We are going to change the system. All we have to decide is how we are going to do that. And as angry as we have the right to be, let us remember that we are in this struggle to the kill the idea that there is nothing wrong. The idea that there is nothing wrong with the vast majority of people being nothing but rungs on a letter that the elite pretend we can climb up. We must stop looking to them to give us something. We have to fill the poor community with our own pride. We have to teach ourselves our history. Tell them about our heroes. Our culture. So they don’t face the system unprepared. Then we will stand up to the system anyway they want. Conflict if they like, but with an open hand too. To say that we can all build an America worth living in. An America for equals. An America as beautiful as this land is, as beautiful as we are.
The American Dream could be summed up as social mobility. This is a sick joke, but for that, we have only ourselves to blame. They can sell it to us, and they are really good at it. But in the end we have to buy it. Well… we need to stop buying it. Now, they may say there are some who have bettered themselves in the system. Some who have moved up. Who have ended life better than their parents.
But they are the exceptions that prove the rule. And the rule is that millions are stuck in poverty so that a few can gain and the elite can remain so.
Think of the imperial powers and their colonies… they had systems where the colonized could go to their schools and learn their ideas, their history, their culture. Then the system would tote these token people around and say “look what we are doing for these people, look how much better off they are now that we have brought them civilization.” Don’t be fooled, this is the same thing that this system is doing to our people. Who are our people? You may ask. They are the people who build the buildings that will never be named after them. They are the people who work in the fields, in the schools, the millions who work all the days of their lives to barley secure enough for a ragged existence.
It is no accident that we learn in school and in our life about the presidents, the senators, the civil leaders It is no accident that we don’t learn about the people who struggled against the system, who tried to stem the tide. The worst is when they teach us white-washed versions of our leaders and martyrs. Martin Luther King, Helen Keller, Woody Guthrie, the list goes on… When they can’t white-wash it or ignore it they demonize: Chi Guevara, Malcolm X, and John Brown… I could list the ones we have forgotten, Jack Reed, Joe Hill, Ralph Chaplin, Angela Davis…
Everyone feels this struggle. There is no way that they cannot feel it. When there are no jobs. Or there are jobs but there all low paid with no health care. People work in restaurants they can’t afford to eat in. They work in hotels they can’t afford to stay in. All they can afford is cheap entertainment, Television, drugs, alcohol, and sex. Then when they do those things they are demonized for wasting their money and then blamed for being poor. Or they get pregnant or get somebody pregnant and they are blamed when they run off or can’t take care of their baby. Who could take care of a baby in that situation? They can’t afford daycare or babysitters, so how are they suppose to keep working at a job that barley paid enough for them to survive let alone a baby. They weren’t taught that it was going to be like this. They had no way of knowing, and no way of dealing with it. Sure people make bad decisions, but our people are not given much choice. When you have a crappy decision to make, the choices you are left with will all be bad.
Everyone feels this struggle. But people see it as an individual battle, and that is why we always lose. We can’t fight a war all by ourselves. Blame is a very powerful thing. Who controls the blame pattern is very powerful. In this system, in this country, the blame flows downward. It is the people at the bottom who are at fault. We worry so much about the welfare system and how people might take advantage of it. What we don’t realize is that even if that is true, and I don’t think it is, what amount of money are we losing? What does it amount to when compared to the money that is legally and illegally taken from us every day by the capitalists? The pyramid schemes, the payday loans, the government corruption, the landlords, the power companies, the hospitals, the collages, the court fees, the credit card companies, the consumerism that attacks us from every angle, compelling us to have the nicest shoes the best laptop, the biggest TV. All of this serves one purpose.
To keep us in our place and at each other’s throats.
I don’t know what the future will look like. I have to hope it will be better than this. Better than the poverty I see all around me. The wars that my country fights that I don’t see and yet my friends die in.
I don’t know what the future looks like. But I do know that my friends… that we… are fighting the wrong war. And that it is time that we started to fight for ourselves, for our people, and to do that we have to learn from each other and build at the bottom what we want at the top.