[lbo-talk] Hundreds hit the streets in Olympia, Washington

tully tully at bellsouth.net
Sat Mar 19 23:51:58 PST 2005

On Sunday 20 March 2005 12:14 am, Gar Lipow wrote:
>Minor grump about a particular speaker: I don't buy the line that
>anyone who ever bought a gallon of gasoline or bought their clothes
>new rather than used is guilty of this war. Firstly the "we are all
>guilty trope" is a way to absolve those who are really guilty.
>Secondly if I am guilty, pick some time other than when I have just
>marched and stood around for two hours in the cold rain to tell so.

But don't we have to face our own responsibilty for causing the problem we face? Remember those old numbers that tell how the US with only 4 percent of the world's people, consumes 25 percent of the world's production? That tells the story rather plainly, doesn't it? All that oil we consume is going into all our tanks, not just the tanks of the rich politicians or corporate management. All the people who build and heat/cool homes with say over 300 square feet per person, or buy useless manufactured items like singing/dancing Santa Claus machines, or have walk in closets stuffed with clothes, or who replace furniture or rip out perfectly good carpeting because they tire of the colors, or commute many miles alone in SUVs, etc., are not just the rich politicians or corporate management. It's us.

None of us are fully innocent in this country unless we own no car, use no transportation that requires fossil fuel (including mass transit), use no metal of any sort, recycled or otherwise, and live in small homes built of materials from the land, without grid hookup, and otherwise use nothing from and invest nothing in large powerful corporations and banks. Very few people in this country could make that claim. We all contribute to the crime and the first step to fixing it is to quit denying our guilt and to recognize it. We can't continue to blame everything on the rich elite and hold ourselves blameless.

Hopeful signs pop up occasionally. For example, increasing numbers of families are paying power companies an extra $15 a month for the option of obtaining their power from greener sources like solar or wind instead of fossil fuel. These people are accepting responsibilty for their part in the crime and are doing something about it. Enough little steps like this can add up to major new directions of energy independence or other consumption reductions, supporting what should be supported.

There are so many things we could be doing instead of what we are doing. We could start disrespecting the ostentatious rich instead of trying to emulate them. We could change wasteful or damaging processes at our workplaces or quit and find work that is more meaningful and less destructive. We could refuse to serve in the military. We could insist on a huge tax on fossil fuel to get the price high enough so that alternative energies could compete. There is no limit to what we can do. We are not helpless. But the first step is recognizing our own part in the crime. And as long as we continue to regard lowest price as the single most important priority in our policies and our choice of purchase, we continue to support and promote the criminal acts that result.


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