Self Empowerment

As part of a comment to It is all part of the same fabric of ultra right wing religious fanaticism Ariablue said:

It’s a sad fact that many people these days think activism means “play nice while you recite your lines, don’t rock the boat”. The people who don’t want the boat rocked are the ones who have all the power. Why would they want things to change? I’m less than impressed with the well-behaved corporate-sponsored tripe that passes for activism these days. People drawing nice salaries to spin things to ‘dangerous’ groups to keep them calm is not ever going to get anything done.

You can’t compromise with monsters.

Last night Tina and I watched Steal This Movie a Robert Greenwald bio pic about Abbie Hoffman and coincidentally about two women in his life Anita and Johanna.  I was struck by several things one of which was how the role women played in the 1960s has been treated as secondary and yet how how we did so much of the shit work.

But there was something else, something I picked up in a book I am reading by Tom Hayden where he said that the real threat of the 1960s were that there were all these people starting to live what he described as highly contagious unauthorized lifestyles.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this because I’m working on something for a little later this month when it will be 40 years since I went 24/7.  I just did it, I tracked down the resources and negotiated my own path without the mediation of some pshrink.

But there was something else back then the hippies, yippies, politicals, artists, drop outs, dopers, bikers, feminists, lesbians and gays, Blacks, Chicanos, Indians and all the made their own movements without a lot of corporate suits, academics and authority figures teling them the proper way to make their movements.

Things were done from the bottom up and not directed from the top down.

There was a do it yourself sort of anarchy to arriving at decisions as to what sort of actions to commit by having non-hierarchical discussions and participatory democracy.

In the late 1960s Nixon said, “We are going to take this country so far right that in 20 years you won’t recognize it.”

They propagandized us into fear and authorizing a police state.  Scared us into draconian drug laws.  Destroyed the nation as country where things are manufactured shattering the working class by shunting us into service and retail positions where corporate structure dictates our appearances and can even make us pee in a bottle.

They took the way we dressed, manufactured it slapped designer labels on it and sold it back to us for prices those of us who created the looks couldn’t afford.

We lived together in shared spaces so we could live on next to nothing.  The powers that be passed laws and if they didn”t Home Owner Associations did.  Zoning laws prohibited our DIY spaces be they in lofts or eco friendly back to nature areas.  With the zoning rules the fat cats turned our DIY spaces into highly desirable loft living spaces affordable by only the very rich.  And in the words of Steve Earle  “The East Village moved across the Williamsburg Bridge and what ever happened to alphabet city?”

Because we don’t manufacture anything, everything became about selling from goods to services.

Look on Craig’s list for an activist job and what you find is a job begging for the organization.  A shit job pretty much on the order of barista or big box retail clerk.  Gone are the days when being an activist meant creating leaflets or talking to people.  Those are the jobs of professionals now with academic credentials and an army of professional beggers supporting them.

Suits and professionalism and the only opinions that count are those indoctrinated into the plastic minds of corporate plastic professional activists by the corporate education/propaganda factory.

Forty years ago I hit the wall and had to change or die.  I went to a public health clinic that sent me to a different public health clinic that gave us hormones and empowered us by saying, “Here’s your hormones, Do It Yourself.”  And we were.  We were building our own grassroots support systems.

But there was money to be made and professionals with degrees and a whole empowered anarchic way of life to destroy by exploiting it in the name of support and professionalism.

Now there are folks with college degrees living powerless lives working retail and service jobs and wondering what happened.

Forty years of right wing backlash and we still aren’t dead.

The two most anarchist questions are, “Why? and Why not?”

Why are we silenced?  Why did we allow this disempowering to happen?  Why not rebel against this?  Why not demand our voices be heard?  Why not take back activism from the so called professional authorities?

Why not do it ourselves?