The world is a scary place. We all know that. Turn on the news and cry.
I feel like things are getting worse. The right wing is rising all over the world, as nationalism emerges as a twisted reaction to economic troubles and globalisation. Governments increase fear and hatred, finding scapegoats and enemies within and without to divide the people and justify violence and authoritarianism.
Here in the UK, the Tory government pushes ideological austerity, transferring wealth from the people to big business and the ultra-rich. A biased media means that it’s hard to even figure out what is true and what is propaganda.
George Osborne has released his budget, which was always going to be depressing. Once again, disabled people have been targeted for benefit cuts. What starts off as abstract economics becomes a devastating reality for people who are already struggling. It seems that the victims of austerity are those who started off with the least to lose. Of course it makes sense that they would target those with the least power, because what can we do?
This might affect me personally, what with the ESA cuts that have also been announced, but that’s not my biggest worry. I’m relatively well off. I’m mentally ill but at least I have my physical mobility. Benefits are not enough for an easy life, and increasing financial stress for people who are already sick is going to have a horrifying impact on thousands of people. I have a friend who suffers from fibromyalgia as well as currently battling cancer, and he has been sanctioned several times already, left with no money at all, for missing appointments he was never notified of. Now he will lose even more. How can we accept that? How could anyone think it is ok for sick and vulnerable people to be forced into penury in one of the wealthiest countries on Earth?
So I am frightened, and I am angry. I am also at a loss. What am I supposed to do?
I used to be politically active. In Guildford we had Surrey United Anti-Capitalists, and we campaigned, we marched, protested, leafleted, held meetings, supported strikes, spread education and debate, supported each other to not feel alone in a world that too often feels like it has gone mad.
Now I am living in a little town and I don’t know what to do. I feel strangely isolated, and it’s been so long that I don’t know where to start. There are definitely active, conscious people working for change in Derby. I have spent time with some of them and they’re brilliant. It’s my own laziness that has stopped me getting more involved, as well as focussing on my mental health stuff. But I can’t have a ‘life worth living’ (as DBT states its goal) without fighting to create a world worth living in. So enough of feeling afraid and disempowered. Things may be going to shit, but that just means it’s time to start building. The new world will stand in the shell of the old.