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Why is there still so much anger?

By Ad astra

As we enter the Festive Season, we reflect on the year past and the one ahead. It’s a time when Christians celebrate Christmas and other special days, Jewish folk enjoy Hanukkah, Mexicans celebrate the Fiesta of our Lady of Guadalupe, and Swedes celebrate St Lucia Day. The New Year is ushered in as an opportunity for new hope. For Chinese this is their most important celebration.

Yet this cheerful time for so many is defiled by widespread, unremitting anger all around the world. Why is it so? Is there a remedy for this simmering malaise? What can we ordinary citizens do?

As I explored what title I might use for this piece, and toyed with Why is there so much anger I found that it had already been used on The Political Sword over three years ago, way back in June 2016. I was disappointed as I re-read that piece and realised that nothing much has changed since then – the genesis of the anger is the same, only the players have changed.

My conclusion then was: It is social injustice that is the root of all of this. Inequity, unfairness, disadvantage, the over-abundance of have-nots in our wealthy society, and the experience of marginalisation that induces anger, and in extreme cases radicalisation and violence.

You may care to glance through the piece and quickly read some of the excerpts. Be prepared to be dismayed though, because little has altered since then.

At this time of year, you won’t want to read a long report of the anger that still grips the world. Suffice it is to draw your attention to what has been going on in France these past weeks. You will have seen on TV the widespread disorder throughout that nation, particularly in Paris where there have been violent riots, over a hundred injured, thousands detained, treasured icons defaced, cars burned out, shop windows smashed, and property destroyed. Much of the destruction has been caused by gangs of ‘casseurs’, urban guerrillas determined to loot and pillage, some of whom wear gilets jaunes. Among the ‘yellow vest’ protesters were black-clad and masked youths who likely belong to ultra-right, ultra-left, or anarchist groups, all taking advantage of the chaos.

All this is the result of President Macron’s economic policies, which, in the view of the gilets jaunes, punish members of the lower and middle classes with taxes on pensions and a fuel tax rise, while rewarding the rich with tax breaks. As one of them said: “Today, the poor are losing their rights. It’s understandable that we’re angry.”

The protests have now spread to Belgium, inspired by falling wages, rising costs of living, rising costs of healthcare, privatisation of essential services, cultural disruption as a result of heavy migration, and growing unemployment.

So here we are again – inequity once more is the prime cause of the anger. Widespread social injustice leaves the poor feeling disadvantaged, disconnected, disenfranchised, and languishing in poverty and hopelessness.

Since time immemorial the poor have been left behind, but those at the top seem not to notice. In his brilliant book: The Price of Inequality Nobel Laureate in Economics, Joseph Stiglitz, wrote: “The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live.” The Paris riots are intended to highlight this – to send a clarion call to those who will listen that the inequality that the poor now suffer, the inequality that will worsen with Macron’s policies, can no longer be tolerated. Forced now to reverse the punitive ones, he hopes to restore order and revive the shattered French economy, but that may be problematic as freeloaders have now blighted the protests with their own extreme agendas. The future for France looks bleak.

What can be done? Is there a remedy?

If ever there was a time to foster hope, it is the Season ahead. Our politicians though will not, indeed cannot help. They are imprisoned by ideologies that shackle their thinking and restrict their actions. In the same way that they refuse to act on the other grave existential crisis we face – climate change – they will not act on inequality and social injustice. It is simply too hard, too inconvenient, too demanding. Progressive politicians might – conservatives can’t and won’t.

Can we, the ordinary folk that get the chance to vote only now and again, do anything at all? Yes, we have a voice.

Never before have there been such opportunities for us to express our views, our desires, our hopes for our nation. Social media abound with opportunities for us to say what we think, how we feel, and what we need. Everyone can use them. They are especially suited to those who cannot join street protests. This site is among a few select political blog sites that expresses views, encourages debate, and suggests remedies. Use it to say what you think and feel, what you want for yourself, your family, your community, and your nation. If we sit mute, no one will hear, no one can hear. If we speak up loudly and often enough, the politicians cannot avoid us.

So with our Season’s Greetings, we seek to hold your hand. Will you join those of us who publish The Political Sword to make it vibrant and influential? Will you add your comments as each piece emerges? If you do, we can change the course of our nation, we can prevail on our politicians to act, we can calm the anger and foster a warm, compassionate and caring society.

There is a remedy – it is all of us.

This was The Political Sword’s last offering for 2018. TPS will resume publication early in February 2019.

This article was originally published on The Political Sword.

For Facebook users, The Political Sword has a Facebook page:
Putting politicians and commentators to the verbal sword – ‘Like’ this page to receive notification on your timeline of anything they post.

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Ad Astra’s page – Send a friend request to interact there.

The Political Sword also has twitter accounts where they can notify followers of new posts:
@1TPSTeam (The TPS Team account)
@Adastra5 (Ad Astra’s account)

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  1. Keitha Granville

    There will continue to be anger until the boil is lanced, in France they should be well aware of the possibility and the effects of revolution. Maybe not the guillotine for the aristocracy, but certainly vilification and financial ruin. We have much to learn from them.
    Until we follow those leaders who want to be truly inclusive, to make sure no-one anywhere is left behind, our fate is likely to be the same.

  2. Karen Kyle

    There is a remedy. Right. Last time it happened it was one of the causes of WW1. After the War nothing changed.The situation got worse.Depression. But there was a long period of prosperity after WW2. Social media is good. Go for it. Direct e-mail is good. Although I couldn’t e-mail Turnbull, like I emailed John Howard every day. Emailing pollies might be a good idea.

  3. Shaun Newman

    The anger has slowly been accumulating over 5 and a half years of this tory Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison government and how their policies have pushed more and more Australians into poverty while never touching the rich or the multinational corporations who operate in Australia “tax free” on their billion dollar incomes, and the people have finally had enough.

    In 2013 the Labor government was split, much as this extremist right-wing government is currently with new scandals arriving at regular intervals division is death in politics, and the longer slowmo holds out the angrier the people will become. It is blatantly obvious now that they are thinking that a $20 per week tax cut immediately before the election will overcome all of their problems, as the French tory President tried recently.

    I believe Australian voters may be more intelligent than that and the tax cut will add to their anger, as this government as far back as Treasurer Hockey took $40 Billion out of public health and education, that has never been reinstated by either Turnbull or Morrison, indeed Morrison has said that he will put a further $1.25 Billion into public health, which is simply a drop in the ocean.

    The L’NP have always been anti-people and pro-corporation and always will be it’s their DNA. When will the everyday Australian realize this fact!

  4. Joseph Carli

    ” Why is there still so much anger?”…….because they are STILL giving us the shits!

  5. David Bruce

    Before Macron was elected, he was virtually an unknown Rothschild banker. The fact that he is now President of France should provide a clue about where the the anger is being generated. I believe Malcolm also had connections in the same circles.

    In politics, if some unusual event happens, you can bet it was planned. The Lindt Cafe, Port Arthur and numerous other events, some more recent, fall into that category.

    There is a UK-based company which specializes in running drills and exercises for governments all over the world. At any time during these programs, they can be turned into “live-fire” exercises. One of Winston Churchill’s grandsons currently runs the outfit.

    Perhaps more people are realizing we are being manipulated by elected government leaders who are economical with the truth. I know I react badly to people who lie to me.

  6. Alan Nosworthy

    Joe, government still retains its core function of giving us the shits. It appears that the secondary function of rubbing it in our faces has been outsourced to private capital.

  7. Adrianne Haddow

    I would suggest the powerful elites who are represented by most of the governments of the Western world have been preparing for this type of anger and societal unrest for quite some time.

    The more overt social ills and injustices occurring in recent years have been expected by our leaders, and the economic adjustments and limitations being placed upon the freedoms we once enjoyed are attempts to shore up their own supremacy and survival in the future.

    The following clip is an interview with Nafeez Ahmed, a former Guardian journalist, about the Pentagon’s Project Minerva and how the Pentagon is preparing for societal collapse. The clip is from 2015 but is more than ever relevant now.

    We have every reason to be angry.

  8. Phil

    I feel a good part of the anger comes from a majority among the global community becoming acutely aware of the pernicious nature of neoliberalism AND realising that there is no way out other than through bringing the system, its architects and high priests down – revolt.

    Big oil, big weapons, and in fact all the giant global corporations along with the huge banks, finance houses and accountancy firms – oh, and the chemical and pharmaceutical giants etc etc have in their grasp exactly what they demanded at the dawning of the neoliberal era – they will not let go peacefully.

    Force is the only option that stands any chance of detaching societies from the vice-like grip of raw, unaccountable capitalist greed.

    Force is however, not the first choice of most people. Negotiation, appeals to morality, ethics and higher values, compromise. But we’ve been trying that for 30 years and look where we are?

    Nationalisation of electricity, water, banking, etc. End privatisation. Yes. Socialism. there I said the word. Scares the shit out of the ruling class, just look to South America.

  9. Joseph Carli

    Seriously, I believe if we all meditated in front of this painting for an hour a day we would all be much more companionable people..

    Chinese Girl – Wikipedia

    Chinese Girl is a 1952 painting by Vladimir Tretchikoff. Mass-produced prints of the work in subsequent years were among the best-selling of the twentieth century. The painting is of a Chinese young woman and is best known for the unusual skin tone used for her face—a blue-green colour.

    That and ; “The World of Suzie Wong” are seriously underrated works of art.

  10. helvityni

    Bad news are relentless, so of course we stay angry, upset or even depressed……
    Sam Dastiary had to go; Barnaby and Broad are hanging on….

  11. Joseph Carli

    ” Sam Dastiary had to go; Barnaby and Broad are hanging on….”…….yes..all these “men behaving badly”…they all have to go..and they will…there will be a “Great Cleaning out” of the moral impropriators of the land…mostly men it seems…mostly us older men…I’m afraid the aged, white , male is a “vehicle” now no longer “suitable for terrain”…Our dropped one-liners are wincingly sexist or at least bordering on the dreaded double entenre genre…our eyes wander too far left and right when out and about and our bodies are almost a disgrace in themselves!

    Yes…They will all have to go…for there is a Brave New World coming and I am afraid tommorrow belongs to them…

    But let us not go down without leaving a glimpse of what some of us once were…

    Steve .
    He was a study in tragedy…because of what he had become from what he once was. In the early days, you’d see Steve sitting in a tatty, stuffed lounge chair in one of the many dives and squats he frequented down “The Bay” (Glenelg) , his acoustic guitar cradled in his lap, a wide smile on his fragile delicate featured face, and he would be engaged in an enthusiastic esoteric analysis of the meaning of life with any young lass nearby…these young women were usually itinerants passing through the squat and were themselves in search of that elusive “me”…most of them were in reality middle-class hippies escaping from stultifying pre-war generation parents who wanted to see them betrothed and off their hands and into a “good marriage” w/kids before they were 25 yrs old…So they were out for a bit of adventure armed with bright eyes, an experimental nature and a regular supply of the pill.

    Steve was keen to assist in all facets of their education.

    And so he cultivated this air of the “wandering minstrel I ” with a repertoire of light, airy conversation, a mix of rote-learned poetry, a permanent smile and keenly agreeable nodding head with a rising crest of wavy hair brushed so it resembled the southerly break of surf at Boomer Beach…and a regular supply of nefarious substances he was willing to share to these “soul mates”.

    Steve always had that guitar handy and now and then he would pluck…not a complete tune…but bits and pieces of chords…he’d place that rolly-ciggy in between his lips, squint his eye from the trickle of smoke and concentrate on striking up a bar or two from a known song..but that’s all he’d do…a bit of a recognisable chord or a bar or two…and then he’d interrupt his “playing” to extract the cigarette and place one palm over the strings and extrapolate on the musicology of the unplayed piece.

    He really was impressive in his knowledge of the deeper meanings of those songs.

    He drove from squat to pub to dive to party in an old Austin A40 convertible..and it suited him..the paint was faded, the bumptious shape contrasted against his willowy youthful form, and the fact that it was a convertible meant that he could place that guitar in a conveniently visible place in the back seat…just in case it was needed.
    This lifestyle continued for some years, right up until the mid-seventies, when both grotty squats and free-wheeling hippy girls started to be hard to come by, and Steve now a tad older and showing his age, never being the most employable type of person, was reduced to couch surfing on friends benevolence and trying to chat up the girls who frequented the bars in the Seacliff Hotel..His fortune in both categories was soon exhausted and he started to take more drugs and in consequence look more seedy.

    His once-brushed wavy hair grew more lank and he substituted brush for Welsh-combing..His once boyish laughter now became more a hardened shrill and that wide smile a cruel grimace..the end game was approaching.

    One of the last times I ever saw him, was at the front bar of the Seacliff Hotel..he’d been living in a distant suburb so had not frequented this side of town for a while..Now here he was sitting on a bar-stool in that girly cross-legged manner he always had, the rolly in hand and the other arm pressing down on a slim leather satchel on the bar top…I said my greetings and passed the usual idle chatter with him, but the leather folder drew my attention..

    “What’s in the satchel…sheet music?” I pointed.

    “This..” he said in a secretive whisper “Is my evidence”. He smiled his “new smile”.

    “For what?” I persisted.

    “For a claim I intend to bring against my ex-landlord..” and he gently tapped the folder “It’s all recorded in here..every leaking tap or faulty door lock..I’ve got them all listed down…oh yes..he won’t get me that easy…”

    And he proceeded to relate to me the ongoing conflict he had with his last landlord and why he was thrown out of the old shack he was renting…It was a sad tale of the obvious..and Steve ticked off on his grubby hand, every perceived insult, every incriminating action, every bit of “evidence” that he was sure would secure him a hefty compensated win in any court of law..of which it was only a matter of time before he would “consult his lawyer” and . . .

    Steve had almost lost his mind…and that guitar he would always have by his side was nowhere to be seen…I remarked upon this anomaly later to Mark..

    “Nah…he pawned it to buy some “gear”…”

    “That’s bad luck, he must miss the playing.” I whimsically observed.

    “What playing?…” Mark snorted “ He was lucky he could put those chords together that he did!..I was there when he first bought it from the pawn shop..he never could play a full song, it was just an image he projected for the girls..”

    I nodded a disappointed face and went back to my’s never good to see anyone fall from grace.

  12. Diannaart

    I feel the need for protest.

    David Byrne (former Talking Heads lead singer/writer) has assembled protest songs from the past 60 years.

    There will be something here to please everyone AND stoke the rage …

  13. Phil Gorman

    Anyone who isn’t angry, depressed or despairing is ignorant of what’s going on, a completely self satisfied idiot, or a beneficiary of a system designed by and for plutocrats.

    I doubt that Liberal Light aka the Labor Party will achieve much, but anything is better than the shambolic parcel of rogues and toadies currently in power.

    Channel your outrage in positive ways. Be careful what you wish for. Most revolutions end up with a worse shambles than before.

  14. New England Cocky

    It’s time ….. to consign this Liarbral Notional$ misgovernment of self-serving egotists to the WPB of Australian political history sooner rather than later ….. and for eternity for preference.

  15. RosemaryJ36

    Globalisation and economists talking of capital and labour, so depersonifying the foundations of government, have succeeded in making human issues subordinate to creating wealth. And far too much of that wealth is associated with the killing tools of war.

  16. Ad Astra

    Once more, I thank you for your informative comments that contribute so much to the dialogue.

    You have added to the many reasons why there is still so much anger.

    Then yesterday we had even more reason to be angry with our federal government when the Andrew Broad scandal broke. Who do these people think they are? Well paid to serve the people of their electorate and the nation, they run amok, serving their own interests and desires at our expense, but don’t do their job. Their arrogance is breathtaking. And what’s more, although Broad’s superior, our Deputy PM no less, had known about his gross misdemeanours for weeks, he does nothing to discipline him publicly until the media exposes him. What a government we have! Now there is yet another reason why we are angry.

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