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Protests in the Face of Reality
“Welcome back’s” are in order I am presuming after having taken a few days off from writing, thanks for sticking around. As some of you may know or figured out from social media, we opened a new restaurant this past weekend and truthfully, my brain and body are still frazzled, but luckily I have had a day off today ( Monday ) that allowed me to tune back into our world at large.
A lot has happened here in the self proclaimed West over the last week that triggered my interests but mostly, it all can be wrapped up in one over arching arch: their profit margins are shrinking and with that repressive, authoritarianism is being brought back to the centre stage to keep us peasants in line, producing and consuming. Granted, that has been the case since the end of the Cold War but even I are bristling with rage at the audacity of our so called leaders right across the Western Empire. From the seeming insanity across the board North America, to the usual fascist corruption here in Europe to Erdoğan being re-elected and the subsequent violence that entails, “they” sure have been firing from all cylinders, stoking their smoke show with new and old slef manufactured culture wars to distract from their corruption and greed. Make no mistake, none of these bastards actually have an ideology to debate, other than greed but that’s what this reality, this freedom bringing capitalism is all about in the first place. We all know that.
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On that note though, a few thoughts have been tickling my brain these last few hours that we will tackle this week - yes, regular publishing schedule and all -, knowing me, by some history rather than philosophical work and they are as follows: None of their shenanigans are new and we, as in us, have employed similar tactics around the world hoping to correct their greed and subsequent violence inherent in such greed with protests and with that, I mean all types, violent, non-violent etc. However, and increasingly so, these no longer have effect, on policy, public opinion, harm reduction, reform nor revolution.
Let’s face it, even by the most centrist definitions our so called beacons of freedom are anything but. As far as I am concerned we merely exist in a badly written Hollywood script of democracy, but even when we argue within the bourgeoisie framework, we all have reasons to protest. Broadly speaking we are experiencing several key points on the road to the fascist capitalist theme ride such as the erosion of fundamental Rights and Freedoms: When a democracy starts to curtail or undermine fundamental rights and freedoms, such as freedom of speech, assembly, press, and the right to participate in free and fair elections, it shows its ugly face that it tries to hide behind the onslaught of propaganda. Additionally, the concentration of power in the hands of a few Capitalists and the logical erosion of Checks and Balances is here, now, not in the near future. When power becomes concentrated in the hands of a few individuals or groups, and there is a weakening of checks and balances, including an independent judiciary, a free press, and autonomous oversight institutions, it leads to where we are now: fucked without any real power in their system.
The suppression of all political opposition work, especially that outside of our parliaments is a reality already. Just last week, the radicalised wing of Fridays for Future here in Germany, the Last Generation, was confronted with the reality that government figured them for terrorists and had 15 homes searched by Anti-Terror Swat Teams. Teenagers that glue themselves on roads. Democracies thrive on vibrant political competition and the ability of diverse voices to participate freely and quite frankly, that luxury is over. Again, important to note that when the state and their cops don’t fuck with you, they’re not afraid of you. And they should be.
I could go, the list, even within the bourgeoisie concept of reality the mask of “freedom” is off and the question remains, what tools do we have at our disposal, now, to counteract the state’s violence directed at us to maintain capitalism.
Plenty, and some of it even notable, has been written about why past protests have failed and I am not here to admonish any of it. The issue with analysis, as worthwhile as it is, is two-fold: one, it is always subjective and situational. Meaning, it takes place after the fact and is never objective, sadly, and secondly, it is very specific about why a certain movement failed - they all usually do, unless you are fascist being back by your area’s industrialists- in short term, those bastards have a thing going for them. The point is this: all injustices that we are experiencing are man made by products and necessities upon which the construct of capitalism is built. And yet, protests fail and I believe we longer have the time, or rather the luxury of time to allow them to happen. Now, I am too old to still believe in large, nation wide revolutions as I did 30 years ago, the actual definition of revolution has morphed and evolved since then and I am certain it will continue to do so as I get older and that I believe is good. Statics become reactionaries quicker than any of us can give up and sell out.
Rather than boring you with reasons why protests fail though, the rest of the week will be spent on examining tactics and historic realities that have worked, and “worked” is a definition I will get into also. For the time being and today, a few hard learned facts about protesting, sticking it to the man, building, maintaining and growing power.
When protest fails to bring about policy change, there are alternative options outside of parliamentary activities that individuals and groups can explore. It is important to note that the moral acceptability of these options may vary depending on the specific circumstances and the principles of those involved. Here are a few examples:
Direct Action and Civil Disobedience: Direct action involves engaging in nonviolent and violent acts of disruption or civil disobedience to draw attention to an issue and pressure those in power to address it. This can include sit-ins, strikes, blockades, or occupying public spaces, for example. Direct action aims to create a sense of urgency and disrupt the normal functioning of society, often leading to increased public awareness and potential policy shifts - yet, important to note, without a media infrastructure, raising awareness is a failed tactic. In case, you wondered why social media is dead and irrelevant.
Grassroots Organizing and Community Empowerment: Working at the grassroots level to mobilize communities, build coalitions, and empower marginalized groups is a powerful way to bring about change. This involves organizing educational campaigns, community-led initiatives, mutual aid networks, and providing resources to support those affected by unjust policies. By fostering a sense of collective power and building alternative systems, grassroots efforts can challenge existing power structures.
Additionally, boycotts and divestment campaigns target corporations or entities supporting policies or practices deemed unjust work. We are dealing with capitalists and their Stockholm Syndrome Fan Boys and hitting them where it hurts, their wallets, is a powerful tool. By leveraging economic pressure, these campaigns aim to force change by affecting the financial bottom line of those involved.
In some cases, frustrated by the limitations of existing democratic structures, communities may explore alternative forms of governance and decision-making processes. Participatory democracy initiatives, community councils, and cooperative models provide opportunities for people to have a direct say in shaping policies and priorities at a local level, bypassing traditional parliamentary channels. Personally, a big fan of these, even though they demand a lot of energy.
Also, engaging in international advocacy efforts can bring attention to local issues on a global scale. Again, building alliances with like-minded groups and activists from different countries, leveraging international human rights mechanisms, and seeking support from international organizations can help amplify the voices of those advocating for change and exert pressure on policymakers.
To be clear, the beginning is not only near, it is here and no matter how you feel about the work that needs to be done, at the very least, we owe it and furthermore, it needs to get done. These bastards have had it for the past 500 years and their time is over. Ours is now and here’s to burning bricks, hopeful futures and world without need or want.
See you back here Wednesday.