This year the list of atrocities committed under the guise of representative democracy is extensive, as anyone concerned in analyzing the actions of governments in the West can ascertain. If it was our wish, we could bombard the airwaves with images of suffering people from around the world, and swiftly link their pain to the corrupt institutions of government we have accepted as legitimate. With similar ease, we could trace the wealth accumulated by a small minority of ruthless economic elites to their governmental bonds. But I see little need in contributing to this exercise considering the amount of relevant information already available. Instead, I find it more useful to speculate about what happens next. I am fairly confident that is what those bearing the brunt of our inhumanity must wonder. Will we end the bombs? Will we stop the banks? Will we transform our democracies?
What a meaningless term democracy has become when uttered under the context of our 21st century Western reality. Do we really think the democracy we live embodies the dream our ancestors thought they were fighting for? I do not think it does. I think instead that Western democracy, the democracy of imperial expansion, embodies the violence and misery it claims to diffuse. The tragic thing is that many Western citizens one speaks to make similar observations; yet, the wheel continues to turn and its movement destroys many innocents. How can the wheel stop, when the citizenry goes along for the ride? When there is little will to change direction?
Let us take for example the self-proclaimed left-wing progressives of the United States. Imbued by arrogance and complacency, two years ago, they went along with the message of hope communicated by the now president of the United States. Their strategic plan was to vote Mr. Obama into office, and then convince him to act on their wishes for a better world. Their argument being that he represented the lesser of the two evils. In retrospect, one can see that he was not the lesser of the two evils; he was a different evil representing the same class interests, with different rhetoric and face. Nevertheless, the progressive embrace of yet another criminal into the office of the United States has served to fuel and legitimize once again, the Nation’s expansionary venture of military violence and legalized capitalist crime.
With the year coming to a close, one can only assume that either these so called progressives made a strategic blunder, or they had no will for real change. I am inclined to believe that the choice was made to continue with the charade because there is no will for a paradigmatic change. But these are big words, and for this reason, many will discard what I have to say. So in order to at least begin the process of describing the kinds of actions, which I think are needed for a paradigm change to take place, below I will present a few suggestions a wilful citizenry can undertake in the coming year in order to stop the inhumanity that today has become the norm.
Global General Strike
If there was indeed a true sense of solidarity and responsibility, those around the world who claim to fight for the betterment of the human experience on earth, could begin 2011, with an attempt to coordinate a Global General strike. A strike for peace and equality, in which workers refuse to work until everyone on earth is guaranteed equal social rights to shelter, food, and medicine. In the century of globalized capital, only a globalized citizens movement can effectively ward-off the ruthless attacks coming from the capitalist class. One does not need to be a Marxist in order to understand this. Reading the day’s headlines of any mainstream newspaper clearly reveals the ruthless game being played by those running our capitalist economies.
Removing Our Money from the Banks
Another action that could prove useful in 2011 would be for those interested in real change to undergo a coordinated action of removing their money from banks. During the current global financial crisis it has become blatantly clear to what extent our money in the bank is serving to finance our own material and moral impoverishment. Why would we be interested in continuing to finance our own demise?
Refusal to Pay Taxes
The next action which I would suggest would be a globally coordinated effort to encourage citizens to stop paying the proportion of their taxes used for financing military ventures. Contrary to what we are led to believe, there is no such thing as a benevolent army. Soldiers are trained to kill, and that is what they are doing around the world on a daily basis. Let us stop it if we really want change.
Staging a hunger strike for peace with the collaboration of millions of concerned citizens from around the world would certainly force governments to revise their continued militarization. A Gandhian inspired strike of this type in which those who refuse war are willing to suffer in themselves in order for things to change could have a great impact. Imagine students, workers and retirees from around the world, together succumbing to such a painful ordeal in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in conflict zones, where our governments are destroying people’s existence.
If you do not agree with the candidates presenting themselves to the next election, please do not vote for the lesser of the two evils. It is the surest way to avoid any meaningful change. If you have doubts about this, look at what Obama’s message of hope and change has amounted to.
I did not invent any of these tactics, so I claim no originality, I am just one more concerned Western citizen, using the internet while we still have it available for this kind of dialogue, in order to ask publicly the question I often ask myself: What must we do if we hope for change? I understand that many will disagree with my suggestions, and indeed might be offended by the tactics I propose, but if you really want change and you are not seeing it, tell me what we can do. As far as I am concerned, our current collective path is the path of No-Hope and No-Change, and I refuse to be a part of the charade. Let us hope next year is a little more humane.