A few nights ago my spouse and I watched a powerful film called "Animal", which in a very clear and poignant way speaks to systemic poverty, racism, violence...and ultimately, transcendence. It is about one man's journey through pathology, which is functioning in force, both internally and externally - and his guileless participation in conditioning. The character, James Allen, is by no means naive, but a clever and accomplished operative, who in his moment of crises (ie.this far, and no farther) is led to a profound awareness - the why the how - James is asked who he wants to be in the world, on his terms, which were terms he never knew to that point, could exist.
You will need to watch the film for details, but I will tell you this, the catalyst for the character's transformation and transcendence was his introduction to a key piece of history: the instruction of Willy Lynch, a primer delivered in 1712 to fellow and aspiring slave masters. A diabolical manual for how to enslave, or 'mind-fuck', an entire race into submission.
A key part of Willy's philosophy that is referenced in the film can be found here: http://www.africanamericanimages.com/...
Today as I drove with my spouse performing our tedious weekend errands, we discussed the national OWS (and other places) protests, the state of the global economy, our place within (or without, somehow) it and in general, how the global worker has been brought to his/her knees enslaved and in servitude. Yes, the degree to which we are enslaved differs by race, ethnicity, and gender. But the truth is, we've all been sold and sold out to the highest bidder. We have been conditioned and compliant in applying our own shackles, and shackles to others, who largely remain outside of our consciousness faceless, nameless, genderless, and so unfortunately meaningless.
The chicken has come home to roost, so to speak, and now we are personally feeling the pain. But like the James character, we were clever and accomplished operatives, functioning solely on behalf of our own self interests, willfully ignorant of the pain we inflicted on those around us. All that mattered was that we got ours.
To this point, we've enjoyed rampant and unmitigated consumerism while turning a blind eye to the appalling conditions in which the global worker functions. We've lived in blissful ignorance, carrying out the worker v. worker conditioning, and we haven't really complained too much, until now, because we've just realized WE are the other half of the equation, and WE too are victims of hideous crimes.
I am deeply proud of the OWS movement and support it with all my heart. But I bear tremendous trepidation about how this will end. Will we, the power brokers/slave holders/ historical masters of the West develop meaningful awareness, or will we be satisfied with a minor change here and there, a token prosecution or two, and quickly return to business as usual? Will we learn our lessons, internalize and transcend, or will we simply demand to jump back on the gravy train even if it means steamrolling over the backs of folks who are forced to serve up our comfort zone while subsisting on far less than we do on our worst day. Will our end be similar to the character's in the movie?
I beg your apology if I veer off at tangent, but as sad as I am about the death of Steve Jobs, a true visionary, I am far more dismayed by the reports of someone dying from being worked to death at the Apple factory in Shenzhen, China. This is who we are, to the core. I stand on the back of the worker who assembled the laptop from which I post, and I suck for it.
What I hope for is dramatic and lasting change for all workers, globally. I hope I can play a small role, whatever form this takes, in universal liberation.