"If a speech falls freely in the forest, and there is no one there to hear it -- is it still free speech?" -- Swami Beyondananda
I was visiting a friend last week who was tuned in to NPR's Weekend Edition, and it brought back nostalgic memories. I used to love listening to NPR, and feeling smarter than the yo-yos and yahoos tuning in to Fox.
All that changed during the Bush era, as I began noticing what NPR didn't report -- anything significant about the war machine and corporate state -- and I decided I could do without the luxury of intellectual superiority.
Now of course we are finding that NPR is as dependent on corporate funds as any daily newspaper or mainstream media outlet -- so consequently it joined the rest of the corporate media in ignoring the worldwide March Against Monsanto this past weekend.
This is simply an expression of the "kinder and gentler" form of totalitarianism where anything that challenges the authority of the corporate state (i.e., the coercive power of government in the service of big money) is simply ignored, and therefore dies from marginalization. Yes, totalitarianism... or if you prefer a more creative term, "neo-feudalism." We are quickly headed to a world where there is one big Company Store, and with top-down control of what we eat, collectively see and hear, and what we think.
Unless we wake up, wise up, grow up, and show up as one powerful movement, that is.
My cosmic comic cohort the Swami has said, "The truth shall upset you free," and I advise that we waste no time indulging in despair or denial and embrace and recognize our real power.
To do so, we must temporarily lift ourselves above and beyond the one or two or three issues we feel most deeply about, and recognize how each of these issues really boils down to one issue, one question really:
"Who's in charge of who's in charge?"
When it comes to trust for the corporate state, we have a deeply united body politic. The vast majority of us know that what we have now is unworkable at best, criminal at worst. Until now, we have been divided into two ideological/cultural tribes... and the dysfunctional function of the corporate media is to make sure the two sides never come together publicly and engage in civil conversation -- and never discover the fundamental principles they share in common.
If we keep feuding... well then, we will surely have "feudalism".
So ... the first step is to withdraw attention, energy, time, and money from divisive discourse, and appreciate, embrace, and use the power we DO have -- and make sure that our political activities and buying habits are designed to break the real issues "through the soundless barrier" so that more individuals and communities can awaken together more rapidly.
Let's imagine -- as Paul Ray (author of The Cultural Creatives) has suggested -- that 25 percent to 30 percent of the 250 million adult Americans are awakened and "susceptible to" the notion that everything is connected, and we are indeed all in this together, inside the web of life. If we rounded that off to 70 million Americans, and let's say each of those individuals shifted just $100 a year from the corporate media and instead supported a truly independent Citizen's Media, that's $70 billion. I know. It ain't much, but it's a start.
As to how that media gets convened, and how it sustains independence ... those are issues to consider. First, though, we need to have the vision, and begin the conversation.
Meanwhile, there are three things we can do RIGHT NOW to assert, aggregate, and focus the political, economic, and spiritual power we do have.
1. POLITICAL: Move to Amend. Of all the current political movements, the one with the most single-minded focus on radical (i.e., "to the root") change is the Move to Amend campaign for a Constitutional Amendment to end corporate personhood. It reads simply: "We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights."
Historically (e.g. the Equal Right Amendment) Constitutional amendments are difficult to pass AND at the same time because of their global nature, they are excellent ways to gather political will and focus.
Move to Amend calls forth some simple questions: Should corporations have more power than citizens? Should our governance be controlled primarily by the power of money? Should money speak so loud that it drowns out all other speech?
All those who came out to March Against Monsanto -- or resonated with the cause -- should understand that Move to Amend is a fundamental step to curtailing the power of Monsanto, the corporate media, and the corporate state.
2. ECONOMIC: The "We're Not Buying It" Campaign. To make it easier to vote with your dollars, the Non-GMO Project has developed a free iPhone App Shopping Guide so you can instantly find and buy non-GMO brands. Please share this freely with friends and community, as well as any other technological innovations that allow us to boycott and buy-cott (support businesses that offer true alternatives).
3. SPIRITUAL: Connecting the Good. Visionary activist Richard Flyer appreciates something that both Gandhi and Jefferson knew and spoke of -- small, local networks are the "healthy cells" of a revitalized body politic that can regrow the Garden -- and just, balanced, ethical governance -- from the grassroots up. If you, like the Swami, believe we need more forums and fewer "againstums" and you are ready for "creation" and not merely "reaction," please check out Connecting the Good.
Now is the time to remember Margaret Mead's classic quote: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
That's us, folks. Ready to join the upwising?
Steve Bhaerman is author and humorist and also known by his cosmic comic alter ego Swami Beyondananda. He is also author with Bruce Lipton of the paradigm-busting book, Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here.