Posts Tagged Justice
Posted by Oakland Radicals in Anarchy, anti-Capitalist, APOC, Black History, civil disobedience, Collective, Communalism, Decolonize, intergallactic, Oakland, Occupy, Occupy Oakland, Occupy Wall Street, Racism, Radical, Revolution, Strategy, Survival Strategy, Uncategorized, unemployment, Welfare on May 21, 2013
This portion of the Community Collective Movement concept that is being worked out is a call to action, and a call to social revolt, and seeks to waste few words, and instead seeks extreme, but simple, clarity in laying out a framework for immediate action on our part. I had been wrestling with long, deep explanations of an ever-growing number of issues, and realized that I was violating one of my own guiding principles, which is to attempt to be accessible, and engaging to as many folks as possible when writing about mass movement strategy. So let me jump right in with a very quick explanation and justification for the need for action, and the nature of the events that we would like to set in motion.
I believe that Capitalism as it is practiced today, in most or all parts of the world, is a force for moral corruption and human illness of all types. We accept poverty and suffering of our fellow humans because, to help them would violate capitalist principles, and would promote socialism, and reward inter dependency. We who are “lucky” enough to have a place to sleep, and a job to go to, will literally step over ,and around ,destitute, ill, and suffering people who live on the streets, so that we may go about our business of generating wealth for the already insanely wealthy. Perhaps my background is part of why I find this situation so abhorrent. I am ethnically half American black, and half Hungarian Jewish. I come from two groups that have a long history of oppression, slavery, and social scorn that shape our worldview. As far as I am concerned blacks, and jews do have a special duty to stand up for all oppressed people, and to maintain vigilance against the forces of racism, bigotry, poverty, and fascism. From that perspective I see a society that violates the moral codes that I know to be correct, and one that maintains deeply embedded, and oppressive, hierarchical social orders, and allows, and even enforces, inequality and dependency on a rigged system. I see a society that exhibits elements of fascism and slavery conditions, and benefits only a few.
This is a call to act based on morality, and the belief in humanity and the possibility of a better world. We can not afford to accept the framework of legal/and illegal action as our guiding principle. Capitalism’s profit motive pollutes and undermines any real system to attain a just and fair society based on laws. Our legal system is rotten from profit based strategies and incentives. Justice is to precious, and essential to humanity, to be a “for-profit” endeavor. We need an approach based on morality, and one that is strategic in improving the material conditions and environment. Letting people die in the streets is not a moral approach……if it is illegal to help people, or if certain laws make helping folks not feasible, those laws need to be ignored. Our actions should be conducted in a moral, upfront, and thoughtful manner, but what we need to do won’t always be legal…I mean with the amount of new laws they keep passing, almost everything might be illegal soon..which is one reason why we should act now.
This is not a call to violent insurrection, or hastily organized protests, but a call to build, organize, a strategic and formidable force for human evolutionary change, and global social transformation. This means creating a holistic, and hopefully horizontal, framework, for meaningful activity to take place in a cohesive, and expanding nature.
It is my position that given the immoral nature of our capitalist system, and the obvious inability for it to make any meaningful self correction, and the urgent need for a morality based process to create sustainable justice, we are being subjected to social imprisonment under an unjust system. We are not being allowed to save ourselves from the system.
Capitalism was never written into the Constitution as the one and only economic system allowed in the US, yet we are forced to live under it’s destructive chaos. I believe that I can not be forced to be a capitalist, and I can not be forced to follow an immoral social code. I believe that we have a right to build our own economy, and I believe we have a right, and duty, to dismantle all incorrigible elements of the machinery of consumer capitalism…. and to investigate, question, and expose the people who make the key decisions, and accumulate the vast wealth that reaches a select few.
Many of the people I speak of keep their activities and dealings well hidden from public view or scrutiny, as they amass fortunes and power that allow them to make decisions that could have profound negative effects for many generations to come (if we even make it that far the way things are). Many of the things that these people do violate the basic codes of morality that most people would agree upon, yet their money and power shields them from punishment, or even negative publicity. Many of us have begun to wonder who these people are, and why they appear to have so little regard for the people or the planet. We have a right to know and discuss all aspects of these people’s beliefs, and actions. The capitalists have proven time and again to make reckless and destructive choices that cause major problems. And yet who benefits from the problems created? The very same capitalists who caused the problem, as they have created system in which only they know how to fix their major fuck ups: like nuclear meltdowns, major oil spills, chemical weapon proliferation etc… They are reckless and destructive. We need to be watching and opposing them at all times. but, We also need to create our own way of meeting people’s needs in a manner that is based on justice, and morality, and respect for all life. We need to do both at the same time..fight them, build ours..build ours, fight them..and we need strategy and massive participation.
This may appear to be a struggle over money, but the currency we really need to value and use is our own time. Even as we see the destructive banality of our way of life, we continue to support it with our time, and energy. We buy their crap, we absorb their plastic culture hours on end, we invest in institutions that we know are the enemy, we pay taxes to fund our own oppression and stupidity, and seldom do we truly look to create our own new world. We spend much more time complaining about this system, or dulling the pain of our existence through consumption and packaged experiences. We have much more time than we realize. Time that could be given to helping build a co-op movement, or fight against corporate power in a truly strategic, long-term struggle, rather than a symbolic, or reform driven display. Our time, and the skills we can share and learn when we use the time well, needs to be our building block towards self-sufficiency. We have a lot of people with time on their hands that are not being given anything meaningful to do. We have a lot of people who have a lot of love and positivity to spread if they can be given a chance to flourish..
This is not a “pie in the sky”, “let’s sing kumbaya around the fire” post..this is a call to action..We all know what’s coming, and what we need to do..Generally at least. What about specifics? We should begin to lay out some ideas over the next days that get into ways we could organize, quickly, efficiently, and effectively. I believe that the three basic principles that we should build from are the following. 1) We should think cooperatively in all ventures, be they efforts to fight the powers that be, or efforts to build the new world we see on our shared horizon. 2) We must have an unwavering eye on morality that shapes our way of doing things. As I stated earlier, Capitalism as it is practiced is immoral, and we must find a way that is moral and just. 3) We should acknowledge, and embrace differences and contradictions within our movement, and find ways to use these con traditions as a strength, not as a means to fuel division, and competition. Unity and Cooperation is what they fear, and what we should strive for…
I am going to begin to just throw some ideas out there in a less edited and structured manner just to put some things on the table for discussion or internal pondering at least.
intergalactic Cooperation as a reality game featuring the People VS. The Corporation..with the goal being the defeat of the corporate slime ball that oozes its toxic reality over all that is good
I don’t think it has to be as difficult, confrontational, or complicated as it sounds.
….what if we made a game out of it?…..but instead of a game with one winner and many losers, we make it a mutual game of global cooperation towards a goal of global liberation, basically phase one might be some kind of corporate detox , just use May 1 as a starting point.. we make it a global game of co-operation, and even appropriate their consumer culture and use our still underutilized advantages in certain aspects of social technology to make it a like global reality show…when our target corporations lose money, everybody in the game gains.
we could have reports from different regions and countries every day, reporting ways in which people were able to decrease corporate profits, and benefit co-operative ventures, feed people, increase peace and justice without use of violent coercion..etc..we celebrate victories across man-made national borders as our own, just as our corporate enemies seek to profit not just nationally, but globally..
from there we just aim to get more people involved each month or whatever the time frame we set is..stop using their calendars and their linear mindset..we set our own goals and just try to increase our growth/strength steadily..in many ways we mirror the corporate growth model, but in key ways we shift our mindset so as to avoid the traps and limitations that the model set for us..
for instance as I alluded to in my original post, even significant movement centered days like May Day can limit us because we don't look beyond the one day to take any type of action. To me this is a mirror of the corporate Hallmark card, holiday mindset, in which we celebrate cool concepts; things like sharing (Thanksgiving), or love (Valentine’s Day), or fertility (Easter) for one day a year, and then we wait another whole year before we focus on the cool concept again….May Day is a big day for economic justice, but fighting for economic justice one day a year is not enough…
There needs to be strategy and goals’
Another thing we can do play psychological mind games by using their tools of oppression against them to erode confidence in their economic model. Like we could mimic their capitalistic, predatory mindset and instead of going after the hugest evil corporations like Monsanto first, we could target weak links in the corporate chain and aim to cut their profits and put them out of business. This would way to build our confidence and effectiveness, and to show our power as we advance towards taking on the big drones in the corporate food chain. We could have celebrations when corporations we are targeting lose money, and stock market value, and hopefully go out of business..
time fora break but More soon..all ideas about cooperative economics, anti corporate strategy, or whatever is appreciated
by Zappa Montag
Lately there been a lot of discussion about, violence and sexual assault against women, and the rape-culture, in many of the circles of people that I talk to regularly. Yesterday, with the verdict and aftermath in the Steubennsville case, and given some of the discussion that had taken place at a gathering I attended, these issues were prevalent in my thoughts when I witnessed an incident in downtown Oakland in the 16th and Broadway area.
I was walking on Broadway, when I heard a bunch of yelling down the street about two blocks away. I turned around to go check it out, and could see a group of young kids, black, consisting of two girls and two boys. They could have been friends, acquaintances, or even strangers, to each other. The two girls were taller than either of the boys, and were wearing tight shirts, and tight shorts. The boys were short and funny looking, imo, and may have been quite young. One of the boys was aggressively grabbing and pushing/shoving one of the girls, and she was the one yelling. She broke free and ran up the street, yelling “get the fuck away from me” etc.. A couple of white people hurried to their cars, the other adults around disappeared. …I am someone who will intervene in public wackiness from time to time, especially when it seems like I am the only one who will, or the one who has to initiate the intervention to get others to join. This was looking like one of those times. I felt like I may be about to need to handle it on my own, and assessed whether or not the kids were armed which I thought/hoped not. My adrenalin rushed up..I knew I could easily squish the boys, either or both, if needed.
At the same time though, as the girl was running, she was smiling, or so it appeared, and when he caught up to her, he at first put his arm around her as if he was her boyfriend, and she seemed ok with that, ….possibly. Slightly confused, I got as close as I could to them from across the street, and followed them up towards 14th. They saw me, and the boy seemed to chill out. Then when they crossed the street, he suddenly pushed the girl into one of those dark stairways by the café and the Plaza. I couldn’t see what was going on, but I could hear the girl yelling again. At this point I ran in that direction and started yelling. “you better get off her” , :” stop that shit now”…and then I told them I would call the cops…Which I really wouldn’t have done, because I would have gone over and physically intervened before doing that…but I also knew that threatening to call the cops is the easiest way to break up a situation. That seemed to get his attention, and the aggressiveness stopped, but as they walked away I wondered what would happen next, and if anything had really been averted.
I also observed my own rage, and my desire to exact punishment on the boy, possibly heightened by the fact that I have a teenage daughter who spends a lot of time in that area of town. I felt a little sickened by my thoughts of doing great harm to some little teenager. Isn’t that what these out of control, power tripping cops do? I also tripped off my instinct to threaten to call the police. Even if I wouldn’t have actually done it, I felt weird about using the threat of the state, when I know that the incarceration complex does nothing but exacerbate issues like rape and violence in the long run. In fact prison is a place where rape culture is fostered, and spread back throughout our society. And what would the cops have done, if they even showed up?
Regular folks gotta handle business sometimes ,(or maybe all the time), and I felt like I maybe should have done more , like followed them, or continued to yell and maybe scare the kid. I soon recognized ,with sadness, what all of us feel when we look at the state of things…that there wasn’t much I , alone, could do about the incident at hand, or the overall situation at this point. Bad shit is happening everywhere on the regular, and I ain’t no super hero.
The one thing that I felt like I might have accomplished was to demonstrate to the kids, and to the other adults who were around, that some folks would at least speak up if they saw something disturbing. I felt like the kids weren’t getting much of that in their lives. Not that this type of behavior is limited to poor kids, with little parental discipline ,in the hood. This violent, controlling, and plain psychotic behavior happens on all levels, and with even far more skewed power dynamics than what I witnessed. Of course I didn’t really know what the situation was there. As bad as we can imagine, sometimes reality is even worse, …but hopefully it’s better… Afterwards a black woman in a wheelchair came up to me, and asked me what was going on, …I said,”I’m not sure, but I don’t like it”. ,,To which she replied ..“Yeah me neither…if they gotta do that stuff, take it inside at least..” ….aargh!
Which led me some of my own less politically correct thoughts that I had during ,and after the incident. For one thing, I felt like the girls were dressed in manner that gave me concern, even though I definitely believe that clothing or lack thereof never gives a man any reason to rape or assault a woman. I still felt like they were dressed in a way that was possibly dangerous ,and even looked like they could have been emulating what a sex worker would wear. I wondered what would happen if an older guy, with a car, and money, and a more refined game, came up on these girls. Would they have resisted. That to me was possibly a more dangerous scenario than what I saw on the street. I felt bad for thinking like this, but real talk is real talk… In other times and places beautiful women,and men walked about naked, or nearly, and this was never an issue. I know that it is an issue of culture, or lack there of, but dang, the most vulnerable girls amongst us need protection more than the right to run wild in the streets of America. This is an exceptionally dangerous place. Especially for young, women of color.
I also have to say that part of me felt a little bad for the young, abusive boy, and even for the rapists in Steubbensville. People like them are lost with no clue, and little wisdom to draw from. I do feel like they are victims of this culture, and of people not being willing to say, or do anything real. Something must have gone profoundly wrong long before any of these kids could do much about it. Unfortunately,thousands or even millions of their clueless american male,drone clones wandering in our midst, spreading sorrow and suffering. I am thankful for the guidance ,and good breaks I received as a kid, and I acknowledge that I am not blameless, or free of sexism and abusive mentalities. This is part of the illness of America. We are all afflicted. So to me, even more outrageous, or telling, than the sympathy displayed to the boys in the media, is the unwillingness for any of the mainstream to acknowledge the sickness of a culture that reproduces this type of behavior consistently. They are the creators of the morals of this society. Own up!
The young men of this culture whose potential are wasted , or stunted, and who do dumb, hateful things that cause destruction, mostly are also victims imo (as we all are to some degree)…This is a sick, depraved place in many ways….however I am also not convinced that someone who does something as a heartless and methodical as what happens in Steubbensville has the ability to be rehabilitated. I just don’t know if you can slide that far and recover. At least not with the tools this society uses to heal our psychosis. At the same time, incarcerating a bunch of men after they have committed terrible acts does not stop the rape-culture, it merely makes false dichotomy of guilty and innocent. As long as you have not been found guilty in a court of law, then your actions are acceptable. which doesn’t teach us any kind of morality, and the courts are rife with good old boy plantation era bias. I think it is clear that traditional law enforcement strategies will not keep women and girls safe in this country. At least not ones with little social clout. This is about our culture, and morality, and the value of love and kindness in our reality. If we find ourselves lacking, then we need to change.
Anyhow, some thoughts on a subject that seems to be on a lot of people’s minds. Lot’s of folks have weighed in lately, and now we look for some solutions. millenniums in the makings maybe, but better late than never. I think there is something that can be done, but I am not sure what. Probably around groups of folks, especially men, going out and having real conversations in the community about these issues, and creating the possibility for a different standard of behavior.