teisipäev, oktoober 15, 2013

solidaarsus puudub

Solidarność was the message of the red letters scrawled across the pin pinned against my chest in college by a Polish girl with a Bible-thick collection of indie rock band compact discs. I had never given much thought to Gdańsk trade unionists, but I had already been marked as one of them. These days you never hear the term, either in Polish or English, and if you do hear it in Estonian, solidaarsus, it sounds hollow, because anything tangentially connected to altruistic impulses was thoroughly discredited by the Fall of the Soviet Union. But the hyper-individualistic "investors' state" of tech-savvy marketing and start-up worship that was grafted onto the bones of the ESSR is still heavy on the skin and light on the meat. We are told that it is natural and Estonian to derive sinister pleasure from the failures of one's neighbor, and if he should succeed, we are told that it is natural and Estonian to envy him, and to surpass him, if only to delight in his come down.

It eats away from the inside, turns the warmhearted cold. While no narcissistic writer could be expected to produce white papers of concise, pithy, logical thought and policy suggestions, we might expect a sort of temperature-reading of the national mood. The thatcherite-reaganite posturings of the middle aged have acquired a musty, dangerous smell. They sit lit up under fresh slogans like week-old tuna fish sandwiches beneath electric lights on ferry cafeteria shelves. The cheesy populism of the Edgar-led side moves clumsily, like an unfrozen woolly mammoth feeling its way across the ice for the first time in ages, accompanied by an orchestra of younger people's derision and snark. Political life sleepwalks through elections and, "Did you hear what he said? Did you see what she did?" Every somnolent step is one closer to no holds barred parody.

In the freshly assembled honeycomb bee-colony towers of the northern cities, the young man is tossing screens back and forth with his thumbs and deciding on the cultural origins of the night's savory meal. Japanese, Hungarian, Azerbaijani? Fling! He flings a screen aside and Skype chats with his friends and then his phone buzzes and his doorbell buzzes, too. He must now decide on a vacation destination for the coming dreary doldrums. Lanzarote? Limassol? 

In the towns along the less traveled highways of the south, the red paint is peeling, the window glass broken, the ancient curtains dance within the cracks. An old man sits on a crumbling cement stoop, helping himself to his morning juice. Bear Beer, black label, 7 percent alcohol, 2 liter bottle. He undoes the cap, places the plastic to his dry-skinned lips. The wind picks up some more and the curtains dance, just like the ghosts do, all across the parish.

64 kommentaari:

LPR ütles ...

Love it! :-)

Marko ütles ...

Very true, unfortunately. It's a hard land, and the people are hard too. So, is there something that should be done about it? Not sure.

Anyhow, I read in the papers the other day that you've moved back to the States for good. Hope it will work out for you over there. Are you still gonna continue with this blog? Or

Comrade Dos ütles ...

Don't believe anything you read in the papers, especially the paper that begins with the letter Õ.

Marko ütles ...

Oh, glad to hear that. I always had this idea of Americans that they never quit. Quitting could also be extended as a form of an insult to the Americans, could it not? Nice to hear we don't need to sink to that level, lol.

Don't let the bastards win!

:)

LPR ütles ...

Marko,

I give you 4 years. Then you'll tap out too and you'll be back.

Wanna bet?

If you lose, donate few quids to animal shelter of your choice. I'll do the same, if I lose.

Good cause.

Cheers.

LPR

Comrade Dos ütles ...

Each time I have moved, someone has asked me, "So, are you here for good?"

Marko ütles ...

Agreed.

Although, I've done the full circle in Britain already. There are things in life you just can't walk away from. Like yourself. At the same time I also follow a principle that when you open the front door in the morning and you don't like what you see - move! The sooner the better. And people shouldn't be judged by doing so. Life's too short.

Then again, we're always allowed to change our minds later. It's a free country, people are free to come and go as they wish. And it's not a bad thing.

Marko ütles ...

They do ask that in Estonia, don't they. In Britain they'll ask you 'so, when do you think you'll be going back'. Lol.

In any culture, as I've experienced, a newcomer has to go an extra mile, and even then they'll snear at you... And its hard to cope with that on emotional level. Very hard.

So whatever Giuostino decides to do, so long he does it for himself and his family, it's a good decision. Let's hope a line of communication remains open.

LPR ütles ...

Odd coincidence that Banksy's works started to appear in NY as soon as Justin made it there ...

Just sayin'

Everybody's trying to solve the mystery right now.

brett ütles ...

have fun back home in the liberal armpit of the US you will fit right in

Marko ütles ...

Since when is US liberal??? To me US is like Poland. Not being nasty here, but US and liberal? Because Obama is trying for a Haigekassa makes it liberal? Lol. Care to elaborate?

Ruben ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Temesta ütles ...

I have always thought about the US as being more conservative and neoliberal than Estonia. This fuss about health care? Unworthy for a modern, developed nation.
And Poland? Poland is socialist compared to the US.

Comrade Dos ütles ...

Smell my liberal armpit.

Troels-Peter ütles ...

On a different note, but given the Janus-faced and turning point-like nature of the blog post, have you noticed that Estonian history is about to surpass itself?

February 24th, 1918 independence was declared, being suspended with the occupation on June 14th, 1940. This means that the first period of freedom lasted 8146 days.

Since independence was reaffirmed on August 20th, 1991, it means that we will reach - and surpass - 8146 days of new freedom on December 8th, 2013.

I wonder what that freedom has held - and will hold in the future, for everyone.

Marko ütles ...

Interesting thought Troels. It really depends on which aspect of daily life you draw your conclusions from. Economically speaking we're a lot more diverse now. At the same time we've got more wealthy individuals now and the ranks of the ones that have not got have risen steadily in numbers over the past couple of decades. Greater economic freedom has brought upon great economic inequality. You should watch couple of episodes of Kodutunne, but be warned - it's not an easy watch.

In terms of individual freedoms again, it depends how you look at it. In terms of freedom of speech or civil liberties we've definitely improved on these. But you also need to consider that in the 1930s we were at the top of the league, now somewhere in the middle. We've become more mediocre on many things.

There's definitely a lot more State around in todays Estonia than back then. And it's stronger and wealthier than ever. It was in the news the other day that two drug traffickers were arrested in Peru and only hours later the Ministry of Foreign Affairs flew people over to assist those girls. At the same time if the mother of these girls would have asked the State for some assistance while these girls were growing up, like installing running water or indoors toilets, the State would have said no. So there's a level of absurdity involved when speaking about State matters.

As for future, who knows. .. I think Estonia is not going to be a Nordic state, not in socio economic terms anyway. There's too much water under the bridge for that to happen. I think Estonia is gonna keep leading the old Eastern block for the next couple of decades yet will be less and less associated with these countries. I think in my life time we will see q true Estonia, one with it's own face and character, coming to existence, but what is she going to look like? My guess is as good as anyone elses.

brett ütles ...

As a point of reference...New York's electors have cast their votes for Democrats in 11 of the the past 14 Presidential elections (twice opting for the Reagan), but since sticking with the more government, more taxation, and less liberty options. Also, NJ and New York Metro Areas are over populated, over taxed, and down right smelly locals in the US.

Is the US liberal? 1/6 citizens now rely on the Federal Taxpayer (Government) to feed themselves, while less than 1/2 of the population plays federal income tax.

LPR ütles ...

Brett, you republican-tea-party numbwit ... chances are good that one day, you too will be one of these people, eating the crumbs from the big boys table ... relying on so called government hand-outs. Government that is owned by the big boys, too keep the likes of you and I alive ...

Watch this, and you get the idea what I am talking about.

http://www.utrend.tv/v/9-out-of-10-americans-are-completely-wrong-about-this-mind-blowing-fact/

brett ütles ...

Yes, I do think that the US taxpayer IS Taxed Enough Already. I do think that a Balanced Budget Amendment is the solution. I do think that a government should pay today's expenditures with today's tax revenue. Not sure why this makes me or anyone a "numbwit"? Maybe it's just how you are programed to respond my the likes of Justin and others who are offended by logical fiscal discussions.

brett ütles ...

LPR...i spend less than I make. In other words, I am responsible and prepared for the future. Some years this is harder and sometimes this easier. My wife's mother and her aunt and her grandmother all have worked hard for themselves and their family, the elder cleaning offices and apartment building, her hands show how hard she has worked. Her aunt working in a factory making zippers, her hands are also strong. Her mother almost never sits down, either cleaning, cooking, canning (jarring), gardening, splitting firewood....I have never seen these women drunk or relying on others for financial assistance. They are not poor...they are smart, proud, determined, strong, unrelenting, and independent. What about their men? One left, two passed away too young, and the other drank till his liver away.

They don't need and don't want your idea of what is "equal", "ideal", "fair". They just want everyone else to work as they should, hard and for themselves. They understand the benefit of this as do most hard workers. Both in Estonia and the US.

Finally, maybe LPR can explain how wealth has become a finite commodity? How those living and working and earning are making others poor? Wealth is something that is created and earned not something to distribute arbitrarily.

But then again this doesn't fit the narrative of those who believe government and smart people are able to determine and hand out "fairness"...."ideally". Note: See Justin's next post, even he doesn't think the government is run by those capable of much...

Comrade Dos ütles ...

It's not the government, Brett. It's the social mood. It is the inverse of the Singing Revolution.

Comrade Dos ütles ...

If somebody wants to defeat Savisaar in Tallinn, she or he'll have to learn from him and study how he wins. The challenger will have to do Savisaar better than Savisaar. Flagellating oneself to prove ones conservative or neo-liberal principles and then crying about the Kremlin-paid media and those pesky Russophones in Lasnamäe is political suicide. Parties that do that have lost and will lose over and over and over again.

LPR ütles ...

What makes you and low class, poor republicans numbwits is the apparent ignorance how the people who you are supporting are fleecing you and depriving you of better quality of life.

And I am sure you are at a loss of finding any examples of it, and so you carry on ...

marching to the tune of your exploiters.


There's a saying in estonian: "Kiida lolli, loll rabeleb veelgi rohkem." :-)

Marko ütles ...

Kross didn't win, because there was nothing in his program to attract the Russian speaking working classes. You could also say that he didnt want to win by ignoring the majority in his constituency. Or maybe he's just a bit simple in the head?

Savisaar keeps to amaze me though. For example his party supports openly gay marriage, yet the people who vote for him are the most homophobic in this country, if you look at the relevant studies. I mean, how the hell does he do it?! ?!

Poverty in Estonia is here to stay and there's not much we can do about it. I've met young people in their 20 and 30s and when speaking about homelessness and how hard the winter will be for them and that many are gonna die and these young people just laughed. They will never vote for solidarity. And that's the sad reality of things. The way I see it - Estonian politics do reflect the Estonian people. We might not like that reflection in the mirror of ourselves, but it's the truth.

LPR ütles ...

Savisaar oskab lolle kiita. ;-)

brett ütles ...

LPR can you give me an example of how I am being fleeced beyond having to pay taxes in Estonia and then having to report and pay on my world wide income in the US?

But seriously, how is any fiscal conservative who stands unrelentingly against the panderers in DC fleecing me of anything but my earned income. If there was a positive return on my (our) share, I would maybe value the system to a greater degree. But go to the Lower East Side of New York City check out the "Projects" sorta reminds me of parts of Lasnamäe. These guys vote one way...they have been programed, conditioned and their hope has been fleeced by who they rally behind.

I rally behind, no one but myself and my family and some friends. But i do rally behind an idea that great freedoms require greater responsibilities...it's really that simple.

I don't see the world as a list of "social problems" that need to be addressed through "solidarity" or some other grand idea. Life really isn't that complicated. I see the world in the reflection of how my wife's family works at the summer home. Everyone works hard, they do this because we support each other and to feed each other. If our cousin, doesn't show up to help with the firewood...he gets no firewood (same with me). This negative incentive or positive incentive depending on how you look at it, is what should drive the world, but it doesn't...why?

LPR ütles ...

A good example would be these poor chaps in Appalachia who vote republicans who in turn carry water for the coal industry which is the very reason the appalachians are sick and dying because their ground water is polluted by that industry.

Maybe it is Darwinism. They just need to vote themselves out of existence.

As for the projects, if you educate these people, instead of pushing them down, these eyesores will eventually gentrify. Much like Switzerland or Nothren Italy - very, very conservative places, yet no one is being exploited by neo-con feudalistic way, like here in the US.

If the lack of money is the problem (I assume this is your objection), then lets get the refund from the republicans for the two un-necessary and costly wars they started and we have it all paid for. You get my drift.

Maybe not. Probably not.

LPR ütles ...

Another example is republican support for GMOs in food. As if republicans rely privately on clean healthy food supply chain that is protected. If they dont have it, then it is simply suicidal. Like polluting ground water by fracking or mountain top mining.

Any way for cut it, republicans do the bidding of Al Qaeda to bring America down.
Remember, they were the force behind the drive to restrict banking regulations that eventually brought down the entire financial system.

I find the republicans either plain stupid, or evil if they know precisely what the end result of their actions is and push forward anyway.

Marko ütles ...

They're just selfish. That's all there is do it. By the way, LPR, don't Estonian Americans vote republican? And in return some of the policy making is influenced in the 'old country'. Have I got it right? And that's probably why Bretts family still chops their own firewood rather than concentrating on making money and buying that firewood, that's cheap as chips anyway. But no, 'the noble peasant' way is the way to go, apparently. Lol.

Sometimes I just feel frustrated for the Estonians. Just want to shout ' for fuck sake'! But here we are.

brett ütles ...

Not sure this is needed but for those who need to be informed:

1) Appalachia? In fact, my church back home makes annual trips to help renovate homes and schools. Go to WV and ask them what the Obama Administration means to their livelyhood. Ask them if their well water is contaminated? They would tell you to F off. Ask them what they think about the idea of gun control? For some reason I don't think LPR would make many friends in WV. You think they want to vote for someone who wants to steal and then give to them. Sorry but these guys have a bit more self respect than that. They will eat their deer meat and chop their own fire wood. Life can really be that simple if you forget to compare yourselves against those who think they have it all figured out.

2) I have substitute taught in the inner city in Richmond Va. On my very girst day (the day after Christmas break), we learned of a student who had died in a drive by shooting. I was stunned, the students did not think too much of it. It was the 3rd of the year. It was their life. It took 30 minutes from when school started to when the first class started, all the students had to go through security. I asked my first class how many of them lived with both their parents, 1 raised her hand. Sure we can educate them but fixing the problem is a bit more complicated than saying we need better schools. I once asked the students to write in their journals. It was the 9th grade and about hal of them were literate. Social promotion is probably he worst aspect of most failing school systems. I took their journals and marked up their errors. They complained their teacher never did this. How on earth does this teacher still have a job? I will guess she is protected by her Public Sector Employee Union. This is why I and many others see the value in charter schools, which block teacher unions and demand merit based routing.



brett ütles ...

3) It's not about the lack of money. The US is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Heck we spend more per student then any other country and you see the results we get. We also spend more on the military, much more.

This is why I argue for a balanced budget amendment and holding or elected officials accountable for how they allocate resources. The Federal Budget process is a joke. If they don't balance the damn thing, how can we grade them? How then are they forced to do their jobs and make the tough choices?

Think about this...If Bush (W) had to balance a budget don't you think that he would have brought the Treasury Secretary into the decision making process when evaluating how to precede in Iraq and Afghanistan? The debt is a bipartisan problem, made worse by how the entirety of Washington functions. Don't you think the CBO estimates would match reality a bit more often if they would actually need to be trusted by the elected officials. Can you name me one trade off Washington has made to pay for a new program. OK They cut Medicare to fund Pelosi Reid Care...does this even count?

brett ütles ...

4) I believe we could cut the FDA and EPA by 80% and still be just fine. The courts if operated effectively would put the bad apples out of business. Or the market will respond by moving the healthier options. Your top down approach forgets the fact that the FDA and the EPA once didn't exist.

brett ütles ...

5) what brought down the market? Subprime Mortgages and bad oversight of the valuation of these mortgages. I guess you can make this a partisan attack but in fact the bubble was supported and championed by both sides. Your true colors are showing on this talking point.

brett ütles ...

6). That's right the US is doing the bidding of Al Qaeda. Maybe it's time to put down the noble peace pipe, but I think it's the Obama Admin that is starting to negotiate with Al Qaeda as they retreat. And as I recall girls can still go to school in the US, they can still talk to people of the opposite sex without fear, and they can still worship as they see fit in the US.

LPR nice try....

brett ütles ...

"Stupid" , "Evil", "Selfish"....you guys are good!

And for the record we cut firewood and don't waste because we are able and willing and we decide to take care of ourselves first. We don't need to demand anything more. We are not greedy. We do not need assistance, we have each other. We don't need to be beholden to a political party to proceed. We are independent. We are free from reliance, beyond each other. We spend less than we make and when we don't? We have prepared for that. Despite what you want to propagate.

Marko ütles ...

Oh, wow, I'm overwhelmed! Brett, being self reliant is a good thing. Being forced to go through the bins for your tea, not so.

My nan used to do 14 hour shifts at the peat bog near Pärnu, just after the war. She was paid just enough to feed herself only. She never complained. She said it was fun, there were lots of young people around and it was just how she thought things were supposed to be. Stalin was running this country back then. She was rushed to a hospital couple of weeks ago with her heart condition. She never complained about anything, but the way she was treated in the hospital. She felt her dignity was compromised. And that's very important to Estonians. Very important. To the extent you couldn't put a price tag on it.

So if your family keeps their dignity bygoing full monty on self reliance thingy, I do understand. But to say that this is how things are supposed to be, or even claiming that this is the natural order of things. Then, I'm sorry, there's not much to discuss further.

LPR ütles ...

Oh, Brett ... and this is why the USA stays in a permanent shutdown.

There simply is no talking to the likes of you ... maybe a new civil war is in order?


brett ütles ...

LPR just what would you be fighting for?

Marko ütles ...

I'd actually would be interested in knowing too. Go on, LPR, what do you really stand for? Bretts easy, but you come across as someone quite difficult to read. Enlighten us, please, if you don't mind. :)

LPR ütles ...

Hard to read? Well, well, well ... OK. Blue and red America. The polarization between of left and right. Republicans fighting for new feudalism and democrats hoping to free the individuals from the tyranny of the few. The so called one percent.

What I do I stand for? A basic human rights to live free ...

since every man has his own version of what freedom means ... then ... well, I stand for myself and only for myself.

I cannot predict what your or his or her freedom means.

Just don't f with my freedom and that is good enough for me.





Marko ütles ...

Lol. No solidarity, then. Not so different from Brett it seems. Nevermind. Vaba maa ...

LPR ütles ...

Just for the record, I am not a member of any order, party, school, trend, union, movement, church, congregation, cult or fad. Too jaded for the enthusiam all these outfits would require one way or the other.

I just worry that the people around me are going to F up my environment to the point that it becomes uninhabitable.

Then they'd b making it personal for me and I'd do somethign radical about it.

Probably just leave as the alternatives would require sacrifice ... which would be fine, except it would go un-appreciated and probably even un-noticed.

That is why all wars are meaningless to the core. All wars, jihads and revolutions or what not.

Though it looks right now, as if something is brewing and coming closer to the boil. The disenfranchised masses are getting increasingly restless.

The rich on the top of the pile seem to not to care and we have seen what that brings along eventually. Empires have crashed and persished when upper classes become decadent to the point that they destroy themselves ...

That is why I asked, is there a war in order? Again?

I guess I will be right sooner or later.

Except, I won't participate. To vain, too jaded, too tired of it.

LPR ütles ...

Exactly! No solidarity. Justin got it right.

LPR ütles ...


War requires a common enemy.

War requires solidarity to fight that common enemy.

If the enemy is the truth, and truth is what is within, then it is hard to fight for anything.

We are all fucked.

They call Edward Snowded a traitor, for example. A traitor by defintion is someone who aids the enemy.

In this case he has not aided any other government or organization. He has only aided the truth.

If truth is the enemy, we are all fucked.

But I already said that.

And as it turns out, I do not make myself very clear. Oh well, ... so I just shut up and go back under my rock.

F the World!

Marko ütles ...

True about the upper classes, if you think of the Romans or Poles prior to partition or Germans before the WW1, but not true with regards to the British or the Danes. You see, if we would all pull towards the same direction we'd be alright. So long the me-me -me attitude prevails, the future remains uncertain.

Marko ütles ...

It's selfishness and ignorance we need to take the stand against. Not a particular class or idea or world view.

LPR ütles ...

I see. I am decadent and selfish to the max ... without even being a member of the upper class.

I can only imagine what level of selfishness is going on behind the walled compounds ...

I hate socialism and underclasses just like Brett does ...

Truth is, I think I have more common with that a-hole than with you, Marko ...

I am an a-hole too.

I understand republicans. I am a closet nazi too.

LPR ütles ...

The problem I have with them is that republicans have hijacked and perverted the very idea of conservatism ...

LPR ütles ...

As much as I would like to align myself with them, they make me puke ...

Marko ütles ...

There we go. I used to have this skinhead friend in Britain, which was fun to begin with, interesting half way through, but pretty vile by the end of it. The truth is, he was just a simple guy like myself. He came to accept me the way I was and i took him as he was. He became a good friend of my partner too. In fact I think in the end that was something that really helped him to cope with his own 'condition'. You neef to include people if you want anything to change. You need to make allowances and you need to accept. It wasn't easy for me to walk with him down the street and every time q woman wearing a burka walking by, him making a loud 'ninja' joke, at the same time we going in to working mans pub and someone over there making a gay comment. We battled it out, together. But you have to make this initial compromise in order to gain some long term benefit and maybe in process change the world in a tiny way. Do you know what I mean?

Marko ütles ...

In case of Estonia, a conservative value is a liberal one. Our constitution was founded on the most liberal ones of the time. To stand up for these, is to stand up for your country. That's how simple it is.

LPR ütles ...

Skinheads. Hah hah hah. Theyd love to hear from me that they look so gay ... Hah hah.

I make no friends nowhere. Never mind Appalachia.


LOL

I am an equal opportunity offender.

Marko ütles ...

Oh, did tap on something there? Lol. The thing is, that as opposed to some people I'm willing to battle my stuff through, but are you?

Marko ütles ...

Nevermind:) It's a beautiful autumn night, here in Viljandi. I've got the fire on, mulled vine is in the hob and LPR is choking on 'liberal pile'. What a night. :)

LPR ütles ...

I just had an entire bottle of Panilonco Chardonnay Viognier from Colchagua Valley, Chile 2012 all by myself while cooking and listening to online lectures that are work related ...

:-)

It was a nice day!

The Sun is about to set in two hours.

LPR ütles ...

Equal opportunity offender. I like it!

No one is excempt. Including myself.

Maybe my parents shook me as a baby, I don't know.

:-)

brett ütles ...

LPR doesn't seem like the kind of guy who anyone would want to rally behind. Maybe he will lead the "charge of the the white flags" campaign.

Marko ütles ...

Lol, Brett, you're alright! :)

Marko ütles ...

Excuse my English though, just had a look at my spelling-oh dear. Nevermind:)

LPR ütles ...

There you go, "solidaarsus ei puudu" ... ;-)

LPR ütles ...

Brett, my friend ...

This here is written just for you:

http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/10/this-isnt-capitalism-its-growthism-and-its-bad-for-us/

brett ütles ...

LPR, ok nice thought provoking link. My summary: Capitalism is the root of all evil...Oh wait that's been over played...It's "growthism" the masquerading offspring of that evil idea of capitalism and those damn smart phones that is ruining the eyesight and the retained knowledge of an entire generation. blah blah blah... He also forgot to mention all the Socialism(like) programs that are failing or have already failed that are funded by the US taxpayer. blah blah blah...But he ended where he should have started...

"Maybe it’s time for each of us to take a deep breath, tell growthism to shove it, and chart our own new course."

What exactly is that new course? LPR any ideas?

I have argued for a smarter, leaner, and more transparent representation at the Federal level with a Balanced Budget Amendment and flat taxes on 99.9999% of all US citizens. This would cut out waste and demand accountability of the decision makers by the electorate. We will always have a mix of socialism and capitalism. The absolute of either sucks up ambition of creates a dog eat dog environment. So let's not create new names to define the problem, lets argue for radical change and stop beating the drum of whatever this guy wants to call 'growthism'...Let's define the solution and champion that!!!

Robertus Sutardi ütles ...

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