December 7, 2021
The greatest defence against tyranny is not a well-armed population, but a population whose knowledge and awareness paired with an indefatigable ability to communicate freely, that becomes insurmountable against the ruling authority and its exploitations of the downtrodden and oppressed. In this statement, a framework for a defence against the numerous violations on the sanctity of the American people’s ability to act freely begins to present itself. We must begin with an unbiased presentation of information throughout schooling up through to college, but there first exists a necessity to undergo a political/social revolution to repave the roads of Democracy. Beyond the individual and his perseverance towards self-expression, the recent past has witnessed the largest transfers of power ever seen before in history with the presentation of a new form of property introduced through the development of the internet, now known as intellectual property. When private industry and the world’s governments became capable of accessing every movement, every interaction, and every transaction, the American people — and the people of the world — lost all ability to live beyond the constraints of authority. Authority has massively developed from the days of Mill when a big gun and a fat wallet guaranteed autonomy of will — assuming his skin bore a pale complexion. While the sources of authority are no longer known to the open public beyond the vague veil of organizations (NSA, Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, Google…), the struggle is no longer felt under such stringent terms of class, race, or gender, but under an all-encompassing umbrella of anyone who is not aware of who exactly owns and has access to their intellectual property. To lift up a community, one must target the individual. Through creating teachers and leaders within our disadvantaged communities who facilitate the growth of strength in the form of knowledge, community, and internal representation, the socio-economic status of the highest and lowest members rises. To create a new society that benefits all of its constituents, and not just the monied interests of a few, we must begin to counteract the relative lack of knowledge and awareness in the wage-working class.
The existence of subversive groups in society serves to further the prosperity of a nation’s people, and a lack of such watchdog groups will inevitably result in a massive transfer of power. In order to protect against the abuses of government and private conglomerates, we must first be aware of them in the first place. As society grows more complex, knowledge and information slip through the cracks into obscurity escaping the grasp of the general public. Subversive groups scour these cracks in search of damning information and bring that information into the public discourse. When watchdog groups become demarcated along such stringent lines as environmental justice, race theory, class warfare, LGTBQ+ representation, and general cultural differences — which has generally occurred — movements fail to achieve widespread recognition and validity and die not too long after inception. Political groups organized around a broadly shared philosophy have been wiped out leaving the American population with a false dichotomy presented by the DNC and RNC. The McCarthy era eviscerated the already infantile presence of diversity within the American political landscape, and the cold-war carried on this suffocation of political innovation. While the leftism that was attacked during the latter half of the 20th century may not hold the same relevance as it once had, now that cryptocurrency and the internet have revolutionized the dialectics of value, the development of political theory is necessary for the survival of the middle class in America. The need for education and the growth of knowledge becomes essential under the assumption that the existence of political diversity is largely restricted within the walls of academia. To introduce awareness and information to the members of the population who have the most to lose — the wage workers — power begins to be redistributed away from the top end of the system.
The passage of the patriot act was the initial catalyst in the impending destruction of the American people’s ability to counteract the massive power enjoyed by government and industry. When those in power can see so deeply into the lives of the American people, and our insights into the inner machinations of the nation rely on the consistent presence of whistleblowers, we realize the feudal condition brewing on our doorstep. The practice of adaptive analytics can be viewed as an extension of the patriot act; the normalization of mass surveillance and observations on the American people without their consent — and often without their knowledge. Power is no longer a show of force and domination, it comes in the form of information and influence. Social media has stolen the minds of Americans, selling them to advertisers, and in some cases, national political campaigns. The thoughts we experience, the data we consume, and the associations we make are all attributable in some degree to the alluring nature of intelligent and adaptive algorithms created with the sole intention of creating addiction. While the problem of social media and the algorithms behind them could be discussed far more in-depth than I intend to do here, we must awaken to the fact that the tech corporations heading these platforms have become our true masters.
An utter lack of regulation in America has occurred not just out of malpractice, but mainly due to the government’s inability to mitigate the explosion of power and influence experienced specifically by corporations involved in technology. Cryptocurrency and NFT’s, a relatively new field of commerce built around new conceptions of value carrying immense implications on the government’s ability to self-regulate, has allowed technological corporations like Facebook to move their economic activity beyond the purview of government. The function of government has long been considered to serve and to protect the people from abuses of private enterprise but that duty is becoming impossible to act on. The business models of these technology companies have become so transient and intangible that the government's only regulatory abilities are becoming reactive, incapable of keeping up with the rapid development in technological ability. The recent memory of the Senate trial on Mark Zuckerburg and Cambridge Analytica reveals how woefully ignorant the active members of government are on even the simplest practices of the technology companies that make up over 25% of the S&P 500. For some perspective on how massive the Tech sector is we must remember that Apple had more money than the US government for a brief period in 2011, and beyond capital value, nearly 60% of the world’s population is on social media. As the complexity of these corporations grows in conjunction with their capital growth, the world’s governments become even less capable of regulation and control.
The landscape laid out ahead of us is so concerning and threatening to the faltering freedom enjoyed by Americans today that it is hard to fathom what the next 2 years will even look like. When the top 1% of Americans own 16 times the wealth as the bottom 50% in 2020, and just 8 people owned as much wealth as the bottom half of the world in 2017 — years before the covid pandemic which witnessed a 70% surge in Billionaire net worth — the collapse of equality becomes far more apparent. Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, saw his net worth increase by over 70 billion to 290 billion between October and December of 2021 — a 3 month period. Even more concerning is the realization of the impending economic collapse, heightened by mass-market participation because of popularized trading services like Robinhood along with the ready availability of investment capital from stimulus spending. The number of self-employed people/people utilizing side-gig platforms (uber/lift/Airbnb…etc) and the sheer volume of uneducated casual investors created through easy-to-use investing platforms will exponentially worsen the explosion of unemployment and poverty left in the wake of the economic downturn. Considering that the US is barreling towards its debt ceiling, printed 40% of all of its money throughout its existence within a 12-month period through 2020/2021, and is experiencing participation rates in the workforce that have not yet recovered from the pre-covid era, the next collapse is being predicted to have cataclysmic consequences on the American landscape (withdrawal of up to 80% by some estimates). Since billionaires have such an absurd distribution of wealth, and economic downturns have historically led to a massive transfer of wealth upwards, the already disappearing middle class might cease to exist entirely before the end of 2022.
While the issues discussed throughout are already in play, worsening by the day, it remains necessary for coalitions to form with the sole intent of spreading awareness and knowledge of the world evolving around us. In my younger years, I would have advocated for a Ted Kascynzki/IRA response to this system playing out but we are no longer fighting people, we are fighting the consequences of a complete implosion of the moral economy. The technological revolution experienced during my life does not have to spell the end of human civilization as we know it, the internet has afforded the working class with an indispensable resource for knowledge, communication, and organization. On the individual scale, we must actively pursue that necessary and proper information be made readily available and distributed accordingly. A decentralized insurgency is incredibly difficult to defend against, and considering that knowledge is now power, every human thus becomes capable of fighting against the power vacuum occurring in the upper echelons of society. We must do away with the common-held assumption that participatory democracy — which does not exist in America — is the only path towards a free and equitable society. We vote with our actions, we vote with our wallets, we vote with the apps we use, and we vote with our collective voices. There are no gods in America and we have no masters, leadership is an extension of a population’s consciousness, and we must make that fact known.