We’re living in the Empire’s final days

Francis Fish
4 min readMay 20, 2024

- 3 min read

Silhouette of a woman holding a sign saying Hope before a sunrise
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

No, really!

Many moons ago when I was a young lad, I remember reading of comments made by a Soviet dissident exile who arrived in Rome to see striking workers marching and using public transport at the prices set before the government tried to raise them. If I recall correctly this incident was later turned into the play Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! by the playwright Dario Fo. The dissident was very confused. In the old Soviet Union that kind of thing would have resulted in very heavy handed response from the state. In Rome, people supported the protest, shrugged, and carried on with their lives. The dissident had what was for him a shocking revelation: Italian society could tolerate huge amounts of dissent without it challenging the status quo very much.

You may not remember this if you’re younger than about 50 but the IRA tried to kill the Tory cabinet all the way back in 1984. Thatcher’s response wasn’t to attempt to ban everybody that supported the Irish republican cause, it would never have occurred to her to do so. Back then politicians of all stripes respected the right to peacefully demonstrate. Again, the status quo was too strong for protests to bother the establishment, even after the bombing.

Similarly there were massive protests against Iraq war in 2003. Nearly a million people in