Monday, September 19, 2005

Who gives voice to the voiceless?

Once again, what started off as a response to a comment, has turned into a rant. I should probably think about this more carefully before presenting it to the public, but...why bother?

From DAS:

And what is frightening is the extent to which that vision is considered "mainstream" today: free trade (although I should hope "free trade" in human beings is still considered outside the mainstream)

We have simply shifted slavery in the other direction. We still trade in people, but we do it by trading in corporate positions.

Barbara Ehrenreich's book Bait and Switch makes me realize it is not an exaggeration to say slavery is alive and well in America, but now it is based not on race, but on corporate power. We have ceded our salvation (Caesar was a "savior," too; indeed, the term was originally political, not theological) to the corporation, and now it trades in employees. Rather than shifting labor around, as the slave trade did, we shift capital.

But we have made capital the source of life, so human beings are reduced, in essence, to wage slaves. They do not suffer the brute depravities of slavery, but they are treated in much the same disinterested manner, with many of the same results. People once again become objects, not persons; things, not humans. And they are tossed aside as casually as Kleenex.

Which, by and large, we accept, and internalize as a failing in ourselves, not in the system. Because we have located our "salvation" in that system. To turn against it is to cut ourselves off from the source of life.

And so we get Katrina; and downsizing; and crony capitalism: and no one in a public position to do so, says a word.

In that sense, what Rove says about Cindy Sheehan is right: not one politician has taken a stand with her. How many have taken a stand with the victims of Katrina?

Zero, by my count.

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