Monday, June 28, 2010

Are We Not Penned?

Over ten thousand people in Toronto's streets, expressing displeasure with the status quo. That's always uplifting to see, especially in this corporate age where passivity is encouraged, surrender rewarded. There's no question that millions more worldwide oppose current power arrangements, but the question of resistance remains tangled.

We saw two forms in Toronto as the G-20 (following the G8) discussed how best to run the globe, minus democratic input. The majority of protestors were peaceful, traditional, fenced into zones surrounded by paramilitary units. The Black Bloc did its thing, racing down streets, smashing windows, Days of Rage tactics that gave the cops a chance to test new methods of violent control, since the majority refused to give them that pleasure. (Doubtless there were agent provocateurs, but how much does it take to whip these kids into a property-damage frenzy?) To paraphrase Madeline Albright, what good are hi-tech weapons if you can't use them?

Neither form accomplished much. The peaceful were corralled, the violent impotent. I doubt that G-20 delegates gave them more than a passing thought. Why should they? The owners and their employees are well-guarded, their isolation from the mass planned well in advance. Global capital reigns supreme, however shaky in spots. But even those areas are not seriously challenged. The Terror Wars cost trillions, yet few lift a finger. With no real structural alternative in the offing, much less a deep grassroots movement to animate and define it, consumers are left scrambling about, trying to find their place in the machine.

This is why global elites meet in large population areas. Other than some placard waving, they face no push back, so why hide in some luxurious bunker? It's almost as if they're taunting us, displaying their power and distance while the corporate media treat the better-known figures like celebs in People or Us. Most of us are so conditioned to watching richer people walk, talk, and play that it barely registers anymore. It's almost as if it isn't happening, and given present reality, that's probably for the best.

Devo predicted long ago that humans would de-evolve as corporate feudalism ran everything into the ground. Thirty years later, it's hard to argue with their musical/satirical prophesy. Now the spuds have returned with a new album, Something For Everybody, which rubs our noses further into info-glut madness. Devo has made a handsome living from film/TV/ad/video game soundtracks, so they know of what they speak. Here are two initial segments showing Devo's current vision.