Love is destructive
The word 'radical' comes from the work for 'root,' and I find myself drawn to discover the root of certain societal behaviors. Here in the US it seems to me that we've forgotten how to be social creatures. We've been television-watching consumers for generations now. As a result, we're not just afraid of each other, we're losing any sense of community. Television has been shown to make people fear going out into their own neighborhoods; it's the lurid depictions of rare and sensational crimes, brought to one's intimate view and made to seem ordinary and present. The resulting fear begets the popular meme of the tough cop who knows how to break the rules and even how to torture. So we vote time and again for fascistic and repressive policing measures, and we try to avoid confronting the horrific totalitarian state we have created. Two point three percent of the US population is either on probation, on parole or in prison. That's seven million people. More than one out of fifty. (I repeat that statistic just about every week, and I intend to keep doing so until I begin to hear some debate about whether it is wise to maintain such a horror.) Collective insanity is so sad, so sad.
The recent business with Wilikeaks and Assange revealed that, though there are important avenues now for independent communication, we're still subject to centralized propaganda. For most Americans, the story of Wikileaks is the story of media terrorism. The whole idea of a society confronting the amorphous and hidden terrorist was an easy sell, and the endless terror war is now accepted as ordinary. So, now, there is no limit to the corruption and extremism of our corporate masters. If they want us to engage in daily charades to humiliate ourselves, all that has to be done is to cry "terrorist," and we will stand in line in our socks and allow ourselves to be felt up. We'll send our own children to be trained as soldiers, to murder and terrify strangers who had nothing to do with our bloody little internal propaganda stunts. And we'll agree to censorship on a grand scale, next, to keep imperialism's secrets from disloyal internet journalists.
As a radical, I see the fascistization of this society coming not just from television, but from a long history of militarism and genocidal violence. Each spasm of historic horror is either mythologized or entirely forgotten. We pretend the attempted extermination of Native Americans was an unfortunate but necessary force of culture clash. We know nothing of the attempted extermination of Filipinos or even of Koreans. It doesn't take long, in a television culture, to forget the previous image. Whatever remains in memory is easily dismissed as something that happened to other people. No collective awareness remains. Certainly there is no guilt.
The first and most radical and destructive act that we can do to destroy this culture of corporate totalitarianism is to re-learn to tolerate and care for each other. There are ideological safeguards in our minds that prevent this sort of mutiny from breaking out, however. If we think of each other as human beings with human rights, we're taught, we're in danger of falling into socialism. We must be free to oppress each other, in this vast prison called the United States. When our friends and neighbors disappear, to face desperation sleeping in their cars and their relative's couches, we are to put it out of our minds, and ask: what's on tonight?
Compassion is a criminal and love is a terrorist. But if we are to destroy corporate tyranny, we must embrace the criminality of compassion and the terror of love. Every act of solidarity shakes the ground beneath the billionaires. Every act of love threatens the legitimacy of the police state. Every statement of fact and true history is a terrorist threatening the comforting familiarity of the handcuffs. Love threatens revolution. I come to you with revolution in my heart.