What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Why there is no money in changing the world

It's simple and systemic.  We live in a world based on power and the accumulation of capital as its principle means of expression.  Power does not want the world to change.  The powerful, like it the way it is.  The Romney's, Goldman CEO's, Bush families, Koch Brothers, and such (yes, there are plenty of lefty rich people out there to include here as well) that are just fine with their lives.  The rest of us sadly though struggle to become more of them, less of ourselves.

I have a friend right now that splits time doing real work trying to keep greedy businessmen from stealing land from indigenous people in the developing world, with editing food and cooking publications.  Seemingly one actually matters to people's lives and the other does not matter as much.  People being dispossessed of their land, their livelihoods, and their power, in the name of someone else's profits, somewhere else's appetites, and somewhere else's energy or mineral needs is abominable.  But it happens - last year to the tune of land the size of France.  Recipes and tasty tidbits of the 1st world are well... not important.  I mean, yeah, I like a good meal.  But the fact that there is plenty of money in editing gourmet cook books and so little in saving people's lives and livelihoods is to me the cornerstone of the problem in the world today.

This is the same situation I am in and have been in for years.  There is no money for changing the world, thus so many fewer jobs.  She wants to work full time and support a life doing food and agricultural justice work, yet it doesn't pay enough.  I want to do similar things with economic and social justice, but I'm not getting anything there either.  The labor market is simply too tight with too many people applying for the same positions.  The powers that be don't want the world changed, and the powers that be are the ones with the money.  Thus they have no interest in funding change in the world.  So the non-profit and activist community scrapes by.  There are just never enough jobs, never enough money, never enough help for those around the world (and in the US) being dispossessed, having their land stolen, their lives stolen, trafficked, killed, raped, whatever.  It is these crimes in far away lands that allow us in the "1st" world to have enough food and time to buy cook books and experiment with new types of food, as opposed to using what food is available, eating as nutritionally as we can, and trying to simply maintain enough human security to live happy productive lives for ourselves and our communities.

The problem is simple, for all of us to find economic and social avenues towards success we need to change the power structures affecting us.   That is just exactly what my friend and I want to do, but we can't commit ourselves fully every day to it.  The greed and feeling of entitlement to power those with it have is so entrenched as to never allow us enough money to change it (I'll write more on the entitlement component of that later).  This hold has lead to all sorts of outcomes.  At the behest of this power, governments are cutting grants and funding programs, corporations have become people, private individuals are driving things with their agendas, and the average everyday person can't find the means to fund or work full-time towards true change, nevermind food and shelter in many circumstances.  So what do we do?   How do we bring change without the tools needed to change?  What is the power of the powerless?

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