Monday, November 14, 2011

Protest and Consume

This poem was written as a response to the Occupy Movements all around the world.  Specifically, it was prompted by a video I saw in which two girls are denied the ability to close their accounts with Bank of America because they could not be "consumers and protesters simultaneously."

The video can be found here

Protest and Consume

You say I can’t protest and consume at the same time
Well then please don’t produce
and politicize simultaneously
You erroneously walk the same line.
Your policies and decisions that shape the fallacies of elections
don’t reflect the protection I am supposed to have
over votes cast and counted honestly.
Promise me, if you say I can’t protest while I shop, then stop
using your corporate weight to throw bars around our fates.
We want upward movement, upward with the movement.

Our third world countries wonder where all those shoes went?
they just had em there, sewed them with their own hands,
shipped out of the sweat shop they’re on the feet of an American grand-standing
his Jordans through hallways for his friends….
And we wonder why corporate greed never ends…
Who wrote those Christmas bonus checks
that make me sick when I hear the numbers?
Who is out there handing you money
while the poor get poorer and the rich get number?
Or more numb.  To be grammatically correct.
But who cares about correctness when you’re talking about this mess that infects the shopping malls and consumer culture’s restlessness.

I heard the other day that families in the Congo live on piles of trash. 
Not trash exactly, but computers that have crashed. 
The old hollow frames of monitors and processors,
they strip the gold from motherboards to eek out a living,
while we just go on buying without giving a rats ass for the shitty life they lead.
And how does oppression just continue?
When it seems so many people want to tell you
how angry they are about it; sometimes they even want to shout it at occupy protests all around the world that
“WE ARE the 99 percent.  And we represent
the change that we want to see made
at the highest levels of the corporate leadership game.”

Who pays those CEO’s at the top? I know I don’t.
My salary’s too low to fit on their totem pole. 
Who could possibly be giving them all that money?
It’s actually not funny.  Especially when the answer is as clear as cash.
WE write the checks that make us vomit at the flat screen television sets.
WE pay the Wall Street workers that don’t work and make us so upset.
We dole it out one dollar at time with our Coca Cola cans and our Starbucks frappes.
The politicizing goes both directions
in these financially charged elections. 
Each dollar we spend is a vote cast for status quo
and things will never go any differently
 until we require of each other
to vote wisely with each dollar.

The richest 1 percent; they don’t have all the money. 
They have the 99 wrapped around their finger. 
They line us up and tell us lies about the popularity
that will linger around us like an cloud
if we only buy their products then we will be proud.
to live in a country with freedom of choice,
where they can feed us with noise,
enough advertising to drown out the truth
that we should be emphasizing:
The money only trickles up because that is the way you and I spend it.
And as we have spent it so we have chosen to send it
right into the hands of those that we blame. 
Greed it seems has a new name.
Look into the mirror and it couldn’t be more clear,
that you and I might protest for change,
but the way we spend our money says we want things to stay the same.

1 comment:

  1. Hey CJ,

    I want to remain as objective as possible before I give my opinion. I watched the video, and the dilemma seemed to be that one could not be a protester and a customer at the same time. I heard nothing about consumers in the video, and thinking I missed it, I watched it a second time. I don't think the problem of "protest and consume" is presented in the video, and I don't even know if this would be a problem, since life is full of consumption, life is consumption. They are customers of this specific bank, they have a right to do what they wish with their money and property, but do they have a right to protest on private property without permission? Now, please don't think I am picking a side here I am still trying to remain objective. I would like to ask this question; since this happened on private property, do the customers who think this bank is doing a good job have the right to not be confronted with political messages while they conduct their own business?

    Now for my opinion. I think allowing these protesters to protest on private property without permission could create a rather slippery slope. I also think the protesters were grand-standing a bit, when they could have just walked in and closed their accounts. A person who acts on principle does so out of virtue, and it does not matter who witnesses the act. They obviously had an agenda, and I believe the bank had the right to remove them from their property. It is fallacious to appeal to emotion.

    I like your poem, it is full of truth. It is corporate greed that is destroying the world, but who creates the corporations? Who spawns them, and shields them from accountability? Who gives license and limits the liability of these creatures? The government: the original corporation. To start a movement to rid the planet of private corporations would be akin to treating the symptom and not the cause. The government has licensed every corporation that now ravages this planet. One gives rise to the other, as private corporations pay public corporations(the government) to use the force of law to create new and harsher regulations. You see, it's like two parasites feeding on one host, the free humans of this planet. The big coprorations can absorb the cost of new regulation, where the new businesses that start up to try and provide competition to these behemoths can not deal with these costs, and they fail. This is why new regulatory bills are usually started by huge corporations, and then these bills are pimped by the clowns in the government who have traded their morals for money. Corporatism cannot exist without the monopoly priviledge on the use of force, and the government provides that force. Corporations would not exist without governments. I am anti-corporation, not anti-business. There is a very big difference.

    Towards the end of the video I heard chanting of "you got bailed out, we got sold out", but who did the bailing out, AND who did the selling out? Our money was stolen from us in the form of taxation and given to these corporations. The government has the power to tax(steal), and to give as they see fit. They have the guns, and by that I mean, they have the aura of legitimacy, the veil of authority to do as they please. It is time we question this aura of legitimacy, it's time we focus on the real problem.

    Here is my perspective on the violence taking place a peaceful demonstrations...

    I didn't know you had a blog, CJ. I hope you do not mind me commenting. I hope all is well. Peace.

    Your Cousin,