I'm sure you've read about how right wing propaganda outfits set up and supported by people like the billionaire Koch brothers spend hundreds of millions of dollars to move their agenda forward... And you've probably heard about how the moneyed elite has also co-opted much of the Left, funding Third-Way (corporatist) Democratic groups. And then of course, there is the constant barrage of corporate propaganda we are being exposed to 24/7 via the hideous U.S. mainstream media (conglomerate).
Those who are tearing the country apart, the enemies within, destroying our democratic institutions in favor of private profiteering, have it made all the way down the chain of command. Everybody is getting paid, handsomely.
You see, they (the ruling elite) understand that in order to move their agenda forward they need to pay up. They need to fund the propaganda machine as well as the mechanisms of control and oppression (like the surveillance police state). And for them, the investment is worth it, if one is to take stock of the current state of affairs when it comes to democracy in this country, to the issue of unequal distribution of income, to the erosion of economic security (for the middle class), as well as human and constitutional rights, and the rule of law (as in the erosion of equal justice under the law as we have moved towards a two-tiered justice system).
And that's why you see the astroturf grassroots groups (both on the Right and the faux-Left) so well-organized and effective (thus far), which is one of the reasons we continue our descend into repression and exploitation.
This is something I've been thinking about for a long time. I often think, "How can we find a way to fund and support the resurgent progressive movement effectively?" I'm fully aware that there are multiple groups all around the country (who are connecting with other groups internationally in the common struggle against the corporate state) doing great work and getting funding from their supporters, but not to the level they need to gain the type of strength necessary to accomplish the main goal: the inevitable take-down of the corporate state.
A while back I read an article by Chris Hedges that touches on this very concept. Today I re-read the article, and as I did, a few light-bulbs went off in my head, which is the reason I decided to write this diary.
In the truthdig article "The Sparks of Rebellion," Hedges does a masterful job at first, describing the challenges our generation of rebels (against the modern version of tyranny) face, and second, sharing some ideas about the type of infrastructure needed to support their efforts.
The revolutionists of history counted on a mobilized base of enlightened industrial workers. The building blocks of revolt, they believed, relied on the tool of the general strike, the ability of workers to cripple the mechanisms of production. Strikes could be sustained with the support of political parties, strike funds and union halls. Workers without these support mechanisms had to replicate the infrastructure of parties and unions if they wanted to put prolonged pressure on the bosses and the state. But now, with the decimation of the U.S. manufacturing base, along with the dismantling of our unions and opposition parties, we will have to search for different instruments of rebellion.The emphasis is mine
You see, what he's alluding to is the fact that the corporate state has created the conditions that prevent, or make it extremely difficult, for people to be able to organize effective action against its abuses. In other words, the system is designed to frustrate and interfere with the steps necessary for the coalescence of the type of support and logistics infrastructure a popular uprising would need in order to succeed.
The most important dilemma facing us is not ideological. It is logistical. The security and surveillance state has made its highest priority the breaking of any infrastructure that might spark widespread revolt. The state knows the tinder is there. It knows that the continued unraveling of the economy and the effects of climate change make popular unrest inevitable. It knows that as underemployment and unemployment doom at least a quarter of the U.S. population, perhaps more, to perpetual poverty, and as unemployment benefits are scaled back, as schools close, as the middle class withers away, as pension funds are looted by hedge fund thieves, and as the government continues to let the fossil fuel industry ravage the planet, the future will increasingly be one of open conflict. This battle against the corporate state, right now, is primarily about infrastructure. We need an infrastructure to build revolt. The corporate state is determined to deny us one.The emphasis is mine
You see, what I'm trying to illustrate here (which I think it is supported by Hedges' views) is that a lot of what we are seeing taking place when it comes to the proto-fascist legal framework and fast-evolving surveillance police state is based on careful planning, on projections about what's likely to happen in the near future, for obvious reasons.
The state, in its internal projections, has a vision of the future that is as dystopian as mine. But the state, to protect itself, lies. Politicians, corporations, the public relations industry, the entertainment industry and our ridiculous television pundits speak as if we can continue to build a society based on limitless growth, profligate consumption and fossil fuel. They feed the collective mania for hope at the expense of truth. Their public vision is self-delusional, a form of collective psychosis. The corporate state, meanwhile, is preparing privately for the world it knows is actually coming. It is cementing into place a police state, one that includes the complete evisceration of our most basic civil liberties and the militarization of the internal security apparatus, as well as wholesale surveillance of the citizenry.The emphasis is mine
That right there is key... If you have been following news reports about the UN Climate Summit in Warsaw, Poland, one thing that should jump out at you is that even if we wanted to continue on a path of rampant consumerism and constant "growth," we won't be able to. Setting aside the real issues of extreme income inequality, the steady loss of our human and constitutional rights, and increased oppression, climate change alone represents a massive brick wall against the destructive and rapacious needs of unfettered capitalism.
What does that mean? It means that whether we want it or not, we are going to have to start thinking about the "economy" in a complete different way, and soon. The emphasis will change from rapid and constant growth (i.e, buying a bunch of crap we don't need in order to meet quarterly growth expectations by supranational corporations) to sustainable living.
And that means that the entire economic paradigm in which the corporate state is based will become obsolete. And this could mean a massive (if temporary) disruption which could include a financial collapse as we transition to a new economic order.
I argue that that's why the security apparatus has put so much effort in trying to suppress an organized popular uprising, and that's why they went after Occupy Wall Street with such vigor.
Occupy articulated the concerns of the majority of citizens. Most of the citizenry detests Wall Street and big banks. It does not want more wars. It needs jobs. It is disgusted with the subservience of elected officials to corporate power. It wants universal health care. It worries that if the fossil fuel industry is not stopped, there will be no future for our children. And the state is using all its power to stymie any movement that expresses these concerns. Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show Homeland Security, the FBI, the Federal Protective Service, the Park Service and most likely the NSA and the CIA (the latter two have refused to respond to FOIA requests) worked with police across the country to infiltrate and destroy the encampments. There were 7,765 arrests of people in the movement. Occupy, at its peak, had about 350,000 people—or about 0.1 percent of the U.S. population.The emphasis is mine
So what I'm trying to emphasize here is that we need to prepare for what's likely to happen (please see video below). And that means not only building coalitions, and promoting unity and solidarity within the ongoing (and fast-spreading) resistance movement, but finding innovative ways of supporting those in the front lines of the struggle.
And this means acting now, not waiting until things "get really bad." We need to understand that this is a real struggle between the tiny ruling elite (the 1%) and the rest of us, including the fast-shrinking middle class, students, the working class, and the poor. If we wait until we are all poor, our ability to protect ourselves would have been completely eroded.
As Hedges points out, "It is not the poor who make revolutions. It is those who conclude that they will not be able, as they once expected, to rise economically and socially."
You see, right now there are selfless activists all around this country putting everything on the line. They are standing up against the undemocratic, secretive, and exploitative Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, against workers' exploitation by companies like Walmart, and against further destruction of our natural environment by the rapacious greed of corporations (and rampant consumerism).
In his article, Hedges talks about a conversation he had with Kevin Zeese, co-founder of PopularResistance.org, where he says that "this mass resistance must work on two tracks. It must attempt to stop the machine while at the same time building alternative structures of economic democracy and participatory democratic institutions. It is vital, he said, to sever ourselves from the corporate economy. Money, he said, has to be raised for grass-roots movements..."
The question then is: What is the best way to provide financial support for the grassroots?
One idea would be to follow a funding concept similar to KickStarter... Instead of you getting hit every day with requests for funding from multiple groups (without you knowing how the money is being spent), imagine if you had the ability to visit a website (again, similar to KickStarter) where you could browse through funding requests from activist groups and/or individuals and chose to help fund those you found met your standards (or interest)?
Let me give you an example... If I were to visit such (central) website and read about the activists involved in the fight against the TPP, that would a be a group I would consider sending some money to. I also like what the Overpass Light Brigade does. The same thing with Moral Mondays, and the Solidarity Sing Along group. About Occupy Oakland, or Strike Debt?
People could also choose to fund individual activists... For example, in my forays to multiple protest rallies I've met some of the most selfless and dedicated people I've ever known; people of modest means making huge sacrifices to stand up against injustice. I can just imagine how much more they could accomplish with a little help from the rest of us.
And the "funding" wouldn't necessarily had to deplete your bank account. Imagine if all you could afford to contribute was $5.00 but you did so to a group or an individual you found totally worth it of your contribution? And imagine the impact of 20,000, or 50,000, or 500,000, or 1 million people doing the same thing?
About this? A union is struggling with contract negotiations and decides to strike... Imagine if thousands of people contributed to a "strike fund?" And imagine if that became common practice and we started supporting "strike funds" all over the country?
Could these things be a possible answer to the dilemma raised by Chris Hedges in his article?
What do you think? I'd love to hear your ideas, get some feedback...