Forget the Class War, How to Win the Fight Against the Elite
While we all need to get angry before anything can change, anger will only get us so far. For anger may inspire action, but it won't fix anything.
Recently I've heard calls for a "class war". What strikes me most about this suggestion is the sheer stupidity behind it.
First of all, despite greater numbers, what chance does a mob of working class people have against a heavily armed, well trained military industrial complex? The people we'd be fighting are already highly skilled fighters. They have all the equipment; tear gas, hoses, batons, protective clothing, and even hollow point rounds. They have an army of empathy-less authority-brainwashed thugs just itching for an all-out fight. To think that the public can beat this with Molotov cocktails is just downright pathetic.
But even if we were to stand a chance in a violent face off with the henchmen of the elite, what would we actually achieve? Lots of people would get hurt, there would be anger and hate and resentment which would fuel further fighting. A war is not a single battle - the likely scenario would be a drawn out series of back and forth skirmishes, a swinging pendulum of violence and suffering.
Suppose the "poor" were to eventually emerge victorious - what is the end goal? I suspect a desired outcome would be justice - punishment for those who drove the world into greed and inequality. So we lock up all the bankers, we jail those responsible for driving illegal resource acquisition, we banish irresponsible corporate leaders and Court Marshall military figures who led illegal wars. Will that put a permanent end to this kind of behaviour? Not likely.
Every tyrant who ever lives, eventually dies. But there will always be someone to take their place providing the system rewards it.We will never stop this, until we build a new system that no longer perpetuates and rewards acquisition.
And that's why a class war is pointless. That's why "locking up the bankers" is not the answer. We may still want to jail those responsible in the short term. But if we don't fix the underlying issue, we will quickly find ourselves back in the same position.
Currently, acquisition empowers. The more you have, the more influence you are able to exert. This is inevitable end-result of capitalism - money makes money and wealth always floats upwards. If the existence of a $67 trillion shadow banking system wasn't evidence enough of this, I don't know what is.
We need to replace our system with one which either automatically penalises acquisition or which automatically rewards generosity. We could certainly have some degree of both, but it would be important to focus more of the rewarding aspect. I'll repeat because this really important:
Incentive to share and generally be good needs to be built into the very essence of how our society works.
So how do we ensure this is the case?
Money is the lifeblood of the elite. It is what gives power to those who accumulate. Yet this power only has meaning because we too rely on money for our survival. We can and must undermine money at every opportunity. To do this, community is paramount. Work to build a community around you that helps each other. Use this community to remove your reliance on large corporations as well as your reliance on money itself. Technology will also help us to some extent, but community is the essential ingredient.
As an example, take the entertainment industry. Torrents allow anyone in the world to share media at virtually no cost. Relying on both community and technology, this undermines the monetary system and drains the lifeblood from the entertainment industry.
Of course proponents of capitalism are now thinking - surely this is self destructive - without people paying for entertainment there is no money to pay for its creation! But we need to think about this differently. What is happening here is not so much an attack on entertainment but an attack on the monetisation of entertainment. Do you think if there was no money in making movies they would stop being made? Of course not. Creative people want to be creative with or without the monetary aspect. Yes, in the short term, this is bad for jobs, but jobs are obsolete anyway.
The important thing to note is that this is a paradigm shift, away from a monetised society. The undermining of a particular industry is just one aspect of this shift. These breakthroughs rely on both technology and community. The same principles of sharing, opening up information, and undermining the monetary system can and must be applied to all aspects of society.
Thankfully, this is already happening.
Open source technology and Peer to Peer systems are the facilitators of this shift. Much work is already happening to undermine other aspects of the monetary system, building a world where we look after each other because it benefits us. And in building this new world, we are eradicating our own need for money, therefore weakening to power structures that rely on it while developing the necessary auto-immune system which incentivises generosity. There are many prongs to this attack which can be explored. The beauty is that you have a choice on which approach you take, depending on your own personal skills and preferences.
However, we have some way to go before we're there. There still needs to be progress made in liberating food production, energy, clothing manufacture, construction, health care, and security. Only then will we be truly free from the monetary system, and therefore our reliance on the accumulators. I believe these are the areas where we must focus our attention.
The current monetary system cannot survive in an environment of open abundance. So, whether you believe in it or not - it will cease to be. And all without a single petrol bomb.
We'll never change anything by fighting. If you want to attack something - pick an industry and attack the monetisation of it. Create a solution which opens it up to everyone while eradicating its potential to profit.
It's time to forget about the blame game, and start working together to build a new world from the ground up - a world which incentivises sharing, and renders accumulation irrelevant.
Image Courtesy renbostelaar