By Peter Marshall
April 26th, 2020
We certainly see the architecture of oppression in many countries at the moment. There have been pandemics before and there will be pandemics in the future. What we decide now will determine our future. Make the decisions ourselves and not give them to our so-called ‘leaders’ who will only want to increase their power.
All the more reason to fight back in this ‘state’ of emergency which might lead to further oppression and state surveillance if we are not careful. Now is the time to push back against this creeping authoritarianism. Orwell and others warned us about the dangers of ‘Big Brother’ and the ever-constant threat to democracy and freedom by authoritarian leaders, governments and states.
It seems that some of the population in the U.S. see what they call ‘the land of the free’ as the freedom to carry guns and rifles to shoot others and to get as soon as possible back into the harness of ‘work’ which objectively oppresses and exploits them. They fear genuine freedom and want to become voluntary slaves and passive and obedient workers in factory or office. There is a real difference between right-wing ‘libertarians’ and left-wing socialist libertarians and anarchists, although they may both be suspicious of the over-reaching interference of government. The former are in favour of unfettered capitalism; the latter wish for a social economy in which all good things are shared equally, and I would add, as well as among non-human beings and the natural world.
But at the same time there are, all around the world including the U.S., those who want genuine freedom from authoritarian governments and freedom to control their lives directly. They want to be free to practice autonomy and solidarity, to choose for themselves and with others the decisions which most affect their lives, their society, and the natural world of which they are an integral part.
Let’s therefore welcome this time off from enforced labour to examine our lives and the future of society. As John Lennon said in his song ‘Imagine’: ‘I may be a dreamer’ of a better world ‘but I am not the only one’…
Peter Marshall is a philosopher, historian, biographer, travel writer and poet. He has written eighteen highly acclaimed books which are being translated into fourteen different languages. His circumnavigation of Africa was made into a 6-part TV series and his voyage around Ireland into a BBC Radio series. He has written articles and reviews for many national newspapers and journals.