Not a Serf

Neo-feudalism is on the march in the United States. The US Government has been largely captured by the financial industry, and is operating against the rest of us. This business/government alliance is the 1% that Occupy Wall Street railed against. If you need a face to attach to this nefarious cabal, think of “Little Timmah” Geithner.

One of the key methods that the 1% uses to enslave the rest of us is debt.

“Today, we have entered a new phase.  What might be called capitalist underdevelopment and once again debt has emerged as both the central mode of capital accumulation and a principal mechanism of servitude.  Warren Buffett (of all people) has predicted that, in the coming decades, the United States is more likely to turn into a “sharecropper society” than an “ownership society.”

“In our time, the financial sector has enriched itself by devouring the productive wherewithal of industrial America through debt, starving the public sector of resources, and saddling ordinary working people with every conceivable form of consumer debt.”

This all sounds hopeless, I know, but, how do we fight back?

1) Don’t be a serf. Resist this imposition of neo-feudalism. Take charge of your life. You are a citizen, not just a fucking consumer. In Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau argues that citizens should not permit governments to dull their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing their consent to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice.

2) Avoid “rents.”

“As Lenin and others predicted, industrial capitalism has turned into finance capitalism. Finance capitalism does not finance or create new real investments such as manufacturing facilities. Instead, finance capitalism functions as a rentier. It leverages debt and extracts interest payments (and today taxpayer bailouts for its over-leveraged gambles). Finance capitalism flourishes by converting more and more of society’s resources into payments to itself…the result is that bankers now receive the rents (a form of unearned income) that once flowed to the landed aristocracy. Unlike the aristocracy, who were dispossessed of their rents, the bankers have not been.

Take your money out of the bank, especially if it is one of the “too big to fail” banks. Join a credit union. And, it’s not just banks, our country is overrun with rentiers: Comcast, Microsoft, Walmart, AT&T, etc. Find alternatives.

3) Take part in a community. Humans are communal, act like it. Remember, the powers that be would like nothing better than to have us all alone in front of the TV. Turn it off.

4) Plant a garden. It’s a small step, but it gives you a measure of control, and there is nothing better than fresh tomatoes and basil with dinner in the summer.

5) Exercise. Not only will you get in better shape and be healthier, but it offers the best anti-depressant. And it’s empowering.

6) Learn a sport. It will provide a entertaining way to exercise. If you chose an extreme sport, like this, or this, or this, you can risk your life, like I do. Risking your life is exhilarating, but it also puts some of the petty things we stress about into perspective.

7) Get involved with local politics. Notice, I didn’t say get involved with national politics, where Team D is almost as bad as Team R, and they are both down with neo-feudalism.

8) Stay positive. Understand what is going on without becoming cynical.  Cynicism is paralyzing. Again, that is what the powers that be would like.

9) Don’t become spiteful. When you are spiteful of your neighbors, it feeds into the divide and rule paradigm. Find what Alex Cockburn calls your “pure hatred.” By that, Cockburn means, hate the real villains that are turning this country into a “banana republic.”

10) Love someone. I’m starting to sound like Dr. Phil, but having a partner makes life so much more enjoyable. As the saying goes–Live, Laugh, Love.

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