by forum member James
Day in and day out, we are oppressed. In the simplest, most petty, but direct ways. We are told where to go, why to go there, and what we will get if we do. More importantly, and more subtly, we are taunted with what will happen if we do not go where we are told to. If we are late, if we give the wrong change or the drawer is short, there may be consequences. We may lose the very thing that ties us down: A Job. A job is the sole requirement for survival. It is the very definition of work. Painting is not work. Sculpting is not work. Cooking is not work. These things are only considered work if you are given currency in exchange for the products. And, if a sustained income is the only means for survival, there is no way out.
We, the oppressed, are participants in a system of exchange that functions without regard to our individual or communal needs and interests. We are forced to labor in tedium as a wage-slave. Only if we take this abuse quietly and efficiently are we rewarded with currency to exchange for property=life. The workplace only provides jobs and services in as far as the owners themselves can benefit, because the primary measure of the worth of this institution is profit: the amount of money gained compared to the amount spent. Businesses are not responsible to the communities in which they function. They hire and fire out of necessity in regards to profit. And so as employees we are tasked to use timers and move calls quickly not for reasons of our own, but to increase efficiency; to better fill the pockets of our bosses; to hope for a raise, or just to stay alive. There is no real personal moral obligation to the task at hand. Only fear of starvation or a growing greed pushes us to ‘succeed.’ Forced to exist and function within this system of arbitrary imperatives, our own values begin to take a backseat to the necessity of employment. It forces us to be greedy ourselves; to sell out our coworkers, make up lies about them, cut corners and cover it up, to create a facade of productivity. Because the only way out is up. Up the ladder growing ever more greedy as we attempt to climb to the top; to become a boss. To perpetuate slavery. This is the ‘nature of the beast.’
We, the oppressed, that stand behind a cash register waiting to expedite the next manufactured need. We, the oppressed, that sweat over a vat of hot oil to be compensated in pittance while we poison our neighbors. We, the oppressed who exchange our empty earnings backed by nothing, thus perpetuating our slavery, must make a choice. We must choose to shrug and sigh and, complicit, capitulate. Or, deny the system what it needs: participation. For our participation in our own slavery permits everyone to be enslaved. Workers in China who leap to their deaths from the very roofs of the factories in which they work, to end the misery that is their lively-hood. Women, and children making shirts and shoes for you and your friends. Women who are paid literally pennies for their work. Families that are removed from their land by military force, left to starve, so that we can grow more corn. This is the crux on which our apparent ‘conveniences’ lie, because comparatively our lives are bliss. The cheap prices of cell phones, computers, clothing, food; all things we take for granted, are sustained only by oppression. Beguiled by marketings schemes, that socially engineer our next ‘need’ there appears to be no real logical alternative to this oppression. Just cash in that next meager pay check.
Our minds are trained to omit creativity, criticism, and choice. Different is dysfunction. Our individualities are researched, classified, categorized, and then packaged to fit; sold to us at the cost of utmost societal detriment. For our culture has become an amalgamation of tropes, which we patronize endlessly, and reorganize and re-associate as invention. The arts are professionalized, institutionalized, and locked away until we acquiesce our individual expression to their rubric of acceptance. With a culture devoid of life or evolution, we are creatively stagnant. In the mire of cut-and-paste graphic design, billboard slogans, product placement, innuendo, forced controversy, and what ever other blatant tools employed by the Status-Quo Marketing-Machine to keep us fed and fat and quiet, we have become identity-vague. All full of fear and doubt, we cover ourselves in this picture-puzzle culture; immerse ourselves in it’s success stories, the absurd lives of it’s selfless heroes, it’s images of a sick and unattainable body-image, and then regurgitate this teen drama as it becomes social norm.
What are we to do as individuals living within this broken society? How will our actions have any influence? I am only I, and you, you. Yet, together you and I are we, and we can make our own norms within our own interactions. We can define our own words existence language history community. We can invite others to join us in this reconstruction of a better world in the shell of the old. Together we don’t have to fear isolation; we will function as dysfunction in society. We will be weird queer freaks radical upsetting impressive alien, but not for long. Soon, there will be nothing left to measure our weirdness against. Soon, we will be free, and ourselves.
There is more to what you do than you think. Your mind is your own, if only you choose to take it back. And, it is only the responsibility of every aware individual to make a choice to live or die think or only act against the oppression that we live and breathe everyday.
Change what you do. Stop watching television. Buy less. Read more. Think quietly, and pay attention. Don’t hesitate to protest. Do not fear open social conflict. Instead, approach it critically and calmly. Listen to those you oppose, and tell them why you oppose them. Know the ones you love, and love everyone.
Reorganize. Start small, and start an awareness group with friends. Talk about what to do what you hate what you love where you live and who lives there and what they do and love and hate. Talk to your neighbors for no reason. Get to know who other people are and thereby who you are. Grow tomatoes and give them to your neighbors and friends. Get them to grow something, and then trade your tomatoes for their cucumbers. Or combine them and make a salad. Start a band even if you don’t know how to sing or play an instrument. Perform in public places without a permit.
Know where you are, and go where you want to.
We must work together to a create social structure that can function and exist autonomously without currency coercion or capitulation. We must not ask for a ‘redistribution’ of what it is that our oppression hinges on. It is our task to build something new. Otherwise, we only work to perpetuate what we already have