(I wrote this before I went)
It's all about power and greed, profit before people all over the place. It's sad and it makes me so angry. We're in this huge cycle of capitalists who want to globalize the rest of the world to live like America does. That's invading other cultures, people's ways of life because WE THINK it's for the better. It's not, it's destructive towards human existence, the environment and our resources. We need to fucking cut back. We need to realize that everything can't stay the same, we're dying ... and it's all because we think capitalism is for the best. It makes me angry, so angry. Anger for the exploitation of people, the earth, cultures, resources, blah blah ... anger that my daughter is growing up in a place of such huge commodity consumption, a place that we think we need all this shit to survive. We don't. I think one thing that would help is to live more like how we used to years ago. I love the concept (which is already happening) of Eco-Communities. Perhaps one day I will be a part of one, living with others collectively, using resources collectively, gardening, pot-lucking together ... a close-knit community.
This will be an amazing experience for me, I know it will be.
Taking it to the Streets
"Every revolution has its counterrevolution - that is a sign the revolution is for real" a quote by C Wright Mills.
"Who’s Streets?" a few protesters yelled out and in response, "Our Streets!" I took it to the streets, I participated in a black bloc in Washington DC against the World Bank and IMF. This was an umpermitted march in Gerogetown neighborhood in Washington DC, as well as other happening rallies over the span of a few days October 19 to October 21, 2007. I had an amazing time, a life changing experience, met new amazing people and made unforgettable memories. Applying what I learned in class, the issues of Capitalist culture and participating in an event like this helped me understand why there are revolutions, resistance and rebellion and why there should be.
I came to a huge realization the past couple of years when my thoughts of the political process, the world and how much inequality there really is. I was living in Minneapolis when I first started becoming really politically active. Before that I was living in Minot, ND and had organized a few animal rights protests, which hardly got any type of positive feedback and no media what so ever. I had also been a huge supporter of the local music scene and promoting the shows and local venue. When I moved to Minneapolis and saw the door open, clearly for activism and how I could possibly make a change for something. I started going to anti-war rallies, participating closely with the Democratic 2004 Candidates, seeing political figures speak like, Michael Moore and started holding house parties for movie showings. I became the NARAL Pro-Choice MN Campus Rep for Minneapolis Community and Technical College for the 2005/2006 school year, organized small events with other groups on campus and became a clinic escort for a local abortion clinic as well as volunteer for Planned Parenthood of MN, SD & ND. I was in Minot, ND visiting during the second anniversary of the Iraq War, so I organized a protest in a local park, sadly only my friend, Aaron showed up but I did get an interview with Indy Media who contacted me about doing an interview.
I realize now that those things I was doing were amazing, but I don’t think it honestly was allowing me to take in the whole picture and really think about globalization. This class, Social Problems taught by Clifford Staples, I took my first semester at UND made me realize how much of the capitalist culture has so many negative ties to so many things in our world-wide society, ranging from huge class inequalities, womyn’s issues, wealth disparities and many other huge global issues. It made me realize there are huge issues going on at a global-perspective and not just here and not just things affecting me.
I found out that a friend of mine was attending the October Rebellion, events in Washington DC to disrupt the World Bank and IMF meetings. He was organizing others on the way that we could pick up and share gas and food expenses. I had to go, I just had to go. I was going to be participating in a huge event that I hadn’t really before, taking these actions into a more radical sense and feeling that I may be trying to be part of a revolution or at least, making some sort of change.
To better grasp the World Bank, Robbins (2002) states, "The World Bank was created to finance the reconstruction of Europe after the devastation of World War II, but the only European county to receive a loan was Holland, then engaged in trying to put down a rebellion of its Southeast Asian colonies. The World Bank then began to focus its attention on the periphery, lending funds to countries to foster economic development, with, as we shall see, mixed results." (p. 97)
The World Bank and IMF have offices right in Washington DC. The march on Saturday was from a park downtown right to the offices. There were some rallying events before the march was poets, singers, hip-hop artists. The march began and there seemed to be some division between the Anarchists and the Liberal type crowds, but we all still marched together. I saw a larger age range in this march and more political groups were taking a part of it like SDS DC Chapter, a vegan group, and a few other peace and environmental activism groups. When we got to our destination, the Anarchists went right into the streets where we danced in front of the cops, tried speaking with them, some people took their shirts off for a statement, and we collectively yelled more chants. We took down the street more to peacefully stop people from getting into the building yelling "shame!", the cops stormed us and started taking swings with their crow bars.
The rest of the rally was a People’s Tribunal where speakers were there first hand about the effects of the World Bank and IMF has had towards them. It was really sad to hear of all the horrible stories and things people had gone through. During this, I noticed a few people standing in front of the fence the cops were guarding, holding hands. I decided to join them and we collectively grew to a group of about ten to twelve people, holding hands, standing in silent in front of the World Bank.
Robbins explains, "Most protest is local: That is, it is directed at a specific group for specific purpose. Peasants revolt against landlords; workers against employers, environmentalists against specific government policies or corporate polices." (p. 295)
The series of these events were workers and ordinary citizens against huge entities (The World Bank and the IMF) and the exploitation of everything like citizens, people, whole countries and the environment. The events, as a whole, wanted to make a statement against these un-democratic entities and at least cause some sort of disruption of the meetings going on. To let it be known that people are paying attention and that we should be paying attention, even as poor Anarchists to middle-class liberals.
The past year I have also began to deconstruct my thoughts on many different things ranging from GLBTQ Rights (there obviously needs to be a more radical approach to this) to Liberal-run organizations and how they capitalize off of ordinary citizens and seem to take no account to low-class supporters, to privilege one can have in regards to race, class, sex, gender, and other accounts. Some of this can be a very long process to even start understanding and it takes a lot to deconstruct things that we’ve perhaps grown up to think is okay. It’s also an ongoing process and that so important to realize as you are growing older. I’ve really taken account into those issues, as I’ve grown older and realized certain things. It seems that a lot of people have a hard time doing this, at any age and any type of belief and political ideas.
I participated in Gay Pride 2007 in Minneapolis with a radical queer rights group called the Revolting Queers. They made a statement against Gay Pride because of huge corporate sponsorship and how a lot of GLBTQ rights issues only go to the marriage issue and stop. No one speaks up for trans issues, feminist issues, homeless youth, and general rights for a GLBTQ person, and other issues. We had a float in the gay pride parade which consisted of the beginning of our float as a marriage with all sorts of couples going into a funeral possession with all of us wearing black, holding a coffin of a "dead" issue. I was one of the wailers where I had to scream and cry about why these issues are dead. The Revolting Queers also organized Minneapolis’s first Trans March and had their yearly Dyke March, which was amazing. It was also really sad to see so much corporate sponsorship with Target’s rainbow, target-symbol temporary tattoos and Wells Fargo with their rainbow something or another. No one was questioning this and to me it seemed to be just a huge opportunity for these corporations to capitalize off of issues that probably most of them hadn’t had to deal with at a personal level. San Francisco’s Gay Pride had corporate sponsorship by Clear Channel.
Participating with the Revolting Queers, taking a part of the October Rebellion and taking the Social Problems class got me really understanding why huge revolutions of our past have taken place. Deconstructing Capitalism and the culture of it and how it has such an impact on so many huge global issues have stemmed just from Capitalism had given me a better grasp of the world and why it is important to take a part in such movements, rebellion and resistance. Realizing this has made me think more of the products and consuming I do participate in and to remember where this is all coming from, as well as having a better grasp on why I do buy the things I do causing me to cut back drastically. Perhaps the revolution is just starting, let’s keep it going.
Robbins, R. (2005). Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism: Third Edition. Boston: Pearson.