Build On This Or Something/Somewhere Else?
Is change possible? Reform? Or is revolution necessary?
Does the United States need tweaking, or need to disappear?
Is this civilization or technologically advanced barbarism?
What is racism/white supremacy? What are its origins, its manifestations, its antecedents, the contours of its shape shifting today?
Activists, thinkers, human beings who care need to first ask and then, examine – DEEPLY – these and other kinds of important questions. No sane human being can fail to do otherwise.
People sometimes ask folks like me who ask questions, grapple with problems: what are YOU doing?
What are you doing besides typing on your computer, blogging, criticizing those of us who are active doing real work?
I was an activist of sorts; I did the labor thing, organizing, doing research. I did the WTO thing, the protest thing for a minute. In those moments of activity, my brain computer alarm sounded off. Something was being communicated to me beneath all of the surface hubbub of demos, digging up dirt on the corporation, rallying the troops, convincing people to sign up with the union. There was a dissonance, an incongruity that started building inside of me, a feeling that gave me pause.
Was this action really changing the worker’s lives for the better? What was the union getting out of the deal? Observing how condescending union staff was to workers, how paternalistic; viewing the attitude of: “we’re the EXPERTS and we’ll teach you how to beat the boss for a small fee that you won’t even miss with all the dough we’ll wrench from your Satanic overseers.”
It appeared that rather than empowering workers, we (HERE/SEIU) were disempowering them with empowerment rhetoric. Behind the scenes, the union was a business with an infrastructure, with administrative staff, with a fat hierarchy that depended on those union dues. The union needed the workers more than the workers needed them. (If a helper doesn’t set you free once they give you assistance – that ain’t a helper. That’s a leech.)
I didn’t want to disempower, I wanted to empower. But that wasn’t what they hired me for – in spite of them telling me that that was what I was hired for. It was a sophisticated, social justice themed ruse. And I’ve never forgotten.
So, where am I? I don’t vote. I don’t pay war taxes. What I try to do is see. See through the veils, see through the “Dance of the Seven Veils” as my friend LA puts it.
Some knock me and others like me for not doing what they are doing or being in the street with a cute sign or a can of gasoline and a match. I’m not that stupid and I’m not gonna give my life up out of vanity. Whatever I do, its gonna be strategic.
And thus, what could be more important than UNDERSTANDING what we are up against, going under the propaganda, the false assumptions and the blind alleys that are presented to us – by the enemy – as the legitimate avenues for our activity. If institutions of this culture support and attempt to extend one’s so-called activist work – you might be going in the wrong direction.
Finding the right direction, figuring it out, feeling our way to the opening in the prison wall is a tedious process. Compulsive, reflexive action just because, only serves the status quo.
So, let’s build something. Something new. But let’s do it like that old disco song: “Baby we can do it/take our time/do it right/we can do it, ba-bee/do it all night.”
It may be here. It may not be here. It might be a matter of the US breaking up into smaller pieces that can’t harm the universe as this behemoth can; or giving this “illegal country” back to the Indian, letting their culture and society set the pace. (I cringe every time I hear one of these fools talking about “illegal immigration.” Another example of racial insanity and hypocrisy)
The minds that we need to think outside of belong to the Man. Its like that show “The Outer Limits” where the narrator tells you that he is in control of your television set, ‘we control the verticle, the horizontal.” They do – you just don’t know it. We need to reclaim our hearts and minds from the slave master, challenge everything, especially OUR personal assumptions and belief systems. We need to cultivate the feeling tone within us.
Where are we sellling ourselves short? How, by only wishing to get a cut of this pie are we accessories after the fact in genocide, accessories to OUR own oppression???
Baby, we CAN do it. I can’t, but WE can. Let us start at home in our cranium and then find that ally, that community that where you can be your most real-est. And grow it out from there.