On The Money
Financial Advice for the Working Class
It’s great to finally see large-scale outrage over economic injustice here in the US. This outrage is of course completely justified and long overdue. However, as outraged as many of these people are about economic injustice, they seem even more outraged that anyone involved with this new movement, would choose a course of action other than that of strict non-violence.
These Non-violence Nazis become livid with rage at the idea that anyone would besmirch their movement by resisting arrest, destroying corporate property or doing anything active to prevent the cops from brutalizing them. For them, civil-disobedience is the only disobedience that they will tolerate.
They think that practicing non-violence makes them better than other people, and they vilify those other people as inferior spiritual beings. Its a religion with them, and like most religious fundamentalists, they are stupid and wrong, and they want to exploit you every bit as much as those Wall St. pigs.
They’ll trot out Gandhi and Martin Luther King as their great examples of the power of non-violence, and try to bludgeon you to death with them intellectually, but neither man’s ideas really hold water in our current situation. Let’s take a look at why that is.
Let’s start with Martin Luther King, since we will celebrate his birthday next Monday. Truly MLK ‘s life deserves celebrating. This remarkable man, a great thinker, speaker and leader served his people in a way few have, and paid for it with his life. Nothing I can say will diminish the contribution he made to people of color, this country, and humanity. However, Martin Luther King led a very different movement, with very different goals than the protesters involved in the “Occupy Movement”.
What King wanted was civil-rights, equality under the law, and desegregation. King did not seek to overthrow the government, he sought to make it more inclusive. If you want your civil-rights recognized, it makes sense to show that you will remain civil, even when violating the law. So, non-violent civil-disobedience made perfect sense for that movement.
At that time, nearly everyone, including Martin Luther King, thought that civil society was good for people, as long as everyone could participate. King believed in democracy. King believed in civilization, and Martin Luther King prayed for world peace while yet another unbelievably brutal, technological war raged on in Vietnam. But, things change, and at some point, the ideas you once hung your hat on, reveal their flaws.
Today, things look different. Civil society has been laid bare as nothing more than the machinery of exploitation and oppression. Civil society no longer offers workers the promise of a suburban home with a two car garage, for willing participation. Now all civil society offers workers are lives of abject slavery with no hope of home ownership, no access to health-care, and no chance of getting ahead of monthly bills. Yes, civil society is what made the 1% so obscenely, filthy, stinking rich, and the rest of us into their slaves.
The only reason we live as one nation, is to serve the needs of industrial capital. Every year we sacrifice more of our time, our power, our freedom and our dignity for the benefit of civil society, usually called “the Global Economy”, and every year, corporate interests use it all against us, to enslave us further.
Human beings function most effectively in small groups. The more we try to function as a single global entity, the less meaningful our lives, as individuals, and the more despondent we become. Who wants to be just another cog in a giant machine that you have no control over. No one! We only do it because we serve the 1%. Don’t forget this. There’s nothing noble about civilization. Civilized people are not better, smarter or more interesting. They are just more cooperative servants.
So, if civilization is the enemy, civil disobedience makes no sense at all. We don’t want to be recognized by civil society. We want to do away with civil society. We want to end the stratified economic system, the environmental exploitation, the mass consumption, and the waste. We don’t need to become better people, or even prove that we are good people. We just have to stop them from killing us, and the best way to do that is to disable the machinery of exploitation and oppression.
Those Non-violence Nazis don’t respect your rights, won’t stand for your freedom and won’t treat you with any more dignity than the Wall St. bastards who have been beating us down for generations. They expect you to sacrifice your freedom, human rights and dignity for their benefit. They want you to submit peaceably and willingly to arrest and brutality, not for freedom, rights or dignity, but for their new, kinder, gentler mass fascism. You sacrifice your body. They make the decisions.
Look at them, they’re already telling you what constitutes acceptable protest. They’ll decide on the acceptable terms for a compromise, and they’ll tell you when a deal has been made. Do you think they will ever stop telling you what constitutes acceptable behavior? Will you ever stop listening to them?
Why do you think they are so concerned about remaining “civil”? They don’t want to see a breakdown of civil society, or of the control and enforcement mechanisms of society. They just want those control structures to change hands, leaving them in charge. If you’ll sit there passively while a cop beats you down, because they told you to, you’re probably dumb enough to do what they say when they take over, right?
Martin Luther King is not leading this movement. This movement is led, if it is led, mostly by disaffected middle-class white people who know how to manipulate people to get their own way. Most of them would be quite happy to live in a world fraught with economic injustice, where workers live lives of endless despair and toil, as long as there was a good paying job in whatever field their college degree prepared them for. So don’t let these weasels bully you intellectually, by bringing up the name of the great Martin Luther King.
Now let’s talk about Gandhi, and his struggle. Under Gandhi’s leadership, the Indian people drove the British colonial empire out of India. An amazing achievement, certainly, especially for a very poor and unarmed population, but clearly not the only way to get rid of the Brits.
George Washington also led his people in a successful campaign to excise the British Empire from a colonial expansion.
The Afghans also successfully ejected the British. Clearly, a diversity of tactics can work effectively against the tentacles of a colonial power.
We are not challenging a tentacle of power here. We are challenging power itself. This empire has nowhere to retreat to, so it will fight to the death. A colonial power can always retreat from a colony if the endeavor becomes unprofitable. History teaches that both military resistance and non-violent resistance can make a colony unprofitable, leading to a withdrawal of the colonial power.
So, again, civil-disobedience is not a morally superior choice, or even a tactically superior choice. We choose tactics based on the ultimate goals of the movement, and on our own goals as individuals. So, if you believe that peaceful assembly and civil-disobedience are the only acceptable forms of protest, that probably means you also believe in laws, and cops and prisons and a stratified, specialized society structured for the purpose of maximizing economic activity. In other words, a fascistic oppressive regime, just like the one we have, except that in this new one, you enjoy a privileged status.
You just can’t have civilization without oppressing the masses. We have ten thousand years of evidence to back this up, by the way. We will never all live together, peacefully, as one big happy global family. There are a lot of reasons for this.
Biologically, human beings are small-group primates. In our natural environment, you almost always find humans in tribal groups of 15-40. This form of organization has worked for humans for something like three-million years, and it still works today. Civilization, on the other hand, has been tried dozens of times, and failed each and every time, and it’s failing again now. Just as the Incas eventually abandoned the city of Machu Picchu, its time to abandon the pyramids, ball courts and human sacrifices of our own “advanced” civilization.
Group dynamics tells us that the larger a group becomes, in terms of numbers of individuals, the more energy must be devoted to communication, before the group can act coherently. At some point, a group can become so large that communication consumes all of the energy available to the group, and the group becomes incapable of any action beyond maintaining itself. If it grows still further, it will collapse, because it will take more energy to communicate enough information to keep the group integrated, than the group generates. Civilization has become such a group.
The idea of a global, peaceful, egalitarian society is just a fantasy, concocted to keep us in line, just like the American Dream. In reality, both civilization and the American Dream of a middle-class lifestyle for everyone, oppresses people, destroys the environment, and can never be made sustainable. So, if you believe that non-violent civil-disobedience is the only acceptable form of protest, then you also support global oppression and ecocide, or at least the fantasy that perpetrates it.
I don’t think people should sacrifice their freedom, human rights or personal dignity for civilization. I think it’s high-time we sacrificed civilization, reclaimed our personal power, freedom, dignity and rights, and saved the planet from the rapacious onslaught of global capital, and our lives from the endless servitude of work.