Starting Meme Wars and Fighting Poverty
Historians will agree the Queensland V.S. WA meme war began at 17.23 WST 3rd of March 2016 when Kurt and Cass began the battle of “Babes babes babes"
Everyone knows what happened after that. A series of (never violent, never offensive, always funny) jabs on Facebook including an alliance formed by South Australia and Western Australia with the appropriate hashtag #SWAg.
We could analyse the origins of this meme war for years, and depending on how far down the rabbit hole you want to go we could attribute it (along with many other violent conflicts) to a basic human conception of “us” and “them”, a neo-realist outlook on human interactions in the international (or inter-state) domain and to some extent our never ending desire for lols (not the case for actual violent conflicts).
But what I like to think, and I can only hope Kurt agrees, is that the meme war was the result of two states branches full of passionate young volunteers who respected each other's aesthetic, dedication and commitment enough to nudge each other on the side and make a few wise-cracks.
And this is exactly what I wanted to see when I became WA State Director (and Commander in Chief) in 2015. I had a vision that the WA Branch would excel, that we would be relentless and humble and eager to learn. I imagined us asserting ourselves onto social media, I loved the idea that every other state branch around the country would get to know us and they would think that we were ridiculous and relentless, silly and strategic, humble and hardworking. And I wanted this because I wanted us to connect.
Beyond what they did at home, beyond what they did in the office, I wanted volunteers to understand what they did in the context of the nation and in the context of the globe. The struggle for justice and equality is historic, trace it back as far as you can go, I dare you. Essentially, that is what the fight against extreme poverty is about, the idea that all humans should have equal access to their basic human rights and that poverty is a grave injustice and not a negotiable act of charity.
Fighting is hard going. You will have bad days, it will be tough and there will be days when you want to throw in the towel.
On those days when I feel like “Sad Affleck” what keeps me going is knowing that, around the country, hundreds of other young people are working in offices, on old laptops, listening to Spotify playlists, and working on amazing campaigns, just like I am. And around the world thousands of people are fighting for what they believe in, empowering their communities and striving for things they should never have had to fight for in the first place. And throughout history, millions of people fought battles that meant they left the world more just and beautiful and hopeful than when they entered it, and that meant that we live everyday on the shoulders of their sacrifices.
Everyday I am humbled and honoured by the fact that I can keep fighting and that I can fight beside the people I do. And I have loved every fellow soldier past, present and future. Kurt included.
Written by Amanda Chong Nyan