Hopper: “Now let me tell you how things are supposed to work…
The sun grows the food, the ants pick the food, the grasshoppers eat the food.“
I had the privilege of reading an insightful post this past week from a fellow blogger that serves for me as a reminder that change, real and lasting change, never starts from the top but always rises like a groundswell from the grassroots. Maria further brings to our awareness that the desire for positive change and social justice must lead to action in order to move from the shallow waters to the deep sea where the real sharks and predators swim. One group that understands this reality is the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a true coalition of the willing that has been speaking out on behalf of farmworkers in the fields of Florida for the past twenty years. Along the way, the CIW has forged valuable alliances and won long overdue reforms and fair food agreements with major corporations such as Chipotle, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. In March of this year, I was fortunate to join the CIW for two days out of an epic, 16-day march from Ft. Myers to Publix corporate headquarters in Lakeland, FL, to bring awareness of Publix supermarkets refusal to join the fair food program. The CIW is once again taking it to the streets and to the people to bring pressure to bear on the powers that be making them cool, refreshing Frosty’s. Wendy’s official response to the CIW’s request for justice for farmworker justice was that “America doesn’t work that way.” Alas, their statement is all too true in this day and age where the corporate capitalists have made known their desire to make us all into serfs to work on the corporate plantations. For much of my life I avoided the political arena but as a social worker, teacher and writer, it is impossible to stay on the sidelines and be complicit any longer in the inflicting of misery and suffering upon others that the present system enables.
Hopper: “You let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up!
Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one
and if they ever figure that out there goes our way of life!
It’s not about food, it’s about keeping those ants in line.”
The divide and conquer policies of the corporate media and entertainment industry are intent on preventing us from realizing our collective humanity and power, which is what they really fear the most. This is the clear and present danger that Bradley Manning and now, Edward Snowden, pose to the ruling class and the apparatus of the state that has been constructed to fit their objectives. They care a little about the war crimes that Manning leaked to Wikileaks and the legally dubious and morally indefensible spying on American citizens that Snowden exposed to The Guardian. They care a lot about the precedent set by Manning and Snowden that could potentially unleash an authentic ground swelling of the people. How dare Manning or Snowden or you or I, for that matter, think critically or question our
handlers dear leaders. For a country that has seen a President’s head blown apart while riding in a motorcade and a Space Shuttle blow up before our very eyes, not to mention the enslavement of Africans imported like Hondas and genocide of the indigenous people, we should be able to handle a little bit more of the truth that Manning and Snowden sought to impart. In America, however, we are taught (conditioned) at an early age to suppress our emotions, boys and girls are told to play nicely and never argue. Kids learn early that it’s how they appear more than how they are that matters. Children are especially trained to not question authority under any circumstances…teachers, parents, pastors, police. By the time we grow up, we are psychologically and emotionally stunted. Some go on to inflict hurt on themselves or others because they never learned to express themselves coherently and their inner self rages against any perceived slight. We might do well to learn from the apostle Paul who learned the hard way that growing up is not so easy to do, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.“
Hopper: “First rule of leadership. Everything is your fault.”
As the Age of Austerity™ continues to play out in America and across the globe, it is important to decode the hidden messages of it’s architects. Austerity is not an economic policy, it is an ideology that Naomi Klein showed us has devastating real world implications. It has been a hallmark of American history for the captors to blame the captives for their predicament, whether it’s the heathen savages of North America or the uppity slaves of the antebellum South or the welfare queens of the 1990′s. The best and brightest from Madison Avenue to Langley have been waging psychological warfare on the hearts and minds of the people for decades. A trait commonly held by abusers or those in positions of power and dominance over others is to project all responsibility for the suffering of the victim back on to the victim. This is why austerity has been framed as a debt problem because of the tremendous amount of psychological baggage that accompanies the word. People are loathe to be looked upon as debtbeats (totally, made that up) or someone who doesn’t meet their obligations. So, the global capitalists use our sense of moral duty and conscience against us by putting the blame squarely on our shoulders, in order to justify the crushing economic measures that have facilitated an unprecedented transfer of public wealth and resources to the private sectors, where its hidden away from prying eyes. Again, divide and conquer worked in Roman times and it works to this day. Choosing to acknowledge the damage done by unfettered capitalism forces me to take the blinders off and see, really see, my fellow human beings. For the struggle for liberation to even begin, it is necessary to first break the psychological chains that bind us to our captors so that our collective case of Stockholm syndrome can finally be treated. Then, we can start to raise our voices in unity and flex our muscles in solidarity until every last prisoner is set free.
Flik: “For the colony, and for oppressed ants everywhere!”
I had an interesting back and forth recently with a fellow blogger who made an astonishingly revealing statement that resonated with me, “My voice and my wishes were buried so deep that I had lost them.” Lurana’s refreshingly honest post talked about how we choose in the course of our daily lives to be polite rather than to be ourselves and, in the process, we lose our voice. This is a sentiment I can relate to as I, too, kept my voice buried for so long that I forgot what it sounded like, even to myself. This blog is not only about sharing my voice but helping others to find the voices that they may have been misplaced or set to the side in the day to day of making ends meet in a bug eat bug world. I feel strongly that every voice is needed in the struggle to build a better world for ourselves and future generations. There is something freeing about facing our accusers, looking them in the eye and speaking in our own voices. It is for our benefit more so than it’s ever for theirs. Throughout the world, from Turkey to Greece to Guatemala, people are finding the courage to say enough, no más…we’ve listened to enough of your stories filled with war mongering and fictional terrorists, pinkos and paranoia, it’s time to tell our story and the stories of our people. It’s time to rewrite history in our own image rather than in the image of our oppressors. Then together, perhaps, we can bend that arc of the moral universe thingie towards justice just a little bit faster.