The whole world is a prison, let's free ourselves!
Every day, all over the world, voices are being raised and barricades are being erected. Even as our pockets of utopias are being attacked and the Earth is dying, people are taking to the streets, some for the first time in many countries simultaneously...
What the hell is going on? Alerts are coming in all directions, alarms are triggered every day from one continent to another, images are circulating at full speed in confusion, causing an unprecedented feeling of chaos, mixing fear and hope, horror and excitement.
The summer of 2019 had begun in despair as the new Greek government prepared to "clean up #Exarcheia
in a month", Athens' rebellious and supportive neighbourhood, while locking even more refugees into the sordid camps built by the European Union. In the meantime, a few hundred kilometres further east, the American president rolled out the red carpet for the dictator #turkish
to settle his score in the enclave #feminist
"Rojava, a real island of #utopias
in the #Near
East. In France, one more #ZAD
was devastated under the assault of a police armada, this time in #Aveyron
. From one end of the planet to the other, gigantic forests burned in turn, from Siberia to Alaska and the crucial Amazon, the lung essential to our survival. Other symbols among these millions of decimated trees, 200,000 olive trees loaded with history were beginning to be torn down by bulldozers in the high Minoan plain of #Kastelli
, in #Crete
, to make way for a completely useless new airport. All bad news!
The countdown was on, both for our pockets of utopias and for the Earth itself. A steamroller seemed to be about to crush us. Any resistance seemed illusory at the time, as it could only provide a brief stay and, at best, a fine example of dignity and perseverance. Everywhere, meetings were multiplying, messages of support were circulating and protests were trying to be heard, but to no avail.
Then, remarkably, the #indignation
turned into a revolt and spread like a trail of powder.
A wind of revolt
With huge differences in both causes and means, millions of fists began to rise from one end of the world to the other. No matter what the supposed trigger element is here and there: increase in the price of subway tickets in Chile or taxes on cigarettes and telecommunications in Lebanon, judicial persecution by the Spanish State in Catalonia or the Chinese State in Hong Kong, precariousness in Indonesia and Colombia, corruption in #Peru
, in recent weeks, the uprising against the government has continued to spread to the point that riots are now reported on all continents. From Guinea to Chile and from Algeria to Ecuador, the revolt erupted in different ways, with the shared feeling of not being alone in rising. Thus, Santiago supports Quito who supports Hong Kong who supports Exarcheia who supports #Rojava
, and so on...
What we are also seeing everywhere, as in France in recent months, is that power is constantly hardening and is determined to commit all atrocities to keep its pedestal. It represses more and more violently, eviscerating, killing, torturing, raping, imprisoning hundreds of people without proof, with some differences according to the country and the intensity of the clashes.
The spirit of the times
What does this particularly dense period tell us - or confirm -?
First of all, that capitalism will go all the way if we don't stop it in time. It will destroy the Earth, life and humanity in its insatiable pursuit of profit, that is, in its senseless logic of accumulation: a source of inequality, misery, deprivation of freedom, suffering and destruction. The massive disappearance of forests in 2019 alone is enough to diagnose the deadly scourge that is eating away at us: capitalism is a pandemic, a lethal virus that monopolizes, transforms and ravages everything that exists on the face of the earth.
A second important thing that this historical sequence clearly shows us is that power will not give way - if not a few crumbs that it will take up again afterwards - if we do not remove it, once and for all. All power rests above all on a carefully crafted symbolic representation and on the ancestral conditioning of voluntary servitude. This is why this destitution is as much to be achieved in our minds - in the social imagination - as in the way we organize ourselves, without ever again allowing anyone to govern us except ourselves. Taking control of our lives is the challenge.
The third news to note in these troubled times is that more and more of us want to cross this step, this bridge, this rubicon to move resolutely on to something else.
The lesson of the street
Certainly, many demonstrators, rioters, insurgents may not be so ambitious at first sight. Probably. But, as with the Yellow Vests in France and many other popular movements around the world, it often happens that the initial demand is quickly overtaken (price of gas, metro, bread in the past, telephone, or even mixed residence at university, etc.) and that newcomers to the streets become politicized and explore the root causes of their problems. Occupying the street and other places makes it possible to meet, exchange and open up the real debate, i.e. the horizontal discussion, from equal to equal, at the opposite end of the spectrum from the debate proposed by the power media with salon thinkers who sometimes pretend to be fighting when they agree on the essential. Moreover, the violence of the government and its servants against demonstrators sometimes leads newcomers, shocked and even wounded, to a better understanding of the real nature of power and the servile complicity of those who are paid to protect it. It is by coming up against the State in the street that we better understand its main vocation: to maintain and perpetuate social order in the service of the ruling class, under the misleading appearance of a society by all and for all.
From one end of the world to the other, from the banks of the Seine to those of the Euphrates and the Andes Cordillera to the hills of Attica, newcomers to us sooner or later understand that the challenge is not to get crumbs or a little consideration, but to put a definitive end to exploitation and domination.
Only one possible way out
Time is accelerating. The countdown indicates the threat of misery, the depletion of resources, the extinction of species, the expansion of war, the annihilation of our pockets of utopias, creeping fascism, omniscient totalitarianism and the destruction of the Earth.
We have only one possible way out: to free ourselves. Around us, the whole world is a prison. Not the world as the planet on which we live, but as a model of society that has spread all over the globe. A society based on hierarchical organization, competition and accumulation at the expense of others. A completely outdated society, or rather a society to be surpassed.
We have everything to gain by choosing consultation rather than domination, consensus rather than the arbitrary decisions of the leaders of the past, horizontality rather than verticality. And the first of these gains will be collective intelligence. Likewise, we have everything to gain by choosing cooperation over competition, mutual aid over exploitation, love of life over the morbid impulse to believe that we are superior to others. First of all, we will gain harmony, that is, a peaceful and shared happiness. We have everything to gain by sawing together, as many as possible, motivated and tirelessly, the bars of the prison of the old world that is dying: suffocated, devastated and mutilated by this society. We have everything to gain by freeing ourselves and changing era.
What we are capable of
In this way, there is no reason to hope or despair. Hope and despair are two sides of the same coin. In both cases, it means conditioning our actions on prospects for results, borrowing them based on vain speculation about the future, instead of resolutely choosing our actions based on our ethical and political convictions. Let us remember that hope means "waiting" in many languages: waiting for the moment, waiting for the providential man, waiting for everything to change... To despair is to forget too quickly what we are capable of, each and every one of us together: the famous creativity of humanity that has already achieved so many magnificent things in the arts and technology, the genius of life, the beauty of the world outside this society that necrosis it.
It remains, therefore, to get out of the prehistoric political history of humanity. End the hierarchy and the endless race forward. Put an end to voluntary servitude and the desire for easy comfort. End authoritarian society and capitalism. We are capable of this: History has proved it, even if those who claim to govern us are determined to make all our past and present attempts disappear. We know that we are capable of it and, above all, that we have no other choice: it will be freedom or death.Yannis Youlountas