Happy to publish this guest piece from a hard-fighting comrade (who wishes to remain anonymous). He has been trying to influence policy at the City level, to extract a few pro-labor concessions from some big developers by using the regulatory power of the liberal city council. But as usually happens in these types of negotiations, the forces of Investment and Economic Growth have the upper hand. And just as my friend warns, until those who labour realize their own collective power, they always will. Welcome to Capitalist Democracy in action:
I cannot gaze into the hearts of our civic representatives to see if they are truly sympathetic toward those who are being stripped of their dignity by a system that does so well at shielding those who are responsible for toil and destruction. A system designed to push to the forefront and saddle with guilt the leaders who we believe desire to do-well. However I have sat across the table from representatives of the true culprits, for a time in my life I was one of their enforcers, and I've heard them express the zeitgeist of our time that fear and the imperatives of the system demand our community's obedience, that in essence we don't matter.
In public the representatives of the true culprits sit amiably in the corner. But in private they consult with their masters fabricating their yield of promises in order to extract more treasure from our tiny and precious corner of the world and extract more toil from the bodies of our neighbors, our kindred. This tiny corner of the world like so many others can hardly bear to grant more. Yet we contort ourselves into knots trying to justify more ways in which to accommodate and to squeeze out just a few more drops for export into the pockets of those in the gilded towers. Or we pay dearly to retain those drops.
For many of us within the construct of our insulated, comfortable, ostensibly democratically-liberal lives, the moment has not yet arisen where we'll be forced to choose a side. But the transit of the two paths we are staring down is becoming very clear. The path we currently tread is one of individual identity lashed to fleeting tribal security which will lead to collective and earthly annihilation. The other is a path of solidarity and health based on moderation, sharing, restoration and respect for the earth. We don't have much time, some say the time has passed, to make the choice to step into the latter path. We cannot have it both ways.
"Which side are you on boys, which side are you on?" - Florence Reece singing to Harlan County, Kentucky.