Tearing Down the Global Plantation
Editor’s Note: This article was originally written by Liam Fox on February 29, 2012.
It becomes very easy to forget that singular, overwhelming goal necessary for success. It is much easier to be satisfied by taking aim at the low hanging fruit than to tackle the tree that is rotting from the roots out. To do what you are told is within your abilities to accomplish is much easier than stepping further and taking on the challenges that need our attention. Being busy accomplishing nothing can feel much better than failing at what needs to be done. The tree will continue to produce poisonous fruit, but if you do what you’re told, and you work hard enough, you may ensure that you have a few more of those fruit for yourself, tucked in your apron, at the end of the day.
Failing is part of the process. We won’t find the right way until we exhaust all our failed attempts at finding that right way. But, keeping ourselves busy, doing nothing of real consequence, without any real impact on our goal, is not a substitution for the effective action we need.
The world is not just a poison tree, it has been turned into one massive plantation, or series of plantations, all enabled by a predatory form of capitalism. There are the owners of the plantations, the personal servants to the owners, the house servants, the yard servants, and the field servants. From the well treated, and relatively well compensated personal servants, all the way down to the neglected and disposable field servants, we are all part of the 99%. The disenfranchised class. The disposable class.
We are divided against each other, caused to fight over the scraps allowed from the table. We are told that our petty disagreements are what enslaves us, rather than the oppressive system we are all forced to live under. We are pitted in competition with each other for those better jobs of servitude, better clothes, better food, authority over the other servants… but no emancipation from the system.
When we rise up in collective angst, and the masters of the plantation system begin to worry, we are offered distractions, and opportunities to improve our lot in life, yet only temporarily, and with any gains we achieve coming from the wretched field servants, not the over-flowing coffers of the masters. We’ve been taught to protest them according to their rules, and within the system they have created. They try to force us to fight them from within each plantation, one at a time. We must not be distracted by the petty concerns within the borders of our fields alone. We must band together with all servants, the entire 99%, against every plantation, and the entire plantation system, that enables their control and ensures their profit.
On a global scale, America, and perhaps much of the west, can be likened to ‘the big house.’ Those inside, while still living a life of servitude, are relatively privileged. Those relegated to the field, those foreign countries exploited for resources and labor, are treated as little more than cheap supplies and chattel property. Even if the division is perceived differently, and each country on the planet is viewed as it’s own plantation, all part of and supported by the global network of plantations, the lot of the individuals life, regardless of what country they live in, can be described much the same. We are all servants to a global capitalist empire that treats us as disposable chattel property.
A global uprising has started to challenge this inhumane and inequitable system. Calls for economic and social justice are growing louder across the planet. There is fighting in ‘the fields.’ Those that have suffered the most egregious abuse in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, and Greece, are doing their damnedest to tear their plantation down. They’ve been fooled by half-measures and reforms to the establishment before. They are not going to accept it any longer.
In America, the big house, many activists seem fooled into working within the established plantation, hoping that they can get some allowances on behalf of the field hands while securing a few more crumbs, perhaps even a career as an establishment activists, with a paycheck from the government masters, while doing their good work. While Occupy Oakland is taking it to the streets and keeping the pressure on – fighting to tear the plantation down, so to speak -Occupy DC has agreed to get office space paid for by SEIU (Service Employees International Union), an organization criticized for it’s extremely close relationship with the Obama Administration that has already announced it’s endorsement of his 2012 presidency. Occupy DC, or at least a small clique known as Occupy K Street, is also working closely with other establishment activist groups well connected to the ‘big house.’
Kissing up to the masters will not get us anywhere. Allowing them to choose what distractions we should be fighting over will not threaten their system that enslaves us. Accepting minor tweaks and reforms within one privileged plantation will not end the system that exploits us all, one against the other, from the individual plantations around the planet that forms the one global plantation.
It is time to tear the plantation down. All of them. The entire damn system. Activists that have been fooled to work within the establishment must realize that they are enabling and supporting the system that is abusing their brothers and sisters globally. Those wonderful radicals that have been working in NGO’s and Progressive Movements, and Grassroots organizing should not be trying to pull Occupy into their system. Their system is part of the establishment, under the control of the big house and the global plantation that controls it. They should be putting themselves into Occupy. Not the other way around. Don’t domesticate Occupy so that it will fit comfortably into the big house. Join it in the fields and tear the big house down. Pull up the fences, and join with the rest of the 99% in true emancipation.
Editor’s Note ; All Photos by Powerhouse Museum