At the airport in Montreal, a woman with a Ukrainian passport addressed me in Ukrainian. I have no idea how she knew because I’m uncharacteristically not wearing any of my patriotic gear.
This is the first time in my life I’ve felt happy to meet a person from my part of the world.
Yesterday, I spoke to a bunch of academics about a new round of austerity cuts at my university. Everybody here knows what I have to say about austerity, so I won’t repeat myself.
In response, one of the academics informed the group completely seriously that austerity exists to hand control over education to “the church.” Which church remained unspecified. When I inquired gently about the basis for such a conclusion, the academic in question said that the Franco dictatorship made her think of it.
It’s incredible how ossified people’s brains are. Especially people in academia. The world has changed in so many ways since Franco. In particular, the economy has been massively transformed. And the role of religion in Western societies collapsed. But we are still sitting here, terrified of an utterly imaginary takeover by religious people who are nowhere in evidence. We’d do anything to avoid learning anything new but we expect students to learn.
A rowdy visit to the Capitol by a bunch of unarmed LARPers isn’t a threat to democracy. But neoliberalism is. Not only is it a threat, it makes democracy pretty much impossible. This is why the neoliberal press is doing all it can to hide from us where the real threat to democracy resides.
A character in a novel says, “Rich people always control their emotions.” The character lives in multigenerational poverty, and finds rich-people behavior mystifying.
And I’m thinking, maybe these rich people are rich in part because they know how to control their emotions. Also, maybe we are being so actively encouraged never to exercise any control over our emotions because that’s a great way to keep us poor. It’s an axiom these days that feelings can’t be questioned or controlled. Those who invented that axiom are laughing all the way to the bank.