The young “Karen” would be horrified. She’d be heaping all sort of socio-political rhetoric on me and screaming about hypocrisy and turning traitor. She’d be right. To the old me, the idealist, the non-conformist of the early, early 70’s attendee of socialist bull sessions, screamer on such topics as social injustice, women’s rights and economic inequality – I am the “Establishment”.
In 2015, I am still, very much, anti-establishment but I am also a realist. You can’t fight “The Man”, my friends – as defeatist as it may sound, it is the truth. It has been the truth since time out of mind. Since the first Neanderthal took tribal control because his club was bigger and better. Since the mythical Moses decided that he had the right to dictate to his fellow man, what laws must be followed. Through monarchies, through theocracies – there have always been those guided by greed, a blood thirst for power over their peers. The inequality is no less today than it was in the time of Henry the VIII or Marie-Antoinette of the “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!” fame.
Learning history in school, most of us read with no small amount of smugness, of the rights of the Seigneur, the tithes of the church, the unfair taxation by brutal monarchs and of the deaths of millions to satiate the blood lust of the political elite. Heads up folks; it is no different now. The same subjugation, the same injustice, the same manmade famines and war – the same torture and brutality. We are no different from our early ancestors, no different from our bloodlines of long ago. Our oppressors have simply changed their titles – they are now C.E.O’s, C.F.O’s, V.P’s and S.O.B’s…
They are just as greedy, just as narcissistic and just as brutal as any monarch or dictator of old. Although their methods of control are a little more subtle – not much, but a little. Now they have spin doctors because torture and beheadings are frowned upon and the natives tend to get restless.
They are also just as stupid. Consider the most recent of the recessions, the one that saw Wall Street fail; seemingly massive and indestructible corporations suddenly at the door of the American White House, on their knees, begging for monetary bailouts in the billions of dollars while the victims, Joe and Jane average were thrown from their homes by banker barons and left on the street, with their children in tow. How is this different from the Irish Potato Famine, the Great Depression or the Holodomor?
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
What would happen to you or to your friends and neighbours if they were to go to the bank and ask for a loan to pay back the interest on a loan he/she has already taken out to pay for other debt, with no real assets to cover even a fraction of the debt? First, any loan officer would be fired for even considering the first loan…then, their replacement would seize everything you own and you’d probably go to jail for fraud. That’s you – here’s what happens when you are a corporation (if you really cannot tolerate the meta-speak of the article – essentially is says that CEVA borrowed to pay debt that was incurred by borrowing to pay off debt that was incurred to pay off interest on a loan to pay off debt…and as a result of this financial sleight of hand and total corporate ineptitude, in order to merely keep their financial heads from going down for the third time, 10 000 people need to be turfed to the sidewalk.)
I figure, looking around, watching and listening; I will probably be one of the 10 000. C’est la vie. That’s life. I am in a better position than were my great-great-grandparents fleeing starvation in Ireland or my great grandparents who fled the Bolsheviks in Ukraine but injustice should not have levels of severity. Injustice is injustice. Greed is greed. These 10 000 people will be out of work because of corporate stupidity. Through no fault of their own – they will be out of work.
These 10 000 do not have expense accounts, they do not benefit from corporate perks and profit sharing. They never sat in boardrooms stroking each other’s egos. They woke up, most would wake their children up, get dressed, feed said kids, stop at the daycare, slog off to work for less than fair wages, making money for corporate morons who simply tossed that good money after bad while being rewarded for making disastrous decisions and policy.
I am a part of that machine and to the younger me, I am part of the problem. True. I also had children to feed, a roof to provide and meals to cook. Compromise, in order to survive. We all learn it. And if we don’t, we end up being a bigger problem; the end user of the social welfare system. Taking but contributing nothing. It is very difficult to stave off hunger pangs with ideals.
I have made my compromises in favour of survival. I make no apologies. These compromises do not mean that I have turned my back on injustice; I just know that to expect politicians and corporations to be of help in the matters of justice is pointless, in the extreme. A waste of time and effort. I try to do what I can, where I can, when confronted with injustice – it ain’t much and it ain’t fair but nobody, in their right mind, ever said that life was fair. Ever.