Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Removal: The Real Form of Protest

I have to hand it to Flashpoints and Pacifica Radio for doing a kick-ass job laying out the colossal mess our financial markets are in -- telling us who the key players are, what the WTO has to do with it (pressuring Brazil to de-regulate their banks, like we did, for one...), and what the hell we can do about it.

One of the things the guest on the show pointed out today was that people continue to protest over deregulation and the abuse of power by banks. But while they're demonstrating and holding a protest sign high in the air, a corporate credit card is bumping around in their wallet.

Greed still pays -- and guess who's paying? Us -- when we allow these large banks to leverage the pithy savings in our bank accounts against bad loans and hedged credit. When we protest outside of Bank of America, we perpetuate the myth that these corporations have power over us. Truth is, whoever holds the cash has the power. So the first step in the real war of resistance is not to demonstrate, but to remove our pithy savings from their coffers.

These corporations only have power because we give it to them.

And people are the same. A shaman or a charming soothsayer is only as powerful as the people who follow him -- however blindly.

Lately i and some of my people have been coming to terms with other people's falls from grace. We all know people we've believed were demigods; maybe they're old lovers, or maybe they're old friends.

At times we've believed so deeply in these people's power that we've refused to stand up for ourselves and demand the dignity that everyone deserves. We've put up with so many injustices from these so-called demigods, because certainly they must be smarter, more charming, more deserving of love and respect than ourselves.

When we finally realize that it's all pathetic bravado, the temptation is to tell them how pathetic they are, as publicly as possible.

But that's just like protesting outside the glassy towers of Bank of America. Our attention to these people's injustices simply validates their existence, and their power, when our energies should really be spent moving away as quickly as possible from the source of injustice. When someone mistreats you or turns their back on you or doles out a series of small yet overwhelming gestures of disrespect, don't waste your breath railing at them about how bad they are. Just leave them behind.

And start leaving your savings under the mattress.

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