They would have never believed how things were about to change. Democracy seemed such a stable feature of the western world. I guess that’s just what happens when you get used to things.
What do you say? Why didn’t we do anything about it? You really don’t have a clue, do you?
I’ll have to go back to the nineties, before your were born. Progress seemed unstoppable. No more communism, no more nuclear risk, just trade, business and money. There were a few people who didn’t agree. Mostly old nostalgic leading a bunch of wannabe rebels with nothing better to do than trashing some windows in Seattle. Couldn’t they see that globalisation was for the poor?
Anyways, the combo dot-com 9/11 was the first big shake. The moment the rope we were all climbing with start cracking. We would only notice some years later.
The majority of us shrugged it off pretty fast. Times were good and loans were easy. Then 2008, another crash. This time the rope snapped, those behind were left back. No chance to catch up. No summit for them, not in this life.
What happened next is more complicated. I remember being in New York, how it all felt so great. I cursed myself for missing that train: “the best time to be alive”, someone said. It was a tale of two worlds. On one side unemployment, frustration, rage. On the other you couldn’t go to a fucking meetup without getting at lest three offers, two for jobs and one for an investment. “In case you start a company, you never know”. Euphoria and despair.
Then despair won. What do you expect when the majority of people feels neglected, derided, scared? What do you think they will vote? And yet again, we didn’t notice at first. Elections over we all turned back to our jobs, we had stuff to do, we were too busy to pay attention.
I guess London was the first spark. They had started deporting people, literally. Even if you were married to a local it didn’t matter. “No job, no stay” was their slogan, or some idiocy like that. The first big manifestation was huge. Londoners walking as one, protesting against a UK government they didn’t recognise. I swear to God somebody said there were even some Russians in the crowd, the fear of losing their townhouse stronger than allegiance to the political line back home.
It just didn’t matter. We were all upset, indignation was the big word, what a loser choice. Nothing mattered, not the headlines, not the strikes, not the protests from every single business unable to hire the talent they needed, or to retain the one they had. The economy kept spiralling down but they just didn’t care. They were accusing us of boycotting the national economy. Treason toward the fatherland. The economy security act won by a landslide at the referendum.
People in tech were the first to do something. Imagine going to work every day knowing that everything you do ends up against everything you believe in. Some started to quit already back in 2016. At first it was only a few, easily replaced. With fewer jobs around, finding an engineer that didn’t care wasn’t so difficult.
They called themselves “the resistance”. Weird things started happening. A few accounts disappeared. Puff, vanished, just like that. There were protests, people wanted to see some heads rolling. Nationalisation wasn’t a taboo word anymore. The big 5 went out publicly to confirm their pledge to neutrality. And yet the sabotages became more frequent.
The day the network went down will be remembered for long time. A new Bastille, some said. Except it was the opposite. Something did remind of France though, for a moment it seemed they would cut that boy’s head. The police came storming, two hundred were arrested, fifty went straight to death row. The toy was broken and there was nowhere to hide.
It is probably then that we started changing our mind. There was no hope in elections. They were just too many, just too angry. But we owned everything. We owned the banks, we owned the tech, the owned the culture. We owned the cities for Christ’s sake.
The army you say? Oh, come on.. They have always been where the power is. And what could they do anyway? Their drones, their intelligence, their satellites. It’s all software. We owned the whole goddam software and yet there we were, subjugated by our own government, a government we didn’t want, which didn’t understand us, which was trying to take it all away from us. Should we have let that happen?
If democracy was the price to pay, so be it.
It was a nasty business. Our great “liberation war”. I hate the name too. But a war nevertheless. You couldn’t believe the riots, the looting, the unimaginable violence. The curfew was established in December. Martial law on Boxing day. I don’t think the world had seen a bloodiest Christmas. Even during WWI they had stopped to play football. But we had no time for football. Revenge what was we had time for.
Why are looking at me like that. What do you want from me? What would you have done?
You should thank me. We did’t all for you.