A lot of smart people have been writing a lot of interesting commentary concerning the Truckers’ Convoys, and I am finding inspiration in it. All these bits of reading I sneak in small doses through the day, until one of my children threatens to take my phone away since I’m setting a bad example of screen use. I’m just one person reading about dystopian Present Moments in between folding diapers and teaching piano lessons…but I appreciate knowing how many of us are out there (well, not specifically folding diapers, but Wishing to Actively Reject Dystopia).
My biggest questions today: Does “too much power” corrupt people 98% of the time, or 99.9%? And, is it possible to salvage “a more beautiful future that our hearts know is possible” (Eisenstein) - a “communalistic (not to be confused with communistic) society” (Guntle) - from the authoritarian wreckage that the bipartisan, multinational “machine” (Kingsnorth) is wreaking, currently in the name of liberal politics but before too long in the name of conservative politics…before much more carnage ensues?
When I first saw the movie Wall-E, I laughed very ruefully at its depiction of a dystopian future, in which obese people scoot around in wheelchairs on a spaceship in permanent orbit (since earth has been rendered too polluted to support life), eating manufactured junk “food” and drug products, reading and watching and listening to entertainment provided by the same company that manufactures the food and the spaceship and the wheelchairs.
Eventually (spoiler alert), some plot happens and the day comes when the people finally Wake Up.
The waking up in Wall-E involves a brief action sequence, after which the humans’ health dramatically improves as they take back their ship, stop ingesting crap, and commence decision-making using their own brains. They pilot the ship back to earth and waddle off to begin the long job of rebuilding muscle tone, (presumably) developing self governance, cleaning up their planet, and planting things again.
The film, of course, spares us the details of un-destroying the scorched earth. The point is, the people all begin the process.
The enormous corporation that controls the space ship until the humans finally overthrow it is called Buy and Large - BnL Corp. for short. BnL Corp. is the one company left in the universe, which literally owns everything.
Minus the spaceship, and apart from a few details…where is the fiction? Here is where you can find it: in the movie, it takes approximately three seconds for everybody to catch onto BnL Corp.’s deception (once it’s exposed) and organize a revolt.
“It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” —unknown
It is fairly painful to realize that I, along with so many others, trusted that our leaders could possibly be trustworthy enough for government work. Instead, our corrupt two-parties have led us down beyond even semi-acceptable levels of greed and corruption, into an actually unconscionable quagmire of incredible profiteering, unimaginable income inequality, destructive consumption, and incredible corporate greed.
It is even more worrisome that we were duped into thinking that one of two political parties could possibly be better enough than the other to set our current, real life, non-fictional Machine onto a better trajectory.
In Wall-E, the waking-up plot is joyfully decisive. In the USA circa 2022, politicians and CEOs dance in their mincing circles around their increasingly powerful platforms, and each one of the rest of us takes our own time to understand.
“When considering the causes and character of the current protest, and the response to it, I would say the divide between Physicals and Virtuals is by far the most relevant frame of analysis available. In fact I’d say this is among the most significant divides in all of Western politics today.
“Much has rightly been made of the ‘working class’ and their alienation from ‘the elite.’ But this phrasing comes mixed up with associations about material wealth and economic class that aren’t necessarily helpful. Many (though not all) of those who support ‘populist’ politics in opposition to the elite tend to frequently be either fairly solidly middle-class skilled tradesmen, relatively successful small businessmen, or land-holders (e.g. farmers, ranchers, real estate entrepreneurs) who are often actually relatively well-off. It is the character of their work that seems to shape the common identity and values of each side of the class divide more than income.” —N.S. Lyons
The ruling class, almost exclusively Virtual, have been increasingly able to ignore the Physicals (along with the very physical and ever more degraded Earth upon which we all still reside) over the past two years, even while we were being told that the pandemic was “raging”, doctors were being prevented from treating patients, and “essential workers” sometimes got a temporary pay raise of one or two dollars per hour.
It makes me wonder if the most revolutionary act of all is to cut through the BS and walk out into real life, no screens attached: talk to actual people, do actual things, maybe occasionally yell out loud (if ungrammatically): “Let’s take back our peoplehood!! No more of your sh*t drugs, Big Pharma, No More of your sh*t “food”, Big Food, no more of your sh*t manipulation, Big Media, no more of your polluting sh*t, Big Industry, no more power for all of you, Big Banks and Big Data and Big Agriculture!”
Big Big Big is our BnL Corp. We get our politicians and CEOs and other members of the World Economic Forum for some villains and henchmen, and these Virtuals are so far removed from a “democracy” that they mock the very idea of elected representation.
Meanwhile, the rest of us have little recourse within this system except to remain silently enraged, since a vote for red or blue is a vote for further globalization and Virtual power.
Also, just like those humans in Wall-E, our collective health has deteriorated so much that it’s hard to remember that our birthright - and that of our children - used to include a fighting chance at Thriving, not simply a fast track to Big Pharma’s Experimentation. Things have been going quite well for the Ruling Class while we have been so conveniently socially distanced and unorganized. Big Big Big aims to control the future for us all. Even when it turns out that real meat is actually a lot healthier AND tastier AND ecologically sustainable compared with the synthetic stuff. Even though natural immunity is better than synthetic immunity. Even though being outside is way the heck more invigorating than watching it on TV. Even though risks are risky, and people in real life are just more wonderful, and it’s scary how everyone eventually dies.
Predictably, as midterms approach, the Covid Theatre is shifting course, easing the fearful into less testing (“fewer cases!”), less worry (“news stories report that you can worry less now!”), and more hope (“we say you should remember that Covid is less dangerous than you thought last week, so go buy more things now”). Those for whom Covid policies were and are so profitable would like to ignore those of us who are Very Angry at how these Covid Policies created confusion, fear and divisiveness, and needless and enormous casualties, largely due to past and continuing refusal to acknowledge and legitimize early treatment. The data over two administrations illustrate incompetence, greed, corporate profit, and poor health outcomes across the board. Youth mental health is in crisis, the term “science” gets the most-misused-word-in-history award for this year alone, small businesses have been destroyed by the thousands…and of course, people are losing their jobs by the thousands more, predominantly those working-class persons who refuse the Covid jab that continues to fail to prevent transmission and infection, even while politicians and CEOs use mandates for their bizarre political gain and scapegoat those who refuse such profitable injections.
Who knew it would be SUCH a farce?? Such a shameful and catastrophic distraction??
The convoys affirm that definitely, definitely, an improved future requires getting together with people. In real life. Who are ready to drop the divisive red and blue labels and discuss issues of personhood and livelihood, health and ecology, which are non-binary and open to many solutions (so long as red and blue never, ever, either one, get invoked as a reason to make any health care decision ever again).
And that is why news of the truckers’ convoys bring such refreshing and equal hope to blue collar workers and housewives alike: look at how many people are out there, waking up! It’s the same reason why the ruling class feels so threatened: Big Big Big only keeps their power while the rest of us let them, and there are WAY fewer of them than us. And yes, it’s a long shot to imagine that for once in history, there could be a peaceful, successful revolution to overthrow tyranny, but a Mama can dream, can’t she?
Maybe the future is as grim as it seems. But I am trying to imagine that if enough of us who value autonomy and freedom, health and compassion, and Small Is Beautiful, can get together and figure out a simple platform of common ground, we could move mountains. Or, maybe, just stop mountains from sliding downhill. It’s worth a shot! I stand with the peaceful, powerful, prayerful, imperfect truckers convoys, even while I sit here folding diapers. First comes the waking up. Next…comes anything possible. May it be better, more compassionate, nourishing, and real.