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02 mei 2012

Hunger Games vs. People Power

Welcome to the 2012 Hunger Games
Sending Debt Peonage, Poverty, and Freaky Weather Into the Arena

Door Rebecca Solnit, TomDispatch, 1 mei 2012

[...] The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins’s bestselling young-adult novel and top-grossing blockbuster movie, is all about this very moment in so many ways. For those of you hiding out deep in the woods, it’s set in a dystopian future North America, a continent divided into downtrodden, fearful districts ruled by a decadent, luxurious oligarchy in the Capitol. Supposedly to punish the districts for an uprising 74 years ago, but really to provide Roman-style blood and circuses to intimidate and distract, the Capitol requires each district to provide two adolescent Tributes, drawn by lottery each year, to compete in the gladiatorial Hunger Games broadcast across the nation.

[...] In Iraq, 4,486 mostly young Americans died.  If you want to count Iraqis (which you should indeed want to do), the deaths of babies, children, grandmothers, young men, and others total more than 106,000 by the most conservative count, hundreds of thousands by others. Even the lowest numbers represent enough kill to fill nearly 5,000 years of Hunger Games. 
[...] In The Hunger Games, kids in poor families take out extra chances in their District lottery -- that is, extra chances to die -- in return for extra food rations; in ours, poor kids enlist in the military to feed their families and maybe escape economic doom. Many are seduced by military recruiters who stalk them in high school with promises as slippery as those the slave trade uses to recruit poor young women for sex work abroad.

[...] The wealthiest and most powerful nation the world has ever seen is full of hungry people. You know it, and you know why. In this vast, bountiful, food-producing, food-wasting nation, it’s a crisis of distribution, also known as economic inequality, described at last with clarity and force by the Occupy movement.

[...] The young are constantly told that only a college education can give them a decent future. Then they’re told that, to pay for it, they need to go into debt -- usually into five figures, sometimes well into six. And these debts are, in turn, governed by special laws that don’t allow you to declare bankruptcy -- no matter what.  In other words, they are guaranteed to follow you all your life.
[...] According to the website for Occupy Student Debt, 36,000,000 Americans have student debts.  These have increased more than fivefold since 1999, creating a debt load that’s approaching a trillion dollars, with students borrowing $96 billion more every year to pay for their educations. Two-thirds of college students find themselves in this trap nowadays.

[...] But if you want to think about all the ways we’re dooming the young, there’s one that puts the others in the shade, a form of destruction that includes not just American youth, or human youth, but all species everywhere, from coral reefs to caribou. That’s climate change, of course.
[...] If you want to talk about hunger, talk about the unprecedented flooding that’s turned Pakistan from one of the world’s breadbaskets into a net food-importing nation, with dire consequences for the agricultural poor. Talk about China’s many impending ecological disasters, its degraded soil, contaminated air and water, its many systems ready to collapse. There’s more disruption of food production to come, a lot more, and lots more hunger, too.

[...] Violence is not power, as Jonathan Schell makes strikingly clear in The Unconquerable World, it’s what the state uses when we are not otherwise under control. In addition, when we speak of “nonviolence” as an alternative to violence, we can’t help but underestimate our own power.  That word, unfortunately, sounds like it’s describing an absence, a polite refraining from action, when what’s at stake -- as demonstrators around the world proved last year -- is a force to be reckoned with; so call it “people power” instead.
When we come together as civil society to exercise this power, regimes tremble and history is made. Not instantly and not exactly according to plan, but who ever expected that?

Rebecca Solnit is de auteur van onder meer A Paradise Built In Hell; The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster (Viking Adult, 2009, 368 pagina's).

Later toegevoegd:

Channeling Our National Fascination with 'Hunger Games' Into America's Real Rampant Economic and Social Inequality
Door Simon Greer en Maurine Knighton, Alternet, 25 november 2013 

Joseph Stiglitz Sees Terrifying Future for America If We Don't Reverse Inequality
Door Lynn Parramore, Alternet, 24 juni 2012

What will life look like down the road if we don't reverse economic inequality? We must see through the myths of capitalism and build a mass movement if we are to save ourselves.  
Education Debt in the Ownership Society
Door Pamela Brown, Alternet, 27 juni 2012

Will the twin crises of housing and education debt freeze young people out of the American dream?

Zie ook m'n blognotities:
Een mooi Amerika is mogelijk
'Het burgerlijke leven is onderuitgehaald'
Connect the dots: internationale klimaatactie 5 mei
Per generatie neemt het milieubewustzijn af
Belangrijkste oorzaken economische crisis
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Tags: hongerspelen, inkomensongelijkheid, 1% versus 99%, geweldloze revolutie, financiële crisis, verzet, opstand, omwenteling, sociale hervormingen

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