The unbearable sadness of being (an activist)

I wrote a Facebook status about this, but I wanted to say more but couldn’t really in the context of a…status.

I’m not going to pretend I’m a hardcore activist, that I’ve been to all the rallies or spend all my time organising. But I consider myself someone who cares about the world and what happens in it, and that I want to change the things that happen to negatively affect our lives.

Which is why, in the aftermath of any action like the strikes, I feel so down – when reading the comments from people who mock or criticise or condemn us when we just want to make the world better.

I can understand why people would be upset by being yelled at, or being blocked at a picket line. That isn’t what makes me sad.

It is how, after putting our bodies on the line, coming face to face with violence, being spit on by the media, fighting against people and corporations with billions of dollars, taking action, organising with others, showing solidarity with others, defending each other, there are still people who will do anything to put us down.

People who are either ‘denialist’, and just deny that we could ever be the victim or be fighting for something moral, or ‘victim blamers’, and just say what happens to us is our own fault. People who see a cop choking someone, and side with the cop, because the activist must have been up to no good. People who comment, incessantly, about the moral righteousness of not being an activist, and not taking action, and not creating change, and not doing anything.

This isn’t about critical analysis or theory on police violence, although that helps. It’s just how no one cares about anyone, and how empathy is dead. There is a feeling of positivity when you are with other activists, who are there for you and you can rely on, but once you are alone, and confronted with such intense negativity, it’s depressing to see that there are people who just don’t care about your wellbeing, or anyones wellbeing, that seeing people hurt or traumatised or shaken means NOTHING, because all they can see is a confirmation of their own self-righteousness.

Like, seeing students like Alex Dore disregarding the wellbeing of his fellow students because it is politically savvy, and showing nothing but callousness towards them, is not infuriating anymore, it’s just sad, that this is where society has taken us.

It makes it so crystal clear, and so stupidly blatant, that when the police kill someone, or torture them, or harass them, or bully them, or humiliate them, that what they do is excused, because no one is watched them, except the people who support them and the people who are hurt by them, and no one listens to the victim anymore.

It may sound stupid, but I used to believe that things like ‘fair go’, ‘mateship’, ‘larrikinism’, etc. were real things, albeit with less stupid names, hidden underneath Australian society. But it’s all false, and that’s what really sucks so much, from a personal perspective. As someone who’s been harassed for who they are, and who’s family has been harassed for who they are, there’s no hope when you’re surrounded by a country of people who just don’t care about anyone but themselves.

Can you just go away? Like, this is exactly the problem. I’m not saying anything about the morality of the strikes, or of calling people scabs, or anything. I’m just lamenting the fact that police violence happens and no one cares. And then you come along and prove just that. You weren’t even at the picket lines. You don’t even know what happened. All you are doing is trying to make a political point against activists, because that’s probably what your focus groups and internal polling told you to do. The people above, and the people at the protests, are people who actually care about the wellbeing of their fellow students, and are not so callous as to just disregard them because its politically savvy to do so. It’s actually despicable. It just excuses the police for all the harm they’ve done, from all the deaths in custody and beatings and shootings and corruption, because we should always blame the victim. Like, it’s just really upsetting, as someone who has – and who’s family has – been harassed for who they are, and for what they do and believe, that there are so many people in what should be such a politically enlightened country, who just don’t give a shit about what happens to anyone but themselves.


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