Friday, October 28, 2011

Our Lives Are Not Negotiable!


We are at the beginning of a great shift. We are in motion, all of us, experiencing new ideas, trying out new ways of living, organizing and relating to each other. The old ways of doing things, which have had the feeling of going through the motions for some time now, are finally fading away. Soon they will all be gone.

The truth is we have been tired of this world for some time. It isn't organized for our benefit, which makes sense because it isn't organized by us. It's organized by capitalists and bureaucrats, politicians and technicians. So-called “experts”. The institutions, all of them, have revealed themselves as servants of power, not broken but functioning normally as part of a giant profit- and power-driven machine. It hasn't changed, it's just easier to see it now.

American democracy isn't broken, we are witnessing the logical conclusions of its internal nature. Likewise with American capitalism. We don't need to “fix” it because it isn't broken. Neither was it ever meant to respond to us. In capitalism we produce and consume, but the profits go elsewhere. In democracy we validate capitalist domination over our lives. This is the normal functioning of the system.

This crisis goes beyond “corporate greed” or “getting corporate money out of politics”. It wasn't some character flaw that led to this calamity. And it isn't any particular mechanism by which elite power influences politics that is the problem. It's that elite power controls politics regardless. This is because we live in a dictatorship of money, of capital. Just like you can't get money out of capitalism, you can't get capitalist power out of government because government exists to perpetuate capitalist power.

This crisis goes deep. It's not just foreclosures, it's also the vacuous suburbs themselves. It's not just unemployment, it's the meaninglessness of our jobs. It's also being worked to death in an era of massive technological advancement. It's a system that moves so fast that we never get any time to slow down. We exist for the system, not the other way around. Meanwhile the system throws so many of us away, locking us in prisons, poverty or powerlessness. It eats up the Earth with an insatiable appetite, foisting the costs unto us.

It's a system determined to eat up everything in sight, invading and colonizing everywhere, including our minds and relationships to each other. Always accumulating at our expense, and backed up by the army and the police, it's a system that doles out petty privileges to some while it systematically attacks others, all the while keeping the lion's share for those at the top. And, as we have seen, if it wants to it can take those privileges away. The laws do not protect us so why should we respect them? In this system we have very little control over the fundamental questions of our lives. Picking between brands of ketchup isn't freedom. And neither is working in the ketchup factory. Nor studying at ketchup university.

At such an important point in our history, now is not the time to seek to restore normality. Now is no time to be conservative. Do not hold back! We must resist the temptation to try to return to the way the system functioned in the past. Not only isn't it possible, but it would be a betrayal of this amazing moment. And things weren't so great back then anyhow. Don't beg for reforms. Insist on your dreams. Think big. Look around you for inspiration of how things could be. Now is the moment to ask yourself how you would like the world to be, not what you would settle for. It can be different. It can be totally different.


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