Since the results of the American presidential election came in last November I’ve given a lot of thought to the question of resistance. How can those of us outside of the United States protest this administration?
(And, for those of you that support this party leader and his views, I challenge you to spend the next four years as a minimum-wage worker, or unemployed, or infirm, or retired – a society is judged upon its treatment of that society’s most vulnerable and there is clearly no room for them in the “Great” America when its leadership proposes the removal of key systems of accountability.)
I was prepared to boycott coverage of American culture altogether for as long as this regime will last, much as it would pain me to deny support to American creatives. I discussed the matter with trusted friends and respected associates – and was sorely disappointed by their apparent reticence to dialogue on the subject – it seems that everyone wants to wait and see before committing to action; but I suppose I can’t blame them. It’s not our country, what does it matter to us, right?
That attitude worked out so well for Europe in the 1940s.
As I see it, the problem is the self-serving agenda of corporations that perpetually lobby for greater power in the pursuit of greater profits. This new administration presents itself as a solution, a sweeping change for the better, but its promises of lower costs and better living through deregulated business dealings is a blatant sell-out of democracy for private gain – which is precisely what has led America to its present condition.
Things are bad, not just in America, but everywhere. The most impoverished, marginalized nations felt it first and it turned good people into angry, radicalized opponents of Western society. An increasing number of people everywhere are subjected to similar economically destabilizing influences that have been driven by industry pressure on government to give business more power.
The other day I attended a presentation on ghost towns in British Columbia. Abandoned places are a subject by which I have long been fascinated without being able to pinpoint exactly why. The most important thing I learned from this talk by a local anthropologist is that during the previous century, towns which were founded on a single industry (e.g. gold, or silver, or logging) were susceptible to abandonment because they relied entirely on one industry for their survival (and incidentally, the mess they left behind was not only deplorable but often hazardous for years afterwards.)
There was so much money to be made in these places – so much “opportunity!” – and yet within the span of a few generations, the people whose efforts built these places were all forced to leave while a scant few individuals (or a dispersed assortment of shareholders) absconded with the profits.
What we have seen since then is that these companies worked together to concentrate their wealth, merging and growing into enormous multinational conglomerates, which leave a trail of ever larger ghost towns in their wake as markets shift. Whole regions of a country (arguably whole countries, in some cases) are destabilized by these patterns of industry and as the corporations have grown so large that their influence is now global, the effects are felt everywhere.
One can’t help but think that the vast amounts of investment made in space exploration/colonization is a long-term survival strategy for a future time when our whole planet may become a ghost world.
That’s all the perspective I can offer on this situation. America is about to become the largest corporate-controlled nation-asset, and its people clearly don’t matter to its “leaders” any more than any of the people in any of the other nations that this global net of corporations has exploited. It doesn’t matter what happens to any of us, so long as we keep making them money.
So, now is the time to fight – not for the right to continue living as we were, because we know now that it was always unsustainable; and not for the sake of wresting power back from utter buffoons, because they have no real power except flinging their shit at a nation of spectators – but for the right to learn from our mistakes and do better.
All of the shameful, degenerate stupidity we will see from this administration should be used as fuel by people everywhere to work towards dismantling this global corporate clusterfuck. We have all the technology we need to be able to live responsibly – electric cars, solar and wind power, digital communication – if we only choose to focus our efforts on taking those tools and making them work for us – for people – not corporations and their puppets.
Let the war begin.