BEGINNERS in political activism generally focus on one crime, one politician, one party. But that’s just one symptom.
TRUTH is elusive; we’ve all been fooled. Whistle-blowers, not war criminals, are locked up; censorship is increasing. The short memory of the public lets plutocrats lie about everything. The biggest lie is one of omission: The corporate press never discusses the real basis of our society, nor the very different world that is possible. We’ll know the truth when we end the incentive for lies – that is, the profit system. My own favorite non-corporate sources are: Black Agenda Report, Common Dreams, Counterpunch, Dandelion Salad, Greanville Post, Popular Resistance, Rad Indie Media, Truthout, Brian Becker, Lee Camp, Jimmy Dore, Caitlin Johnstone, Peter Joseph, Ted Rall, Richard Wolff, Howard Zinn (links in the online copy of this leaflet).
HIERARCHY is how we’ve arranged government and business. But that concentrates power; we’d be better off with a horizontal network. Power corrupts, as we see in workplace bullying, prison torture, police murder, corporate ecocide, and unending wars based on lies to make a few rich men richer.
PROPERTY concentrates power too. If we don’t share, we must trade. That brings profit to both traders, but generally more to the trader in the stronger bargaining position, making him stronger still. So inequality increases, creating poverty and plutocracy. Externalities trash the ecosystem, so we’re headed for extinction. That’s the opposite of the market’s claimed “wisdom” and “efficiency.” Plutocracy and ecocide are inherent in not sharing; mere reforms won’t fix this mess.
GLOBAL WARMING is even worse than the IPCC says. It’s about to increase explosively, due to feedback loops and tipping points. Little time remains – we’re in the endgame now. Crop failures will starve us; methane thaw will end us. Big, fast changes might still save us, but not if we continue the profit system: For decades politicians have subsidized oil companies and ignored climate warnings. The rich must compete for the short-term private profits that keep them in power another day.
DEMOCRACY is fake. Gilens and Page proved statistically that, regardless of elections, our public policies favor the rich. Our taxes subsidize oil and arms companies that kill the world for profit. The USA has been a plutocracy ever since its founding in land theft, genocide, slavery, and indentured servitude. True democracy wouldn’t be much improvement: Misled by corporate lies, we can’t vote wisely, and 51% ride roughshod over 49%. And so-called “representative” democracy is hierarchy, which inevitably corrupts. Money is influence; we’ll only end rule by the wealthy class when we no longer have a wealthy class. What we really need is caring, sharing, understanding, and consensus.
ALIENATION makes us crazy: Our workplaces are dictatorships that objectify, exploit, and discard us; that’s why we hate Mondays. Property separates us despite warming and pandemic. Dog-eat-dog competition kills empathy, leaving fear, lies, greed, hate, racism, sexism, random shootings. None of this is new: Hierarchy and property have been the basis of society for 12,000 years.
But for the previous 200,000 years we shared as friends and equals. That’s still what we teach our kids, still where we turn in crisis, still who we are genetically. That’s what we can and must resume to survive – but it will bring us far more than just survival.
AWAKENING is bigger than revolution, more than just changing laws and leaders. We must see the world and each other in a new way. In our hearts and in our institutions we need a culture of caring and sharing that leaves no one behind. We haven’t time for gradualism – we need ideas to spread virally, and cause change as abrupt as the fall of the Berlin Wall. The first step is to get more people talking about it. Call a meeting, carry a sign, post a video, write a song or a leaflet, or copy this leaflet if you like it. 17 May 2022, https://LeftyMathProf.wordpress.com /primer
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Version 8.51. Underlined words and phrases are links to related materials. The leaflet fits on two sides of a half page. The video is based on version 8.50. Here are direct links to sections after the first: Truth, Hierarchy, Property, Warming, Democracy, Alienation, Awakening. The original version of this essay was in Sept 2020.