Raw pain crept from red shot eyes, crisping down the furrowed face, grey with age, sagged and worn, worry lined and paper thin. It had taken so long to get here, and realize. Orwell was right, Winston was right; there was no truth, just things served up to us in the media. This or that version of events, with only our memories and spirits left to question them. One faction’s beliefs dusted down from the shelf and held up in the light as being better than everyone else’s. Belief forgets respect, respect forgets belief. Governments had organized events to justify war, or aggressive actions. Religious sects had done the same. Everyone hated everyone else, there was just that. A deep misunderstanding and mistrust, a closing of minds and spirits. People thinking that their God made them better, or their money made them better. Shows of affluence, shows of influence. A collective forgetfulness of what the past had been, a deliberate misrepresentation, a rewriting of events, creating people or removing them. World leaders removed from photos for being female World leaders marching for freedom of speech when in their countries that doesn’t exist, or is threatened, as if freedom of speech existed anywhere. Other countries funding the terrorists, funding the football. Control the pleasure and then you control the people.
Of course, all this bounced round inside his head. There was no alternative, rebellion was death. Even those who claimed to be in the counter culture were only there because the government needed them to prove some kind of alternative existed. Like a spare room in a dusty castle no one dared visit. The internet and the television and the mobile phone were real tele screens, always in the background, always connected to a big multinational. People had ceased to question, to think, accepting convenience, shopping in supermarkets, buying online, a consumer orgy, whilst all around them was suffering, and the bottom billion s starved and died from preventable disease and famine. The USA had spied on everyone’s emails, and now Google wanted to spy inside everyone’s minds, The google glasses had come on to the market, and been a success. No one had known they would be so addictive, so damaging. People had had chips fitted to their brains, just to be in contact; it had become fashionable, like, miniskirts or tattoos. A slow evolution to cyborgs. Starting with our thoughts, our feelings, our freedom and ending with our bodies. People didn’t die anymore, but he had decided otherwise.
His veins were blue, visible through the flesh, liver spotted sagged arms, clawing fingers and yellow teeth. His fingernails were thickened, he was ready to dance with the devil. He’d forgotten how old he was, and he didn’t care anymore. Death would be freedom, freedom from those who wanted to control, to kill, to hate, to manipulate and to rule. Those whose beliefs had overruled respect. He lay down in his cot-like bed, looked at the white ceiling, and thought back, back over those ploughed years, those fields, landscapes of memories, and died.
The ploughed fields
He was born back in the other time, before the revolution. His diary told it all, the society of then. Hardships and poverty, austerity and want. How they had rebuilt society, to be fairer, more just. Politicians had nationalized big companies, introduced social and health care systems, retirement and care for the elderly. Workers had paid from their saleries, employers had contributed too. But then the nationalized companies had become giant monopolies, full of people doing nothing, producing nothing other than paperwork. Strikes crippled the country. A politician smashed trade union power, smashed communities and created a new state. The revolution. Of course, all that mattered now was money. Lives and health, security and happiness had been forgotten. The diary etched the path from poverty to plenty to greed, where people saw want and shared, and then people saw plenty and wanted greed. Then, society started to change. Before, people had been republican or democrats, now they were just out for themselves; Any notion of working for a better society was quickly forgotten, and no need to trips to Room 101 , where you would be broken, rather just the glint and gleam of cash.
The money was electronic, cooked up by banks and something that didn’t really exist. The commoners didn’t know that, they borrowed from banks and paid back with interest, not worrying that the repayments often equaled many times the sum originally borrowed. People paid for cars a few times, and a house many times. Credit cards were great, because it ensured a debt for the commoners.Even education had to be paid for, then health. If you were a commoner, the decision was debt or death; and if you died, you left the debt to your children. Poverty was thus ensured to be heredity. Then death tax was cancelled, so that being rich became hereditary too.
When the commoners couldn’t pay back the debt, the bank took away the house, selling it to a new owner. Often, the commoners would be disgraced and humbled. The party engineered it so that those Bolshevik enough to question, or those with independent enough minds, or open enough eyes would be those crushed on the cogs of the machine. The elected class had become the ruling class, career politicians who lined their pockets, fleecing the poor, disabled, hungry and uneducated. The rulers made sure the poor stayed poor, and that the rich became richer, the forelock tugging to rich capitalists.
Of course, the elected class made sure that tax cuts were applied to the rich, so the rich would fund there election campaigns; This led to austerity and a lack of social investment; Sick commoners had to wait for months, schools in commoner districts became shoddy, run down, teachers were migratory at best and drunk at worst. Social care for the sick, disabled and elderly was seen as a waste by the ruling class, who bullied and despised these ideas, seeing them as weaknesses, rather than bad luck or statistics
Then the terrorists came. The rich elected class needed oil from Arab and Islamic countries. Oil was the new black slave, capable of doing many men’s work at a fraction of the price; slavery had been outlawed, but here was an alternative. Besides, the rich society had a currency backed on oil. The Petrodollar. At first they invaded these countries and made them colonies, then protectorates. Eventually, after the second war, they were made independent. But it was a ruse by the rulers. They weren’t really independent at all, the rich class had too much influence, and often dictated policy, or even installed pupped governments, or overthrew legitimacy elected ones.
Inside these countries a great cry of injustice came, and then the religious class used the bitterness and envy to form and train terror groups. Instead of forgiveness, revenge came from the East. The terrorists struck at the heart of the rich empires, destroying buildings, people newspapers, and trains, buses and killing soldiers and Jews. They killed anyone who didn’t think the same as them, who didn’t believe the same as them. An extreme way of life had come. Because the rich had neglected society so much, they had forgotten to invest in society. The army and the police were so run down that they couldn’t deal with this new threat. Training new civil servants was expensive, as schools were so poor, and health so bad that commoners needed better diets and hospitals. But the ruling class all agreed on one thing, neoliberalism for all, crushing all who disagreed, and creating more terror gangs.
Then the shock in the diary. The terror gangs were also funded by the Rich Rulers. They were part of the woven fabric of lies held up to the commoners on TV , in newspapers and on the Internet. Some governments had even organized terror attacks to justify wars, to control key countries. Countries where oil or drugs could be found. The media pumped the Rich Rulers message that terror needed to be confronted by war. War followed war followed war. It had become difficult to discern where one conflict ended and another began.
The Ruling Rich made sure countries piled up debt, as then they could ensure independence was finished. A country in debt was easy to dictate to, cash was king.
Television and internet, film and radio made sure the commoners were entertained. Enemies were identified, and hated, only to be loved soon after. News programs told blatant lies, employed shrills as specialists who spread lies and disinformation. Media moguls could make or break the rich rulers, and so they had to be bowed down to, and their very whims seen to happen. The electorate voted not on policy but on image and the media moguls made sure the result they wanted happened. The commoners voted another way, but it was just the same really. Then yet another way, with a coalition, but it was worse, even worse than before. Hope itself was dead. All that was left was the dream of a better world held in the diaries.
He had died, and it was our job to fight, somehow, we could do something. Better to die on the cogs of the machine than in the gutter of despair.
In the second war, The Nazis had dreamt up the final solution, but the Rich Rulers knew nothing so obvious or evil was needed, people would do it to each other without government sponsorship. Investing in terror gangs had made sure.
As usual it would take decades for the truth to come out, battered and changed, the first victim of the wars.
Who were we? Perhaps the best way to answer this question is to describe the group. I’d never met more than one member at a time, it was too dangerous. In the streets, cameras followed your every move. Once, I’d stopped to roll a cigarette, three police officers arrived to check it wasn’t drugs; You could be stopped and searched with no reason given, no reason needed. Terrorists gave the Rich Rulers an excuse to pass punitive laws and freedom hindering opportunities; I never knew just how many we were, or where each member lived; We would meet in public parks and crowded bars, or in the old churches at night, making different paths to the rendezvous, and leaving at different times. The press was full of those fallen from grace, put on pedestals to be knocked down. I never knew if they were members or not, hints and rumors.
I worked in the faceless school, teaching those students who bothered to come. So much information flowed from so many sources that what was true no longer mattered. The student could just look up anything on the net, and read out the information from the official source. They never questioned the sources, or the authors.
The students would gang around and hit or mock the weakest, and have to be punished. Parents took the side of bully pupils, being bullies themselves. Colleagues came and went, worn by the grind of disobedience and laziness, a dumbing down and a brainwashing sponsored by the Rich Rulers.
We all had mindless jobs, in health, education, or the like, all having gone in with a burning desire to help or change or improve society, all crushed by the Rich Rulers. Crushed with debt, or illness, or both, crushed by lack of funding or vision, bad management and old Boy’s Club promotions, nepotism and networks. I was as good as all the others, they were as good as me. That old lie “Liberty, equality, Solidarity’.
The teacher of course had some power, judging who passed and who failed, all too often basing it on behavior rather than ability, not questioning that the children who came were bored, or violent. Perhaps the devil existed, perhaps it was us.
Information was passed between us, but no one was trusted; Was the peper really destroyed, or handed to the authorities, or used to bait or blackmail others, in this crazed society, nothing was real anymore, even the everyday interactions were guarded and hidden. Love was fleeting, sex had become the act, people forgot to build relationships. The answer lay on the net, not in the head or the heart.
Perhaps the net was built to spread information, to take it out of the hands of the rich rulers, but they had bought it,as they buy everything.
We were decided. I science was the tribute to what we know even though we were fallible, we had to use science in our debates, our policies, our questions; we couldn’t bend our knees to violence, dogma, extremes or religion; But then the Rich Rulers used or rather misused science, creating phoney debates or arguing that certain questions or debates were over, decided. The worst was global warming, an argument in every science class.
So we planned, did, checked and acted, those four ways to quality