In ancient times, when an earthquake shook our world, we interpreted it as a sign from the gods, as punishment for some wrong. In those times, we believed the world was flat and the sun revolved around it. Our egos put us at the centre of the universe as the pinnacle of God’s creation.
But, over time, scientists questioned this, and, by looking deeply into the nature of things, were able to prove the Earth revolves around the sun, and earthquakes are a result of movements of tectonic plates within the earth’s crust, or volcanic action.
We live in a 24-hour news culture. The algorithms behind our social media and news feeds give us more of what we want, like kids eating McDonalds for every meal. They put us, like our ancestors, at the centre of a universe in which everything revolves around us. This blinds us to the true nature of things, so we are shocked when events take place that do not fit our filtered world view.
So it is with Trumpageddon.
The media demands we consume news each day, tweet and stress about it, but never take action. If we took action, things might change. That could threaten the media itself, so they keep our minds busy, and keep us stupid.
We’re programmed to follow and forget each story as it breaks. Black Lives Matter, but only for a few days. We turn our Facebook profiles tricolore for Paris, but don’t react when brown people are victims of terror. We respond to each news earthquake, never looking below the crust to understand the causes.
It’s my hypothesis that the earthquakes we call Trumpageddon and Brexit are not isolated events, but the consequence of a shifting of tectonic plates that was begun in the 1970s by the deregulation of the banks. But what is deregulation?
Deregulation means letting the banks police themselves.
This caused tectonic plates to start shifting, because up until this period, banks had existed fundamentally to serve the people. They were a place to save money, where you could get credit if you were reliable, and where your money could be invested. But once the banks were allowed to police themselves, their focus shifted from serving the people to making as much money in as short a time as possible, and to hell with the consequences.
Imagine if we applied deregulation to the rule of law. We, the people, would be trusted to police ourselves. We’d abolish the police and courts, and trust people to be good. Can anyone see there might be a problem with that?
Deregulation was sold to the public as getting rid of “red tape” by Reagan and Thatcher. Everyone agrees that’s a good thing, so nobody minded when Clinton and Blair continued the process.
But the “red tape” deregulation got rid of was inconvenient stuff like pensions, worker’s rights, unions, environmental tariffs slowing down global warming and the need for those at the top to pay tax.
Which is why Philip Green, the former owner of BHS, was able to walk away from the company leaving thousands of workers without a pension, and suffer zero punishment. Deregulation also enables him to pay no tax by channelling billions through his wife’s tax-free account in Monaco.
Deregulation led to the 2008 global crash, a seismic, pan-continental earthquake. The banks created a bubble, a false illusion of cash by giving many poor Americans mortgages for homes the banks knew they couldn’t afford. They then bet that these home-owners would not be able to pay their mortgages, and raked in winnings as families were left destitute.
After the crash, we were told we needed to tighten our belts and that we were all in this together. But the banks and the financial elite continue to get richer, yet for ordinary people pay has been frozen for 8 years, while the cost of living has gone up. How have the banks been able to continue to get away with this?
It’s a Wall Street government.
When Obama won the election in 2008, he said he would take on the financial sector so never again could the economy be threatened in this way. What he actually did was appoint as his financial advisory team the very people who caused the crash.
To distract us from this daylight robbery the politicians and media turned the public’s attention towards terrorism, Islamophobia, and anti-immigration sentiment.
They convinced the public the sun revolves around the earth, when the true nature of things is the reverse.
This enabled the establishment to carry on as they were. But after 8 years of tightening our belts, people have had enough. And guess what?
The establishment did such a good job distracting us we’re not going after the banks, government or ruling elite. Instead, the racist, divisive, Islamophobic hatred they utilised to maintain power has been taken to heart, and is causing results which don’t suit them at all.
So when Trump came in on an anti-immigration ticket, promising to build a wall, millions of Americans lapped it up. When Brexit campaigners promised to spend £200m/day on our NHS they won because Brits believe problems are down to foreigners, not policy.
Tectonic plates are rubbing together and have caused the earthquakes of Brexit and Trumpaggedon.
The question is: are we going to react like our ancestors, with fear and dismay, or are we going to ask questions, develop our understanding, and take action to build a better future?
What can you do
Learn: Watch films, read.
Act: Sign online petitions. Takes a few seconds.
Email your MP/ senator about issues that concern you. A few minutes.
Go on marches.
Find political parties whose values match yours and get involved. If there isn’t one, start your own- look at Momentum.
13th: Netflix documentary exploring how slavery has been replaced by privatised prisons
Inside Job: Matt Damon documentary about the causes of the 2008 crash
I, Daniel Blake: Movie about the inhumane impact of cuts, currently showing in cinemas