I’m sure that many of you who read these words come from the same place that I do. I come from a working class family that became a one-parent family throughout my teen years. We didn’t have much but we made it work. My brother and I went into the Marine Corps after we graduated high school because it was our best outlet into the real world. Afterwards, we chose radically different paths. I became a vagabond, moving through life with little care for anyone but myself. My brother became a police officer, raised a family, did all the right things. It is only now as we both reach middle age that we begin to understand each other and become the friends that we should have been all these years.
I mention my brother because of recent events here in Columbus. It was a week of incredible highs for the forces on the left. After nine months of constant work, we managed to repeal a bill aimed at breaking the forces of organized labor in Ohio, which in turn would be a body blow to the national movement. Ohio is one of the most unionized states in the country. There is an element of the far right that now attacks the labor movement in order to break down any organized resistance to their capitalist growth agenda. If they are successful, in my opinion, they will move unchecked to consolidate our remaining resources and place Mother Earth in environmental peril. The human race is on a collision course with extinction. It might now happen in my lifetime or yours, but it is inevitable unless we resist right now.
The movement that started with Occupy Wall Street and mushroomed throughout the world has turned the spotlight onto what they call the capitalists and banks. A friend who takes an opposing view to mine was happy to point out that there are two kinds of capitalism, “true capitalism” and “crony capitalism.” True capitalism encompasses a free market where supply and demand allow everyone to compete and take part in the market. Crony capitalism is where large entities gobble up smaller entities and use their massive blocks of capital and resources to manipulate the market so that it is no longer free. I submit that the time of true capitalism has past. The world economic system has homogenized into a warehouse where a small group of enormous corporations control a majority of the international currency and resources. It is not that they are too big to fail. It is more like they are too big to be challenged except by one another. We have devolved into a plutocracy. They are profit-taking even on each other’s debt. They are manipulating the markets to make it impossible for the little guy, the family run business to compete. The Tea Party Patriots and Libertarians who defend them don’t realize that the very people who are the “enemy,” the middle and working classes, are the ones who buy their products and services. This is impossible to do without job growth and “entitlements.” That is what the 99 percent are protesting.
So what do I mean when I say we need to resist now? Well, I can break it down for you the acronym RES1ST (note the one in the acronym). There are certain basic things that we (most of us) can agree are bad for the whole of humanity. These are the common grounds with which we can come together and begin to reclaim our Mother Earth.
1. Resist RACISM – Say what you will about this people or that, about illegal aliens and unfriendly nations. We are all in this together. If you can get beyond presidents and warlords, kings and premiers, oligarchs and captains of industry, the rest of us are just people. We have the same hopes and dreams scaled on our personal experience. We want to have a meaningful job that pays a living wage. We want to feed and clothe our children and provide them with a quality education. We want to have a safe and secure house in a safe neighborhood. We want to grow old in dignity, not worrying about where our next meal or next prescription is going to come from. These dreams cross all demographic lines. They are universal. There is only one race, the human race, and those of us who can resist owe it to our cousins to do so.
2. Resist ENVIRONMENTAL PILLAGING – The same market forces that are controlling our currency and wealth are placing an inflated priority on fossil fuels. The relative scarcity of said fuels is driving up the market value to a point where the oil companies are taking in record profits while we continue to see higher and higher prices at the pump and on our utilities. Because we are beginning to exhaust the supplies of coal, crude oil and natural gas, we see ever-riskier methods being used to extract them. Entire mountaintops that took millions of years to form are being removed to get to the goodies. Hydro-fracking sends high-velocity wastewater miles deep within the ground to extract pockets of natural gas, threatening our aquifers. The tar sands of Canada are being developed as a source for crude, but at what price to the environment?
At the same time that we are going to these great lengths to get the goodies we are ignoring all of the sustainable forms of green energy available to us. Wind turbines, solar arrays and hydro-electric power all harness the bounty of the natural world. So why don’t the plutocrats put their capital into these endeavors that could eventually wean us off of the mother crude? Because they can’t profit off of wind, sun and water the way they do off of fossil fuels.
3. Resist SEXISM – Somewhere along the course of human history women got marginalized and enslaved into a Patriarchy. At the dawn of humanity males and females had defined roles. The men were the hunters and the women were the gatherers, the tenders of the crops and the forests. It was a perfect dichotomy that worked for millennia. At some point man decided that he should take on both roles and that was the start of the downfall of man. Women have spent tens of thousands of years trying to catch up. Even now, in a time that we all acknowledge that women have attained a majority in population, they still have to fight and claw for every advantage that men tend to take for granted. It is time for the goddess to have her day.
4. We are all ONE – The only way that we can get past this nexus point that we are in is through the cooperation of all.
5. Resist SLAVERY – Throughout the history of “mankind” there has been one sort of slavery or another. The people with the biggest guns have enslaved their enemies. Men have enslaved women. Whites have enslaved blacks. Higher castes have enslaved lower castes. Women have been indentured into the sex trade against their will and through false pretenses. The list goes on and on. It should be the goal of humanity that each sentient being retains a right of free will. This is what our country was founded on, and yet we were well into our second century before we gave women and blacks the right to vote. Even now the ruling class seeks to marginalize the lower class by limiting their access to the polls. Is this slavery? Not in the classic sense, but it may well be the first step towards it.
6. Resist TYRANNY – The plutocrats and their defenders in the neo-conservative wing of our government have consolidated their resources into an over-whelming amount of power. Through deregulation and corporate welfare they have made it impossible for the common man and woman to compete for what we used to call the American dream. The biggest banks sit on trillions of dollars of capital that could be used to invest in small business under the subterfuge that they are “nervous” about the markets. Anyone can see that they control and manipulate the markets to do their bidding. One has only to look at the way Goldman Sachs gamed the system to topple AIG and then got paid back penny for penny. The markets are a sham and they need to be either severely regulated or dismantled while there is still something left to save.
So there you have it. Now you know why we need to resist. We have no assets. What we do have is the power of the people, seven billion strong, if we can all come together. RESIST, while you still can.