An anonymous academic borrows my blog post to describe how LOCK-DOWN is playing out for them.
So what can I say?
I have a salary, access to plenty of shops, my health, a garden and a family (with all of whom I get on). Sure I have to do a Zoom meeting now and again, do other worky stuff, and generally stay on top of things. The kids are little and there is neither school nor a child minder. The kitchen needs to be cleaned, the bathroom too, and I need to remember where the hoover is.
Difficult it is not; relaxing it (almost) is.
The experience is so different from that of so many that I hesitate to write anything here: I am the definition of privilege.
And yet what’s new? I have been for years, so affluent that I can flaunt socialist leanings, so educated that I can afford (in every sense) to look with more interest than horror on the world as the decline warned against for so long finally kicks in. And wow has it come upon us fast: extreme weather, pandemics, flooding and months-long fires screaming at us ever more loudly that our game is up. This virus no doubt will pass, just as the Australian bush gradually stopped burning (did it?), but they and they rest will be back.
We will survive as a species but as humans we are changing.
Our masks and our socially distancing will be as common place as clothes, and as hugs and handshakes used to be. Will it be worse even than that? Behind its veneer of empathetic bonhomie, privilege is a dangerous enemy, especially when cornered. Is the future also one of gated communities, paramilitary police and selective access to our no-longer-so-natural resources?
It does not have to be.
There might survive through the present times a flicker of a memory of what it is like to live in a fair society. Social democracy got a decent wind after the Second World War because capital power (privilege) feared something worse, true revolution. Might the prospect of dystopian chaos do today what the fear of communism did in the late 1940s: concentrate the minds of the powerful, to concede to survive? We need political leadership though, and who goes into (proper) (ordinary) democratic politics today?
A wandering mind is another creature of privilege, only made possible by the satisfaction of basic needs, and the time quarantine gives to think. Part of me wants to die before the road to the end is where we all have to be. But mainly I want to watch the unravelling and fight as best I can, using what few tools I have, to help restitch the world as the social democratic community that is its only escape to a kind of safe space.
A metropolitan professor