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AUTO-NOMOS: BREAKING THE EGGSHELL OF EMPIRE

by Yehuda Maayan Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009 at 3:02 PM
yudamaan@yahoo.com

Thousands of “build rather than plead” organizations, collectives and communities are already emerging all over the planet and as they rise against subjugation and greed they strengthen and multiply. It the Zapatistas in Mexico and the Sans-Papiers (Sin Papeles) in Europe, it is the farmers in Brazil (Movemiento Sin Tierra) and the Basques in Catalonia, it is the indigenous people in Ecuador and the Palestinians in Gaza, it is the squatters in London, and the Mapuche in Chile, it is Via Campesina in Central America and In Our Hearts in New York City, it is Indy Media in Los Angeles and the Red Ponchos in Bolivia… It is a global movement that is not loyal to any authority, ruler, nation or religion, but rather to the calling of the heart. And don’t let the corporate media make you think that we are few, small and powerless. This global movement is 2.5 billion strong and rising fast.

AUTO-NOMOS: BREAKING THE EGGSHELL OF EMPIRE

By Yehuda Maayan

The world's economic system as we know it is changing in front of our eyes. The once-revolutionary consciousness that brought us the spirit of the entrepreneur, the boom of industrialism and the free market enterprising is becoming decadent, out-of-cadence with the flow of life on the planet. For more than a century, this consciousness served as our source of strength, growth and progress. But like the egg for the growing chick, it has become a limitation. The conqueror way of thinking and being, and the governing structures it had created no longer can solve the challenges humanity is facing. We have been pecking at this eggshell for some decades now. It is 2009, and the time has come to crack it open and spread our wings.

The Free-Trade-Neo-Liberalist-Multinational-Corporations are not built to share the wealth of the planet with all of its peoples. They are not built to protect the environment and halt global warming. They are not built to promote peace and justice. This is precisely why the current system is decomposing and passing away. It is unable to deal with the predicaments and possibilities of life in the 21st century. The egg can no longer contain the grown-up hen. And although the corporate media would never report it, a new model is rising and spreading its wings all around us and within us: autonomous communities and collectives loyal only to an inner calling for truth and justice. Indy Media is itself presenting such a model.



The aging system of subjugation and greed is fighting for its survival like a wounded animal, searching for the last means to increase profit and exploit the people and the planet's resources. This "empire" and the consciousness behind it will continue to extract, haul-out and invade until its very last breath. It knows no other way of being. The unfathomable brut violence in Gaza against civilians population exposes the moral bankruptcy, desperation and failing of this old way of thinking and being. From the very start it was clear even to the Israelis - they can kill hundreds of man, women and children, but they cannot win. Brut force and deceit is the systems strength, but it’s also its demise. Even now, as governments all around the world “bail- out” banks instead of people, this “Empire” cannot be saved. It is a realm addicted to profit, war, exploitation and domination. It is a dinosaur whose time has come.

The archetype that replaces this dinosaur of subjugation and obedience is the archetype of autonomy. Autonomy can only rise from below, from the people, just as subjugation and obedience can only be induced from above. What makes movements that rise from below durable against this brut force is that grass roots collectives, communities and movements have no infrastructure to be destroyed, no central leadership to be manipulated, and no assets to be taken away. Furthermore, as long as the movements are nonviolent, it is impossible for the Carl Roves of the world to “spin” them into the category of a “terrorist organization.” And lastly, in those autonomous models, there is no central authority to be found. The Zapatista’s slogan, "Here the people govern and the government obeys,” is put into practice not only because it is the mean for a true long-lasting democracy, but as importantly, because it makes the movement resilient. There is no Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, or Salvador Allende to be assassinated and no Bastille to be conquered.

The world of tomorrow is being built today by Self-Sufficient Autonomous Communities. In those communities the people self govern and create their own laws, their own education programs, their own healthcare programs and their own housing programs. This process presents a de-facto revolution, because what the governments and the transnational corporations fear more than anything is that we, the people of the planet will withdraw OUR participation off of THEIR laws and markets. This is why Hitler and Franco bombed Guernica and this is why the Mexican Army is fighting the Zapatistas.

In essence, autonomy says: we, the people, will not drive your Toyotas and Fords, will not drink your Budweiser and Coca Cola, will not listen to your I-pods and Blue Rays, will not buy your gasoline and coal, will not watch your Tivos and plasma screens, will not get bamboozled by your Prozacs and Zoloft, will not eat your genetically engineered tomatoes, will not use your banks and your dollars. We will cultivate and construct our own products, our own markets, our own education and health programs.

The strength of the Neolithic Village Model is in its withdrawal (indeed independence) from any authoritative centralized system. Autonomy, self-sufficiency and subsistence economy make every such community politically revolutionary and environmentally sustainable. It challenges the ruling powers not by protesting or fighting against them but rather by creating an alternative, which makes the governing laws and products useless, and thus obsolete.

Simplicity begins in consciousness; with the way we think and act. No more do we give away the responsibility for our lives to anybody (not even the beloved Obama). We replace the paradigm of obedient victims who try to influence the ruling order to do justice with the paradigm of independent, autonomous people who do justice themselves. No more do we protest and plead with "our" government and "our" leaders to do right ("Bring the troops home," "Stop the Torture," "Stop the raids on Immigrants"). No more do we give our power to a master – be it Bush, Obama or the Communist Party. Our life is our responsibility and we have the power. We assume responsibility by taking auto-nomos actions. We do not plead, we build!

Using the dated method of protest and pressure aimed to influence a distant ruling order to do right, turns us, the people, into victims who can only ask for change, but cannot act and be the change. It is a lie produced by the consciousness of obedience. We can act now, today. You (yes, you) can organize an independent school in your neighborhood today. Your wife can form a free clinic in your borough today. Your son can coordinate an after-school peace program in his district today. We don't need to wait for the government, the county, the city, or the school to do things for us. We assume OUR power now. We assume OUR responsibility. Independence will come from us, from the people, or we will be dependent forever. For decades we have been shouting, “What do we want? – Justice! When do we want it? Now!” Wanting someone else to do justice leads to nothing. We have to do justice and be justice ourselves.

In 2003, twenty million people around the globe pleaded with president Bush not to go to war. The appeal, it seems, only made the Bush administration stronger because they could clearly see that only people who believe they have no power plea with those who (they believe) have power. Our demonstrations and protests were actions of prisoners who accepted the terms of their imprisonment, prisoners who could not see that there is an independent, autonomous world outside of the prison walls we call "democracy," where we can build and produce the world we want, rather than plead and beseech an emperor to do it for us. (Please, take a moment to observe the feelings those words arouse: “build and produce” versus “plead and beseech.” Clearly, “build and produce” brings a sense of power, able-ness and hope, while “plead and beseech” brings a sense of helplessness and indignation.)

Within the paradigm of representative democracy and obedience, public pressure is the only mean the people actually have to “participate” in the process of decision-making. It brings to mind a theory in developmental psychology called “Learned Helplessness” (Seligman, 1975). Learned helplessness is a condition in which a human being or an animal has learned to act or behave helplessly in a particular situation, even when it has the power to change its unpleasant or even harmful circumstance. Learned helplessness theory contends that clinical depression and related mental illnesses result from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation (in our case, that situation was the war on Iraq).

“In part two of the Seligman and Maier experiment, these three groups of dogs were tested in a shuttle-box apparatus, in which the dogs could escape electric shocks by jumping over a low partition. The Group 3 dogs, which had previously "learned" that nothing they did had any effect on the shocks, simply lay down and whined. Even though they could have easily escaped the shocks, the dogs didn't try.”

This is what we, the peace movement in the US (and the world) did; we simply lay down and whined. The time to peck our way out of the egg had come. The planet is awaiting, and the walls of the egg are only walls of consciousness: the consciousness of obedience, the consciousness of representative democracy, the consciousness of vassals subordinated to a despot or a master above them.

Activism of the new millennia - breaking the eggshell wall - cannot be taken with the old consciousness of helplessness: demonstrating, pressuring and pleading with the existing ruling order. New activism is taken by creating a model where we, the people, take responsibility for our lives, for ALL aspects of our lives. This is done by autonomous acts like building and running a community school, forming a neighborhood assembly or cultivating a communal vegetable garden. We build rather than plead. We produce rather than acquire. We govern rather than obey.

Thousands of “build rather than plead” organizations, collectives and communities are already emerging all over the planet and as they rise against subjugation and greed they strengthen and multiply. It the Zapatistas in Mexico and the Sans-Papiers (Sin Papeles) in Europe, it is the farmers in Brazil (Movemiento Sin Tierra) and the Basques in Catalonia, it is the indigenous people in Ecuador and the Palestinians in Gaza, it is the squatters in London, and the Mapuche in Chile, it is Via Campesina in Central America and In Our Hearts in New York City, it is Indy Media in Los Angeles and the Red Ponchos in Bolivia… It is a global movement that is not loyal to any authority, ruler, nation or religion, but rather to the calling of the heart. And don’t let the corporate media make you think that we are few, small and powerless. This global movement is 2.5 billion strong and rising fast.

As Buckminster Fuller said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” This autonomous model is being built now, outside the eggshell of obedience. We can no longer push away this responsibility on Obama or any other leader. WE are the leaders now. It is OUR responsibility now. Mine, yours, ours.

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