tatjna (tatjna) wrote,

In which I talk to a 'dole bludger' about his 'freeloading'

Yesterday at lunchtime I handed in my essay about motivations to become Anonymous. When I got back to work after lunch there was an email waiting for me with my work plan for the latest lot of analysis. Remember back in 2008 when I interviewed all those people about BZP? And then again in 2009? Well, apparently my interviews were shiny enough so now they're being used in a cohort study and they're going to give me money to analyse them for themes.

That's 12 repeat interviews, and 6 themes. The thing I just handed in had 435 respondents and 10 themes. Only because this is paid work I'm all "Gotta do this really well argh". I guess I could look at it like, well, I paid for the course I just finished so in some respects the work to pass it is like paid work in that 'don't lose your money' kind of way..

But the interview transcripts are coming by mail and they haven't arrived yet so I get a few days' reprieve in which to kick back and relax shear some sheep.

Meet Ricky:

Doesn't look much like a trust fund hippy, does he? That's because he's not. Ricky is 64 and has lived in Wellington long enough to talk of buildings and landmarks in that "Yes they were going to put the music school there but now it's a park" kind of way. This was his second time visiting the Occupy group after having come down on Saturday for a look.

He describes himself as a socialist - "But that's a dirty word these days, isn't it? Funny how people don't realise it just means caring about looking after each other." He cares about adequate health, adequate education, adequate welfare being available to everyone. He's particularly interested in the state of aged care in New Zealand, and pointed over to the stock exchange ticker:

"I see Ryman Health scrolling past, showing how well they're doing, how much money they're making, but to go to one of those places - they're Granny Farms, they're horrible." He shudders.

"A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable members." This quote is so common that the original person who said it is lost. Yet to Ricky, it has meaning. "Look at the state of mental healthcare in this country. Even doctors, people don't go, they can't afford it."

Ricky's job 'disappeared' and at 64 he's had no luck finding a new one, despite years and years of experience. With a laugh he says he's now just waiting to retire, to swap his dole for a pension. He's hoping the government doesn't increase the retirement age because he doesn't think that'll make it any easier for people his age to find work.

Why is he at Occupy Wellington? "Well it's good to see so many young people who are caring about these things." He speaks of 1984, of the advent of neoliberalism in this country; "Roger Douglas was bloody insane and Lange just let him away with it." He speaks of witnessing the move towards "individualistic, mean-spirited consumerism" in our culture, of the way in which education has excluded critical thinking. The young people out in Civic Square protesting against this system don't remember what it was like before, having grown up with globalisation and the rhetoric of individualism, yet they still see something wrong. And this gives Ricky hope for the future.

Ricky remembers what it was like before, and is not happy with how things are now. That's why he's here. He is the 99%.

* * *

Things like this are beginning to appear:

[clicky to embiggen and read]

And people are stopping to read them. This is the sort of thing that gives folks something to think about, an understanding of why ragtag groups of allsorts would decide to camp in the middle of cities all over the world. And it might inspire some to join in:

Yep, it's growing. It's spilled onto Ilott Green, home of the Ugly As Fuck $350,000 Rugby Statue, which you can see in the corner of this picture. Ricky said it reminded him of Soviet-era propaganda art, or perhaps the famous Suribachi flag-planting picture. I tend to agree.

But yes, 7 new tents as of yesterday, and that's in the down part of the week. I'm interested to see what happens over the weekend.

Meanwhile, I hope it doesn't rain. I have 20-odd sheep booked in for tomorrow and 45 for Monday. Tomorrow is my favourite lot - the Arapawas in Tawa - and a new client who doesn't know what breed her sheep are. I will take pictures. And probably be hobbling like a little old lady on Monday.

I will be at Fidels this evening and will also be dropping in to see the occupiers. Today is day 7, they are doing well!
Tags: i r brainy oh yes i am nyah, occupywellington, shearing, study
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