In this episode of Living the Dream Jon (@jonpiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) talk about the weird as hell political environment of the Age of Trump. Was 2016 the worst year ever? Are we caught in the midst of a rising reactionary wave? And why do the failures of the liberal establishment feel to so many people to be failures of the Left? (And what is the Left? Are we the Left?) What’s with the amateur sociology about voting demographics that is everywhere now? Do we really have to choose between identity politics and Left economic populism? Where can we draw hope from and what about the historical experience of working class anti-racism? All this and more!
Recently I posed twelve questions to help myself understand the events of recent weeks and help think through what has happened and where we are all going. This is my first attempt to answer them. I doubt I will answer – in writing – all twelve.
The answers I provide are necessarily subjective and partial. I only attended the vigil twice. I welcome disagreement and corrections. However I think that subjective and qualitative reflections on collective experience are a vital part of how we understand them.
I think there were three separate elements: the decision by staff at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital to not discharge Asha on the basis that Nauru didn’t qualify as somewhere safe to return to; the vigil which became a blockade of sorts faced with the possibility of Border Force taking Asha; and the wave of symbolic actions and stunts where people proclaimed #LetTheStay with the aim of generating and circulating imagery in the media (social and otherwise).
The latest news I have heard (so it might not be true) is that Asha and both her parents are now in transitory accommodation whilst community detention is being organised. The government has also made an undertaking that for at least the next month it will provide 72 hours’ notice to lawyers before any of the 267 are deported. St John’s Cathedral is shoring up its commitment to providing sanctuary with Love Finds A Way providing non-violent direct action training on Wednesday 2nd March from 7pm-10pm at the Cathedral.
The decision by the Lady Cilentro Children’s Hospital to not discharge the infant Nepalese refugee Asha back to Nauru and the emergence of a vigil in solidarity was an important and inspiring event. The experience of it was radically different from the protest-politics-as-usual that typify the activist repertoire in Brisbane. Now that Asha has been discharged into community detention, and is facing a very uncertain and probably deeply unpleasant future, there is a desire to make sense of what has happened, what is going on and what does it mean?