Clap for the MMT

  Alistair Gentry  
  London, UK  

 , June 2020 

Clap for the MMT / June 2020 / CHK design

Confirmed that global pandemics are shit, in case anybody was in doubt about that. But in some ways it feels really fortuitous to be living ( / still alive) in a time when things that were widely deemed impossible and absurd have been so rapidly adopted as common sense. Mere months ago Jeremy Corbyn was ridiculed by the media for suggesting free high speed internet nationally, now suddenly any schoolkid who needs it for their schooling will get it. Bang – that's not just socialism, it's Marxism, kids. From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.

The Tories have spent every minute they've been in office methodically sawing a circular hole underneath the NHS like in a cartoon, with Richard Branson and a bunch of similar cruise ship magician-looking privateering motherfuckers lurking down there to snaffle up the smashed pieces that result from it crashing through into the cellar. The NHS still hasn't got the £350million a week promised via a lie on the side of a bus, but now NHS workers are patriotic heroes of the people. Even the brown ones! Voluntary weekly outdoor applause session is mandatory, patriotic citizen. Oh by the way, have as many nurses, doctors and police officers as you like, we were just teasing with all that stuff about not being able to afford them.

It also looks like the savings made by the Department of Work and Pensions knowingly bringing about the premature deaths of 150,000 elderly, ill and disabled people are going to be an utter waste of Iain Duncan Smith's evil because there's been a late discovery of the magic money tree that Theresa May couldn't find before.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: all money is imaginary now. There can be any amount of it that we want there to be. Or at least for now, there can be as much of it as the people we elect direct their central banks to mouse click into existence. That's what fiat currency means, currency not tied to a commodity and with no intrinsic value; only the value we collectively ascribe to it. Fiat means “let it be done.” So let's let it. First step is to quit electing and empowering clowns whose main trait is fucking around– in every sense of that phrase– because when you do that you shouldn't be surprised when you get a fucking circus, or a circus of fucking.

Fortunately for us, even those clowns and their gormless supporters are going to find it very hard to stuff the lessons being learned from near-universal daily experience right now back into their stupid little clown car. Lesson one: governments and their arm's length instruments can mysteriously find the money for things they said they couldn't, because they're doing it blatantly right in front of us every day now.

An example of this that might interest the artistic reader is Arts Council England's quasi-communistic U-turn on what they previously referred to publicly and derisively as “salami-slicing”, i.e. dividing public funding up equally to everyone qualified rather than fostering a winner takes all and the devil take the hindmost approach to funding. Mind you, as is often the case with ostensible generosity in the arts, doing the maths on their “emergency support” for individuals of up to £2500 (with an extra £500 if you need disabled access assistance so be a pal and don't be too disabled, OK?) still only yields a heavily curated unaccountable payout for several thousand good boys, girls and genderfluid individuals who haven't expired in screaming frustration from trying to use Grantium. This is in a country where, to highlight just two examples, the artist membership organisation a-n has about 18,000 due-paying members and the Equity union has in the region of 44,000 actors, singers, directors, choreographers, set designers and other performing or technical staff on its books. Yes doing something for some people is better than doing nothing for anybody, but we're definitely going to need a bigger salami. The teachable here is that it can be done. If they want to, the Arts Council can fuck off every pending application for a £150,000 juggling and clowning festival in Totnes or whatever and decide to give ten local artists £1,500 instead, just 'coz. They essentially have done this in response to coronavirus, at least to a tentative degree. Baby steps, preferably away from the parent and child bongo workshop.

Other revelations that aren't really revelations include realising that most of us don't need to work as much, or even be at work at all to do most of our work, and we can still be paid the same or nearly the same, because the first prerequisite of having a career and a future again is that you're still around to see it and there's a magic money tree so have free money. That a great many people's supposedly gainful employment is actually so useless that it doesn't really matter, upset anybody or effect anything much when their workplaces shut down. And even if some pricks panic buy toilet paper and flock to the park for tinnies like they're on holiday when everybody else is trying not to make their fellow citizens die even in the face of a government that seems hellbent on killing as many of us as it can without actually having to go to the trouble and expense of lining us all up to be shot... that socialism, solidarity and universally accessible resources are not the Lovecraftian alien horrors our mainstream media have convinced the great hateful British unnecessary that they are, but actually the only things that can bring all of us safely to other side of the 4K Ultra HD slow motion flaming train wreck we're in at the moment.  s

  Alistair Gentry is a writer, artist and performer.
According to a passing stranger who recently shouted out of a car window, he is also a fucking weirdo.
He is based, divides his time and works.

This interview features in the Spring/Summer 2020 edition of the Sluice magazine.

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