We’re hoping, and praying, for a better tomorrow. At Least One That Isn’t So Bright.
I was reading a girl’s profile on a sort of community forums for English speakers in France. She opened the ‘About Me’ section with I am an Anarco-Communist. The next three paragraphs were about her semi-formal anarchist community and her strict protesting scheduling.
I am a big fan of the music of Blackbird Raum, which is essentially a group of anarchist squatters who made it big through music. They make habit of playing beside restaurants, inside trains, et cetera. Their lyrics are genius. Simply so. Their political goals: wise and ideal. Their music? Is obnoxiously loud. They reported in some interview that the first few dollars they made was when a businessman, on a date, paid them to go busk somewhere else.
While I was in college, one of my lecturers was a kind of retired punk. But he kept the spirit burning through academia. During one lecture he became overly-personal; he told us that he did not shed a tear when his father died. Or when his mother died; no-no. But he did cry, when David Bowie died.
He once showed us footage of a protest against gender inequality in modern Russia. By protest, I mean it was Pussy Riot! blaring incomprehensible lyrics through speakers they’d carried onto the street. A policeman approached and lifted a baton. He didn’t give the singer any time to react; with a wicked force he whacked her arm with the baton.
She yelped, an ‘ow!’, stopped for a second, looked at him, then continued singing.
He hit again, and another ‘Yaaah!’
And a handful in my classroom – I suppose they didn’t know how to react – they laughed.
The video’s infamous, maybe you’ve seen it. I wonder how many people had that same reaction – laughter. It’s a woman wearing a crazy looking pink ski-mask hopping around singing loudly random punk lyrics in defiance of a man following her and trying to beat her until she stops.
My lecturer looked at us in utter horror. The video continued, and it became kind of grim. The police keep attacking, well after the band’s given up on playing. So the laughter stopped and the room’s mood turned grim.
‘I can’t believe anyone would find that funny.’
Those were the last words of the lecture. Everyone just left after that.
I wonder now if the ex-punk lecturer grieved that day, for youth having lost its humanity, or if he believed the dark mood of the class after the laughter would have gotten through to some of us, and he’d convinced us of something regarding gender-issues in Russia, or perhaps something about police forces. Or Russians in general?
I befriended a Latvian while I was in London, but she considered herself Russian. Our conversations often drifted towards politics, and of course Putin was spoken about multiple times. This girl did me the favour of showing me his approval ratings. As I write this, the most recent Russian poll showed he had about an 86.1% rating. TheWashingtonPost has assured me that this is because ‘in a nation where the Kremlin controls the airwaves, opinions can be easily swayed’.
Yesterday, here in Paris, I met a student of politics in the library. She changes her hair colour every month, and this time it was a pale red. We spoke casually for a while and seemed to get along well… And then – !
I asked about her political opinions. She must have some interesting positions, I figured, if she actively studies political theory on a daily basis.
We started off well by mocking the horror – the horror(!) – that is French bureaucracy (It’s bad. It’s very very bad). We touched on the recent French elections and the way things were going. Not long ago I’d seen a large graffiti piece reading:
‘Macron = Soumission’
(You can guess what ‘soumission’ means in English).
It seemed unanimous that something was a little wrong with France’s mood. Everyone I’ve asked felt certain that something’s needed to change. My guess at the meaning behind ‘Macron = Soumission’ is that since he was essentially voted into place only because the other option was our supposedly fascist friend Marine Le Pen, just accepting someone like Macron because he’s a ‘less-terrible’ option is, in its nature, submitting to a failure within the system. The issue is there were two bad candidates. Why accept either of them, if the majority of the public actually wants neither?
This is a debate perhaps for another day. Or rather, at the moment I count myself as incapable as hosting such a debate, because, I don’t speak French… I’ve been travelling in France a while now, and often talk politics, but haven’t figured out enough to make any fair judgement on things.
Anyway, I asked the pink-haired political theory student… ‘What’s the change that’s needed? What must France turn to?’
‘Away from democracy’, she answered.
I nodded lightly. Once I think this would be considered a radical opinion. Now, maybe, not so much.
‘Well, what’ll replace it?’ I asked.
‘Technocracy’, she answered. ‘It’s the most rational system, that’s just how it is’.
This is, a system where a society is run by technical experts. Qualified economists run the economy, foreign affairs goes to the most qualified politicians, universities are created and run with educational theories in mind. All in all. A qualified government.
Before I could ask my usual questions and poke the usual holes at technocracy, she continued:
‘The elite shall be decided by constitution, except – also – it’ll be – a technocratic monarchy.’
I nearly nodded. Usually my nods only denote me understanding what was being said. But to this, I couldn’t even nod.
‘A technocratic monarchy’, she said, ‘all of history’s greatest nations have been monarchies. It is the most rational system’.
I didn’t respond well.
We parted ways, as it was getting late, after about five minutes of me waving my arms and loudly exclaiming that her ideas are insane.
I texted her the next morning to see if she wanted to meet, since I thought things had been well and I don’t really mind political debates, even if there were strong clashes of opinions.
She didn’t respond.
You know, I haven’t structured this well, I don’t think I’ve really said anything so far in this post… Just told vaguely related stories.
So let me get straight to the point…
Everything’s going to be okay!
The world is going to change… Everyone wants change. The ex-punk, Putin, Pussy Riot!, the pink-haired girl.
Well okay, Putin’s a conservative.
I can feel it. The future’s so bright, you won’t even remember the stars!