There’s a Disaster Manifesto meme going around – how would I save the world from Blood Flu? To be honest, even if I did have the authority to force communities to organise together, they’d only be torn apart by arrogant, paranoid self-promoters, terrified of losing face by deferring to others but equally reluctant to take any actual responsibility for anything. They prefer to repeat that the police will take care of us, the supermarkets will feed us, the authorities have it all under control. Well, the authorities certainly have it under control in Australia, and just ask my friend Elaine how well that’s turned out. And things have actually got better for ordinary people in most of the Chinese provinces where the government’s lost control. And the US West Coast is so well under control we can’t even get figures on the numbers dead.
The Community Disaster Response Collective is finished. We (well, I) got into a bit of an altercation with the Neighbourhood Watch committee, who felt they should have been put in charge from the beginning. They’ve decided we’re treading on their toes, and they’ll deal with issues of security should the need arise, and threatened to report us under the Terror and Radicalism Act. Sarah was all for defying them, but I gave in and dissolved the group. Those poor kids spending three years in jail for occupying a Tesco Metro could tell you why. Jane Morrison actually called that an armed robbery! Robbery because they distributed a few bags of rice and tinned tomatoes, and armed because they “had metal sticks in their banners”. Even the courts didn’t go so far as to try and stick armed robbery on them – they didn’t hurt or threaten anybody, so they did them under ‘Conspiracy of Silence’ when those arrested refused to identify those who got away. I’m still haunted by that CCTV footage – some of the ones being battered, tasered and dragged from that shop were younger than Sarah.
Sarah finally forgave my reluctance when I reminded her that I was at the “Storm in a Kettle” in ’15, protesting the passing of the bill that led to the TRA. I have good reasons for not wanting to get on the wrong side of that act. She doesn’t really remember the aftermath of that day – two police dead, and 54 protesters, and many more still in jail despite the lack of evidence. I didn’t really want to bring it up again – it’s not a day I like to remember – but these things must be remembered, I suppose. She dredged up a recollection of Sue worrying because I hadn’t come home, and of being told I’d been in an accident, and not to jump on me when I came in. She’s angry, now, that we lied to her. I said, “You were only six, what were we supposed to tell you?” She said we should have told her the truth, and if she didn’t understand then she would have understood later. I see a lot of my parents in Sarah, and I’m not sure whether it makes me happy or terrified.
Anyhow, since we’re all too aware of how easy it would be to present the CDRC as a “Group unaffiliated to a registered electoral party, whose aims, actions or literature promote illegal activities or incite public disorder”, we elected to disband. The Neighbourhood Watch say it only worries people to go around asking if they want help. “We take care of our own” is the response – but who are our own? Judy at no. 17 was happy enough to be part of the CDRC when we first called round, but when the Morrisons told her it was radicals and asylum seekers looking for handouts, she came asking for her money back.
It got to the point where there were so few of us that everybody decided to just take their own share of the supplies, and I got left with what nobody else wanted. I tried to give the remaining food to a homeless shelter, but apparently they’re only allowed to accept cash donations, so I’m currently keeping 30 tins of beans and a 10kg bag of pasta in the caravan.
What a pointless waste of time. I think now that what I’d really do if I had the power – if I didn’t have to answer to anybody, or worry about keeping my job – I’d get my family the hell away from here and set up in a small-holding, taking care of ourselves as far away from anybody else as possible.