"Hierarchies make some people dependent on others, blame the dependent for their dependency, and then use that dependency as a justification for further exercise of authority." Martha A. Ackelsberg, (1946 -).
We are doing exactly what they want us to do:
Hating The Other
by Karen Lyden Cox
"How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think."
The Right Honorable David Trimble, Member of Parliament and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (1998), complained bitterly about the Irish Travellers' encampment in Lurgan:
"How on earth can we expect to have successful businesses and create jobs when you have this parked outside?!"
The Right Honorable Jack Straw, Member of Parliament and Home Secretary, was caught saying in a radio interview that there had been "too much toleration of travellers!", and he wanted to see the police and local authorities "cracking down on them!" He backed a tougher policing stance saying: "Then they'll get the message and they'll change their behaviour!"
"They lie out sunning themselves like pedigree dogs while they should be on FÁS employment schemes like everybody else." John Flannery, Fine Gael Councillor, speaking about the Irish Travellers.
Of course they said that. Engendering hatred against The Other is a potent and pervasive weapon used by the First World social engineers. If the name "social engineers" sounds like a friendly collective, think again. The plotters are often at odds with each other on which conspiracy to use, but they do agree that we need to be controlled and their politicians are in place to do the job. "Politicians" has become a soft word for "those who seek personal or partisan gain often by scheming or maneuvering" - not what the voters always have in mind. Politicians are securely placed in their government jobs by us, the voters who trusted them to be committed representatives. Even well-meaning elected officials are unable to make great strides within the system. After elections, political electioneers start working on the next round, studying consumer buying habits and changing marketing messages to attract cynical, disaffected voters; nobody fixes the problems.
And we're supposed to get excited about elections every few years.
Ireland has suffered thirty to forty generations of social engineering at the hands of dead beat criminals hell-bent on carrying out the will of English monarchy. Sovereign Ireland's land was stolen, and the indigenous Irish and their culture were destroyed by brutal physical conquest, political manipulation, and thought regulation.
Citing the passage of time as sufficient reason, the atrocities are supposed to be graciously accepted. Even language has run out of words with enough impact to shock: the colonists are founders; the imperialists are majestic; monarchists are regal. Prestigious symbols replace the horror: flags, rulers, ceremonies, bands, and slogans - trappings of power.
Hasn't anyone noticed the trap?
Those in charge now are no longer merely a handful of exceptionally wealthy, elite subjugators. They and their minions are slaves to new masters, supplanted on Ireland and all the nations that never recovered from immoral exploits - transnational capital. Transnational capital, multinationals, big business, venture capital, global economy, corporate capitalism - language hasn't even settled on one name to describe the evil economy. They control the collective global economy for the production of their own money; the end value is a high ratio of corporate money to goods for all the world's people.
TC is not a democracy of human labor effort, but an unconscienable, unaccountable, inhuman tyranny with more legal rights than individuals, indifferent to the needs of people, whose goal is unfettered access to worldwide markets. Their agenda is lust for power and lust for money gained through the continual exploitation of human labor and environmental resources. Opportune job-recruiting schemes offer tempting promises to communities of people in need of income. So with all good intentions and hopes, workers support the influx of the new employers. But the fruits of all the human effort and labor do not go back to the workers and their families except in the form of tokenism. Small benevolences trickle into communities while immensely profitable transnationals suck the lifeblood out of them. TCs are largely financed by the governments [from taxing communities] in the nations where they set up business. Governments labor for the wealthy-elite business interests; human laborers are merely disposable renewable resources for the moneymongers. The health of people and their environments declines so that corporate money may increase further, until those resources are exhausted and corporations move on. The most notorious players in social injustice - pharmaceutical/petrochemical/agricultural corporations - are in heavy competition to stay ahead of the rest of the pack; it's a big prize they're after, and they don't want to share.
Besides posing as the caring new employers, TCs are brokered to the public through their patrons - science, technology, and universities, and infrequently, "the arts". Since those disciplines are always in need of cash, they accept and promote the fundamental economic principles of big money and give them social vailidity in exchange for funding. It is no coincidence that Ireland has been a conflict laboratory for repression and control, as well as one of the many Third World dumping grounds ripe for the exploits of transnational parasitism. The tools of control are incredibly powerful and numerous: allow physical poverty; engender hatred between people in communities, and between nations of people (social poverty); dominate thought through advertising and media; dictate institutional bias in education and social services; use religious communities to exert political leverage; hold life rights by water control, food distribution, and seed/gene patents; encourage dependence on multinationals' products at the expense of locally-created goods and services; monetary control (World Bank, IMF, Citigroup); private treaties not for public consent (NATO, GATT, APED, EU, MAI, NAFTA, WTO, FTAA); permit violence and crime; arbitrary arrest; human warehousing in prisons; torture; extra-judicial execution; starvation; genocide.
By blaming a segment of society for the economic and criminal problems of everyday life, hate strategy draws on the prejudices and anxieties of our chaotic cultures and is enough to keep us distracted from what is going on around us - the fact that disparity between the elite and most of the world's people is growing, and the fact that transnationals are making stupendous monetary gains. We participate so willingly in the scheme to fear and loathe The Other. You know the ones: those thieving, lazy, filthy, stupid poor who cost us money by living on government hand-outs; that idiot over there who practices another religion; the different. By keeping us distracted and hating each other, they know we'll never catch on to what is really happening at the top. Irrational politics succeeds.
Mentally, we have come to rely on the notion that we need to be tied to this politico-economic system, brainwashed by the propagandists to the I Gotta Have It culture of status and materialism: logos, stuff, more stuff, more stuff than the next guy, importance. Look at our society for proof that this culture is destroying us. No one finds satisfaction. The system has little use for those people who lack the means to consume. Enter The Other, the Irish Travellers - believed to have descended from all the disenfranchised traditions in English-subjugated Ireland - the victim's victims. (1, 2)
Mr. Gerry Adams, Member of Parliament and President of Sinn Féin, had many words to say about the Travellers in response to Mr. Trimble's outburst:
"The Good Friday agreement sets out clear commitments to respect the civil rights and religious liberties of every citizen."
"This includes the 'the right to freely choose one's place of residence' and the 'right to equal opportunity in all social and economic activity, regardless of class, creed, disability, gender or ethnicity'."
"It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the implementation of the agreement and any new legislation which emerges from it reflects these fundamental principles in relation to the travelling community."
"There is an enormous amount of work to be done if the quality of life of travellers is to be transformed for the better."
"The new opportunities presented by the Good Friday agreement have to be grasped and exploited to their full potential."
That was a lot of talk.
Rights exist for Travellers, and for all, but in practice they are just out of reach of most peoples' grasp. In the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement strove for the acknowledgement of equal rights. After a great fight, they won - on paper. They won the right to the pronouncement of equal rights, but the movement's gains stopped short of defining how equality under the law was to be obtained easily in practice. They won the right to stated equality, and in accepting that, they lost ground in achieving participatory equality because they had reached the terminus of their struggle not realizing that the fight would continue over semantics. The Civil Rights People had good intentions; they just forgot who they were dealing with.
A corrupt system cannot operate in a society where the people are allowed full rights. So rights become distributed in the form of tokens. A few assimilatory offers will probably reach the Travellers' community soon to maintain the charade that the system in place is functional and moral. Tokens never address the problem as a whole. Short-term fixes are like standing hip-deep in the middle of a lake bailing water from side-to-side; is it surprising that the problem never goes away?
In order to remain propped in place, the system has only to show some surface evidence of improvement, the illusion of forward motion - just enough to mollify the public, not enough to heal the failed society.
Generations of failed society.
There is no reason to believe that we have to accept this way of life, a living death. Better lives are possible. Much talk has been devoted to wondering about which political paths to take to reach the goal, but not much has been said about where those paths are leading us. The prize we are seeking is broken down into too many issues about procedure and function, or a vague utopian notion made more unattainable by its abstraction. We need to prioritize our thinking about where we are going and not just let the social engineers take us to a place not of our own choosing. The desired outcome is not that difficult to put into words. Healthy self-sufficient communities of strong women and men. Everyone receives basic support. Everyone participates. Noone falls through the cracks.
The challenge to globalization has to come from civil society, from values within us. The way we think about our situation and the way we react to global oppression - our perceptions about reality and our proposals for a better future - must become more fine-tuned. We must realize that redirecting the system is not wrong; standing by and letting it continue is immoral. Individual effort, unchained by fear and habit, is all that is needed. It is not unimaginable to think that we can exert ourselves greatly to defend our society against what we are certain is wrong.
The key is not to elect the same oppressors, over and over again.
1. "There are a number of theories as to the origin of the Irish Travellers. Their secret language, Shelta, and the evidence of various historical references to them would seem to indicate that they are the remnants of an ancient class of wandering poets, joined by those who were pushed off the land during different times of social and economic upheaval such as Cromwell's campaign of slaughter, the Battle of the Boyne (1690) and the Battle of Aughrim (1691). Many of the Travellers may also be the descendants of people who were left homeless as a result of the Irish potato famines of the nineteenth century."
"Both the Celtic scholar Kuno Meyer (1858-1919) and the Romani scholar John Sampson (1862-1931) believed Shelta to be a language that was centuries old, perhaps from as far back as before the thirteenth century. Meyer believed that Shelta was "once possessed by Irish poets and scholars, who, probably were its original framers". He maintained that there were elements in the language which only scholars could have introduced: these included the names of characters from the ancient Ogham alphabet, and borrowings from Greek and Hebrew. Structurally Shelta is more similar to English than it is to Irish Gaelic, although the core of its vocabulary has Gaelic origins. Shelta also includes elements from several varieties of British cant as well as from English and from Anglo-Romani."
Gypsy Collections at the University of Liverpool. "Irish Travellers."
2. "Some writers would trace the Irish Travellers back in history to 200 AD or even as early as 600 BC when metalworkers travelled the country with their families. These families were joined by travelling musicians and later by Druid priests displaced from their villages after Christianity defeated Druidism, forming the core of the Traveller population. Others may have joined them when tenants were dispossessed of their lands in 1585 after the introduction of rents to be paid in money by tenant farmers and again in 1652 when lands were confiscated under the Act of Settlement. By 1834 the travelling community was clearly distinguished from other poor who wandered the land in the report of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws in that year."
Kenrick, Donald. "Patrin: The Travellers of Ireland." The Patrin Web Journal.