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Using privilege; Not getting used

The games we all play.
On the phone a few nights ago, my father said oh it's okay, I'll keep on supporting you like I've been doing. When pressed to elaborate, he stated that he pays taxes, & I get food stamps.

He's right. But I made a point to him that he doesn't HAVE to pay taxes. Nobody does. Or go to work. Or have THINGS. In fact, if everyone stopped participating in this system that so many grumble & get stressed about, it would collapse. Then freedom & Earth-sustainability might really, finally come true.

(Instead of how the world is now, where over 95% of the substance of paid labor is not directly connected to one's survival, such as the many paper-shuffling jobs. Survival=having access to organic, whole food; clean water; clean air; free, safe, natural medical care; shelter & clothing appropriate to the climate; freedom from mental/physical slavery in all its forms; real community; living in a symbiotic balance with the environment; true inner peace.)

Of course, I don't NEED food stamps. There's Food Not Bombs, soup kitchens, food boxes, & dumpster diving (all of which I've participated in on many occasions.) But Food Not Bombs is once a day a few times per week; around here, soup kitchens are once per day on weekdays only; food boxes are filled with FDA-approved cans (government cheese: why don't poor ppl have the right to clean, organic, GMO-free, healthy food?); & the majority of dumpsters in this supposedly progressive, yuppified town are purposely locked.

But hey. I could still get by just fine without the (pretentious, reluctant) support of the Amerikan taxpayer. In this country, the $3/day of food stamps to survive on is basically crumbs. Principally, I choose to use this system because it has used us & would continue to do so if allowed. In fact, it wears on us in so many other ways as it is.

I tell ppl that once they know the malignancy of saying "yes" to a certain entity--acquiescing & cooperating because of instant gratification, because of willful ignorance--they deserve whatever consequences they get. You are always saying "yes" to your friends although your gut tells you not to. You pay taxes although you know the majority of it has ALWAYS gone to military business interests: even though you know that I am sort of benefitting from this fucked up system that really should not to be entrusted with sentient beings' lives, a system that tries to destroy everything in its devious way, & I am going to live a life of relative freedom, in the meantime, working for revolution & sustainably while you work your ass off for that item that is destroying lives on Earth as I type this.

You DO have the will & the strength, the responsibility & the power to say "NO!"

Know that bumpersticker that says "Work harder: Millions on welfare are depending on you."? Oh, boo hoo. Bet I know who inspired that instigation to further class war.

I have the privilege of being from an upper-middle class, university-educated, white new-Amerikan background. I know it is fucked. There are ppl born into welfare. They don't want to be there. They want THINGS, god knows why. Maybe they believe the well-paid, PR firm hype.

The point is that if you ARE from a place of relative privilege & you are still going to complain about your (and, subsequently/consequently, the world's) fucked up situation but not actually do anything revolutionary to counter the misery, you deserve whatever you get. I have no sympathy for you anymore.

Ya basta!
you sure are using that privledge! 02.Feb.2004 17:55

j

I'm not going to assume that you mean to sound as condesending as all that comes off. In fact, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and hope you actually are doing something revolutionary, which you just didn't happen to talk about in your post.

One thing I'm not going to do, though, is agree with you.

The system will not just fall apart if a few privledged people "drop out". It won't even fall apart if suddenly everyone in the country understood the nature of capitalism and this culture of cunsumption. Why not? Because unlike you, some people will be FORCED into line. Taken off the street for loitering, put in prison to sew shoes or construct chairs. Breaking people out of prison in the US, with a strategy for the future, would be a revolutionary act.

People in many other countries feel the grind on their backbones as us relatively rich consumers walk all over them. They feel the grind and the weight whether we are talking on a cell phone, gardening our backyards in our hip and liberating clothes, or being a bike punk on food stamps feeling free. Tearing down the borders and targeting oppresive trade mechanisms, with a strategy for the future, would be revolutionary acts.

Some people are born with a gold spoon in their mouth, and they feel so individually liberated when they can declare independence from their parents and decry "stuff" at the same time. Other people are born on welfare, in prison, working poor, or any number of other things, and have to struggle to live. Have to struggle against the pervasive message coming from every direction that you're worthless, trash, street scum, etc. Maybe eating out of dumpters would just feel like you're validating society's perception of them. Liberating resources from the richest five percent of the people and business ventures and funneling it into grassroots revolutionary organizaitons would be a revolutionary act.

You seem to have your own picture of utopia in your head. Everything works in theory, I guess, but if I were you I would check reality every now and then, so that you're not running over other people in reality. The "types" of people you have in your head are not really reflective of my experience. Poor people are not all either on welfare or mindless consmer whores. I was really offended that you implied that you were a more enlightened poor person than someone born on welfare, on the basis that they want "stuff". If you think about it, maybe the only difference is that you don't have to stress to have access to "stuff".

Revolution is not a twelve step self help program to make you feel better in this fucked up world. Revolution will get us and all our communities free from the prisons, poverty, and degradation that are put in place by the state to destroy us.

Food is a right 4 all 02.Feb.2004 18:42

stop corporate waste

Everyone needs to have healthy organic whole food available, especially when so much is thrown out by stores and restaurants on a daily basis. Monoculture agribusiness is equally wasteful, often letting excess food go 2 waste, including stolen river water (Rio Colorado)..

Food stamps, SSDI and welfare are state measures to prevent food riots and proleteriat uprisings. If people recieve regular payments from government, they may be less likely to organize 4 any real change..

Capitalism in USA is responsible 4 majority of food thrown out daily. If places would not discard food, people wouldn't have 2 search through garbage cans..

Being hungry is not a crime, being wasteful is..

to j 02.Feb.2004 19:11

w.o.e

I don't agree.

And just because I didn't go into the other acts I do, doesn't mean I don't do revolutionary acts. The piece would've gone on forever.

anti-capitalist 02.Feb.2004 20:32

anti-capitalist

being a working poor person, i dont believe that anyone is taking care of me when the state provides minimal social services. through my work and exploitation, i am supporting those who benefit from this capitalist system. im paying their bills through my exploited work. thats how people get rich, they steal other peoples labor.

Come up with a way for people to have security without The System ... 03.Feb.2004 10:47

CaptainPlanet

... and the average American might be more into the idea. People are afraid of what would happen without their Police, etc. If you look at the way people on average tend to act when there is no threat of consequences, and it's obvious that society isn't ready for anything drastically anarchistic. Any ideas?

another burgiouse anarchist 03.Feb.2004 13:43

Cannon

Let me get this straight; you don`t believe in government, but you get food stamps? Probably taking them away from someone who really needs them, instead of an anarchist who is pretending to be poor until he gets tired of it and uses his privelige to get wealthy again.
It is impossible to completely drop out of the system, so don`t try. You aren`t going to get everyone to do it, and, as was already mentioned, it just wouldn`t work. It just so happens that the way things are run now, you can drop out of it. But think of the rest of the world. You try telling a Nicaraguan campesino that he should just dumpster dive to feed his family.
Fight the government, don`t ignore it. Governments have a way of making you pay attention to them, like guns, prison, etc.
J, thank you for your comment, I agree and won`t repeat it.

read again 03.Feb.2004 14:54

harp

J and Cannon, read again you dumb@$$es. Seems like you're both jumping to a bunch of conclusions.

what assumptions, smartass? 03.Feb.2004 17:40

jumping bean

Did you ever hear that story where the Queen's subjects are all starving to death, and she opens up her ballroom window to see piles of corpses on the ground below her. She gasps and says, " what, they have no bread? Let them eat cake!"

I have nothing against every individual trying to find happiness in life. But when that poses as "revolution", it makes me frustrated. I assumed nothing about what the poster was saying. I just rejected the idea that the established order will just "fall" as a result of our non-participation. And i rejected the posters assertion of superiority over the people who are "born on welfare and want stuff". I think the post is just trying to give people cake when we are in a famine. I'm hungry for freedom for my whole community, and I'm not going to take someone's personal liberation from his/her rich parents as a substitute.

I wish I could espouse the ideas of "be-it-now" revolution. I wish I could believe that if we all just chilled out and quit our jobs, we would stop being both slaves and the tools of others' enslavement. Unfortunitally, faced with the immediate threat of my people rotting in prison, cops shooting my friends and neighbors, kids dying of exposure and starvation on the streets around me... I've got to come to the conclusion that such utopianism is shortisighted and bound to be blindsided by the state if it ever becomes too popular.

If this post is about revolution, let's talk about the real bread- homes, food, employment and connection to community for all, free of coercion and the economics of slavery. Let's talk about supporting decentralized militias standing up and taking down the state and its enforcers. Lets talk about how we can start bringing in strategy to the work we do, and building a broader struggle/

If this post is about coping mechanisms or feeling better in the belly of the beast, that's fine. Just don't play it like "revolution", because it's not.

j

flame wars 03.Feb.2004 19:55

sheesh

I believe the original post implied what the author is doing in the meantime of being revolutionary. This may be just another one of his/her acts in that vein. True, he/she doesn't go into his/her background or elaborate on certain aspects, but it does seem as though J and Cannon have taken off on it, although I respect their comments.

I think I get the gist of the essay, and I support it. If nothing else, it's so to not be divisive with the people who create the numbers we need for a really successful revolt, which I also believe wastes time and energy.

Oh! They're too extreme! I am the voice of moderation 03.Feb.2004 22:30

!uh? mnmnmnmnm

If I brought my drums down to food not bombs and we made a ruckus, and maybee got drunk, would that make you feel better?
sheesh.

Would it make the starving men and women living in the prisons we call reservations feel better?

"I think I get the gist of the essay, and I support it. If nothing else, it's so to not be divisive with the people who create the numbers we need for a really successful revolt, which I also believe wastes time and energy."
-sheesh.

"it's so to not be divisive with the people who create the numbers we need for a really successful revolt"

"which I also believe wastes time and energy"

Given the choice between the societal rewards of revolution, and it's cost to our lifestyles I'd think the choice would be clear.

people will do anything 04.Feb.2004 10:16

to avoid talking about

Revolution! We talk about single issues all the time, we talk about lifestyle, food, and how ugly and mean the politicians are. But, even as organizations in town, there are very very few conversations about revolutionary strategy. I agree with cannon and mnmnmn and j- lots of people in town wear "revolution" like just another punk patch, or just another cool hairdo. It's a fucking fashion statement to some, so you betcha it is surface level. And that is SO unfair to the millions under occupation( inside and outside US) who are hopeing and waiting for some realy solidarity.

This probably isn't the place to hold a real conversation about broader strategy. the conversation should probably be made up of people who are accountable to someone- like a spokes meeting. or maybe some individuals could just kinda make a pact and agree to all go out and instigate the conversation amongst all the groups they have contact with...

Also, just for politeness and clarity: could those people who accused cannon and j of "jumping to conclusions" and "going off" please explain what exactly they assumed? I don't see it. And what exactly does the post-er not agree with? I don't get it. If you could talk about their arguments directly maybe we'd get somewhere.

and now the most clear thing that's been said on this string:
j saID:
"If this post is about revolution, let's talk about the real bread- homes, food, employment and connection to community for all, free of coercion and the economics of slavery. Let's talk about supporting decentralized militias standing up and taking down the state and its enforcers. Lets talk about how we can start bringing in strategy to the work we do, and building a broader struggle/

If this post is about coping mechanisms or feeling better in the belly of the beast, that's fine. Just don't play it like "revolution", because it's not."

strategy 04.Feb.2004 10:50

rosey

So, let's talk about the revolution. In a broad enough way that we're not incrimintaing anyone over indymedia (it's monitered)- but in a creative and constructive way that will get us somewhere. I have some starting questions.

1) Dual power (the idea of tearing the state down while building grassroots support structures for the basics like "the real bread"- food, housing, water, warmth, healthcare...)

Will this strategy work? How can those people and groups that are working on things like health clinics, liberation schools, etc. support those people who are taking direct action against the state through sabotage, etc.?How can projects be funded without being dependant on state grants, etc?

2) What needs to be done next? There are glaring holes in the safety net, especially as state social services are cut yet again. Can we fill some needs in our communities in ways that will be like giving people the fishing pole, and not just the fish? What projects in particular are there glaring needs for?

3) Acessability: How do we create projects that are not used and sustained by only a particular social scene or demographic? How can we create alliances between different existing groups? How can we use mass media (and what kinds can we use) to let people know what is going on, and why?

4) Responsibility: How do we make sure that our groups stay accountable to a growing revolutionary movement? How do we create and sustain the dynamics we want inside our groups and between them? How do we make sure we're not including state agents in our inner circles?

I have a lot of questions. Do you have any thoughts?