Monday, March 17, 2008
Doing What It Takes
Please let me package a "solution" for you in nice and pretty, American-style, wrapping. All slick and shiny and ready for you to take home.
I really hope that's not what you expect when you ask for some "solution." The mere asking of this question betrays the lack of understanding of the fundamental issue here: That in order to find a "solution", or is it THE SOLUTION®, you must completely remove yourself from the reality that you have believed in through the years. This in and of itself is a very difficult task, and most people who sincerely want to "help the earth" (or humanity) die never understanding this. This is why so many feel hopeless about not being able to create true change. Because you're still looking for solutions on the same platform that caused the problems.
Strength in humility is a myth. Passive denial of the enormity of the problems that confront us and the radical solutions needed to address these, while understandable in light of all the devastation being visited upon the Earth by developers, corporate greed heads and a largely acquiescent populace, is still an indefensible and repugnant position.
As long as women and African-Americans were nice humble and passive what did they get? Nothing. Unless you count subjugation and servitude as something. Would those in power one day have awakened one day in a particularly genial and loving mood having experienced some psycho-spiritual transformation and said, "You are so nice and humble I'm going to allow you to vote, own property and while we're at it let's throw in equal pay?"
It took suffragettes and civil rights activists being insistent, unpleasantly arrogant, unrelenting and a willingness to risk what little they did have to attain the few freedoms that are "allowed" today. This meant laying their bodies on the line.
Those who are destroying our earth and our communities at breakneck speed are as humble and caring as barracudas, with all apologies to the more gentle piscine creatures, and will not easily or at all relinquish their stranglehold on the gasping planet or your neck.
What it will take is nothing short of large scale purposeful sustained direct actions that bring the system to a halt. This means tremendous sacrifice. This means discomfort. In this there is the inevitably of tremendous risk.
The only remedy will be when people begin to get interested in taking back active control of the processes that rule their lives and work with each other rather than crossing their fingers and heading off to the ballot box.
There is no political solution.
1) Universal Single Payerl Health Care
2) Promotion/Development of Local Food Systems
3) Government subsidized heating programs
4) 90% Reduction In Military Budget
5) Immediate Development Of Nationwide Mass Transit System
6) Immediate Withdrawal Of US Troops From All Parts Of The Globe
7) Triple The Taxes For Anyone Making Over $75,000/ Year. Sliding Scale Tilting Upwards
Immediate Hanging Of All Ivy League Business/Economics Professors, or At Least Force Them To Get Hands-On Honest Work Preferably Outdoors With Sharp Objects In Close Proximity to One Another?
9) Immediate Dissolution Of All Federal Banking Systems followed by Creation Of Local Currencies
10) Elimination Of Rent/Mortgage
11) Fair Trials For All Members Of The Senate
12) Open Borders For People, Closed Borders For Bananas
13) Elimination of all Free Trade Agreements
Naturally when I skip into my polling place and look for these issues on the ballot I'll be aroused and gleeful to pull that lever "in favor of" but lacking that I’d say it’s time for direct action.
HOW TO DO IT:
- Massive boycotts and a general strike.
- A huge 'None of the above' vote-reform campaign
In the context of such strategic co-optation of mainstream media by the military-intelligence rightwing establishment, comprehensive education and organization of the public will be an immense uphill challenge.
It vexes me to no end that the progressive/anti-war/anti-globalization/'liberal' public has effectively NO popular media channel, barring perhaps Link TV, Democracy Now which are severly compromised avenues. WHY can't we develop a viable opposition/alternative media providing the kind of objective journalism we need to provide a modicum of insight and perspective?
Of course, it takes money -- not being hooked into the MIC and big-corporate advertisers, it will have to be funded largely by alternative-energy, local and small-scale service-industry providers, and media-subscribers.
Well, slowly, people ARE waking up and beginning to ask the important questions, connecting the dots. But its going to take a huge groundswell of people to compel essential change, for issues of social justice and political/economic accountability, environmental stewardship and sustainable development, etc.
Mebbe a popular-campaign rallying around- Justice for the Gangster "leaders'! No More Mob-Boss Morality!"
But it'll be hard to organize a peaceful revolution without running afoul of Fascist laws aka Patriot Act and heavy Police intimidation. Unfortunately, that's probably what it'll take. People will have to lay it on the line to reclaim their stake in a just society and democracy re: the Government Of, By and FOR the People.
We could learn a lot from the Bolivarian Revolution.
1) Too much "unity"; too little confrontation...
2) Too old; where are the NAFTA kids?
3) Too organized; the "Mobe" should mobilize (i.e. logistics) - not set goals
4) Too much "bearing witness"; too little "we're going to shut this fucker down"
5) Too little pre-planning; D.C. is the place to swell numbers, after that Baltimore, Philly, NYC... Concentric Circles; go for the kids - they drag everyone else.
6) Too set piece; pro forma - it should be, "Bring your guitar and your motorcycle helmet"
7) Too little culture, or perhaps, just one kind of culture; let a hundred flowers bloom - make it a chance to meet America; turn it into a "festival".
Cool Wrong allies - Natural ally is Minister Farrakhan and the nation of Islam (which has turned out the largest street demonstrations in American history); it is a natural alliance; "What would it take, Mr. Minister?"
9) The role of socialists in American street demos is to drag out the numbers and to set an example by getting their heads busted FIRST... not to TALK (this is a socialist talking). Shut the fuck up. Let passion speak.
10) Too much talking in general... The crowd should MARCH... A LOT... They form the mass around which the various tribes can organize sallies and retreat back to... Time to march our ass off.
11) The cops and soldiers are not friendly... they may be an hour before and an hour after but not during... They are the face of the enemy.
12) Not nearly enough, "do your own thing"... need snake dancers, and people who want to sit down while chanting, and those who want to write slogans on the Justice Department and those who want to carry big signs saying "SHAME", and lots of pink people (a reference to a previous thread)....
[Before getting to the meat of this, let me pause for a moment, to offer a word in defense of righteous anger. There is a certain legitimacy to raw anger. Anger is a correct & reasonable first response to injustice. By itself, it is an inadequate response to injustice. But it is an excellent foundation on which more constructive responses can be built.
And, on the other hand, the most paralyzing & crippling response towards great injustice, is docile acceptance. THAT is what the filthy Evilcrats & their apologists are all about — getting you to somehow resign yourself to corporatists & warmongering imperialists, who however (like Obama) are skilled in the use of ‘uplifting’ language.]
OK, now the meat. We are at a time in our nation’s history where the political system is breaking down. It is no ordinary time. Mechanisms that have sufficed since the 1930’s are now failing.
There is zero chance that our system can be fixed through the officially-approved mechanisms. Whether overtly recognized or not, there’s a war going on — the US ruling class against all the rest of us. It’s essentially a class war. The rulers want you to remain a Democrat, because the D’s are a ruling-class institution, whose job is guiding the Dem half of the populace in paths that are safe for the rulers. To remain a Dem voter, and to swallow whatever slop the party dishes up, is to passively assent to this arrangement.
Therefore, your primary focus should be on resisting & criticizing the system, not on adapting yourself to it. You should be talking with your friends & family about the very real things that are wrong. You should be trying to make whatever contribution you can to elevating political consciousness. Accepting the slop of the Dem Party is the opposite of all that: it deadens political consciousness, & only makes your enemies stronger.
Voting for candidates only works when there are decent candidates — but that’s not our situation. We betray ourselves if we fail to recognize that.
Well, looking at it historically, the “solution” has to be a break from the officially-approved mechanisms. It must have the form of a broad movement based on the interests of the bottom 80-90% of the population, rather than on the interests of the top 1%. It has to be what they call “radical” politics — something that big business and the media are definitely not going to like, any more than they like Kucinich or antiwar protestors.
The 2 parties are really just a mechanism of social control. They’re not a way for “the people” to express their will; they’re a way for rulers to control the people — partly by making them believe that they (the peeps) have some say (which they don’t). Building a movement to oppose this takes time. But its sine qua non is political consciousness — the type that socialists understand & try to cultivate; and that the big-business parties & media try to suppress & eradicate.
We need Latin American-style "socialist" revolution in the streets, complemented by effective traditional political organizing, social-class based. Genuine socialism is good. An honest look at history shows that it's what the global fascists truly fear. (For instance, read "Killing Hope" by William Blum.) Why do privileged first worlders always think they/we know better, with their quasi-capitalist new-big-thing?
Here in the states we need more of the Seattle '99 and follow-up protests. The energy from those actions was derailed on 9/11. Funny thing about that...