. No Vacancy | London Progressive Journal
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No Vacancy

Sun 21st Apr 2019

Kids today, eh?! They'd prefer to skip school and laugh and sing on bridges in cities across the globe, having - what one caller to a radio talk show described as "a jolly" - than accept the dictats of their elders and betters, the little misguided hippies.

And all for some notion of climate change. Hey, sometimes the weather is good and sometimes it ain’t!

Of course, what articulate and highly motivated Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg has in common with arguably the UK's most respected voice of authority Sir David Attenborough, is a realisation that the wasted decades of international pin-head dancing about the relentless warming of the planet, continues to threaten it. And, yes, it's our collective fault. What David and Greta are trying to do is put brake-blocks on the inevitable. Now. Right now.

They know we must not just challenge, but actually ignore the bleating of politicians who are vying for kudos of how much money they’re allotting to the issue, as they hold paws with the corporate beasts pledged on destroying the planet.

Whatever dismissals and denials the White House morons flip to the American public, and whatever global policies are already in train, Greta's Extinction Rebellion [ER] and Sir David's moving and cogent film are bringing the issue to the front of every politician's agenda. Well, they're trying. Reporters and media analysts need to re-focus their questions to address the actual point of ER.

This is not a matter of how many arrests are made in the face of peaceful protest. Nor whether the gathering crowds across the world are of this class or that, of this generation or that, of this party or that - because they comprise the growing majority who are demanding to protect the future.

Sure, the planet itself will survive. It's seen warming and freezing and tectonic collision, meteor strikes, volcanic eruption, floods and droughts. It's absorbed radiation and refraction. That's not the point. Those events took thousands, tens-of-thousands and millions of years to coalesce and stabilise.

What will not survive our cavalier peer into tomorrow through half-closed eyes of fear is the disaster threatening the lives of the future. Your kids. Their kids. Assuming they get to be born at all.

Perhaps the most important truth that ER hopes to make us all aware of, is the way that the existing geo-political system seeks to control policy to preserve itself. It's a tool of totalitarianism. This is the deceit of capitalism: it pretends to be about democracy, but in fact, like all power elites, will use any diversion to maintain its grip over our lives.

That’s how the rich get richer, and the poverty gap widens like the Grand Canyon and the African Rift Valley.

I'm not a gambling girly, but I'm willing to bet that no careers guidance counsellor interviewing potential graduates from Oxbridge has ever suggested they should consider a placement as a council rubbish worker, an office cleaner, a packer in a sardine factory, a dock loader, or a cauliflower harvester.

It's only been a few decades or so that the Corporate Class has had such a vice-like grip on the whole concept of jobs. The very notion of work is changing before our very eyes, and the results are disastrous.

Social surveys conducted by governments, academics, and big business - each with separate agendas - have calculated "the ineffectiveness of vocational guidance advice" to students preparing for the world of work. Whatever remnants remain of a Socratic approach to learning as a dialogue of ideas, tuition offered to the highest-rated academic institutions attempts to create policy makers in all walks of life, or as some graduates say, “they teach you how to think.” Whereas those demeaned by vocational training and related apprenticeships for the bastions of capitalism, have value solely in their compliant ability to follow orders and serve their affluent bosses.

One of the most glaring omissions in such quantifications is the inescapable fact that the so-called jobs these students are urged to prepare for will not exist. Your local job centre is certainly not offering work as a court jester or plague-house marker, textile mill bobbin boy or milk-maid. But there may eventually be opportunities for hydroponic farmers, Mars terraformers, or 3D printer designers of artificial body parts.

By raising the vital questions of how to arrest climate change in order to prepare the world for future generations, ER demands we adjust our perception of the capitalist imperative that's driven us all to the brink. Surely we need to think for ourselves, ask different questions, and respond to the alarm bells ringing in our ears.

Do we really want our kids to be confronted on all sides by signs that declare: No Vacancy!
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