We have been duped into moving capitalism’s problems around instead of resolving them, into the foolish notion that buying green is an act of divergence from capitalist exploitation.
Worried about car emissions? Buy Tesla’s Model S. Want to fight water misuse? Take shorter showers. Concerned for underserved children around the world? Use a credit card that supports a NGO. Interested in bettering working conditions for exploited laborers? Look for the “fair trade” stamp at corporate outlet malls.
But by all means, NEVER stop buying.
Identifying the central issue with this behavior, Derrick Jensen explained, “Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance.”
As individuals we should do what we can, but we have to realize that letting corporations frame/limit global issues like environmental responsibility to consumer choice is self-defeating. We need bigger tools than our individual selves. Imagine trying to fill a dump truck using a spoon. That is what we are doing when we decouple the need for organized, community-wide political resistance from our individual ability to partake in generating and sustaining solutions.
On the whole we have a severely underdeveloped conceptual understanding of violence. Failure to differentiate between oppressive violence, passive and active force, and resistance is common. They all get lumped together and treated as equal. This is a great disservice to the oppressed and our oppressors know it. They purposefully conflate oppressive violence with resistance in an effort (quite effectively) to decouple the oppressed’s natural right to self defense from the conditions which incubate militancy.
In part this decoupling is possible because we cannot always see the slow moving violence of the oppressor that’s right in front of us. It has been so thoroughly normalized that it takes on the camouflage of everyday reality.
Take homelessness as an example:
Aside from the fact that we can literally see it everyday, somebody, somewhere advocated for, funded, and made laws whose direct consequences proliferate poverty under the conditions of capitalism. This is perfectly legal, and since legality is the measure by which we have come to derive the moral value of what rules govern our lives, few see the inhumanity of institutionalized poverty and homelessness BECAUSE it is legal. It must be made obvious then that mass murder does not always require bullets — many do it efficiently with pens.
Certainly this isn’t new. From the constitution, with its “peculiar” dealing with slavery onward, injustices in America have been institutionalized.
We have to understand that this is where the violence is initiated. Reactions to it, forcibly defending ourselves from it by taking homes or food for our survival, no matter legality, by any means necessary, is the reinstatement OF morality in a system that is bankrupt of it. We cannot conveniently start the conversation at the point of self defense or resistance and call that the initiation of violence. Such is playing the oppressor’s game. It gives them the power to control the narrative and define our fight.
There’s no difference between corporatism and capitalism. The former is the neofuedalistic manifestation of capitalism’s final stage. Stop obfuscating the obvious.
Well, then, shall we take vacant homes from their owners by force and give them to the homeless? How is the use of force and the violation of property rights any more civil?
This is why I don’t fuck with anarcho-capitalists. We ought to call them propertarians, because that’s what they are. To them poverty rights trump the natural necessities of food, water, and shelter. To them it is heinous to suggest unused, vacant homes be re-appropriated to people who have actual use-value for them.
As usual this erases the systemic violence enacted that creates poverty and homelessness. It normalizes a backwards view of theft, and by extension it is a method of victim blaming which says homeless people are homeless because of their own choices, not because a system robbed them of the same socioeconomic mobility afforded the wealthy BECAUSE it favors the wealthy.
Think about it: You cannot get a job without an address. You cannot get an address without an established income, and oftentimes a lengthy rental history and good credit score. You cannot establish rental history or a credit score without the purchasing power a job provides.
All the while the system is robbing you of your physical and mental health, making it increasingly unlikely you can escape your homelessness. Homeless people suffer from the same mental and physical illnesses as the rest of us, but are far more likely to develop chronic issues. Daily they are 3 times as likely to die than the general population.
The average age of death of homeless people is 50 years old, the average life expectancy of people in the year 1900. The typical life expectancy of the general population on average is 79-80 years old. Homeless people suffer from state/police violence far more frequently than the rest of us too.
All this and anarcho-capitalists are worried about property rights, saying that to provide homeless folks with shelter is uncivil and thievery. Nope. With 3.5 million on pace to die at age 50, capitalism will have stolen 105,000,000 years of people’s lives, never mind the billions already stolen. That’s fucking thievery. That’s downright violent.