Category Archives: poverty

From the fission of humanity to?

Looking with fresh eyes at the state of the Planet, its short and long haul history, what would such a look report to those willing to listen with unencumbered ears, a mindset not clogged by the ashes and residues left by its slow and steady destruction?

The premises of this fresh look are that it must be completely and radically unhinged from the constructions of the history of humanity as recounted from the mindsets which have grown out of the destructive processes that can be traced from short and long haul histories. Humanity’s history has been much longer than, say, its last 30, 50, 66, 500 years.

Having the history of Humanity told and retold by one of its segments, especially if it has been triumphant, can only lead to distortions of that history. Yet, a look not so fresh seems to say that only one segment has abrogated to itself the intellectual property right to tell that history. In the process of assuming full authorial rights, it has grown into the very opposite of what it has always stated to be: the model of democracy.

That can be questioned without necessarily having to prove that there is a better model. Humanity’s history overall, and anything stemming from it, whether political, technical, technological, cultural, religious, moral, has been built up through trial and error. There is no such a thing as a model history of Humanity either, but for one segment of Humanity to present itself as the only and best defender of the most valued values of Humanity is to reproduce the ideological stories of domination which have been associated with conquests, colonization and, now, globalization.

A segment that has been associated with genocidal processes while being born has continued to claim a history cleansed from those warts. Having gotten away with those genocidal processes has generated on the one hand a sense of impunity and on the other, fear.

Fear, however, is no longer rooted on the side that has most suffered the consequences of power abusively exercised with impunity. This kind of change helps in bringing about a fresh look at the state and history of Humanity.

When fission of the atom was discovered, Einstein is alleged to have commented that it changed everything except the way we think. It would have been good if he had specified what he meant by “we”. “We” could be understood as the scientific community, the physicists, or, in a more general way, the human species. However, fission of the atom itself was not just the result of scientific endeavors, unless one looks at the “discovery” of the Americas as a scientific endeavor too. Fission of the atom, again from the stand of a fresh look, can be seen as the result of conquering processes whose consequences resulted in fission of humanity. The clash between conquerors and conquered was similar, in its consequences, to the splitting of the atom.

The impact of conquest on humanity by one of its segments has led to such a splitting of humanity that one has to ask if the splitting and its accumulated consequences are irreversible. From such a fresh look, a question arises: shall the specific and generic conquerors ever accept that what has been achieved through such a massive crime must be acknowledged, accounted for, and repaired (as in healed)?

From the point of view of the conquerors and its inheritors, it is obvious that this kind of question and fresh look might be seen as too unsettling for comfort, and, therefore, challenged, resisted, disputed with the same ferocity that was resorted to in order to impose the conquerors’ rule. The conquerors, through the centuries and the last decades, have been in the habit of recruiting defenders of their rule. In the last few weeks, however, the conquerors have been forced to recognize that these allies were best jettisoned least they, the conquerors, be too closely identified with the ones being referred to as tyrants.

Identifying the tyrants is not as easy as identifying tyranny, yet aren’t tyrants begotten by tyranny? As Deep Throat used to say when the Watergate scandal was unfolding: “Follow the money”.

To be continued
March 7, 2011

Is it not time to really change the world?

Before reading this, please go and see the above. Then you might want to search and read the most informed stories on the process that started with Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia that then spread to countries close to Tunisia, and beyond.

There is at least one common thread. For the longest of time, centuries, a predatory system has ruled the world, presenting itself as “civilization” when it was slaughtering, enslaving, colonizing. While colonizing (Africa, Asia, Caribbean) it claimed it was educating the natives. While stealing land and killing its first occupants (The Americas, Caribbean), it claimed to be doing away of barbarism. As Fanon summed it up in his conclusion to The Wretched of the Earth, it carried out its mission in the name of humanity while slaughtering it wherever it encountered it. Its tyrannical practices and rule over the last half century spawned tyrants, dictators in the name of democracy.

The system has been spreading its tentacles in all spheres of life. The idea was to leave no other choice for those confronted with it: to either join or be smashed in the process. The slaughtering has taken various forms, from the most brutal and violent to the sweetest and most seductive. The results can be seen all over the world. Fifty years after the formal end of colonial rule, a ruling clique of Africans has carried on the practices of the enslavers, colonizers and their allies. In some cases, they have “improved” on those methods.

From slavery through colonization, apartheid, globalization, humanity has been assaulted with unparalleled vindictiveness as if it is an obstacle to progress. Capitalism has been, to the majority of humanity, an unfolding disaster, but it has never been named so, because it has always advanced and publicized itself through the voices of those who have most benefited from it.

The latest WSF took place in Dakar, in a context that revealed the political obsolescence of those who have tried to present it as the answer to the problems faced by those who, in Tunisia and Egypt, demonstrated the power of emancipatory politics over the sedative power of NGOs molded as secular missionaries of globalization. All was not bad in Dakar, in part because, finally the protests coming from the Nairobi and Belem meetings have gelled into some changes that provided room for the voices that had been systematically kept away. Under axis 12, on February 9th, 2011, took place a round table to discuss “The Crisis of Civilization”, with a majority of indigenous voices.

The persistent and enraged assaults of Capitalism against the poorest of the poorest shows that the methods used during the previous phases have not been jettisoned. They have been refined. The poorest of the poorest in Africa, and beyond, have been spat upon, tread upon, mentally and physically tortured, raped, stripped of all dignity. The poorest of the poorest people have always said that they are not cannon fodder for the richest of the richest predatory mindsets. They have said it in many different ways, languages, songs. Those who became louder were victimized, and “given a lesson”, so as to instill paralyzing fear. To those who left fear behind, say, like Lumumba, the treatment was most severe and brutal in the extreme.

As events in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond have been showing, short cuts of the kind that ignore the voices of the voiceless, have a way of catching up with those responsible for silencing them. History always catches up, sooner or later, with those responsible for crimes against humanity, and yet seeking to prove the end of history, by eradicating history. Setting up tribunals (for judging crimes against humanity) that operate selectively will not erase the impunity that has accompanied enslavement, colonization and its multiple consequences, including the reinforcement of a system whose predatory nature is daily covered up.

When natural disasters hit, say, like a tsunami, a volcano eruption, an earth quake, solidarity spreads fast and with imagination….except in places that have been selected for total and complete annihilation, such as Haiti. There, as has been seen, the richest of the richest have been organizing in such a way as to recover from the humiliation of having been shown the road to freedom by the enslaved Africans, way, way back in 1804. In the minds of the slave and plantation owners, only they knew what freedom was. A slave was supposed to be a thing. From the master’s point of view, the slave was, by nature, not capable of thinking, feeling, suffering; and, therefore, according to the tyrants of the time, could not possibly know anything about freedom, let alone seeking and succeeding in getting it. Ever since the only freedom that has been canonized is the freedom of his lordship the Market. Ever since discovering how to avoid accountability for crimes against humanity, the market racketeers have also found ways of profiteering from those crimes and, with impunity, turn the system as an anonymous benefactor. The mantras from these profiteers never change: get rid of tyrants, but maintain the tyranny of capitalism.

Impunity has been the main characteristic of capitalism in all of its manifestations: political, economic, social. Impunity has bred authoritarianism of the worst kind in the minds of those who consider themselves in charge of the world through its dominant institutions, within and outside of the UN, within and outside of the financial world, within and outside of the religious world. Yet, courses on ethics have become popular in business and law schools, molded to frame the minds of those who shall preach competitiveness to death, while taking submission to the predatory nature of competition for granted.

How monstrous the system has become can only be seen, felt by those who have experienced its daily, destructive voracity. Denunciations of consumerism abound from the very corners that see nothing wrong at being consumed by accepting to be spectators to the sufferings of the majority of humanity.

Sitting on the monster and benefiting from an amazing view, the riders shall make sure that they do not appear as being in charge of the monster that has spewed disaster. It is more comfortable to sit on top of the monster than be trampled by it. Most of the time the monster seems to be completely anonymous, but now and then, it does appear with a name. In a quick flash, the victims can see the connection between the named monster/tyrant and the rider/tyranny.

Sooner or later, the riders and those who have sided with them will realize how precarious their position is. The sense of invincibility shall generate uncertainties, then fear. From Tunisia through the region, fear has been changing sides. That process is not new, as histories of resistance, from all corners of the planet, have illustrated…, provided they are read without blinders.

To be continued
Feb 24 2010