Imagine a war where all the soldiers on one side are fighting individual battles and refuse to fight together. How long do you think that war would last and what do you think would be the outcome? Throughout history, armies which were technically superior and had numbers on their side, time and time again, lost to adversaries who was more cohesive and had better tactics and strategies. What matters in war is not quantity of guns nor power of weaponry but the fighting spirit of the warriors and above all unity. The birth of America, Adwa, Haiti and numerous other movements that witnessed outnumbered and outgunned armies defeating Goliath oppressors serves to highlight how solidarity can overcome any enemy. Conversely, a people shattered by tribalism and petty divisions can be defeated by a platoon let alone divisions.
I write the above paragraph not to lecture people about military tactics nor to glorify wars but to highlight the age of social justice warriors we find ourselves in and how we have become the source of our own tribulation. Every day, there is a new front opened up in the never ending war against injustice and yet another grievance group added to the cacophony of voices demanding equality as they refuse to unite as equals. A war on blacks! A war on women! A war on gays! A war on Muslims! A war on Latinos! A war on people of faith! A war on whites! A war on seniors! A war on unborn babies! In all honesty, one article is not enough to list the number of gripes that are peddled daily by one aggrieved society or another. Heck, they invent new identities each year in order to keep feeding the machine of grievances. Identity politics has become the 21st century form divide and conquer—self-colonization leading to self-nullification.
This, my friends, is how billions get oppressed and enslaved by a few thousand moneyed people. Those who self-identify in the groups I enumerated in the previous paragraph have every right to be outraged and pissed off. I’m not dismissing their anger; the lunacy I’m pointing out is how natural allies and co-victims would rather go it alone and fight separable causes instead of uniting to take on their common oppressor. I’m going to keep repeating this because it seems we humans need to hear something a thousand times before it finally sinks in. Economic inequality is the ocean from which all other injustices flow from. We live in a world where cash is king and debt is bondage; a few who own almost everything are the cause of most of society’s inequities.
All of us should be focused like a laser on the unconscionable policies which perpetuate the blithe of poverty and economic inequalities that gnaw at humanity. Immoral wars declared to steal the wealth of nations, the prison-industrial complex which has reconstituted penal slavery, poverty, homelessness, economic anxieties, exploding crime rates, drug abuse, mental illnesses and suicides; these and countless other issues can be attributed in large part too the depraved economic policies being pushed by DC double-dealing politicians and Wall Street mafia corporations that tilt wealth away from the vast majority of us into the pockets of the wealthiest 1%. When people are forced to live under constant distress in a pervasive fear of economic uncertainty, it creates ripple effects throughout society. Occupy Wall Street could have been a start of a mass movement that focused on the greedy few who do further this pernicious problem. Sadly, the movement was aborted by the Corporate State Media as yellow press journalists tore apart a potential insurrection by turning an issue of human rights into punchlines and one liners.
This is why I keep writing that people who are given access to the stage and afforded a voice by corporate media outlets are all shysters and snakes. I did not realize this back then when I used to laugh at the jokes of the Daily Show and Colbert Report. They are reducing human suffering into laugh tracks—theirs is a perversion of satire. In hindsight I shake my head; from left to right, liberal to conservative, all the talking heads who pretend to be fighting for justice are actually bought and paid demagogues who turn movements into memes and morph injustice into shticks. Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and the rest of political class in DC, New York and Hollywood are not speaking for us; their purpose is to splinter us into islands of resentments and keep us fractured as a people.
This is how sublime and cunning the system is. Given our conniption as a people to keep bowing before the rich and worship the famous, the status quo keeps feeding us one charlatan at a time who talks a good talk about fighting injustice. They come in all stripes as each side is given a demagogue whose sole job is to convince each constituency that their pains are greater than others. Too many of us fall right for the hoodwink as we follow blindly those who have been given status by the very system they are speaking against. Society is thus smashed into a million pieces as corporate sponsored shepherds are rewarded handsomely to Balkanize us and lead bleating sheep to repeat talking points and further injustice (read a Bleating Shame). They divide us; we colonize ourselves.
This is how we ended up with an orange clown in the White House. He did a masterful job of speaking to the emotions and grievances of those who felt like they were being marginalized and being ignored in their own nation. A large group of “white” people got sick and tired of being blamed for the ills of the world and turned to a con artist who pretended to know their pain. Donald Trump is no idiot, underestimate him at your own peril. His oafish behavior and boorish antics is an act intended for a core audience who like “plainspoken leaders”. Donald Trump is a real life version of Joe Black; a snake oil salesman who reinvents himself on demand in order to close any deal. For the “Make America Great Again” crowd who refuse to see the truth of this grifter, watch this video of Donald praising Hillary Clinton just eight years ago (video of Trump lavishing Clinton with praise). Notice that the swindler-in-chief talks with a difference cadence and lexicon than he does now?
Trump’s supporters get struck by cognitive dissonance each time they see the aforementioned video of him praising the reprehensible Clintons. Almost always, they say “of course, he was acting in order game the system, he had to do what he had to do as a businessman”. To which I ask my Trump supporting friends “how do you know he is not doing the same thing to you now”? Crickets! Moreover, since when does being an intentional liar and an admitted fraud get accepted as traits of a good leader and virtues to be extolled? This is what idolizing people leads to, it makes us suspend logic and accept monsters as angels. The same Donald Trump who is thrice divorced, a habitual cheater, a constant defrauder and a man who has sexually fawned over his own daughter on TV is defined by some on the religious right as a God send. The devil smiles in satisfaction. Some people should read James 2:5-8 in the bible instead of thumping it piously at others.
For those on the “left” who want to gloat at this unmasking of Trump while praising Obama, you might want to steel yourself for what comes next. The way that Trump duped his base was nothing compared to the depraved brilliance of Obama and the way he hoodwinked his loyalists. I count myself as part of Obama’s bamboozled victims; I fell for the empty suit in ways I still reflect on with utter bemusement. The confidence man Barack had me so duped that I found myself traveling to endless states to volunteer my services for a year to get America’s first brand president elected. For my troubles, I finally got the change I can believe—it’s jangling in my pockets along with lint. I used the word brand on purpose; if there was anything historic about Obama’s election, it was the way Wall Street used branding and mass marketing in ways history classes and marketing majors will be studying for ages. Madison Avenue public relations experts and Hollywood marketing gurus foisted one of the biggest con jobs in the history of humanity on the world in order to save Wall Street. A man unknown almost universally in 2004 was able to climb the height of political ladders based purely on gimmicks, music, cadence and empty rhetoric.
Trump and Obama represent the extremes of the voices who are imposed on us by the elites in order to keep us perpetually distracted. We are bracketed by one phony after another who insist on flaming our angers. They stir society into collective derangement and drive us into resentment; they do this because a people who are moved by discontent and manipulated emotionally are always defeated by those who act with cold and calculated logic. Sadly, we fall for it. I’ll be honest; I grow weary of the multitudes on all sides who think they are making a difference as they take aim at others who suffer just like them. “Whites” blaming “lazy blacks”, “black folk” blaming “white privilege”, women cursing paternalistic men, believers blaming each other, grievance coupled with callous indifference—a circular firing squad shooting at fellow victims. BANG! All fall down instead of standing in unity.This is not to deny racism, sexism, xenophobia and other forms of hatred that gash society. But there is a wide gap between individuals with no power displaying their bigotry and hatred versus institutional oppression that uses exclusion to hobble people based on their traits or beliefs. There was a buffoon the other day who called me a nigger in response to an article I wrote condemning Trump. I hope you really pay attention to what you are about to read next. This man was no racist because racism is bigotry combined with power; this ignoramus had no more power over me than a mosquito has over a lion. To focus my energy on the nobodies of this world who revert to ignorance is to elevate pygmies to giants—a wise man once called this behavior throwing pearls before swine. I should have actually responded back with love because most likely this man is a broken soul who lashes out at others as a form of self-projecting his self-hate. But I’m not there in life; turning the other cheek is a virtue that I’m not wise enough to accept yet. So I did the next best thing and looked beyond this human toilet.
Let me use the aforementioned example of the Trump supporter to highlight something else. I do not accuse all who happen to support Donald Trump of racism. Though Donald Trump is a carnival barker and a lout who is the titular head of a system that is the root of racism, sexism, elitism and all other isms that bleed humanity, it is not fair to blame his supporters by extension. We humans have a tendency to back people who speak our pains. As I said, I was fooled by the vacuous Obama who ended up committing the largest theft in human history by handing over $14 trillion from our collective savings to Wall Street interests. Does that make me complicit in this larceny simply because I was one of Obama’s most ardent loyalists? When we cast a wide net to accuse many for the sins committed by a few, we end up driving potential allies into the hands of our collective enemy. It’s for this reason I keep saying focus on oppression on its own instead of putting adjectives in front of it. The minute you blame “white oppression” or say things like “these damn men”, you lump everyone from that group into your condemnation and, by extension, further the divisions.
There are one of two ways this era of separable grievance and monopolizing injustice will come to an end. Either we will have a mass awakening by choice and decide to put away our differences and come together to stand for universal justice or we will be united by duress. I hope and pray that we choose the former because none of us want to see what unity by duress looks like (read Unity or Dissolution). We are on the last legs of this system of crony capitalism and institutional larceny that is corporatism. The economic crash of 2008 was an omen of what is to come; you can’t find your way out of debt by borrowing money. That is precisely what the first brand president did in 2009; he stood up crony capitalism by transferring $14 trillion dollars from Main Street to Wall Street—a system of capital embezzlement that Trump is continuing.
I highly advise that we wake up to the game that is being played from sides on all of us before it is too late. There is a reason why all levers of power have been hijacked by the oligarchy. Everything from the mainstream media, politicians, higher institutions of learning and opinion leaders have been co-opted by the uber-wealthy. When some halfwit pundit tries to rile your emotions on TV or a toxic politician peddles one-sided grievance, just know that they are getting paid a pretty penny to blind you with rage so that you don’t see the true sources of injustice. Look up, the Armani boots on your neck belong to the very rich and powerful we keep idolizing. Here is an idea, instead of blaming your fellow victims and using hateful rhetoric to bash people who suffer just like you, try uniting with the same people the elites keep tying to convince you are your enemy.
How about we stop using injustice as a sport and reverting to memes and hashtags as solutions to society’s vexing problems. I count myself in this criticism; we can do more to affect change by being kind to someone in our circle of influence and reinvesting in our communities than we can ever accomplish with a million marches conducted in protest zones. We have one of the most powerful weapons known to mankind at our fingertips; instead of using social media to partake in yet more harsh rhetoric and bashing each other virtually, how about we use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the world wide web to spread a message of inclusive justice. We don’t have to wait for the revolution to be broadcast on TV, we can write it ourselves through unity and togetherness.
Stop paying attention to the hacks who are presented to you as “activists” and “leaders” by the elites; they are overseers who are leading us into the abyss. Here is a way to separate the fraud apart from the true change agents; if they are getting paid by corporate interests and given access to the Corporate State Media, discount them as charlatans. Real heroes who speak for the masses end up getting silenced by scandals or bullets (read Confluence of Martin and Malcolm). Think on this next time some “black leader” or “right wing truth teller” goes on MSNBC, CNN or Fox News—they are using our pains to advance their own interests.
When we stop falling for the blueprint of divide and conquer and we cease letting others inject tribalism in our hearts, what comes next is an army of humanity that is united in our common defense. There are not enough weapons in this world to subdue billions who refuse to be subjugated by a few. This is especially true given that the soldiers, police and military personnel who possess those weapons and protect the fraction of humanity who are the source of our collective suffering are part of us. The power is with us if we choose to put away our differences and unite under the banner of humanity instead of being divided by separable grievances. I guess what I am saying is unite or perish. #50Grievances
“The rich rob the poor, and the poor rob one another.” ~ Sojourner Truth
Check out my interview on the Lee Camp show where I discussed the topic of divide and conquer and how the same playbook that was used to colonize “Africa” is being deployed on us in America and throughout the world.
Check out the Ghion Cast below where I discuss how unity defeated tyranny and oppression throughout history. From Adwa, Haiti to America and beyond, the power of a united people is always greater than the power of those who rule by force.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Lij Teodrose Fikremariam (see all)
- Ethiopia’s Choice: Poverty through Grievance or Prosperity through Unity - September 9, 2019
- Bloody 60s: the Decade that Aborted Leadership in America - August 22, 2019
- A Matter of Life or Death: We Cannot Afford to Ignore Mental Illnesses Any Longer - August 17, 2019