What’s wrong with the Western leaders and what can be done.
2018 note: Sadly since Trump the situation only got way more worse and brazen. Macron suffers the Yellow Jackets protests because the French don’t take such leadership any more. And while they most likely didn’t read this article, they live the rage about the issues described here out on the streets. On a more positive note: Greta Thunberg, a 15-year old Swedish girl showing and demanding the kind of leadership we need today! She has now thousands following her lead and she even talked to the U.N.
Similar to 9/11 most people wonder how the attack in Paris (2015 terrorist street attack) could have been prevented security wise. One of the answers is bomb them harder in Syria. Sorry, what? Why are there so few voices that wonder what we have done, to be hated so deeply that people are willing to die for it? The story that they are crazy and evil radicals is too easy. Bombing more will create more like them. We very much also need a closer look at home. What was our role in creating those madmen? Or even: what is our own madness?
I recently saw this video about the richest country in the world. Watching the first six minutes will reveal how the West plundered Africa, yet claims it is ‘helping’ and brings civilization. It really takes a pun we’ve secretly known, but most of us love to deny. A famous quote from many peoples is: “When you came, you had the bible and we the land with its riches. After that, we had the bible (or ‘democracy’ if you like) and you all the riches.” We the West plundered Africa and kept it unruly. We are plundering the oil from the Middle East and keep it unruly. The USA fights a war on drugs and keeps South and Middle America unruly. When you think there’s honest contracts from the big corporations in any of these area’s, really watch the video above. We created trauma’s, violence and ecological disasters to take what we wanted. And now the consequences start to overflow back to us (in the form of refugees and even ecological disasters if you like). Too few want to see the collective bad karma the West has been building up. We will not solve terrorism, nor poverty, when we don’t solve the essential causes within: arrogance and self interest.
What all corrupt rulers share.
The real aggressive people are most likely the nice ‘reasonable’ business men in suits, who created the biggest propaganda machine since Goebbels (Fox news, nonsense tv, zombie movies, etc.) to hide their own interests. They offer us a solution to the mess elsewhere, which is: buy our side weapons (yes, normal taxpayers pay for those attacks, big business makes money on it) and bomb the shit out of people, whose relatives live all over the world. People whose radicalism might also grow due to our bullying, racism, rejections or us killing their family by accident or even on purpose. Which we all do out of fear and anger, because they might be dangerous. ISIS is crazy, and needs to be contained as a bushfire that burns itself out. Even most muslims think they are crazy. I agree. Yet, when we don’t take an honest look at our own role and most of all our own ‘leaders’, and the consequences of our own actions, we are doomed.
The reason to look closer to ourselves is huge. There are some very worrying resemblances between our own top business pundits and those of the Soviet Communist regime, Gang Lords, the Nazi leaders, ISIS leaders and African dictators. Wtf? Yes, indeed. Ready for it? In all of those cases:
1. There is an ideology that sells the higher ‘us’ vs the lower, less civilized ‘them’.
From the Spanish conquest of the America’s for the gold (‘But hey, they became good Catholics’), to Western robbery under the banner of ‘bringing democracy’, always a backward people needs to buy into the story of the conquerers. There are two aspects to this. The first there being a clear ‘us’ and ‘them’. Yes, I’m doing this one too now. I haven’t overcome this point myself yet. :) The other being believing that we are by nature, technological power, society, beliefs or ideology better than the ‘others’. And then the ‘others’ strangely hate us for it. We are surprised that they just don’t accept our superiority? Good thing, perhaps, that I don’t hate my own leaders. There are many capable people among them, most, sadly enough, fully convinced of the reasonability of corporate interests, (‘because of our economy’) and or blind to the side effects of these convictions. There are millions of very very poor Americans who think the world wants to conquer them for their wealth and freedom. They also believe their own poverty is the consequence of ‘socialist’ or other conspiracies. Dear believers of that idea, when your corporate leaders outsourced all work to China and took the profits for themselves, they enriched China (which now buys up Africa to do, up to now, a lighter version of what we did to Africa) and sunk the American economy, except their own income. Stop believing that very rich people promising you ‘they’ll take care of you’ will do just that. They’ll use you to take even better care of themselves. It is the entrepreneurial poor, who don’t wait for help to come, who bend the land to new possibilities.
2. The super rich live in unrestrained wealth.
They have luxuries no normal person can attain, unless they become part of the clique at the top. ISIS is famous for its sex slaves. The Nazi top stole art around Europe for private collections. Many American Corporates have armies of underpaid illegal workers, at home and or at work, and across the sea in China or India. Without shame they steal, buy up, or even pressure people out of possessions they want, from ancestral forests to art collections. And they almost all live in walled, protected area’s, away from the reality of the streets. They mostly are seen as heroes by the main media of their land. They do have aides such a spindoctors ready to bend tales, if need be. Any politician with a spin doctor is actually saying to you, ‘I’m willing to bend the truth to further my interests.’
3. The rules don’t (seem to) apply for them.
They make the rules, or just act as if they don’t apply to them. This goes from not paying any taxes, to getting away with murder, to plundering countries and people for personal gains. Wether they mold laws by gun point, lobby and or pressure groups or huge bribes; it all has the same effect: they get benefits others don’t.
4. Lower classes live the ideals and even fanatically die for them if need be.
Most soldiers of all these regimes felt they defended an ideal, they were willing to die for. We understand this in hindsight about the nazi’s and Hitlerjugend. We understand blowing yourself up for ISIS is kind of stupid and won’t make a difference. Yet the propaganda American school kids get washed over them about being the ‘best and freest country in the world’, is equally huge. Add to this the huge amount of movies that depict some aggressive ‘evil’ attacking their ‘normal’ way of life (the logic of warfare is to dehumanize other sides), hard core Christian intolerance of anything that doesn’t stroke with their explanation of the Bible and massive lacks in education. While Princeton tells us the USA is no longer a democracy and European leaders sell Europe out to TTIP corporates, many people on the street still think their leaders are part of ‘us’. For they don’t have an alternative…..yet.
5. Laws and justice rule in their favor.
Being black and poor in the USA will increase your chances to going to jail a multifold. Stealing one bread might get you in jail for longer than a year, due to the prison for profit system, even when you stole the bread for your hungry child. Now white middle aged bankers who robbed the economy into a deep hole, seem to stay free, because they are needed to help regulate the system only they understand, even when their actions led to homelessness, suicides, and more crimes by desperate people. Makes sense, no? Indeed. The elite protects its own. And is justice fair? The US court may seem fairer than a revolutionary trial during the French revolution, or a Iranian, Saudi or Isis court ruling against a ‘loose’ woman. But how come big bucks do so often make the difference? Or laws get changed to favor big business, not the needs of the poor? When power and invested money influence courts, we know justice is being corrupted. It doesn’t matter whether that is to hire lobbyists seeking to influence law making or groups of lawyers used in a court cases, where the other side hardly has to budget to hire even one.
6. Propaganda is back.
We all know the name Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister of Hitlers Third Reich. We all might agree people living under ISIS get to hear a very distorted take on reality. The same we think goes for North Korea, Putins Russia or even China. Yet few know the names of the current spin doctors helping your political parties to frame their interests in wordings that seem to care about you. Fox news is almost blatant in its own distortions of reality. The advertisers consciously regulate some news items. Also governments turned media into a channel, as those who are to critical won’t be invited back to the press conferences. The news helps right winged candidates by showing nasty potential terrorists coming to Europe. They don’t tell nearly enough of the human disaster that kills thousands in their own country or on the run. A overwhelming majority of those fleeing just want to stay safe. Thousands of normal citizens try to help them together with bigger organizations. But those that help are hindered by governments to ridiculous levels. Why can’t normal people help normal people? Why aren’t our governments working their ass of to help safe lives. That’s because the interests of our governments and elite are taking a different direction than that of all normal citizens.
So, our Western world is not so free anymore. A few crazy people with bombs or billions have more power over us than ever before. And our leaders are not helping to change all that. They have become arrogantly self obsessed and only look at their interests. (Calling it ‘our interests’ doesn’t mean it includes you.) They still seem to think repression, very much like the bombing of London in WWII might make the difference. It doesn’t. No radical ISIS fan in a Western suburb will think, ‘Hey they bomb my home land, they spurn me on the streets, they hate my believe, they killed a nephew of mine in Syria, so I’ll become a peace loving civilian now.’ He’ll try to convince friends it’s time to do something ‘meaningful’ and join the ‘resistance’.
So we have to start working around our leaders. Haven’t many of us already given up on them and stopped voting? If under 50% of the people vote and ‘the winner’ gets 23% percent of that, how can he be our ‘chosen’ leader?
We have to start living the future right now. Where cities create their own food and energy. Where being unemployed perhaps means you’ve been liberated from paid work, to do social work or create more beauty. Where all work is meaningful and more fun. Where leaders somehow make the world for everyone safer, healthier, fairer, more educated, etc. Let’s find those other options.
Towards solutions that make a difference for everyone.
Damn. Writing that freaked me a little bit out. The overlaps between the elites of the different sides were more easy to find than I hoped. Yet, turning aggressively on our own leaders will not make the difference we need. At best it would create, as in many revolutions before, a new regime with very similar privileges, like the overtake of Tsarist Russia by the Communists. At worst only more violence. No, we need to approach it with a very different consciousness and attitude. Because more and more clear we can see, our wrong ways created imbalances that harmed societies and even the health of the planet. No profit can be more important than the health of the planet. That is common sense. So here are some things to do to insure that health:
- Use common sense. Demand common sense. When you cut trees and don’t replant, you work towards disaster. When you put too many antibiotics or plastic into the food chain, it’ll come back to you one day. When you support dictators who defend your interests, you enlarge violent undercurrents and grudges. When you invest in arms industry big time, bullets will fly. This all makes sense to me, yet politics hardly take a stand against this, because of economical interests. And the voters? Mmm. They seem not to want to vote for ‘unproven left wing idealism’. Right. Even democracy can be really bad for nature or foreign countries, when measurements require us to really change our behavior. Very few are willing to vote for that. And as with IS, the day it’ll come back to us is coming.
- Care! Love! Feel! Many of us have been taught feeling is not professional. Yet apathy to anything but our own interests, creates for poverty around us. Fear of losing job or friends, when speaking up doesn’t seem like the freedom many heralded we had. We are more unfree than we imagine. Many more of us worry in silence too. If you don’t feel anything, you wouldn’t have read this far. Now start connecting, with your body signals, with your friends, with real world stories from people who actually have been places. Hug more. Really.
- As featured in the video above: sharity. See that all humans given a chance can be eager to learn, contribute and have intelligence a more revengeful, condemning view can’t see. (Wonder why the USA prisons are overpopulated and the country doesn’t get safer? This movie may seem to be about drugs: yes, it does. Yet even more importantly it is about the importance of connectedness for everyone! Let’s build on that. Mallence from the video at the beginning showed us how she started.)
- Seeing a Gentle Revolution already started. Indeed. The amount of people setting up their own alternatives is immense. It includes hippies, permaculture projects, transition towns, peace groups reaching across cultures, educational innovators, famous people speaking up from Russell Brand to Angelina Jolie, documentary makers opening eyes and artists commenting on the current situation. Whatever you’ll want to do to help: you are not alone! Also check Paul Hawkens “Blessed Unrest” talk on youtube.
- Create an inviting healthy alternative and don’t wait for anyone. As with the previous one, start! Start now. Follow your heart or join up with people who do and help them. Ignoring the signs, staring at your navel or hiding for fear, or keep on believing in conspiracies.. all that won’t make a difference. Making a difference does. And, as I’ve experienced, it can be a very heartwarming party too. Yes, you’re welcome. A whole world of courageous people is waiting.
- Use more humor and fun. As said before all work should be organized meaningful and fun. That is very possible to do. Also humor in protest and change movements take out dangerous, violent stings. It helps to unmask the elites lies. Laughter creates bonds and helps release more healthy hormones. And it makes you more attractive. Start a revolution people love to dance in (to paraphrase Isabelle Duncan).
- We win when everyone wins. Don’t go for more security at the cost of.., go for more options for everyone. It becomes more and more clear that’s how nature works. When a predator eats all potential food, it will die too. Nature works best through balanced diversity. Societies with friends get easier help when disasters strike, then those places where it’s ‘everyone for himself’. Most normal people get that. They live like that and help whenever they meet someone in need. Because helping others, creates a positive collective karma. That is common sense.
Most people around the world live in peace. And most of those people don’t want to be the richest, most powerful or possess the most stuff. They want good times with family and others they love. Even in worn torn Syria only about 5% is really fighting. The rest is victimized. That is how powerful weapons have become. And that is how small the group of crazy people actually is. They are a miniature minority. Hence standing up against violence, and those who promote it is possible. Last century saw a series on non violent take overs, from South Africa to the reunification a Germany. Peaceful shifts are very possible. There is hope. And as with the former criminals of Sierra Leone (see the movie above), if given a change, most people would love to be part of something positive. Creating those chances is where real lasting peace starts.
Here’s an article that follows up on this one. On how to organize without leaders.