Power to the People!

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As if by magic, the fierce political unrest in France appeared suddenly and unexpectedly before the eyes of the world. Of course, it did not appear completely and evenly, but in brief and scattered images, as if a strobe light had been focused upon the people in yellow vests raging through the streets of Paris and then other cities in France. It was not really meant to be seen at all. What would happen if the people of the world could see the people of France rising up against poverty, want, need, and exploitation? What in fact would happen if the people of the world could see the people of the world rising up against their multinational, multidimensional oppression? What would happen if they could watch in one film Iranian protesters in dozens of cities gathering to challenge their government’s economic and political suppression, of Dalits and farmers demanding dignified lives and better economic conditions in India, the women of the world, in countries as diverse as America, India, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, marching and shouting, demonstrating and protesting the fact that they were not just economically oppressed, but socially excluded and physically abused? What would happen if the people of the world could see the downtrodden of the earth rising up against the horrific conditions of their existence? The message would be clear: there is nothing that can or does happen to any woman in any one country that could not and does not happen to women anywhere in the world. Each of us lives with the fact that violence of one kind or another can potentially be directed against us simply because we are women. So too, each person of color anywhere in the world knows that they too are a member of an underclass that can be discriminated against and violated simply because they are of color. And of course, there is nothing any one worker experiences which has not been experienced by the working class since its inception. What would happen then, if they understood that it is the same elite responsible for their diverse yet common sufffering?

In fact, 2018 has seen an unprecedent number of “uprisings” by the people of the world, the effects of which have demonstrated their inherent power; a power which makes the ruling class, the ruling gender, the ruling race, tremble with fear and respond with violence in an effort to repress the people. Every effort is made in a multitude of countries not to let the people of the world know that the people of other nations are revolting against their oppressors. Internet sites are blocked, and every attempt is made to limit and control the information that people have access to. Controlling information is today the paramount task of oppressive systems; it is in fact, a sign of an oppressive system. Nor is it a matter of simply controlling information – there is, as President Trump so often points out, the “false news” which may not necessarily be an outright lie, but is rather a partial truth, a limited perspective. I spend hours in the morning reading newspapers from all over the world and so can see how each paper presents the “news” from its own perspective. Little is mentioned in most of these papers about the demonstrations in France. The mainstream press which serves the interests of the status quo in each nation must make sure that the “negative” news about its country stays there, and in turn, that the truth of what is going on in the world is filtered in accordance with its own propagandistic needs.

So, it is, that the protests in France are dimmed and distorted. They are made to seem unnatural and awful, rather than quite natural and noble. For example, it didn’t take long for the West to start an investigation to ascertain to what degree Russia was responsible for their riots. Even our own Peter Koenig was willing to point his finger at the CIA for this latest expression of the people’s power. One can be sure that both Russia and America take advantage of the real discontents of people in other parts of the world in order to further their own political agendas, but that is not to say that they have in any way created the conditions that bred that discontent. If the discontent did not exist, if it were not real, the protests and riots we today catch only the barest and most limited view of around the world today would not be happening. Each country vying for control over the world understands the blatant truth: that if they want to overthrow their competitors, the best way is to invoke the power of the oppressed people of that country. The people in power understand that it is the masses who are more powerful than they.

The people are feeling their power…perhaps have never stopped feeling it. It seems Marx and Hegel were right – history is the march of humanity towards freedom and species self-realization. It is not simply a matter of “workers of the world” unite but more a matter of “oppressed of the world” unite. Such unity is contingent on the oppressed gaining a vision of themselves as oppressed and of their oppressors as their oppressors. It is for this reason that a free press and the free flow of information is so imperative. It is out of recognition of this fact that the oppressors seek to stem and control the flow of this information. It is for this reason that journalists and writers like Jamal Khashoggi, are killed, and/or imprisoned and or tortured and threatened. IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT COUNTERCURRENTS IS SO IMPORTANT TO THE WORLD – THAT ITS INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS OPERATING ALL OVER THE WORLD, “TELL IT LIKE IT IS”; THAT WHAT THEY SAY BECOMES A SONG OF FREEDOM THAT ANYONE CAN LISTEN TO.

Mary Metzger is a 72 year old retired teacher who has lived in Moscow for the past ten years. She studied Women’s Studies under Barbara Eherenreich and Deidre English at S.U.N.Y. Old Westerbury. She did her graduate work at New York University under Bertell Ollman where she studied Marx, Hegel and the Dialectic. She went on to teach at Kean University, Rutgers University, N.Y.U., and most recenly, at The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology where she taught the Philosophy of Science. Her particular area of interest is the dialectic of nature, and she is currently working on a history of the dialectic. She is the mother of three, the gradmother of five, and the great grandmother of 2.


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