Archive for July, 2015

CITIZEN LOOMING

1. J. K. Looming had been pondering whether society as we know it, and specifically within the borders of his domain was strong enough to withstand the upcoming round of “austerity measures” loudly announced daily by the Supreme New Leader of Gundylandia. For, J. K. Looming has been following discreetly the many conversations on this very topic unfolding among “civil society actors” – sectoral dialogues, groupings online and naturally the focus groups and surveys du jour. Indeed, the “austerity measures” people were talking about had an eerie resemblance to previous “austerity measures” experienced by – more or less – the same people in decades past.

It all begun – if memory served him well – with a clever messaging around a somewhat messianic Supreme New Leader with sharp charisma to sell it. And, as in times past, it all had to do with the disturbing reality that Gundylandia, a decent place to live, play, work, and raise a family, was, according to “experts” way too dependent on one single commodity; manure.

2. That’s right; when the price of this commodity was high, well, everyone was having a good time – spend with no restrain; shop till you drop; borrow if you must; keep the economic engine roaring – no matter what. Should the world markets be overwhelmed by manure and its price collapse, dramatically as it has, well, that was an entirely different story. Now, as in previous reruns, critics were saying; “we must diversify our economy; it’s unwise to depend so much on the world price of manure; there has to be another way to sustain our prosperity,” etc. Economist of various world-views, think-tanks of academia and most thinking, common-sense people would agree, as they have over the years of living through this cyclical dance of good times with high prices of manure, and depressing times with low prices of manure.

Sadly, though, manure had become so entrenched in people’s economic well-being, so pervasive in people’s daily doings, that for the leadership of Gundylandia, many of whom had close ties to the powerful and influential producers of manure, it was simply inconceivably to contemplate any other economic development beacon, but, to reinforce its dependency on this essential commodity to maintain our way of life, and enrich further a selected few.

3. J.K. Looming, thought that – perhaps – the new round of “austerity measures” could be the “spark” – figuratively speaking – to ignite a seemingly dormant and divided “social movement” that maybe had become too complacent with its own comfortable life-styles for, as long as the price of manure was good, they had very little to complaint about, and conversations about social and economic justice were better had either in the abstract, the confines of academia or privately in someone’s basement. But, the question was then – could the “social movements” of Gundylandia, its leaders/organizers connect at a deeper level, go beyond petty partisanship politics or professional class-divides and come together under a united and well-articulated banner of strength and solidarity? Could the “social movements” of Gundylandia raise the stakes and no just resist the “austerity measures” but, reimagine a new societal project and mobilise accordingly? Would the “social movements” of Gundylandia be inspired to do so?

4. As the Supreme Leader of Gundylandia continued to instill fear on his subjects, prepared to present his austere budget and the masses flocked to the film premiere of 50 Shades of Blue, in search of some kind of fix, it was also expected that a general election was coming soon, so that the Supreme Leader could ask and get the “mandate from the people” to hung themselves by approving his austerity package. See? The Supreme Leader could say then – “I asked the populace to tight their belts and, alas, so well-trained that they are, the answer was a resounding yes! I heard nothing but; Give to us Supremo, we’re not worth it!”

5. A worrisome reality though was that few voices have been heard from the “social movements” – with some notable exceptions, say the Gundylandia Centre for the Public Good, the Gundylandia Institute for Intelligent Public Policy, other “usual suspects” and the perennial “liberal elites” (whatever that means these days) – one could assume that at a fundamental level, and by and large, most inhabitants of this domain were OK with it, or were they? Meanwhile, the price of manure continued to fluctuate, and at the pace things are going, a citizen’s revolt was not totally out of the question, a sort of “Gundylandia Spring” – yes, it would be out-of-character as the citizens of this manure kingdom are known around the world for being “nice” – notwithstanding the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City in 2001, or the G20 Protests in Toronto in 2010.

6. But, it has happened in other latitudes, some of which are heavily dependent on manure for their economic fantasies as well. And just the other day, the President of Gundylandia University dared to say to some media outlets; “We’re living in a fantasy world if we think we can continue life as usual by cutting every time the price of manure go down and investing only when manure prices go up; who the hell can run a kingdom like that and be considered competent managers of the economy or truly empathic to the well-being of our citizens for Pete’s Sake!?” – red pill or blue pill still, most recently, Greece/Spain have been dealing with “austerity measures” too, although dependent on manure to fuel their economies, their commodity of choice is olive oil, fish + an assortment of industrial endeavours – J. K. Looming told himself – could such uprisings happen here? Doubtfully, concluded Looming, but, we’ll know soon enough. –

© Leo Campos Aldunez

Edmonton, AB (Canada)

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