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A View from the Future: How We Changed the World

by Jan Christensen

In the end, the Resistance was known for one thing — they simply would not participate. Not in the 24-hour economy, the 60-hour work week, the flag-waving parades, the media manias, the permanent fear, the cheers for the troops. And then there was their mark, of course. It crept into daily life, until it became a constant reminder that these really were bleak times. Until one day you no longer knew who was in control — the empire that was everywhere — or this invisible revolution. www.unbrandamerica.org Looking back from our mid-century vantage point in 2050, we can only be glad that the turbulent years of the early 21st century are over. It seems obvious today that the economic slavery that caused so much misery had one root evil: the “personhood” of the corporation. We wonder how people then could have believed that corporations could be considered “persons” under the law. What kind of mental disconnect could have possessed them, that they could not see that these artificial “persons” could freely commit any number of atrocities, and there could be no enforceable consequences for their actions? What could be used to threaten corporations? They didn’t need food or shelter; they never longed for comfort or love. The only purpose of a corporation was to accumulate wealth. The only way to threaten a corporation was to take away its wealth. But if that happened, the corporation could just dissolve, and people could go start a new one. It’s ironic to consider that every “fix” for this situation that was attempted institutionally was doomed to fail, simply because the structure of the institutions was the problem. Thus, early 21st Century regulatory organizations were discovered to be as corrupt as the corporations they were supposed to regulate. One after another, directors were found to have obscenely bloated salaries, or to have participated in some unethical if not strictly illegal activity. Control of corporations could not be accomplished by self-regulation, by the government, or by the church. What finally got them was the enlightened disinterest of individuals. One by one, across the country, across the world, people just woke up. They looked at the things corporations were trying to sell them, and said, “No, thanks.” They looked at corporate products, and said, “Gee, that stuff is tasteless and stupid. I think I’ll buy this thing my neighbor made instead.” They looked at corporate food, and said, “Yuck. I think I’ll plant a garden.” It was a revolution. But, it wasn’t bloodless. In the events leading up to the “Big Change,” there was plenty of sacrifice to go around. What first brought these problems to the attention of the world’s ordinary people was the “Battle of Seattle,” the enormous wave of protest that met the 1999 World Trade Organization Ministerial in Seattle, Washington. The protests continued, and grew in violence. At the time the press was so deeply censored that many people, especially in the supposedly “free” United States of America, did not even hear about the growing troubles. A dramatic early turning point was the suicide and statement of Korean farmer Lee Kyung-Hae at the 2003 WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun, Mexico. He underscored his battle cry of “WTO KILLS FARMERS!” by plunging a dagger into his heart as he stood on the barricades. In the years that followed, the growing radicalism of agricultural workers worldwide finally turned the tide. From the tragedies of the southeast Asian farmers killing themselves with pesticides to the American urban free-farmers installing unauthorized food gardens on suburban corporate holdings…slowly the people of the world began to realize that they had to start thinking with their bellies. It became obvious with the 2012 U.S. presidential victory for the Libertarian-Reformist-Green party. Their slogan, “It’s the food, stupid!” pretty well summed up the new thought of the international majority. Remember how we got to this place. The people of a few decades ago were greedy, ignorant and selfish, but not everyone was like that. There were many courageous people of the early years of our century. If you would like to be part of the 21st Century Worldwide Revolution, you can start by participating in Buy Nothing Day on November 28. If you celebrate the holiday with gift-giving, do your shopping locally and support your friends and neighbors. Find out more at www.adbusters.org. Or get yourself a marking pen and join the Black Spot branders at www.unbrandamerica.org.