After a long string of strikes, the final stages of the construction of the Sydney Opera House were carried out without any managers. For a month and a half, the workers experienced first-hand what they had long presumed – that they really didn’t need the bosses. They planned and made decisions democratically, won huge advances in pay and conditions, and together constructed one of Australia’s most enduring and beloved icons. The building embodies all of this, to this day.
For a second, Rae thinks about leaving them wherever they’ve hidden, finding a secret spot and just waiting out the time until her parents come to collect her. But then she feels the pang of being left out, always the strange quiet one who doesn’t know how to have fun. ‘Ready or not, here I come!’
By keeping the work that is necessary for human wellbeing, by expanding the work that is necessary for human happiness, and by abolishing the work that serves neither purpose, we would be making the most strategic move of all: protecting the vitality of the planet.
Dick Johnson is Dead was always going to be reviewed well because, yeah, it’s great. Death, well-handled, is a powerful subject. But the film is made more poignant by the state of the world, and more specifically by the failure of rich nations to protect their elderly. It is fitting that one of the stand-out films of 2020 was a documentary about the anticipation of grief.
The new curriculum may perhaps disturb the historical amnesia that is a condition for the possibility of settler colonialism, but it doesn’t go far enough to truly unsettle it. Achieving that is a different task altogether: it requires prying history from the realm of the discursive and putting it back firmly in the realm of the material.