One of the main problems, even with the “leftist” discussions and protests, is the normalization of European, eurocentric ideas; ethics; and beliefs. Their definition of production and productive is based solely on the ideas of industrialization. They are concerned with hierarchical relationships within that very limited scope. Everything is defined by European based modes and means of production and distribution.
None seem to realize that the heart and lifeblood of those systems are directly related to operating from a position of privilege. Even the “great philosophers” whom they love to quote and argue minute points upon have built those belief systems from a position of privilege on the backs of enslaved and colonized peoples, entirely from stolen land and resources.
The foundation of capitalism is theft. Even those that seemingly embrace that belief seem unable to recognize that capitalism created modern industrialization, not vice versa.
It is really easy to call yourself an anticapitalist, but impossible to be against capitalism and for European style modern industrialization which still depends on the occupation of stolen land and resources. All modern production got its start through slavery and theft of resources and it is kept in place through theft and slavery. If you seek to maintain your current “first world” you are still advocating the root of capitalism, you have just applied a different European belief system as to the means of production and distribution within the exact same model of European industrialization.
If you have failed to ask yourself, your movement, and your comrades if you even have any kind of right to the land you are standing on, you haven’t even taken the first step to dealing with the problem. Protesting working conditions, wages, environmental destruction, gender inequality, and all of our other causes are surely a worthy pursuit but they are disjointed. What brings them all together is the sense of entitlement that was developed through colonization and the enslavement of indigenous peoples, and yet that very root and those very voices aren’t given a place of importance. That root is the original theft of labor and resources. A failure to address those issues and to be inclusive of those directly abused is to do nothing more than ask for a bigger slice of the exploitation.
Even the papers they write and quote all come a narrowly defined model. The authors they quote invariably come from that same European (and male dominated) point of view. Even if something they are referencing was written later than the 1800’s to the early 1900’s, which is rarely, it is based on those same concepts. Concepts handed down from a time and place when even the lowest class of worker lived a life of privilege based on the proceeds inherited from the slavery and colonization of “others”.
Not that I am surprised they may not have even realized it. Even in these “enlightened” times most people operating from those positions don’t realize this simple fact. I think that the workers involved in early industrial production were even aware of the fact than most workers today. They even referred to themselves as being treated like Africans and Indians. The normal worker today isn’t usually even aware of or educated on the topic. Though they have less excuse for it when the information is readily available today and those still suffering are using their voices and asking to be heard.
Without a doubt the most “progressive” people in these modern conversations hold liberal views on the rights of “others” (and the environment) but they still insist that the answer to the problems these “others” face is in adopting the European model of their system over the capitalist European model.
They have deluded themselves into believing they are presenting a form of liberating positions when all they have actually done is come up with different reasons (excuses) why colonization and the assimilation of European standards, ethics, morality, and beliefs should be accepted by those who are still suffering from those things in the first place. The idea that there may be thousands of years of wisdom in living a life in harmony instead of struggle eludes them. Either that or they willfully wish to dismiss that wisdom in favor of the model that has brought relative ease to their lives. That ease has come with a price for those who have suffered from the destruction of their entire way of life for centuries. Through theft and forced assimilation. What so many call wage slavery is based on the concept of the European peasantry being forced to give up their “commons” and forced into working for a wage to meet their needs. This fails to address that the resources used in those factories (even in our present time) come from the exploited resources of colonized peoples. The small business all the way to the largest corporation in these colonized areas exist on land once occupied by someone else. Those that were the “others” who still suffer from the evils of our conquering ancestors. Many seem blind to the fact that even being able to present their ideas is in itself just another act of exercising that privilege they have inherited over the past few millennia of exploitation.
The validity of this belief is easily proven. Look around any of those groups and protests for some diversity and solidarity with these groups. And not just diversity in the way of looking at things, but look at the make-up of the groups themselves. Look at the signs and see who they are claiming is being oppressed and who is represented. Whose voices are being heard and what messages are being sent out. The proof is in the pudding.
The root of exploitation goes beyond what we fight today. It is born upon the exploitation, enslavement, and colonization of people who came before us. I am calling on all of us to consult those whose lands we are holding our protests on. I am calling on us all to include their voice as a primary voice of our resistance. If they have been removed, stand for them. Strike the root.
Resources to help in achieving this goal: