Upwards of eighty percent of the people recognize that they have essentially no representation in government. They appreciate the political process for the sham it is and many of them refuse to participate in it. In the process they allow a small minority to elect people to office, some of them as servants to the people, others not.
Let us proceed upon the assumption that all persons are created equal. Therefore, all people should be treated accordingly, regardless of their income, property holdings, race, sex or creed. Assuming that a great majority accept this credo, we must then recognize that the current system does not operate upon this principle. It favors those with wealth over people without wealth. It offers privileges and advantages to a small percentage of the citizenry that it does not accord to the great majority. Thus it is a paradigm that is inherently unjust and unequal. At this point we must ask ourselves: Do we believe in such a system? If we do not, then we must ask: Does an unjust system deserve and warrant our support?
Let it be understood that any system based upon a paradigm of inequity, and therefore injustice, cannot be reformed. Capitalism is an economic and social system based upon private wealth, not the commonwealth. It is inherently unstable and unsustainable .because it is based upon the idea of private greed and waste. The result is that power and wealth is concentrated into the hands of the few by exploiting the many, and by destroying the earth. It is the philosophical basis for trickle down economics that gives plenty to those at the top, much less to those immediately below the top, and virtually nothing to those at the bottom. Those at the top stand upon the shoulders of everyone below the top, which is an enormous burden for them to bear. This is also the psychological underpinning of plutocratic rule.
No matter how good the intentions of the thousands or millions of first-rate people operating in good faith within that system, it is inherently unfair and unjust. It cannot produce equity or justice because it was not designed to operate in this way. Expecting a different result than the kind we always get is like asking an oak tree to produce oranges. However we might wish it possible, it is not going to happen. Oaks can only produce acorns --the seeds of their own kind.
Tremendous amounts of energy and capital are spent waiting for our oaks to produce oranges, as the inequity gap continues to widen and the system spins wildly out of control. Meanwhile, the infection deepens and spreads violence and imperialism throughout the world, setting a chain of events in motion that has the potential to destroy us all. Under capitalism the rich are parasites that prey upon the labor of the poor; they continually bleed them dry and treat them as mere servants. War rages wherever there is social and economic injustice with its staggering cost in capital, misery, environmental degradation and appalling loss of life. In very simplistic terms, this is nothing more than the output of the input. Injustice can never create justice; inequity will never produce equity. If we believe in getting a better result, we must find a better paradigm such as Democratic Socialism.
So we come to the realization that the political process does not, and cannot work for us --the great majority of the citizens. It plays us against one another and distracts us from recognizing the root causes of injustice that is the source of our misery. Thus we come to realize that we do not live in a democracy, as we are so recklessly told; we live in a Plutocracy --a system in which those with wealth rule those without wealth. That is the kind of government we have. Let us have it no more. If the form of government we have offers little benefit to us, or does us great and irreparable harm, why should we support it? Plutocratic government does not and cannot liberate us --it enslaves us.
Nearly ninety percent of us have no more freedom from endless toil and sacrifice than the slave on the plantation. Under the enormous and oppressive weight of capitalism, we are nothing more than the property of our employers, who can and do terminate us at will without just cause or provocation. The system that created slavery is incapable of emancipating its slaves. The genius of the wage slave system is that the great majority of its subjects do not realize that they are in fact slaves to fraudulent corporate and plutocratic power.
We must also recognize that no political party, regardless how well intentioned it is, represents us by operating within the existing framework of capitalism, or wage slavery. The only representation we have is ourselves. Our power cannot come from the system that produces our misery and suffering; it can only come from without. We the people are our own power; but only if we act. It was this realization that gave organized labor and the civil rights movements their impetus for social justice. True grass roots movements understand that their power lies in direct action, not in waiting for corrupt leaders to give us what is already ours under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We must assert our rights, here and now, and without compromise. Nothing is given without a demand. We cannot cure one part of a diseased body --we must cure the whole organism in order to give it health.
The neocon cabal that is in power will not voluntarily step down. They must be forcefully removed from power by demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience on a massive scale. Let me stress that these demonstrations and marches are to be non-violet. Violence begets violence. These must not be sporadic events --they must be frequent, widespread and economically disruptive. As workers, our greatest weapon has always been to withhold our labor through the general strike, as well as our refusal to consume beyond the most basic necessities.
We have but a brief window of opportunity to organize and to mobilize against our oppressors, before dissent is criminalized and punishable by imprisonment. Beyond the Rubicon dissenters will be imprisoned and every channel of free and open communication will be commandeered and subverted to the service of empire. This is already happening on a large scale. Unless we appreciate the approaching danger and act to defend our human rights and our dignity, we will quickly reach the point of no return. We stand now at the brink of the Rubicon wondering how to proceed.
As we put our bodies on the line we will suffer many defeats and indignities. These events must be so widespread that even the commercial media cannot afford to ignore them. There will be beatings and attacks upon us. Our oppressors must be exposed and revealed for who and what they are. The world will be our witness. So great will be the force of worldwide opposition to this brutal conduct, that its perpetrators will be forced to relinquish their hold on power. This is the only way to bring the system down and give power to the people.
At this point a brief clarification is in order: Giving power is a misnomer. Power is never given; it is taken, or asserted. Let us take that which is rightfully ours and use it for the public good. We cannot afford to wait for our acorns to evolve into oranges. The window of opportunity is rapidly closing. It may not be available to us tomorrow.
Regimes such as the Bush cabal have always plagued America They are a recurring cancer that pervades every cell of society. They recur because we are treating symptoms, not underlying causes. A few decades ago it was Nixon and his henchmen. The cancer replicates itself through the capitalistic system of inherent inequity. The time has come to treat the disease, to rid ourselves of its scourge for all eternity, rather than treating the symptoms manifested in the present moment of crises. Otherwise, history is doomed to repeat itself in endless replicating cycles of want and waste and human misery. A long road to industrial and personal emancipation awaits our eager footsteps. Let the journey begin.
Charles Sullivan is a photographer and free lance writer living in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. He welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.