Or: Recession, Oppression and The Third Law of Motion
“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
– Sir Isaac Newton
Aside from Newtonian physics being pretty much obliterated by Einstein and Hawkins and nano-physics and quantum physics and string theory and particle wave theory and multiverses and dark matter and whatever else those trippy fuckers talk about when they get together to dissect the universe…well, let’s at least ascribe some kind of poetic or metaphorical truth to that above quoted phrase: namely, if you keep pushing and pushing and pushing, sooner or later something is going to push back.
Because, see, I’m sensing a backlash. It’s not just one movement here and another protest there, but rather a basic, radical change in social consciousness and political awareness spreading across the world. Call me romantic, call me naïve, call me a blithering idiot if you want to…but there is something in the air…an upswelling from the underground, a voice of rage rising from the street…the people awaking, demanding truth and justice, peace, fairness and equity. Freedom. You can see it happening all over the place, don’t tell me you haven’t noticed. This is no old man, hippie nostalgia trip for tambourines and love beads and orange sunshine…well, maybe a little orange sunshine, but this is no looking back to more boisterous bygone days. This is happening right now, right before our eyes.
Take the marijuana legalization movement for instance. “Oh jesus,” those who know me will moan. “Here he goes again. I mean really aren’t there more important issues in the world than whether or not we can smoke weed?” Well – besides the fact that it can stop children from having 100+ seizures a day and can probably cure most forms of cancer, as well as manage, alleviate or eradicate dozens of other conditions – the worldwide move towards ending the prohibition on cannabis and the disastrous drug war is about much more than just the right to get high without being thrown in a cage. It’s about civil liberties, personal freedom, self-determination, control of your own body, the right to live your life the way you choose as long as you are not harming anybody else…it’s about the right to be alive without some oppressive, self-interested force pushing you around.
But more importantly, it is only a small piece of a much larger picture, symptomatic of that wave I mentioned rising up. One more assault among many being battered against that wall that would surround and contain us completely.
You can see it in that weird little amorphous amalgamation called Anonymous. You can see it in the Occupy and democracy movements around the world. You can see it in the Arab Spring demonstrations and the Black Lives Matter marches. And it’s not The Reactionary Radical Left stirring up the shitpot. And it’s not just coming from the fringes and the disenfranchised.
The frustration, the anger, the impatience and the impetus to act is felt across the social strata. Even your middle-class apolitical Joe six-pack is starting to become radicalized. Look at the Tea Party movement. Sure, it’s a creation of the wealthy, elitist Koch family who are not really interested in anyone’s personal liberty or prosperity beyond their own, though those are the flags they wave. But the anger and frustration they are tapping into and taking advantage of is very real, as is the people’s increasing willingness to stand up and say, “Wait a minute. Fuck that!”
Dare I say it, even The Terrorists, whoever that label may be slapped on this week, at the very least believe that they are fighting for the right to live their lives the way they choose, unmolested by outside influences. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not justifying their actions, or any violence for that matter. Bombings and beheadings, rioting, looting and arson are not very effective or ethical methods to achieve your ends, unless your ends are simply to fuck shit up and kill people. I am no proponent of “by any means necessary” despite my appreciation of the sentiment and my admiration for Malcolm X. No, I am not advocating for any revolution. Revolutions are messy, bloody, noisy, factioned affairs that always just wind up putting some different asshole in charge – the old, “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” gig. But I am intrigued watching this rising tide, this ever swelling number who are taking off their sheep’s clothing and demanding to be treated like human beings rather than consumers and databases bought and sold on the commodities market, or slave labor bartered and traded through the private industrial prison complex judicial system, neither of which has any sense of justice or mercy and value nothing but profit.
Let’s face it. Entrenched power tends to stay entrenched. I don’t expect anything to radically change overnight, if ever. There will be some triumphs along with the setbacks, but historically the underdogs don’t do so hot in the long run. As naïve and romantic as I am, I do have my feet firmly planted in the hard truths of this sordid reality…yet still…to quote another once great mind since obliterated, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, “Even a rock will crumble if you strike it night and day. “ And… well…Goddamnit, that’s true too.
So anyway, I am home on the couch dabbing Girl Scout Cookies and watching Netflix, and I am not much use to anybody out there struggling for human freedom and dignity, but I find it encouraging that other more purposeful, motivated people are finally getting off their asses and taking it to the streets.