic policies without any consequences. I will shout from the rooftops against him when he does such things as bailing out banks and letting drug companies charge outrageous amounts of money for covid vaccines. America is a failing empire in which capitalism rules over every single decision that the government makes. Even before covid appeared the capitalist system in America was in deep trouble. The pandemic has just sped up the downfall.
One of my proudest moments of the past few years was when Trump’s handlers blocked me from commenting on Trump’s, Pence’s, Ivanka’s and every single other White House associated Facebook page. No joke! I only ever commented on Trump’s page so I must have been seen as a danger to the whole lot of them. The same week that happened a whole bunch of reporters were also blocked from all of the White House gang. The ACLU and others, warned that legally Trump couldn’t block anybody from commenting because that was against the First Amendment. Guess what happened after that? I was unblocked. I have called him a racist and a fascist almost every single day on his Facebook page and it has been a bit cathartic.
If you are a Trump supporter I have two simple words to say to you. Fuck you. You are against the rights of women, people of colour and the LGBTQ community. You will more than likely be a white guy who is scared about soon becoming a minority in America. The centuries of power that white men have wielded in America are very close to being over. Rather than accepting this fact you vote for an openly racist and fascist wannabe dictator. When history books back at this time in American history you will be seen as a wannabe racist brownshirt. Tough shit.
I seriously hope that Biden wins because I don’t think that the democracy of America, which has always been deeply flawed, can seriously survive another four years of Trump’s hateful rhetoric.
Want to know what has been bothering me the last few days? The people online saying that we shouldn’t be happy that Trump is sick with the coronavirus. Seriously? It’s not right to be happy that a racist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist piece of shit caught the very virus that has killed over 200,000 people in the US mostly due to his incompetence? Oh hell no.
There have been some very vile people in both the US and UK who have become the heads of state due to the sheer stupidly of the general public; Nixon, Thatcher, Reagan, Johnson, Trump. When Johnson was recently sick with the coronavirus I didn’t give a shit. You know why? Because he has been handing government funds to his Tory allies for nonsense projects that they are never going to do. That’s right, instead of helping all of the people out of jobs because of the pandemic he is lining the pockets of his friends with money. Trump has been doing the exact same thing. At this point both the GOP and the Tories are battling each other as to which one can make the most money off of a global pandemic. It’s disgusting.
Forgiveness and apathy for those who are ill, no matter the evil things that they have done, is a Christian concept. Since I am not a Christian I don’t have to adhere to those beliefs. It was announced today that the neo-Nazi Trump advisor Stephen Miller has caught the coronavirus, which actually makes me happy because he instigated the separation of families and sticking kids into cages among other racist type things. In other words he does not deserve any pity at all. I predict, that if he dies, people will probably literally party on his grave.
Screw Trump and every single person associated with him. I refuse to feel sorry for fascist sacks of shit.
I’m writing this because what is going on in the US is making me very upset. Seeing time and time again black people being murdered by the police just because of the colour of their skin, and said police not being punished for it. A slap on the wrist, some paid leave and then they are free to commit more crimes. Yes, this has been going on forever, but with the invention of the camera phone such murders are now getting the public attention that they had never received before. However, the police are still getting away with murder because the whole system supports institutionalized racism.
If you are a white person reading this and are working class/poor you have more in common with black people, and other people of colour, than you do with the wealthy of your own race. The US government doesn’t want you to find that out because they know that if all of the working class/poor in the US band together that they can take down the US government. Every single time a leader, or group, brings together people of all races they are arrested or assassinated; Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton and the Black Panthers.
I grew up poor in San Francisco in the 1970’s. So poor that I remember my parents taking me to one of the Black Panthers free food programs for children on Haight Street. They didn’t give a crap that I was a little white girl, they only saw me as a hungry child. The Black Panthers are always depicted by the US government, and by a lot of the media, as thugs who didn’t give a shit about anybody except for black people. If that was the truth then why did the US government assassinate them and throw the rest in prison? The Black Panthers freaked the US government out because they were successfully reaching out to working class/poor white people and telling them that the government was the real common enemy, and to create change all of the people needed to work together.
Since I grew up poor in the US I have always felt more connected to others who are poor, no matter their colour, than to people of my own race who are wealthy. I was a teen in the 80’s who saw right through Reagan’s racist bullshit. Remember when he visited the graves of some Waffen SS soldiers in Germany and placed a wreath there? The Ramones sure as hell did and they created one of the best anti-Reagan songs to come out of the 1980’s; Bonzo Goes To Bitburg.
As you can easily guess I am not a supporter of Trump or of the GOP. The GOP has always used racist dog whistles to gain votes from white people who were too stupid to see that they were being manipulated. It was historically called the Southern Strategy, and it was used by Nixon all the way to Trump. Make white people scared of black people by stating that they are all criminals and deserve what is happening to them. Again and again you will see GOP politicians, and their white supporters, state that the police have the right to kill black people, because they didn’t cooperate with their orders. We all know that’s a lie, because there is footage proving otherwise, and yet they repeat these lies to their brainwashed adherents.
Why is all of this happening? The US government was set up by rich white men to work best for rich white men. Quite a few of the ‘founding fathers’ were slave owners who also thought that women were not equal to men. The country wasn’t founded on some lofty ideal of ‘freedom’. In fact the only reason why the American Revolution happened is because wealthy white businessmen did not want to pay taxes to Britain. Taxes that were lower than any other British ruled territory. Yes, the US was founded because of pure greed. They fail to teach this at school because if kids actually knew the truth about this they may not want to say the Pledge Of Allegiance every single day before class starts. By the way, I find the whole idea of having to say the pledge creepy as hell. In the 1940’s the Supreme Court ruled that kids could not be required to say it, so if you are a parent and your kid doesn’t want to say it back them up with that information.
Black lives matter, and the only way any of this institutionalized racism is going to stop is if the government is reformed from the top down. Every single person in the US regardless of race, creed or sex should be treated the same. The special privileges afforded only to rich white men needs to be stopped and everybody be treated by the law as an equal. If a rich white man cheats people out of their life savings they should be given the same kind of sentence as anybody who robs a bank. White collar criminals should be getting serious jail time instead of being slapped on the wrist and being told that they have been a bad boy. Many police departments in the US have been militarized and that needs to be pulled back and stopped. Also, the profiling of black men and women, and other people of colour, by the police needs to end. Finally, police departments need to be de-funded and in their place should be put social programs that actually help people instead of killing them.
The only way that the government listens is if a mass amount of people come together and protest. It scares the crap out of them, as it should. Also, I support all kinds of protest, peaceful or otherwise. It has been shown time and time again that sometimes the only way that the government listens to grievances is through mass insurrection. The protests against the Vietnam War and for the end of segregation were not all peaceful and it is foolhardy to think otherwise.
If you are in the US please vote. I just received my ballot yesterday and mailed it in today. Being a brat and saying you’re not going to vote for Biden because Bernie didn’t win the primary is going to get Trump elected yet again. I am a leftist who loves Bernie but I know that a vote for Biden is a vote for the chance to change the system. Do you think black lives matter? Then get off of your ass and vote.
Right wing presidential candidates, such as Trump, have loved to claim that if we elect them to office that they will make America great again. The simple truth is that America has never been great, except for the wealthy white men who have exploited both the people and the environment of the country. This is their nation after all, not yours.
As a lot of you know I am an American who has lived in Europe for about the last eight years. I spent my first 41 years mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area. Despite being one of the most left wing areas of the entire country schools still taught a lot of American propaganda. This is something that every single person in America has experienced in one way or another, you can’t escape it.
The very first thing you are taught is to repeat the Pledge Of Allegiance every morning before class starts. You stand in class, put you hand over you heart, say it and then sit down. During the pledge you may or may not be watched closely by the teacher. Some of them will get angry if you don’t say it and others don’t really care at all. If you don’t say it you will usually get crap from the other students for not loving America etc…The modern pledge added the words ‘under god’ in 1952, and legally you are under no obligation to have to actually say it. School districts that still make children say it are routinely sued by parents. The supreme court, in 1943, ruled that it is against the 1st amendment to be made to say it. By the time I was a teenager I mumbled it or changed the words. Countries that make their citizens say pledges of loyalty have been historically fascist and nationalistic in nature. Places in which not everybody is treated equal.
Next in this indoctrination comes being taught that America is the greatest nation on the planet that every existed. You are told this outright and in parables, such as George Washington never lied. I actually don’t remember being taught a lot about the slave trade and how America was built upon the backs of them. What I know about slavery and the Civil War I learned from reading books and watching the Ken Burns documentary The Civil War which aired in 1990, the year after I graduated from high school. I imagine that some schools probably show that documentary in history class, or at least I hope they do.
I remember a lot of time being spent leaning about WWII, and how America entered it because we supposedly hated Hitler and wanted to defeat Germany. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only reason why America went to war against Germany is because America declared war on Japan, their ally, after their attack upon Pearl Harbour. Germany felt obligated to then declare war on America because of this. The majority of Americans did not want to even enter WWII, partially because of the devastation caused by WWI and also because a whole lot of people actually liked Hitler. In fact there was a large group called The German American Bund who held a pro-Nazi rally in New York City at Madison Garden in 1939 in which 20,000 people attended. America was dragged kicking and screaming into war against Germany. Remember, this ‘greatest generation’ of people were also the ones that approved of segregation and largely didn’t want it to end.
I also don’t remember learning that much about segregation, and how people gave their lives in order to end it. If we learn anything about that era of American history it’s usually about Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech and then how he was assassinated. We aren’t really taught about the long struggle that people of colour have had to fight against racial prejudice, one that they are still fighting today.
So, knowing all of this I have a question. When was America ever great for all Americans? The simple answer is that it has never been great for anybody besides wealthy white men. So, when Trump says that he is going to make America great again he actually means that he is going to help wealthy white men stay in power. Wealthy white men have been losing their grip on power because the white population of the country has been falling, and minorities are now more represented than ever before.
This doesn’t mean that wealthy white men are going to go down without a fight. They try to corral the rights and power of women by attempting to control their reproductive rights. They try to hold black people down by funding and condoning militarized police forces that openly murder and antagonize people in black communities. They try to stop immigrants, illegal and otherwise, from coming into the country by separating families and locking the children in cages. Remember, only wealthy white people from selected countries should be approved to live in the US because they are the sort of fine people who made America great in the first place.
America will only ever be great if every single person in that country is treated as an equal. When the blatant use of the ‘other’ isn’t used as a scare tactic to divide the underclass of society. Americans should be fighting against these wealthy white men in power instead of against each other. If the vast underclass of America was to openly fight against the policies that these wealthy white men create then things would change for the better for everybody.
In the very wise words of Public Enemy, FIGHT THE POWER.
Dystopian societies have been historically seen as purely fictional ways to depict the worst case scenarios that could possibly happen to a society if events go terribly wrong; a warning as to what could happen if we are not careful. These events include, but are not limited to, a fascist nationalsitic type state being born out of paranoia, destruction of the environment, the creation of a large underclass that is only kept alive to serve the wealthy, blaming the ‘other’ for all of a society’s ills, and the list goes on. A fictional dystopian society can suffer from just one of these events or several. Rarely are all present at exactly the same time. Why do all these events I have described feel so familiar? That is because we are in the midst of living in a dystopian society.
I am 49 years old, and never in my life have I lived through such a year as 2020. This has become the year in which all of the cracks that have always been on the surface of society have finally appeared to those who had never paid attention to them before. Suddenly these cracks have been deemed important enough to now discuss and act upon, when before they were seen as issues not important enough to garner a lot of attention.
Before I go any further please understand that I will be discussing our dystopian society from the point of view of somebody who has lived in both the US and the UK. The countries are similar in some ways but very different in others. The Tories to date have been trying their best to copy the actions of the GOP in America so they may be carbon copies of one another in a few years time.
How would a competent leader of a country deal with a rampaging virus that is killing thousands of citizens a day? They would declare a national health emergency, mandate federal laws concerning social distancing and the wearing of masks, pay each citizen a monthly amount of money that can help them cover rent, food and bills, and offer absolutely free healthcare to those who are unfortunate catch the virus. Instead you have Trump ignoring all of the medical advice given to him, because in his mind he is more intelligent than actual scientists who study the effects of such diseases. While over in the UK you have Johnson behaving in much the same way, even after he caught the virus himself and was very ill from it. No compassion at all has come from either of them, and you get the sense that they probably both wish that all of those with pre-existing medical conditions should die already so that they don’t have to deal with the virus any longer. Only in a dystopian society would such actions be viewed in a positive light by a large percentage of the population. Both Trump and Johnson must know what is best since we put them in power, and we are never wrong!
Both Johnson and Trump are members of political parties, the Tories and Republicans(GOP), whose members have openly colluded with foreign powers in order to win elections. They were made Prime Minister and President in order to grant the wealthy even more power and money than they already have. Screw all of the people barely able to make ends meet because of the economy tanking and the virus making things even worse. In a matter of months there are going to be tent cities all over the US and UK because of the masses of people losing their homes since they can no longer afford rent or their mortgages because of losing their jobs. When you are down and out all you have to do to make yourself happy is think of all of the billionaires, such as Zuckerberg and Bezos, making record amounts of money during a pandemic. Remember making money off of the backs of the underclass is what makes both the US and UK such great places to live! Only in a dystopian society can the underclass be made to think that their underpaid jobs are actually just fine, and maybe through some hard work and luck they too will become very wealthy. If they don’t become very wealthy then it is their own fault because they didn’t work hard enough.
There has always been open racism in both the US and UK. Equality laws being put into place does not mean that people of colour were treated fairly from that moment on. Within the last few years there have been a lot of video recordings of the police, mostly in the US, openly killing black men and women. This sort of thing has always happened, it’s not a new phenomenon. The only difference right now is that these murders are being recorded by police body-cams or by bystanders who are witness them. Even though these cops know they are being recorded they go ahead and kill these black men and women anyway because historically they rarely get convicted of murder. In most cases they get paid leave and then go back to work a few months later, or even if they get fired they will easily get hired by a nearby police department. Only in a dystopian society are some people deemed expendable just because of the colour of their skin.
Another group being treated unfairly in both the US and UK are immigrants; legal, illegal, POC and Eastern European. Even though these immigrants do essential work, such as nursing and harvesting food, they are still looked down upon by large sections of a society who are told by their governments that immigrants are to blame for how shit their lives have turned out. Only in a dystopian society is the construct of this ‘other’ created. This is in order to placate the population whose unwavering support both the US and UK governments need in order to retain power. This white underclass in taught to hate the ‘other’, even though they have more in common with them that they do with white people who are wealthy.
I have touched on many of the reasons why I think we are living in a dystopian society and I can easily think of even more. Sometimes thinking really deeply about this scares the crap out of me, as it should. We are not living in normal times. Probably the best thing you can do is pay attention to all of the events going on around you. If you live in an area where there are ongoing protests against racism, and the government in general, take part in them. Also, if you are a US citizen please vote. Even though I am a US citizen in the UK I am voting by mail in the upcoming November election. If Trump is not voted out of office things are going to get even worse in the US during the next four years.