by Ray Jason
One of the many reasons that I linger here in the Banana Latitudes is because the local people still have backbones. Or to use a more creative description that a friend of mine favors – they have not yet been “sheepified.”
First of all, they demand that the government do things to actually help the real people and not just the rich people. For example, there are free clinics for pregnant women and there are local market days where food is available from farm co-ops at reduced prices due to subsidies. Yes, the Third World is so backward that they haven’t yet figured out that you are supposed to subsidize rich, BigAg campaign donors and not the people in the pueblo.
And secondly, if the authorities initiate policies that are harmful to local interests, the people make their displeasure very apparent. They start with acceptable procedures by going up the normal chain of command. But if these fail, they engage in “direct action.” And they do not waste their fervor and time on Lame Lefty symbolic gestures. They do not stand beside a bridge with placards. They shut the frigging bridge down with their bodies. And, if a telecom giant jacks the phone rates up obscenely, it will suddenly discover that its transmission lines have been severed.
I have been directly inconvenienced by these monkey wrench gang tactics, but their bold and courageous fortitude both amuses and comforts me. However, most of the other expats are horrified by such “radicalism.” They are outraged that they have to go without internet for 18 hours. But wasn’t part of the motivation for abandoning the First World, to escape a frenzied culture so driven by schedules and deadlines?
Down here, south of many borders, the average person is politically aware and they are prepared to take action. A major factor contributing to their vigilance is the fact that they are not slaves to the monster with the blinking blue eye – the Television. Yes, they own them and they watch them, but the Tube does not rule their lives!
In the evenings, the streets and parks are full of neighbors chatting and laughing with each other. They get their “news” from the direct reports of their friends and relatives. They do not get it from the perception deception that is television “programming.”
Because these everyday people are not isolated in a big box and staring at a smaller box, they have a genuine underpinning of solidarity in their lives. They understand that they are not the only one upset about a certain issue, and therefore it is possible to do something about it. They feel empowered because they can do the math – they realize that they are many, but their rulers are few!
By contrast, in the First World, the Malignant Overlords appear omnipotent and so the citizens remain docile. They follow their tv’s instructions on what to believe and eat and drink – who to hate or idolize – what to drive - and what to wear when you are driving it. Perhaps the Idiot Box should be more accurately called the Sheepification Box.
The advantage that these so-called “disadvantaged” people have is that they still have consciences and convictions. They are unwilling to settle for the creeping crappiness of the modern world without mustering some resistance to it. They are still roused by the Power of Refusal! And it is worth paying attention to their strategy because MASS REFUSAL may be the only potentially successful tactic left.
Surely the ballot box won’t work since almost all of the candidates are owned by the oligarchs who finance them. And should a maverick or dark horse emerge, there are those untraceable electronic voting machines to insure the will of the Malignant Overlords. And if an actual reformer somehow runs the gauntlet, there is always the Dealey Plaza JFK option.
Certainly the acceptable channels of protest won’t succeed. Look at the tens of millions who rallied against Gulf War II in 2003. They were simply and scornfully ignored. Or how about the Occupy Movement. It was suffocated in one weekend with a nationwide, coordinated “clear the camps” police blitzkrieg. Plus, there is the fact that polite protests seem to co-opt themselves. People return home feeling that they have “done something.” But essentially all that they have done is deceive themselves.
Armed revolution is a treacherous tactic even in the best of circumstances. It leads to enormous numbers of innocent people being killed. And history is rife with oppressed peoples who rose up and violently threw off their shackles only to become equally vicious oppressors. And given the militarization of police and the extraordinary surveillance capabilities of governments, revolt is not just a fool’s errand, it is a suicide mission.
Most of my readers know what approach I have chosen to deal with this modern world that increasingly seems like an Asylum. I abandoned it. I fled. I sailed away. This strategy has bequeathed me far greater joy and fulfillment than I ever experienced in the proverbial Real World. But I genuinely realize that such a bold strategy is not possible for most people. However, even though you may not be able to remove yourself from the madness, you can resist it. Here are some good examples of the Power of Refusal:
· Suffocate the warmongers STOP ENLISTING IN THE MILITARY! This is so crucial, and it could massively and profoundly wound the Malignant Overlords. Our rulers in the West have manipulated our economies so that there are very few decent jobs available. Thus, joining the Army seems like a sensible option.
But examine it more carefully and it means leaving your friends and families for long periods of time - and possibly forever. It requires you to kill people that you have no quarrel with, so that rich men, whose sons never go into battle, can get even richer. And it could lead to a lifetime of physical and emotional injuries where you government only pays lip service to your “sacrifices” on the 4th of July.
If enough people stop volunteering for the military, they will have to institute the draft again; and that would lead to a gigantic backlash as draft cards are once again set ablaze. As long as there are any civilian jobs available take them. They might seem awful and menial, but they are also noble - since you would be helping to subdue the Imperial Dogs of War.
· Don’t mistake smart for dumb Smart Phones, Smart Homes, Smart Cars, even Smart DUST is being designed. How long until they start marketing Smart Condoms to inform us whether we are experiencing pleasure? Can nobody see the madness in all of this? Mark Twain detected it 100 years ago when he wrote, “They have turned a thousand useless luxuries into necessities!” Does nobody notice that self-aware, big-brained, miraculous humans are being turned into hypnotized consumer sheep?
And there is an even darker side to this manufactured addiction to “the latest and the greatest.” Many of these Smart devices are spying on you. Since when does any government have the right to know whether you are in your home or out somewhere? But the body heat sensors of the Smart electrical system in your “castle” provide them that information. And why should the Malignant Overlords be entitled to know where you drove your car this week?
Has everyone forgotten what the term “inalienable rights” means? These are inherent rights that no government can take from you. Too many Smart Devices lead to too many dumb people.
· Nuke your TV If you can’t actually shoot your TV or set it on fire because it is against the condominium association guidelines, at least TURN IT OFF! It is a fiend – not a friend. So much of the debasement of the quality of modern life is a direct result of television addiction.
Intriguingly, the main justification that apologists use for keeping the vile contraption, is that it “keeps them informed.” If the falsehood and absurdity of that defense was not so tragic, it would be hilarious. The mainstream media provides government approved propaganda. Anything that disputes the official narrative – e.g. that Vladimir Putin is Evil Incarnate and probably eats baby bunny omelettes - is forbidden.
I have not owned a Sheepification Box since I sailed away from the Asylum in 1992. Abandoning it has not diminished my powers of critical thinking. Indeed, it has accelerated them, since I use books and the internet for my research.
Here are seven other reasons to nuke your TV that spring quickly to mind: 1) Violent children’s’ cartoons, 2) the Kardashians, 3) “survival” shows where the most vicious people triumph 4) the Kardashians 5) “Happy” news 6) the Kardashians 7) “History” shows that glorify war.
A few days ago I crossed the bridge that the locals often shut down if they are seriously upset by some government action. Down on the riverbank there were about a dozen women washing their clothes like their ancestors did five generations ago. I marveled at the paradox in play here. Most of the people from my world would view these simple, hard-working people as “backward.” And yet when it comes to dealing with injustice and greed, they are far more “advanced” than those in El Norte.
As the bus crossed the bridge, I smiled as I imagined these washerwomen seeing a phalanx of demonstrators approaching. They would abandon their laundry duties and hike up to the bridge and join the protesters in a human barricade. And then I sighed in admiration for these poor people who have so little money … and yet so much moxie.