It was John Lennon’s 67th birthday yesterday, but I didn’t realize it until today when I saw a clip on the news of Yoko Ono unveiling, a twenty meter high peace tower in his name in Rekyavic, Iceland
“I consider myself very fortunate to see the dream my husband and I dreamt together become reality,” said Ono.
The column, which she designed 40 years ago, engraved with the words ‘imagine peace’ in 24 languages, will shine a coumn of light into the sky until 8th December, the 27th anniversary of Lennon’s assassination. I think I’ll remember that event more quickly than his birthday.
Or maybe I did somehow subconciously remember Lennon yesterday, because around about midday, after playing around with cut-out images, I finally stuck down this collage –the long-haired dead prophet of peace, the world, the candles for a birthday? I called it ‘Resurrection’.
The main thing on my mind yesterday, even overshadowing the relief I felt for not being in prison for ‘insulting the Prime Minister of Turkey’ following my second trial the day before (the judge called for a new hearing in March 2008!), was a molar tooth in my left lower jaw. It ached like hell, and any pressure on it was agony. I realised I would have to go to the dentist and have it fixed, but that would be a problem. Not a ‘scared of dentists’ problem, a Money Problem.
After a full year of wage unemployment I’m basically ‘broke’. The savings slowly slipped away, and now I only have enough to pay half of next month’s rent on my flat. I was optimistically hoping I might just be able to do it by rent-day, with the coins I collect from telling fortunes in the street with my runestones, but the dental bill will bite a big chunk out, and I may have to ask the landlady to wait a little before I catch up, what with the water bill to pay, the electricity, the gas, the telephone, the internet, (I stopped calling the fresh-water man a while ago and started drinking the tap-water to save Money. You get used to the chlorinated taste after a while, and I haven’t noticed any predicted harmful effects yet.)
But I’ve certainly noticed the harmful effects on life of Money or the lack of it, and in the afternoon, after |I’d gone and made an appointment with the dentist, I dwelt on them as I sat in the street on my little camp-stool next to my circle of runestones, rereading ‘The ABC of Anarchism’ by Alexander Berkman, during the ample time I had between customers.
Berkman says that Money, along with Government, will have no place in the ideal world of communist anarchism we create after the socialist revolution. Money is a cancer, and goverments are tools of the rich fatcats who want to keep the corrupt unjust system of gross inequality going. According to those standards, in America, where the presidential candidates’ popularity is measured by the amount of Money pumped into their publicity by their backers, Ms Hillary Clinton would be way ahead of the others in the corruption stakes.
And although I didn’t particularly think of John Lennon yesterday, as I read Berkman, I recalled Lennon’s world-famous song ‘Imagine’, which seems to put the anarchist creed in a nutshell.
Imagine no MONEY …
No RICH and POOR: A world where everyone has as much to eat as they like, comfortable accommodation, equal opportunity for education, excellent health care, no need to worry about bills any more – for electricity or water or anything. A system focussed on the smooth running of a world society where nobody is left out, where all have a voice, and no-one is rejected or discarded because of their lack of wealth.
Money is a human invention which has been around for a long time. Long enough for us to know that it is a very bad idea. One that causes greed, theft, prostitution, wars, pollution, hypocrisy, and murder, to mention only a few of its poisonous spawn.
If you really want real PEACE, then the monetary system under which we have lived for so long, with its Wall Street investors and its lazy millionaires and its toiling wage-slaves and money-grubbers and garbage-gleaning destitutes – has got to go.
Only then can we begin to make the Utopian dream suggested in Lennon’s song a reality. Do you really think that filthy money system would continue with “all the people sharing all the world”?
Anyway, a belated happy birthday, John, wherever you are. (In many people’s hearts, definitely.) I have to go to the dentist now to pay him to get rid of my pain. I wish I could get rid of the tyranny of Money as easily. That will take a bit more of a concerted effort, but I can see it coming within my lifetime. You can too, can’t you? Imagine!
MICHAEL DICKINSON, whose artwork graces the covers of Dime’s Worth of Difference, Serpents in the Garden and Grand Theft Pentagon, lives in Istanbul. He can be contacted via his website http://yabanji.tripod.com/ or at: firstname.lastname@example.org