“The most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor, is the mind of the oppressed.” – Steve Biko (1946-1977)
Do you ever get the feeling that you’re being oppressed? Have you ever felt that you’re somehow responsible for oppressing someone else? Granted, you and I are not living in the midst of apartheid South Africa like Steve Biko was. And yes, humanity has no doubt achieved some “historic gains” throughout it’s history…
But still, we live in times that are seeing record #’s in poverty, foreclosures, unemployment, school closures/teacher strikes, student debt/tuition hikes, mass deportations and austerity measures. (Not to mention climate change, GMOs, chemtrails, milex expenditures, endless wars/conflicts, blah, blah, woe is me, etc., etc.) Seriously though, the system as a whole doesn’t seem to be working for the vast majority of us, yet it appears to remain steadfast on it’s course. Why are things playing out this way?
Oppression is the methodology by which those in power keep the rest of humanity from having equitable access to what we need to survive & achieve true liberation: Land and Knowledge. When it comes to education, one doesn’t have to look far to see how equitable access to knowledge is being controlled. Where I live, in Fairfield, we’ve just seen the closure of the 5th school in the past 3 years (3 elementary, 2 middle schools). It makes me wonder…Who truly bears the responsibility of deciding when, where, what, and how OUR children should be educated? The State? Hmmm…
The apparatus of the State is used by those in power to remain in power. Through the control of education and by enacting and en-Force-ing statutes, we are kept seperate from the womb of all life, the Earth. Recent local events like the cancellation of Power to the Peaceful (booo! I met Michael Franti there 1nce! :o), or the attempted chain of evictions of the HANC recycling center, The Free Farm and Hayes Valley Farm are a testimony to this.
These places are safe-havens for those of us that know the importance of operating outside the contradiction that is the market economy. How can these things be happening if so many of us don’t want them to?
Enter the most powerful weapon of the oppressor…The minds of the oppressed.
Somehow, and I’m not sure exactly when…(maybe it was the 500th time you and I “pledged allegiance”) we’ve collective agreed to hold this idea in our minds: That institutions that legitimize themselves through the illegitimate use of force are somehow…legitimate. Incidentally, these same institutions will usually denounce the use of force, even as they brutally attack peace-loving individuals. Their behavior is really quite strange and dare I say it, psychopathic. Is it any coincidence that so much capital is being spent trying to “manufacture consent”? (see Psywar link below)
Speaking of capital, it seems to yet again reign supreme in the recent vetoing of AB889 aka “The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.” This legislation would have provided the same protections for domestic workers (house cleaners, caregivers, daycare, nannies, etc.) that most other workers already enjoy, like meal breaks and overtime. Coincidentally, the reasons cited for not signing the bill all have to do with $, or more specifically, the lack thereof. Without mentioning farm/day laborers and their plight, I think it goes without saying that California’s 200,000 or so domestic laborers are feeling a bit oppressed right now.
What you won’t hear the Associated Press talking about, besides oppression, is the value of all the unpaid labor that this ‘almighty market economy’ continues to depend on and benefit from. While there are some who get paid for domestic work, there are many of us that do not. We still work and contribute to society in very meaningful ways, only through a different type of economy. I’m referring to what is known as the ‘core economy’. The strength of this core economy is reflected in the quality of our relationships with one another. The quality of how we care for our young/elderly or how we engage in civic activity.
We all know the value of this economy because we’re all potty trained (I assume!). Anyone who has had the pleasure of teaching another human not to soil themselves knows, potty training is hard work! Anyhow, I bring up the core economy to point out that not only is this type of work not being valued in today’s mainstream society…It is actually being undermined. As many of us already know, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for many families to ‘make the ends meet’ without spending ever more hours apart from each other or aquiring some form of debt. In name of oppressed people everywhere, there has to be another way.
Ask any number of people if they want to be oppressed or to oppress, and overwhelmingly the answer will be “No!”. However, ask those same individuals to acknowledge how their current status relates to oppression and/or what they intend to do about it?…And things start getting complicated. Some will outright deny being oppressed or oppressing anyone. Others may reluctantly acknowledge the truth while stating something along the lines of “that’s just the way it is, though”.
Then there are those that are actively trying to change things. They’re my personal favorite because they are the ones who are leaving behind more than a legacy of paystubs and receipts. They are the ambassadors of the future because they hone their ability to cooperate while the market economy tells everyone that “competition is the mission.” They are the lifeblood of the core economy. Whether they know it or not, they’re helping to build a better world for my son and his generation. A world that will someday, very soon, be free from all forms of oppression…They are members of the BACE Timebank and I am truly honored to be one of them!
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to attend a POSSE party to see what I’m talking about. Surf through some of the profiles. Get to know your fellow egalitarians. Since joining BACE, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting countless wonderfully unique and caring individuals. One of them so eloquently reminded me of the importance of being in the company of people who aren’t focused on ‘what they can take, but rather what they can give.’ Rock on, Mylo!
Oh yeah, the groups section is extremely inspirational! Check it out too! (you’ll need to be logged in to do so) These are the architects of a new status quo. Onward!
“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.” – Cesar Chavez
http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/zinnfbi.html – The Federal Bureau of Intimidation by Howard Zinn
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_huJo9FOkI – The Stanford Prison Experiment (30 minute documentary)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpGJjNUbmpo – The Milgram Experiment (40 min documentary)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZiAV6fU2NM – Psywar: The real battlefield (Full-length documentary)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS88F7Bw2AQ&feature=fvwrel – Money As Debt (A MUST SEE!)