Wednesday, February 20, 2013
What will it take to change the world?
Historians will tell you, Mahatma Gandhi was instrumental in defeating the rule of the British Empire in India through his policy of non-violent disobedience. What they will probably not say, is the British Empire had already overextended its influence and resources at the time and was in the decline, meaning the eventuality of Britain relinquishing control over India was inevitable with or without Gandhi.
Non-violent disobedience is an amazing tool, used throughout history, most notably in our recent past with the Civil Rights Movement. It can change the course of history, sometimes, but not every time. Non-violent disobedience drove colonists to protest taxation without representation, by dumping imported tea into the Boston Harbor, but that act of non-violence alone did not bring about change; Revolution did.
Today's world is far different from the time of the American Revolution, indeed it is a completely new world than the one where Gandhi made a stand against oppression. Today we live in a world where those in power, Governments and Corporations alike have access to every facet of our lives, from our purchases through credit card information, associations through Internet usage and social media, to private information through intercepted emails and cell phone calls. We live in a monitored society. In today's world, we have seen what non-violent disobedience accomplishes. The Occupy Wall Street movement, had no official government support the way the Civil Rights Movement did, instead they were steadily crushed by more intrusive police enforcement, as well as local ordinances making demonstrations more difficult to maintain for a grassroots protest.
During the time of Martin Luther King Jr, our society was split over those who supported segregation and those who opposed it, but there was an institutional push for Civil Rights by the Federal Government. Gandhi had the support of India's representatives within the British Government, as well as several other British territories who were additionally seeking independence from British rule. In Today's world, those in power are bought and paid for by those with power, which is why elections cost millions or even billions of dollars, and why Washington leans heavily in favor of Corporations and Business interests. We do not have the institutional support to be successful through non-violent disobedience. Corporations such as those owned by the Koch Brothers, can create astro-turfed demonstrations, which masquerade as grass roots protests, to divert attention away from the real issues in our society, by playing on peoples' wedge issue fears and bigotry.
This leaves us with the question, how then can we change the world? What will it take? How do you fight against those who hold a majority of the wealth, and thereby a majority of the power and influence within society? As is a repeated pattern throughout human history, Revolutionary conflict is the most effective way to pursue change when those in power are entrenched and the great masses of the world are essentially powerless. Institutional racism, sexism, and homophobia, are symptoms which point to a power structure unwilling or unable to promote the general welfare of a society, and whom are no longer representative of the people as a whole. This is something I believe Christopher Dorner learned firsthand, through his experiences dealing with the LAPD.
Now, I don't condone random acts of violence. Indiscriminate killing is not acceptable, under any circumstances; however, with that being said, I do believe Dorner was correct when he stated the only way things will change is to forces that change. I've written many times about the human race and how it is circling the proverbial drain, the sadness I feel and how I hope people will wake up before it is too late, but Dorner did wake up and he decided to act. Again, I can't agree with indiscriminate killing, but I am starting to believe non-violent disobedience will not be enough to bring humanity back from the brink of Corporate Ownership and 21st Century Slavery to the 1%.
I don't have the answers about what Dorner could have done differently. Nothing will change within the LAPD, despite what happened, just as nothing will change within our own Government despite who is elected. Oh we might sign a law to say Women should be paid equally to Men, Gay people should be allowed to Marry, and Black folks should have equal opportunities, but those are just words on paper. No one is going to stand over a company’s shoulder and make sure they are paying women a fair wage, they aren't going to make sure a court clerk is doing their job by providing the paperwork to a gay couple or processing the necessary paperwork for their marriage license. Government isn't going to enforce the Civil Rights Act and prevent states from making it more difficult for low income or minority voters to have their say on Election Day.
Will rioting bring about change? Well we can look at the Los Angeles riots and see how discrimination is still rampant in the LAPD 20 years later. Why aren't people like; Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Rick Santorum, the Koch Brothers, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Newt Gingrich, and countless others being hauled out into the public square to be made examples of what is terribly wrong with our society and what needs to change. Short sighted, fear-mongering, race-baiting, homophobic, self-righteous bigots who are obsessed with having power over others to bend others to their ideological way of living. These people represent the worst of humanity, because they hide in plain sight and subvert freedom and liberty from within. They encourage partisan divides, encourage inequality and intolerance, abhor diversity and acceptance, and crave power over others. The LAPD is a microcosm of Government, and the names above are representative of a cancer within our government. Perhaps the names on Christopher Dorner's list were representative of a cancer within the LAPD?
Just as we can't expect government to make serious changes to the way business is conducted in the United States, to ensure it is fair, and upholds the public interest over profits, we can't expect the LAPD to make serious changes in the way they operate to avoid sexism, racism, or homophobia. The blue line, referred to by Dorner, is institutional jargon for we stick together and are above the law. It is a frame of mind, a belief, and an unwritten rule found in most institutions, where there is a power structure. As a whistle-blower, Dorner showed the very best of what it is to be a police officer, protecting the public interest, to serve and protect. For his heroic deed, he was vilified, hung out to dry, ridiculed, and drum-rolled out of the LAPD. This is par for the course, when you look at other whistle-blowers in recent memory.
So what will it take to change the world? Rioting doesn't bring change, non-violent disobedience doesn't either, not the kind of entrenched change needed on a magnitude as large as our entire society without institutional support. Revolution can bring change, but in today's world how could that even be possible? The Military is trained to react first, think never, and follow orders. Especially after all they've been through with Iraq and Afghanistan, they won't bother to try and tell friend from foe, if used against our own population. People will be branded enemies of the state, rounded up and sent off to be warehoused with the other 25% of our nation’s population, in a for profit penal institution. The rest will be so afraid to speak out, they will quietly submit as the last semblance of their freedoms are relinquished in the interests of National Security, or whatever reason is the flavor of the moment.
We could ask other countries to come to our aid, but many of them are so beholden to the United States for one thing or another, they may as well be extensions of our own Government. Look at another whistle-blower, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, and the British and Swedish Governments who act as puppets of the United States for evidence of this. I think this time we are on our own. There will be no French to help train colonists, no politicians on a national stage to pick up arms in defense of freedom and rally the people, just a small minority of people who see what is going on are vilified or ridiculed when they speak out, and feel powerless to stop it. All we can do is shout until our throats are raw, hoping to wake some of the sheep up from their slumber before they hit the slaughterhouse. Right, Wrong, or Indifferent, Christopher Dorner decided to act and he won't be the last before this is all over, I am sure; Actually, I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often to be honest.