The Just Protester on losing faith in the state and the least we can do right now
Trevor, the Just Protester, welcome back to The Sewers.
Hi, hey, thanks.
How have you been?
Fucking awful, how are you?
Aww what’s wrong?
Seriously? everything’s wrong.
What didn’t happen? What doesn’t happen? Fuck. All that’s happened since last time we talked is just unbelievable. Just can’t stop thinking about it. And besides, does something really need to happen? It’s happening everyday anyway. The injustice, the cruelty, the lies, the violence, the NRA. There are just times when it’s more apparent, like now, so you fight back, and sometimes you think you win, and sometimes you think you lose, but in the big picture you’re in the wrong battle anyway, so it don’t matter if you win or lose.
What’s the right battle?
On a normal day I’d answer right away, fuck, the revolution, that’s not the battle, that’s the fucking war to win. But today I’m like: is it possible? Isn’t it just fucking words? We need to take action, but when I say we who do I mean? It’s like the word revolution has become so cheap it means nothing now.
What is a revolution?
It’s a moment in time after which nothing’s the same.
That can also describe a nuclear bombing.
I mean nothing’s the same in the social order – the revolution I’m talking about is when people regain their power, seizing the means of production, forcing a new order of equality –
Yeah, forcing, for sure, coz the people in power won’t give it up so easily –
So it’s a violent revolution –
Look, I’m against violence, for sure, I mean I’m fucking against the system and the system is violent so of course I’m against violence.
So how would you force people in power to give up their power?
By delegitimizing them, by making their power powerless –
But you said they’re a part of a violent system –
The only way to really fight violence is with non-violence. Coz if we turn to violence they’d win right away, violence is their field, that’s the field they want us to play coz that’s where they win.
But they can respond with violence to your non-violence, and also win.
Yeah, fuck. For sure. Fuck. They have the state and the police on their side, and that means they have violence on their side. Like in 2011 with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Police reacted with violence to non-violence. It was fucking fascism.
Were you there?
For sure. With the tear gas and all the shit. And the violent arrests. It was like a moment of awakening for me. A moment when I realized how fucking huge the power we’re fighting is. But it was also a moment of hope coz I wasn’t alone, I mean I became wide awake and not alone. It happened to a lot of people there, by the way. Some people went there and it was their first protest, their first social activity, and it made them part of something to this very day.
One might ask then where are they now?
What d’you mean? They’re everywhere, I mean there’s a limit to what you can do on the streets. I don’t think there’ll be another one, I mean another huge protest movement taking over the streets like that – I dunno – maybe it’s not the way. But then again when I think maybe it’s not the way then maybe that’s what they want me to think, and that means it is the way, maybe. I mean the Occupy Movement, there was something right about it.
So it is the way?
Can’t you see I don’t know? I mean that’s what nobody knows. For like two years now I feel like I’m watching, ready to take action, always ready for the revolution, but then again, I’m just watching. Things seem to have escalated very quickly since 2011. It’s like the world’s on fast forward towards something, and we’re trying to figure out what it is. And while we’re trying to figure it out we’re looking to the past. The rise of fascism. The rise of Nazism. We’re trying to find the answers there. I mean we use terminology from the past coz that’s all we have right now. But what’s coming is obviously new and unexpected, it’s something we don’t have words for yet. I mean crisis has always been global, but now, I think for the first time, the solution also must be global. And it’s hard. I mean it belittles you in a way, it makes you helpless. You can start a protest in your community, in your city, even in your state, but to put something global into motion –
Have you noticed how you swear a lot less when you try to construct an argument?
Fuck, what’s that got to do with anything right now? Have you noticed how stupid you become when I try to say something meaningful?
So sorry. Just making an observation.
No you’re not, you’re just buying time to have something to say to what I say, coz you have nothing smart to say about it.
It’s true I guess, I don’t have a solution. It is clear though, from what you’ve said, that the state is no longer the object of a substantial revolution.
It so isn’t, and most people don’t get it. I mean the people I’m surrounded by totally get it and got it fucking ages ago. But most people don’t get it. Corporations are bigger and stronger than any state now. They’re an empire. The backstage of democracy is corporate, and you can’t fight it with democracy anymore.
Have you completely lost your faith in the state or do you still consider it to be, to some degree, some sort of a change agent?
I dunno. I think I don’t have faith in it anymore. Then again I do demand my state and the politicians not to be corrupted and to concur to the social contract we have as a society. I mean basically I believe in this social contract but I don’t see the state being able to execute it properly. But the only thing I can really do now, since I am part of this contract whether I like it or not, is to demand the state to follow it. And it’s like a loop, coz I don’t think the state can do it properly, but it’s a given situation so what else can I do other than demanding it do to it, to do what I don’t think it can actually do? Fuck, it’s a fucking paradox, do you get it?
But then again this is just another battle, it’s not the war. I mean the war must be a revolution in a global scale. It’s like I don’t see the point in micro changes anymore, in a way, but I mean I do see the importance of each and every battle, but at the end of the day it’s like we keep losing. Like you can be a part of a fair and just community with people like you, but what difference would it make? It won’t change anything, it would be meaningless escapism.
This reminds me of Thomas More’s Utopia, he envisioned it as an isolated island –
Exactly, for sure, that’s what I mean, coz a society cannot be separate from what’s going on in the world. And it’s amazing he got it in the 16th century or whenever that was. So yeah, you can live in a perfect community somewhere, but now more than ever it’s clear that it’s not a solution for anything. Not even for the people in this community itself. How can one state, for example, exist only on fair trade, with the globalization of exploitation of raw materials for pretty much everything? I mean NIMBY was always wrong in the moral sense, in my eyes, but now it’s factually wrong, I mean if you think about pollution and stuff, it’s so obvious. The fact the pollution now concentrates on the global south is just more of the same, supposedly somewhere else but it’s not somewhere else, it affects everybody, and we’ve seen it live with the hurricanes and all. fuck. That’s not in your backyard but in your fucking face.
Last time we talked, you said we all had a duty to inform ourselves and to fact check the information we come across. As a person who lives up to it, how does it help you fight back injustices such as corruption and exploitation, and how does it help you advance practices you see as just?
Okay, alright, this is a really tricky part and I see this happening to my friends all the time and it happens to me too. When you fact check you come across a lot of shit. An endless amount of shit. And it’s fucking depressing. I can spend five hours a night just reading about how wrong and bad things are in growing circles around me. Yeah I inform myself and then I spend another five hours doing all I can, in my blogs, to inform others, to spread the word. But when I’m done I can end up just fucking depressed, dead-depressed. Sometimes, even when I see that a lot of people read and like my stuff, I still stay depressed.
And you probably depress them as well.
For sure, yeah. But at the end of the day I’m happy I informed others.
Right, but my question still stands, what can you and others do once you’re informed?
Well we know what we’re dealing with when we make our choices. Like trying to not take part in exploitation when we buy our necessities –
But you said raw materials are already a product of exploitation.
Yeah, for sure, like if you buy a t-shirt made locally, the basic textile is still probably a product of exploitation. For sure. I mean it’s fucked up, okay? Fuck. But isn’t that still better than –
Are you basically saying all you can do is in the frame of you being a consumer? I thought you were anti-consumerism.
Okay, fuck, let’s not start with this. Look, there’s like, there’s the ideology – I mean it’s about following what you believe in.
Right, and then we go back to forcing a revolution. If you follow what you believe in why can’t others do the same, even if they believe differently?
Okay now listen, this pisses me off. This post-modernist blind relativism. Like, I believe racism is bad, I mean I fucking know racism is bad, and when it comes to this I know I’m right and they’re wrong. That’s it. And it’s not only that. I also know that their racism is a result of some ideology, of some indoctrination, that’s meant to keep them unaware, poor and dumb. That’s what I mean when I say I follow what I believe in. and when it comes to making my choices as a person in a society, who consumes necessities in the monetary system that is forced upon me, I make sure I do what I believe in.
Question is – is that all you can do.
No, it’s the least I can do, okay? Fuck. I’m doing the least I can do right now coz right now I’m fucking depressed, and you know what? Don’t ask me what I can do to make things better. Ask yourself what you can do to make things better. We should all fucking ask ourselves what we can do. All the fucking time.
You’ve made an echoing statement and we thank you for that.
I hope you feel better next time we talk.
Me too. Fuck.
We thank you and congratulate you.