I don’t know if any of you have been beaten, but I have, more than once, many times with leather belts from my dad, by kids I grew up around as a minority living among the Inuit, and as a rowdy young man too cool for his own good by the cops in LA. My response when getting overpowered by bigger and stronger men has been something more instinctive than intelligent, to shut up and simply stay silent until the threat subsided. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but my impulse has been that crying or screaming out would simply provoke my attackers more.
When Israel began its bestial and subhuman attack upon the people of Gaza, I began posting all kinds of rude remarks, and feeling a deep hatred for Jews in general. I knew that my feelings toward Jews were missing the mark, and I explained that my own reaction was an indication of how the world would feel as well, and that Israel’s conduct would fuel anti-semitism around the world. Obviously, it did, and it will continue to do so. But as the onslaught continued, I realized that I was a real danger to myself by the remarks I wanted to post. I told one person in our group United Progressives that if I were into bombing and killing, I wouldn’t hesitate to drop a nuke on Tel Aviv. It was at that point that I realized that I needed to back away emotionally because I was simply helpless in the face of such brutality.
I say that because the general effect of Israel’s behavior has since been like a beating to me. I have had almost nothing to say, and have not written since. I have continued to follow the news, and have posted the columns of others, but I have been completely empty of any platitudes about human rights or the value of life.
This numbing effect is clearly what the rest of the world goes through in shutting out the misery of others, and simply going about their business as though it isn’t a part of their life. I don’t believe that the world actually comprehends, or even wants to comprehend, the misery of the Palestinians, and it’s interesting that the slaughter in Ukraine has almost completely disappeared not only from the pages of the mainstream press but even from progressive alternative news. It’s like pop music. Today’s hit quickly drops off the charts as soon as another rises to the top. Now those involved in the resistance movements are totally preoccupied with Michael Brown and the militarized police. For the left, it becomes a financial opportunity. I see ads from Amnesty International trying to raise donations so that they can bring you the truth about Ferguson. This is what professional activists do. Create a website, talk about the crimes and injustice, and ask for more money. I hate the bastards. They switch from issue to issue like they’re selling records. These are people surviving on the misery of others and doing nothing substantial to change the course of events.
There are real things we can do to bring about change. I’ve tended to be poo poo about street activism, because in general, with most issues where the threat has to be explained in 20 pages of statistics and gobbdegook, it’s mostly ineffective. However, the global response to both the Gaza genocide and Ferguson has been remarkable, and I have to admit that Ive been deeply impressed. Sometimes street activism does work. But the pain and suffering has to be obvious to even a retarded person for it to work.
Beyond all that, however — way beyond street activism– we have a revolution to contemplate. The revolution has to be a mechanism for changing who controls our government. Who is working on that? We can’t just elect the right people. The electoral system simply produces more bots who learn when they get to Washington who is really in control and simply fall in line. It is the most banal and idiotic thing to say at this point that elections are bought and paid for, and I’m tired of this being repeated over and over again while we sit and do nothing more about it. It’s time for real change, my friends. The solution is a people’s movement that literally co-opts legislative power, and it can be done. Direct democracy cannot be instituted by the people; the power for that change rests with the enemy. So it has to be done along side the legislature, despite the legislature, of we learning to govern ourselves in a parallel universe, a means by which our power can become a force that overrides any will directed by those in power. It has to be incremental, a step at a time, first creating the movement, second, creating the technology capable of uniting the people in a single voice, and then exercising that voice through sitdowns, through a refusal to pay taxes, through boycotts, and a wide assortment of mechanisms which will work if all of us are united. It’s not just a progressive thing. It’s a people thing. We have to learn to put aside our special minority interests and learn to live in a real democracy where popular will decides what this country will do, whether we like it or not. Popular will may not always choose best, but it can be corrected through a learning process of trial and error. The will of those in power, as long as they are in power, can never be changed.