Fragmented and divided, we are all individually searching for the freedom which allows us to be ourselves and follow our dreams. All of us who are on this planet today have different realities, different abilities and different points of view. Some feel satisfied with what they have, others do not. Some are happy with the current states of affairs in the world and others are trying to change things. I personally fall into the category of people who do not feel satisfied with the world in which I live. From a personal perspective, I have to admit that ‘western democratic capitalism’ has been good to me on the material level, however, on the personal level it has generated in me such contradictory emotions and reflections that I have been drawn towards the spirit of revolutionary existence.
As a tax paying human being holding a Spanish Passport with the words “European Union” embossed on it, I have enjoyed the pleasures of being a global citizen with rights that others have not enjoyed when moving around the globe. As a conscious human being, I have come to see my passport as a statement of my social class in the globalized world. Having friends from Gambia, Thailand, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Iran, Malaysia, Colombia, Argentina, Morocco, Palestine, as well as many other friends from more powerful or less powerful countries, I have been able to compare everyone’s mobility crossing borders and looking for work. Depending on where you are from, your mobility is greatly impaired.
I understand that within nations there are social classes, which are greatly defined by the economic wealth of each individual, I also understand that there is a borderless global upper class. However, these people to me are not important, because ultimately I understand they are there because the rest have not yet understood their true rights and their organized collective power.
My interest is with those people in Iraq, who are at this present moment running away from their homes, or have just been killed hours ago. Those ignorant American soldiers whom with the bastion of freedom picked up arms to kill fictitious enemies in far away lands, only to arrive back to America as “Winter soldiers” traumatized and begging forgiveness from their victims. Those naïve families who bought their own homes thanks to the “Subprime” mortgage, and have now lost it while large banks are being rescued with their tax dollars. The unaware worker forced out of his job in the latest global merger, or corporate cost cutting operation. My interest lies in all those people, who indifferent of their economic status are not decision makers in geopolitical, global economic, or military policy. Within them I envision a change of winds and therefore a different world, with a different character, a humane world away from the morally wrong double standards, which we are living by.
Society overall has accepted a system which leaves behind those who do not matter, who cannot make it. They don’t matter, because what matters are the statistics of humanity, statistics that are thrown at us on a daily basis with the sole purpose of dehumanizing social reality and promoting the interests of the rich and powerful. Again the important thing to me is not how these powerful individuals are able to maintain this situation, what is interesting to me is why the common people are so tolerant of this reality.
I ask myself, how come when the public learns that Bill Clinton has won over 100 million dollars since he stepped out of office, society accepts it without questioning this morally flagrant insult to all hard working Americans. How come people do not see that this is a ‘clean’ and ‘legal’ way of receiving payment for the services he has given to his corporate relationships? The same holds true of all the other presidents of western democratic governments - Aznar in Spain, Tony Blair in the UK and others. They went in to govern their countries with far less than they have now, surely there would have been no room for this kind of reality in Plato’s Republic. How come today it is the norm?
It is also unavoidable to wonder why the public accepts the idea of large contributions being made to presidential candidates from large corporations, without wondering whose interests these presidents are going to defend. Again, the facts are all there for anyone curious enough to search for them. One can see which companies are supporting which candidates fairly easily thanks to the internet, but the issue is not which companies or which candidate, the important issue is that most people are not really questioning the integrity of the system itself. A system which has allowed corporate scandals like Enron to take place, encouraged the idea of promoting democracy with the barrel of a gun, has allowed for millions of people to loose their homes and their livelihood around the world, and has created such poverty in many areas of the world that children are born without access to drinking water. A militarized corporate world, in which the power of weapons and the value of money determine who is on top and who lies at the bottom.
One cannot expect to be understood when reactionary thought leads society to accept no other alternative. In the west we destroyed our “communist enemies” and proved that they were ‘cruel’ and we were ‘good’, the same fate awaits our new barbaric enemy the “fundamentalist terrorist”, but what we are yet to understand in the west is that we will need another enemy in order to justify our rightness and supremacy, ‘our kind, democratic and humane ways’. We will always need another Iran wanting nuclear weapons to justify our own unmatchable arsenal. We will always need another Cuba to oppress in the name of freedom of democracy and justice in the world. In short, we will always need another enemy in order to sleep at night, comfortable with the atrocities that our tax dollars and hard sweat at work helped to promote and strengthen in the name of freedom, justice and equality. All of which are terms that are truly contradictory to the true essence of the democratic societies we claim to be members of.
It is important for westerners to be able to defend the fight of the Dalai Lama for Tibet against the monstrous China, because China has no right to commit the same kind of atrocities we commit. Only democracies are allowed to determine what belongs to whom, only democracies are allowed to overthrow governments, or police the world. Only ‘us’ because we are better than ‘them’. The problem for the common people is that there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’ because we have no say in what is happening. The people in power are laughing at our individual indifference, if we can understand that, then things can change. I have no answers, I just have one question: Where are the winds of change?
Pablo Ouziel is sociologist and freelance writer.