A critique on the Fridays for Future demonstrations and a second text titled: More school truancy for an end in itself!
Originally published in Tormenta 1 (PDF zine in German). Translated by Enough 14.
Every Friday for weeks – months now it has been possible to say – people have been taking to the streets to demonstrate against the destruction of the planet on which we live.
This destruction is becoming more and more obvious, in a thousand ways, and we are increasingly experiencing it not only through the media flood, but also through our own bodies. Even if many of us may never have experienced one of the environmental catastrophes that are becoming more frequent as a result of climate change, we are still increasingly aware of weather extremes. And we are also increasingly feeling the effects that life in this world has on our bodies and psyches, in a world that is increasingly grey, stuffy, hectic, purposeful, and alienated by technology, “constraints”, and other people. Life in the cities, where the air is so polluted that it is difficult to breathe and which tortures our senses with their sea of concrete and never-ending noise, is just one example for many of us.
All these are not only questions and conditions of the future, but already of the present. And that’s exactly where I see one of the problems with the substance of the FridaysforFuture demos: By mainly focusing on the future, it’s slightly faded out how shitty everything already is.
Parents and teachers tell us about the future (àla “do your graduation so that you can find a good job in the future”), employers (“the pension”), politicians (“climate goals up to the year 20XX”), priests (“the paradise after death”) and scientists (“the golden future that intelligent technology, nanotechnology and biotechnology will bring us”), in order to make us come to terms with a miserable present.
A present in which we spend days in boring classrooms, in which we obey, leave experiences undiscovered, in which our lives are so desolate and our friendships so superficial that even smartphone seem to be more exciting; in which our planet is destroyed every day, in which every day animal species are extincted, people are starving, forced to flee, die by wars, are locked up… and where the places where we live are already hostile to life and become more hostile to life every day, what we only bear because we are already dulled or flee into artificial, technological illusory worlds (social media, television, Netflix, virtual reality, computer games, etc.).
What is stolen from us by politicians and economists to whom the FridaysForFuture demos address their demands, is above all a self-determined life here and now, because in a world like the one they defend and represent, you can hardly say that we have this life in our own hands.
If you focus on the future, you can perhaps hope that politicians will change something, that the economy will change something, that scientific progress will change something… But at the latest, when we look into the present, we lose all trust in it, because then we realize how unbearable everything is, what they are doing with the world and our lives! And that hoping for them is pointless, since politicians, business and science (Yes also those, Enough 14), who are mainly concerned with the exercise of power and money, will in the future, just like today, if necessary, sell their grandmothers and destroy animals, people and the planet, even if perhaps in a more refined and better camouflaged way…
Then isn’t it time now for us to consider ways in which we can defend ourselves against the destruction they cause on our earth and within ourselves – and in which we do not depend on the insight, the will, of those who gain a financial, power political or strategic benefit from this destruction? So possibilities in which, if we want a change in the future, we do not address ourselves exactly to those who in the present ensure that everything is as it is, but take this change into our own hands?
Not just skip school! Let’s skip the future and the present that others are planning for us and find our own ways to shape our lives and a world worth living in.
More school truancy for an end in itself!
Media, teachers, school directors, parents, politicians… all are discussing the FridaysForFuture demos about whether “these children and youngsters who have good reasons to demonstrate,” are entitled to that during their school days.
Some say yes, it shows how desperate they are about the future of the planet and therefore about their own, if they even endanger their own education and thus their future. The others say no, the reasons are good, but they can also demonstrate for the future in their free time instead of on Friday mornings, if that is so important to them, after all they ruin their own education by doing so and therefore their future.
And yet others suspect at least some of the demonstrating students of simply looking for an excuse not to go to school. Very bad, stupid and irresponsible, because they spoil their own education and future. Right?
To be honest: I cannot stand any of the three positions nor their representatives! Who actually says that we want to learn what some other people have written into a curriculum at some point, or that it is important for us and “our future”? Of course it’s practical to be able to read, write and do a few of the other things you learn in school. Some people might just find one or the other thing interesting. First of all, we could learn different (I personally would have liked to learn it then) than from (mostly) self-righteous and authoritarian teachers, who don’t decide for themselves what they think is important to teach, but only fulfill the regulations of the Ministry of Education. And secondly, at least I forgot most of the things from the later grades after the next exam anyway and never used them again for anything other than school.
The main subject in which we should all be taught there is submission and obedience to others anyway and the lesson that we are not allowed to meet our needs or at least only with special permission (which starts with such basic and banal things as peeing!). These may be important teachings for later life in this world, for the future that they are planning for us… But I can do without these teachings well and gladly on many days for “good” or less good reasons. Because the basic question that nobody has asked us is: Do we want this future planned for us at all? Do we want a future that consists only in receiving and receiving instructions, and in which our only hope, for which we are working hard, is to be as high up as possible in the chain of command?
Which are good reasons for me to stay away from the place of preparation for this sad future, besides, actually has nobody to decide other than myself. And every minute that I don’t spend in the classroom gives me the opportunity to make experiences that can give and “teach” me much more than the lessons during which I always just waited for the bell anyway.
For these and a thousand other good reasons, I am for truancy as an end in itself. And for shitting more often on what those have to say about it who think they can determine what and which future is good for us!
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