Dissociative

Aljubarrota1111.jpg
Padeira de Aljubarrota/Tile (Portugal Independence legend/hero)

“Now you can say that I’ve grown bitter but of this you may be sure
The rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor
And there’s a mighty judgement coming, but I may be wrong
You see, you hear these funny voices
In the Tower of Song.”

#LeonardCohen

There’s a full-fledge war between patronage and workers in Portugal. It has all to do with taxes and minimum wages (which now sit at 557€, even though there was an effort to round it to 600€, which, unfortunately, didn’t happen). Before anyone states the obvious, please let’s take under consideration and in the context of Portuguese economy. Our VAT taxes are high (23% is the regular, 13% the intermediate for food, transport, restaurants  -and not for all products, some are taxed 23%; and finally the reduced tax of 6% for books (even tough music is taxed 23% and you see one industry thriving and the other dying) and first needs and basic produce.) Considering that around 300€ is the average cost of housing in Portugal (bank credit or rental) and summing up other expenses is not hard to see that people are barely making a living down here and are not so well paid as it’s assumed by the majority of bosses down here.

It’s true Portugal shows signs of recovery and prosperity, here and there (and thanks to a different government of the country) but the hard facts is that people make too little in ratio to what they have to spend and to the hours they put in. Productivity is always an issue against working people and for sure we need to do more and better, but it’s hard to invoke this notion when you have shit in your pockets.

Personally I know where I stand in this and it’s in favor of a better redistribution. If that makes me a commie or a liberal, so be it. I also believe in entrepreneurship, tax benefits, investment and profit but under the rule of fairness, of recognising people’s input and above all an intelligent management of expectations. Feeling poor or frustrated about being unable to buy a new phone it’s not the same as BEING poor and roaming the streets for a hot meal. I don’t intend to be innocent here, life takes many turns but let’s, for the sake of argument, assume that the choices we make are not the only cause to fail and fall in a rotten circle. Empathy and feeling something rather than indoctrinating online is still what separate us from beasts.

This past month, the subject was in the order of the day here in Portugal. The CEO of a bakery chain (#APadariaPortuguesa) had a rant about taxes and the difficulties of employers, raising hell online with his comments about the working market. One of our most famous, independent columnists (#DanielOliveira #Expresso) put it  bluntly when he said that the worst about this was that the antenna time given to this CEO, that he used simply to discuss his personal case, without any view or care about the big picture that I tried to outline  in the first paragraph.

The fact is that his company had a 10 million revenue and is reputed for hard working conditions, for disputing extra hours, and a few other facts still unchecked. The thing here, trying as best as I possible can to overlook profit and the greed for more flexibilization (to be read the lessening of workers’ rights), is that he wants more. And maybe that greed, not uncommon in businessman in Portugal, is back firing with many people threatening to boycott his chain in favor of a more traditional bakery, fortunately still around in every corner of our beautiful country.

This centralisation on ourselves, in our story to serve as an example of something is one of the biggest obstacles to fair communication these days. There’s a live recording of a stand up comedy by #TheMontyPython vs. #Rowan Atkinson (Mr.Bean, Black Adder) where they dispute who’s the poorer. The whole I lived in the shoe thing. Besides the fact that it’s a great piece of comedy, it really sheds light about a true problem. The fact that we are so quick to show around our new car, but when it comes to redistribute our profit, we are poorer than a Franciscan.

The life of real people is different. We might tell our own stories and rebel but we still know, and have to know more than ever, the principles of sharing, of living life to the full without compromising it with credit madness. They say the best things out there are for free and we will know it’s not true. Having a choice comes with a cost and slamming the door behind because the boss was an ass is better said than done; yet be sure that we have more dignity in the sweat of our eyebrows than rich people who play poor to get some (more) have in their business ideas, tricks and self-indulgent ties and jackets.

 

 

Dissociative

9 thoughts on “Dissociative

  1. Boris Sviryukov says:

    >If that makes me a commie or a liberal
    Liberalism is against redistribution and a complete opposite of communism/socialism.
    Stop learning your politics from internet and shitty news outlets.

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    1. Theportuguesewolf says:

      Hello Boris. Thanks for your constructive comment. If you weren’t too busy being an asshole you’d note that especially in the States or in right wing governed countries, there’s a resurgence of anti-left wing positions such as working politics. Also there’s a difference between liberals and liberalists, brother. And these days a liberal is many times taken as a socialist/communist due to a political use of the term, especially in US politics. A liberal is an open mind, unorthodox thinker that considers his options, instead of following the rules of a optical tendency or party. Thus the existam of many independent/liberal runners for office in many countries, many not on yours…So next time you come and accuse someone of being ignorant, come prepared. Have fun with your non-online, learned, best sources politics and next time try to state more than the obvious and even so you failed in your notions. Peace.

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      1. Boris Sviryukov says:

        Unlike you, I didn’t call you names, so who’s an asshole here?
        I’m perfectly aware of “modern usage” of a word “liberal”, though it doesn’t make it anywhere near correct. In modern political climate, where people just mindlessly throw around words like “liberal”, “socialist”, “commie”, “nazi”, those word lose their meaning and with that people are losing understanding of political ideas and principles, which ultimately harm democracy, since voter lose understanding of what they actually vote for.
        But I won’t go further on the topic, since you’re obviously not interested and too busy being pompous “rockstar” with suprisingly fragile ego.
        Good luck on parroting mainstream media while thinking you’re super inteligent and insightful.
        At least now I’m regretting on missing your concerts in Moscow somewhat less.

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  2. Theportuguesewolf says:

    Totally up to you missing my concerts and congrats of thinking of me so highly as a musician and as a person. You have no fucking idea of how am. I am glad I used the right expression to name you coz you behaved and still behaved as an arrogant ass, incapable of discussing, going for the throat, knee jerk first post. What did you wanted me to do, thank you for calling me an ignorant? Apologising for my views? Let’s for the sake of argument analyse your words and not your stupid stand of who I am. You’re shallow and you’re point of view is weak, banal and you are just here to make you look smarter than me. Are you? It’s like you possess something else than the regular bloggers like me who are dum enough to at least try and expose their views instead of hiding behind our “rockstar” status. My ego is finer than anyone’s else in my position, nobody puts it in check more than me and fortunately there are many people in Moscow who wants to see us and not to outsmart me. So and again don’t leave the door hit your ass on the way and yes (and I am sorry for this recurrent answers so I can clean my blog of these “simple minds”) your assumption is nothing more than the assumption of someone who is not by far ready for any discussion. Have a nice life bro! From your hurt rockstar, farewell.

    Is this what you had to say: “In modern political climate, where people just mindlessly throw around words like “liberal”, “socialist”, “commie”, “nazi”, those word lose their meaning and with that people are losing understanding of political ideas and principles, which ultimately harm democracy, since voter lose understanding of what they actually vote for.”

    I rest my case Boris. Good luck with your deep interventions.

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    1. Boris Sviryukov says:

      Look, man, my first comment probably sounded rude, but meant no insult. I reacted somewhat emotional because this whole “liberalism/socialism” confusion is so omnipresent. It is kinda touchy subject for me – I’m a hardcore liberal who lives in a country that suffered under socialist dictature.
      But I don’t believe I deserved to be called an “asshole” for that, especially from a frontman of one of my favourite bands. That made me punch back in frustration.
      I never claimed I’m a particulary good person. But judging from you reaction – neither is you. Although I think, that being a public person and a well known artist you should always hold to a higher standarts than your opponents. Because people care for what you say. Nobody cares for what I say anyway, since I’m just another nobody form the internet.
      I do think you’re missinformed on politics in certain aspects. I might be wrong, of cource – but that’s what I got from your posts. I don’t think you’re stupid or anything. One can be smart, but get certain things wrong – happens all the time. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s you.
      I don’t think bad of you, really. As I said, Moonspell is one of my favourite bands and was actually one of the 2 bands that introduced me to metal.
      I won’t apologise though, since I don’t think it was solely my fault. And I had experience apologising to people in situations where both sides were wrong, but they never apologised back, which I felt was unfair.
      Don’t know if you decide to stay angry at me or not, but anyway, wish you luck and will be waiting for a new material from Moonspell.
      And by the way, I missed your concert because I didn’t had spare money. So… it kinda hurts when you pick on that.

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      1. Theportuguesewolf says:

        Hello Boris and let’s by civilised then. I start: apologies for offending you. No need for that. I am sorry.

        As far as Politics go, and as long as we’re here, you are entitled to your opinion about my stances, as much as I can take offence from being deemed as ignorant and defend myself. It’s inelegant to brag, but I have been for years reading about politics to try and make sense (or not) about the state of the global word. My sources are much more Voltaire, De Foe, Locke, Kant than online services that I use because one can not argue the critical validity of writers in Politico or Huffington. Also I could argue with you in the exact some terms by asking you what do you mean by being a hardcore liberal in your country, which I believe might be Russia. Correct me if I am mistaken. Are you critical about the laws that hurt the gay community, the women? Or are you a liberal, because you want to get rid of the old logic of Communism which still appeal to so many? See, it’s not the terms that are confusing, it’s that they can actually change within a context and I always take care to explain my context, agree with it or not. There’s this Russian author (Nobel prize) Svetlana Aleksievitch that is really thought-provoking and a must read. Personally, from a distance, I believe Russia is still used as a scapegoat for many things and yes there’s a different measure from the International community when Russia moves or acts politically, when compared to other countries, US, for example. But that’s just the way I see it and as you say all is relative.

        What it’s completely frustrating for me it’s the logic you (not only you, but many “fans”) applied whenever I am hardline about a thing. The logic which I despise is: I write something fans don’t like. They react. I write back. And all of the sudden because many times you are vague and unprepared, you take offence and then it’s me who turn out to be the one setting the standards because I am “public”, then it’s you’re an arrogant asshole, and finally I am cutting down with your band. This is extremely sad but revealing.

        In this world we can live a proactive life and have opinions or decide to be a victim. Many people are too quick in deciding for the later and getting hurt like you did, even tough you mentioned my band immediately to get at me. Personally, Moonspell singer or not, I think that’s not worthy of a true fan so yes I do have my doubts about why people take this road and I can only conclude is lack of argument.

        Having said that I hope this answer sets also an example for whoever want to discuss politics, music, art, etc. with me. Sometimes I will play hard and answer accordingly. I will also not be intimidated if you stop listening to my band. I can share that loss with you but won’t stop writing what I think. This blog is not called the Portuguese sheep but the Portuguese Wolf.

        I need not your apologies, but you can have mine. And next time Moonspell is in Russia, in Moscow you’ll not pay, I’ll put you on out guestlist.

        Peace in the world. FR

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    1. Boris Sviryukov says:

      Thanks for replying, Fernando! I’m really sorry it all happened that way and I apologise for the things I said! I have nothing but love and respect for you, as cheesy as it sounds. You know, even close people sometimes say horrible word in a moments of anger.

      I’m from Russia, yes.
      When I say I’m liberal I mean it in a classical way – I’m a staunch proponent of Liberalism. I support individualism, personal freedom for everyone, limited power of government and free market economy. By “hardcore” I actually mean several things. First – I’m really dedicated to it and I see it not as just political position, but as integral part of my personal worldview and philosophy. Second – it also means I’m “oldschool” and sceptical of more modern individualist/free-market ideas like libertarianism – although most people will probably identify me as a libertarian and if I happened to live in US and participate in last year’s election I would’ve surely vote libertarian candidate Gary Johnson (although I mostly sympathised with democrat-then-independant candidate Jim Webb, but he left the race), still I have a lot of issues with them in theoretical part.
      Yes, it is true that in Russia word “liberal” has it’s own specific meaning, so it does in US. Both are tied to specific historical and political background of our countries. But if I would use this word as it’s used in Russia – people from other countries would not understand me. Now, while we all, at some extent, live in US – simply because this country affects the world so much, I still don’t see the reason of adopting US political slang. We are still not americans, and I don’t think it’s a good idea to judge politics in general through US’s political lense. But there IS a field of political ideas we all share, and both Liberalism and Communism still exist as a pretty well defined polit-economical ideologies. I do not agree that terms change because of different context – not all of them at least, – I believe it’s people bending words to suit their political agenda, mostly because ideas are often complex and mixed and it’s far more easy to use generalised word to either identify with or condemn as an enemy. But easy way is not always the right way. Definitions should be definitions – they should define. The purpose of terms is communicational – we need them to discuss things and understand each other. As I said – politics are global, ultimately, so we need terms to have definitions that we all could understand, unless we want political discussion to become babel noise. That’s why I strongly believe we should define political ideologies by the principles and ideas they stand for, not by whatever modern trends in politics are here or there. Liberal principles did not change much, neither did communist ideas. But terms have been used in total disregard of those ideas and principles – because of peoples tendency to put a label on everything without thinking too much.
      You may check Friedrich Hayek’s essays “Individualism true and false” and “Liberalism” for more detailed look at what I mean by “liberalism” and what ideas and principles I’m talking about, if you’re interested and haven’t read those already.

      I actually wanted to write more, but I think both of us have more important and productive things to do than throwing walls of text at each other. It’s a big topic, sure, so it can go on and on. You have all the freedom to disagree, your opinion is your opinion, I just stated mine and I hope I made it more or less clear.

      I understand your desire to be treated as just a human who voices his opinion, but I’m afraid it is simply not possible. You’re known and famous for music, and I’m pretty sure most of your followers are your fans, so it’s inevitable that it will always come down to you being musician. And since music is possibly the most sensual and emotion form of art – it’s also one people tend to treat most personal. Ideally – yes, discussing non-musical things should be just that – discussing things. But people don’t work ideally. It often hard for them to separate their emotional bond with musician’s work and their opinion on musician’s persona. Some people are cool-headed enough, some are not. I, personally, short-tempered, so I’m easily angered, although I chill somewhat fast too.

      But I must notice, that I did not said that I will stop listening to Moonspell. I listen to a lot of music, political music included, I have mostly no troubles listening neither NSBM nor RABM, no matter how much I despise their ideology. I don’t have troubles buying China Mieville’s or Michael Moorcock’s books, despite my utter disagreement with them. It’s a bit different when you clash with author personally, of course, but not different enough. End we up on a bad note – I might’ve taken a break from listening Moonspell, but then will probably return to it anyway. Happened before – one famous musician said things that I found to be awfully disappointing. Didn’t listen do his band for some time, but then. when bad memories faded out returned to it. His opinion is his, doesn’t change his music.
      That’s why I adressed something from the past – missing your concert, – since I have no power to change the past anyway.

      Thanks very much for offer, but it’s unnecessary, I don’t think getting in feud with you is something that deserves a prize 🙂 But I will try to get to the next gig and hope to take and autograph if possible!

      Best wishes, stay metal, friend \m/

      P.S. Sorry for clunky language and all.

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      1. Theportuguesewolf says:

        No problem. I am the one thankful for your detailed answer. In many things as they say in the States we can agree to disagree. But lots of respect to you for not closing in your shell. Have a nice one!

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