It feels like we are at a crossroads in history...but for those that study history, it also feels like we have been here many times before...and will be here indefinitely if we do not truly learn those lessons of history once and for all.
Frederick Douglass said it BEST:
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
The TRUE power and threat that affects us all today = CORPORATE FASCISM!! I look at this latest "economic crisis" (crisis for the masses, payoff for the corporate fascists) and while disgusted, am hardly surprised. The corporate takeover of our politics (lobbyists), health care, SEC, media, prisons, & war (blackwater) where only private enterprise and profit matter will take us all down if we do not RISE UP against a system where 6% own most of the world assets while 94% barely survive. People Power must be sustained!
THE 21st Century SCENARIO
We are all in a race to the bottom. These reader comments in cyberspace summarize the 21st century struggle:
comment from one reader:
China has "communist controlled capitalism". This is where the masses work very hard to eke out a living and survive while all the profit and wealth is funneled to a small group of individuals comprising less than 1% of the population.
America has "corporately controlled capitalism." This is where the masses work very hard to eke out a living and survive while all the profit and wealth is funneled to a small group of individuals comprising less than 1% of the population.
Explain it to me like I was a six-year-old, what's the difference exactly.
I think I now understand why our corporations get along with China so well.....
A tweet from @vtocce:
Everything shifted to Asia. In 10 years China & India's consumer class will dwarf the United States. USA will be a show room.
Not only do we live in a world of imports/exports, we live in a world of outsourcing and insourcing (where people = commodities). Nothing is safe in this race to the bottom. While the U.S. has completely lost the manufacturing market to outsourcing, insourcing (ex. teachers and techs from India) is also changing future possibilities for work and existence in the U.S. and all over the world. The American empire of the last century is never to return.
What globalization did was create a world where the American worker and consumer became expendable...When Americans can let go of their "exceptionalism" and FINALLY understand this, then they will realize that all they are arguing over is pointless....and hopefully they will RISE UP against the true threat: multinational rule.
But we must also understand this in historical context. Today's corporate fascism was yesterday's imperialism, yesteryear's colonialism, and yester-century's feudalism (monarchies)...the faces may change, but the dynamics (1% rule/ all else struggle) stay the same. And if we know and study history...we know how this script goes and actually how it always ends...people power overthrows one system of iniquity and then lets the next system of iniquity take hold. Sustaining people power is where we have failed. We either we learn the lessons history teaches..or we repeat them.
THE ENEMY'S STRATEGY: Alienation, Framing and Miseducation
Marx, Gramsci and Woodson got it right a century plus ago. They must be studied in order to develop OUR strategy.
The elite keep their position not by force but by manipulation. The system survives because the masses support it...as laborers...and consumers...and mostly...as survivors of it.
This IS the system: get people to look to leaders (the very people oppressing) instead of within (ourselves, our communities, our power) for change.
We have been taught powerlessness: to buy into a system that was never set up to work for us..but we buy into it, get hope, believe, then get despondent, then cynical which leads to inaction because "nothing changes"..that is how the system teaches us to buy into our own powerlessness and how it keeps status quo power dynamics in order. If we understand that, no one would have ever looked to Obama or any "one" leader for change.
We live now in a corporate fascist state where our "democratic elected representatives" are bought and sold; and without an active citizenry, this will remain the case. Right now, most citizens are too busy surviving (also part of the system) so it becomes true that consciousness is indeed a luxury few can afford. Focusing on leaders instead of those citizens that need support becomes a part of the trap. Leaders can't bring change...never could...only WE THE PEOPLE can.
We have to move pass our alienation and taught powerlessness via miseducation and get us ALL to be about OUR freedom.
1% controlling resources at the expense of the masses is as old as civilizations. The Roman Empire was not less corrupt than the US empire...The Colonizing Empires that enslaved generations were not any less powerful in their time or any less corrupt than the corporate fascists of today...NOW, once we admit that we scapegoat ("the other") to shirk our responsibility to ACT then we can actually progress.
Those that don't concentrate on organizing the masses but instead focus on the easy (blaming powerful people) believe in the lie that the elite have sold us via hegemony for centuries...big bad boogeyman run the world and we're all just pawns. well, if we internalize that, the power elite wins again; they don't even have to do anything because we do it for them...convince others of their own powerlessness. and we become pawns of the system.
Example: Walmart now claims 4 of the 10 ten spots for richest in America, but without the workers who work there, and the consumers who shop there, there is no Walmart. There is no them...there is JustUS...once we understand that, we will achieve JUSTICE.
The only way power dynamics will ever change is when the PEOPLE stop stating the obvious (power doesn't care about us) and start ACTING to TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES.
OUR FOCUS: Marx was Right
For working people to come together, we must first recognize the humanity we share (see essay From Bacon to Obama). In this world order, white supremacy is the roadblock denying that truth. People will continue to support a system that only benefits 1% until they recognize that they are not a part of that 1%; they are a part of the 99% masses across the globe of all hues...the People's class.
Not only must we fight alienation and learned powerlessness, we must fight fragmentation. It will take class consciousness to sustain People Power! It is difficult to unite when we are so fragmented ideologically, regionally, politically, and religiously...but again, Marx was right. The masses of the world are united in their material needs and that is where our focus should remain....MATERIAL SUSTAINABILITY FOR ALL.
This should be our starting and ending point in all battles...and maybe this time, we can finally win the war and avoid the 22nd century edition.