Sunday, September 24, 2006

This Ones For You

I was asked by a very good friend, "Where do you find all those depressing articles?" To which I answered, "It's difficult to stay aloof and on your toes when trudging through the bile and muck of injustice!" Of course my friend asked this question because she was concerned about my well being. Being an activist herself for many years, she well knows how difficult and devastating the truth can be to an individual's spirit. You see, she has learned the valuable lesson of the power of community and the necessary support which the community makes available to it's members. This bile and muck can be very harmful to the human spirit and as anyone seeking the truth eventually discovers, trudging through this muck will produce within our heads what Joe Bageant, in his essay entitled Madmen and Sedatives, labels THE SCREAMING MAN!

I have to take a moment and apologize for my lack of writing skills and I very often laugh at myself for starting this blog and pretending to be an authority on anything! Actually I'm an authority on very little. I'm merely a grunt who has spent a lifetime selling his time and sacrificing time away from family and friends in order to get that "stuff" I thought was necessary. Granted, the majority of capital I've received for my time, has went towards keeping food on the table, a roof over the family's head, and clothes on our back. A humble existence for sure, but that's a good thing. There are millions of our people who haven't fared near as well. It's these people I care about. It's these people to whom I feel my spirit is attached and I can't help but feel an obligation to my relations. Because the bottom line is...we are all related and we are all fighting for survival. And if we can help each other, then all of us or at least our future generations might somehow be able to crawl from this muck into some clean air, free from the stench of injustice.

Now a little history is probably required in order to portray the hows and whys of this blog. Yeah, I know it gets very little attention and probably never will. But that was not my intentions in the first place and it will never be important. I suppose it was the SCREAMING MAN inside of me that initiated the whole thing. As I look back and try to analyze my reasons, I guess it was a selfish undertaking on my part. By placing on the web the thoughts and views which were screaming in my head, I found I began to think and breathe much better. As I placed these thoughts on the screen and made them available to whoever happened upon them, I felt a freedom of mind and a cleansing of my spirit. And the blog seemed to make room within my limited brain for other thoughts and reflections. I suppose that's what a diary or journal was meant to accomplish. Only with the web, these thoughts, experiences, and observations are no longer private but are shared with the world. And guess what I have discovered, the world is full of other human beings who also have that screaming woman/man within their heads!

My first involvement via the internet in the role of an activist was strictly as a member of a trade union. The main focus of my early activity was the anti-democratic structures that existed within organized labor and the stifling of dissent within the locals due to the concentrated power within the international umbrella organizations. The early union activists surmised that the decline of union membership within the workforce was possibly due in a large part to these undemocratic practices and the corporate/business union model that organized labor had transformed itself into over the last 50 years. There were a great many of us who believed organized labor was supposedly run by the membership! Now the fact we were wrong was a rather rude awakening to say the least. Our assumption couldn't have been farther from the truth. Our organizations had morphed into corporations with the identical top-down hierarchies and power structures. Member run organizations had disappeared, and for the most part, as we watched and even with our approval!

After years of fighting from within the labor organizations as per the by-laws, outside with the pseudo help of the Department of Labor, and even in the courts, the union density within the workforce continued to drop and along with the decline, organized labor continued to be awash with corruption. And it was about this time that I realized the possibility of reforming the business unions was highly improbable and it just occurred to me that our efforts would be better invested in a social awakening; an overhaul of the social structures which are instrumental in the creation of the fertile ground which sprouted the corruption within our unions as well as in our political and economical structures as well. If you want to rid yourself of some pesky poison oak, you have to attack the roots. Cutting off those semi-attractive leaves and berries won't do it. The poison is carried from the roots and can be found throughout the vine.

It was during these first years in the fight for union democracy that I met many others involved in these struggles as well. Disenchanted and disillusioned union members from all over the world began sharing their stories and experiences. This was my first experience of what I refer to as community. These communities were pooling some of the most honest, sincere, and dedicated people that I had ever met. This is where I found encouragement and support through interacting with people I had never met other than through their typed words on my screen. It was from these allies that I found the courage to write about what was on my mind and how I felt about particular issues.

I remember hearing people say there couldn't be solid relationships built or cultivated solely on a virtual landscape without the usual face-to-face interaction. And I continue to hear learned people say the same thing. Not to take anything away from personal contact and it's benefits, but I have found they were mistaken in their assumption and some of the best relationships I've known in my "real" life have sprouted and grown through my "virtual" life even though I've never seen their face or heard the sound of their voice! This fact was rather astounding to me (as it still is), and I remember thinking how important this is to our future as human beings in this time of transition into what has been deemed, the information age. This virtual bridge and connection is powerful and the fact that I can actually feel the unmistakable emotions within the typed words of somebody is absolutely remarkable in my opinion. It still amazes me how we adapt and learn to relay our feelings and impressions through these damn screens!

I have learned so much from so many over the last ten years it's unbelievable. Not the institutionalized education with the sheepskin, that the professional hangs on their office wall or the educated jobless toss somewhere in the attic for their grandkids to happen upon some day. But I've received an education by the people. Through their willingness to share their victories, defeats, view points, and ideas, I am a much better human being. The lessons learned this way are not soon forgotten and in my humble opinion, not a better educational system exists!

So this is why this blog exists. This is why I pretend to be a writer. It's for all the people who have shared with me over the years. It's for my children and my grandchildren. It's for the people who are transforming from consumers into creators. And it's for my friend who told me, "All you have to do is surround yourself with uplifting positive reinforcement - of which there's an abundance." And she is right...there are millions of us!


Anonymous one said...

oh atu, never apologize for expressing your views. you are an authority on yourself and who it is you are, from your central and unique perspective. people are afraid of the truth, even the ones who 'care about us', and when we dare speak...our sounds offensive, even distorted to their trained ears.

it is the path of the brave, to speak, write, scream...our truth.

the internet is just space, and our words, merely markers for ideas, which will someday shape the collective.

never apologize for expressing your perspective on this not do so, would be average.

Monday, 25 September, 2006  
Blogger atuuschaaw said...

one, thanks for your support. Perhaps I have too much humility. I have never been able to stomach anyone who tried to push their agendas as if they were the only path to travel. Probably due to this intolerance of high-hatted unsubstantiated authoritativeness, I never want to become (one of them)! ;)

Following existing marked trails, although easier and requiring less thought, isn't always the best possible direction to travel in my opinion!

Monday, 25 September, 2006  
Anonymous siggy said...

"our words, merely markers for ideas, which will someday shape the collective."

I'll go one step further and venture that 'our ideas' are the shape of the collective. I think the problem is that the 'shape' was confiscated by (a)force and, surreptitiously, another less collective shape put in it's place.

I think if we can rediscover the shape, it's possible we may come across all the missing socks too - where do they go?

Monday, 25 September, 2006  

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