Time for Outrage! Indignez-vous!
(If ya reckon it looks too long to read, just light it on fire and inhale; you’ll get the drift of the bitch-fest, lol.; actions are at the end.)
Longtime French social activist, ardent promoter of human rights, and author Stéphane Hessel died at age 95 on Feb. 26, shortly after his last television interview. At the start of WW II he fled collaborationist France for London and began working with the French Resistance movement. Arrested by the Gestapo in 1944, he was put in a concentration camp, where he was brutally tortured; he eventually escaped.
After the war, as a diplomat, he helped to co-author the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and became a champion of Palestinian and immigrant rights and dignity.
In 2010, as the Eurozone crisis was heating up, he penned the pamphlet Indignez-vous! (pronunciation here), or Time for Outrage! in order to imbue the young folks of France and Europe at large to resist the vicious oppression of citizens by the financial class with the same fervor that had fueled the Resistance. It sold in the millions in 35 countries, and is said to have been responsible for the term being used by the Indignados in Spain, and to have underpinned the election of François Hollande and Occupy movements globally. He wrote:
“Ninety-three years old. The last leg of my journey. The end is in sight. I am lucky to be able to seize the time I have left to reflect on my lifelong commitment to politics: the Resistance and the program designed sixty-six years ago by the National Council of the Resistance.
It’s time to take over! It’s time to get angry! . . . Let us not be defeated by the tyranny of the world financial markets that threaten peace and democracy everywhere. I wish all of you to find your reason for indignation. This is a precious thing.
The power of money which the resistance fought so hard against has never been as great and selfish and shameless as it is now. To the young, I say, look around you and you will find things that vindicate your outrage; to you who will create the 21st century we say with affection, to create is to resist, to resist is to create.”
Indignant? Outraged? Why, yes, thank you, Stéphane; don’t mind if I do tick off a few a few of the vindications for my being stuck in high dudgeon. Keep in mind that some of these items may also produce fear, but far better to be furious; it spurs action, not reticence, as fear tends to.
We recently discovered that our President, via his DoJ flack, can imagine ‘emergency scenarios’ in which he might assassinate citizens on US soil by drone, and refuses to give Congress the purported legal justifications for killing one of us abroad, much less the American public. He has at least let us know that anyone deemed an enemy of the state can be held indefinitely, and in secret if we manage to somehow offend the government. That the Senate is filled with Democrats who fund and often profit from the war and Empire machine, and overwhelmingly voted to confirm King of the Drones John Brennan to head the CIA, while the putative left’s favorite enemy Rand Paul filibustered his nomination in attempt to get him and Obomba to answer questions on potential domestic American targets…nauseates me. Two Democrats voted Nay; even Ron Wyden who had helped Paul’s filibuster…voted Aye; the nation yawns. Librul Fascists.
It disgusts me that after the post-meltdown of Wall Street, and Obomba’s signing ‘the most comprehensive regulatory bill in recent history’, more derivatives are being sold by the big banks than ever, and their total exposures can only be speculative. The new bubble will burst like the last bubble, and guess who will be on the hook for bailing them out? Lemon Socialism.
My eyes and ears spout steam when I think of the humans that lost their houses in one of the biggest public swindles in history, and yet the fraudsters who profited so mightily haven’t been held one jot accountable, unless you call some minor fines justice. Lanny Breuer’s ‘deferred prosecutions’ for documentable corruption, fraud, rate-fixing in the mind-numbing LIBOR scandal, and even bank money laundering for nations under US sanctions cause a similar reaction in me. Justice denied.
That the Federal Reserve’s endless virtual money-printing has caused the DOW to re-inflate to pre-2008 levels gravels me; but that in contrast, recent figures show that 40% of American families make less than $20,000 a year makes me livid, as does the fact that the top 1% in the US owns 40% of the wealth; the bottom 80% owns a paltry 7%. Banks receive near-zero interest loans, park the government bonds they buy at the Fed at 3%, and make money. The TBTF’s are sitting on trillions, not loaning to Main Street, awaiting the next bubble. Blood money.
It appalls me that inner city schools are closing at an alarming rate and are being ‘replaced’ by corporatized charter schools that provide for a loss of local control as one of the strings that come with the likely temporary grants to create them; Bill Gates calls it ‘reform’; Arne Duncan and Obomba seem to agree. Many schools and municipalities were severely impacted by toxic interest rate swaps; no one has gone to jail. The Education President.
Aggregate American student loan debt is about to reach the $1 trillion mark. None of those loans can be made part of bankruptcy settlements; now that most jobs added to the economy pay the minimum wage, few students will be able to keep up with the interest payments, much less pay them off. If the increases in college tuition continue apace, it’s not hard to imagine that soon only the wealthy will be able to afford college for their kids; self-funding students will become a thing of the past. ‘Ya want fries with that?’
It should be enraging to every American that so many children go to bed hungry, or go to school without breakfast now that many schools are being forced into shutting down their free breakfast programs (even if most of the foods their parents could buy easily is denatured processed, non-nutritious, health-damaging junk, full of empty calories, and calcium-stealing, diabetes-causing GMO high-fructose corn syrup). It galls me that no one knows how many children live in cars with their parents, or indeed how many homeless there are now. Race to the Top.
It infuriates me that this Democratic president constructed a Congressional scenario in which the public safety net and Social Security are about to take major hits that will further impoverish and endanger vast numbers of us, and who have no one looking out for our interests. The Expendables.
Stir in the preferential treatment and subsidies that extractive mineral companies receive while they decimate the planet’s health in the name of the bottom line, sprinkle on Obomba’s stated plans to expedite the approval process for more mining, drilling, and planetary rape, including plans to underwrite loans for more nuclear power plants while the clean-up at the Hansford Reservation goes begging for funds, and yes; all of us might be aggravated. ‘Clean coal, clean fracked natural gas, clean nukes, tarsands oil crucial to US energy demands’; all lies. Morning in America.
Round 16 of the TTP ‘negotiations’ began Monday in Singapore, with at least 400 corporate ‘advisors’ aiming to bypass sovereign laws and create horrific effects for the 99% in signatory nations. Just one provision is here. Yes, sign another petition demanding the President allow us to see the language under consideration. He’s fast-tracking the trade deals as per his SOTUS. Transparency Redacted.
Good Guy whistleblowers in jail while War Criminals run free; why shouldn’t we? Under their faux legal justifications, should we able to detain them indefinitely for treason?
Lies for war-mongering, lies for Empire, as AFRICOM is on the march; lies about brown and black civilian deaths by drone assassination, lies about fast-tracked pharmaceuticals, many of which are killing people or causing their own bodily breakdowns. Lies about the dangers of GMOs, and total failure to fund independent studies of their emerging dangers in ten different ways. Lies about fiscal cliffs and invented financial crises that will heist more of the fruits of our labor to the 1%. Lies about ‘recovery’; lies about unemployment numbers… Fuck the lies; all I want is some truth.
No, that’s not all I want; not by a long shot. I lied. But it would be a good start. Now for some antidotes:
In February, Paul Mason wrote that those who consider that the Arab Spring was a flash in the pan are dead wrong, and that there has been a global change in consciousness, even though politicians are unable to ‘swerve toward a critique of capitalism’, millions of citizens now intuit that it’s necessary. Mason discusses social networking, horizontalism, a feminism that didn’t translate to ‘all women’’, self-obsessed ‘process, and much more. He quotes Slavoj Zizek having said, “There is a danger. Don’t fall in love with yourselves. What matters is the day after, when we will have to return to normal lives. Will there be any changes then?” Mason says Occupy has in fact done so since the days the Oligarchs via the White House and FBI shut down the encampments on The Commons. And beyond the solidarity, the memes, symbols, the rejection of the Elites, and the humor of the movement which still stand, and have changed the conversation globally, is this:
Two years ago I identified the defining character of this protest generation as follows: “People have a better understanding of power. The activists have read their Chomsky and their Hardt-Negri, but the ideas therein have become mimetic. Young people believe the issues are no longer class and economics, but simply power: they are clever to the point of expertise in knowing how to mess up hierarchies and see the various ‘revolutions’ in their own lives as part of an ‘exodus’ from oppression, not – as previous generations did – as a ‘diversion into the personal’.”
If I could list only one and not 20 reasons why it is still kicking off, it would be the rise of the networked individual colliding with the economic crisis. Something fundamental has happened – a shift in human consciousness and behaviour as momentous as that triggered by the arrival of mass consumption and mass culture in the 1900s.
As is (thank the gods) happening with the increased solidarity with the Idle No More indigenous (with women at the forefront of the movement), Arundahati Roy writes at the CultureJammers HQ:
Most important of all, India has a surviving adivasi (aboriginal) population of almost 100 million. They are the ones who still know the secrets of sustainable living. If they disappear, they will take those secrets with them. [snip]
The day capitalism is forced to tolerate non-capitalist societies in its midst and to acknowledge limits in its quest for domination, the day it is forced to recognize that its supply of raw material will not be endless, is the day when change will come.
If there is any hope for the world at all, it does not live in climate-change conference rooms or in cities with tall buildings. It lives low down on the ground, with its arms around the people who go to battle every day to protect their forests, their mountains and their rivers because they know that the forests, the mountains and the rivers protect them.
The first step toward re-imagining a world gone terribly wrong would be to stop the annihilation of those who have a different imagination – an imagination that is outside of capitalism as well as communism. An imagination which has an altogether different understanding of what constitutes happiness and fulfillment.
To gain this philosophical space, it is necessary to concede some physical space for the survival of those who may look like the keepers of our past but who may really be the guides to our future. To do this, we have to ask our rulers: Can you leave the waters in the rivers, the trees in the forest? Can you leave the bauxite in the mountain? If they say they cannot, then perhaps they should stop preaching morality to the victims of their wars.
From the Answer Coalition: ‘Be part of the action on Saturday, April 13 at the White House: U.S. drones out of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and everywhere!’
Join Strike Debt for a Week of Action to Declare a Healthcare Emergency: It’s a Matter of “Life or Debt”, March 16 – March 23
From La Via Campesina: March 26-30, the World Social Forum will be held in Tunis: Stop Land Grabbing, Reject GMO seeds, Develop Food Sovereignty
Occupy the Department of Education in DeeCee April 4-7. The movement to end corporate education ‘reform’ and opt out of high stakes student testing.
Also from La Via Campesina: April 17: International Day of Peasant’s Struggles: Resist the Commercialization of Nature and Stop Land Grabbing! (including seeds, water, soil, extractive minerals, etc.; fighting the introduction to GMOs)
Bonus: Remarks on Consensus from David Graeber via OWS
Get righteously angry and create a better world! Create a space for Peace and Light in your soul as you travel your chosen road. And dance while you take action in any ways that are available to you to subvert the Machine, even within your own circles of acquaintances. No good effort is ever wasted.