Be Free

     Here’s a hypothetical example of what we could do: say a group of college students at a certain major university are tired of the ever rising costs of college education.  So they organize and protest and get support and are able to have the entire student body boycott all sporting events until something gets done about the cost of college education.  Perhaps, if the students conduct themselves with honor and remain peaceful and dignified, members of the general public may join them in their efforts.  The goal of the boycott could be the elimination of at least one year of Gen. Ed. (General Education) classes for most majors (along with trimming the fat in “administrative costs”), thereby reducing the cost of college education by fifteen to twenty thousand dollars per student.  Would it work?  What if through social media the cause picked up momentum and spread across the nation?

     Or what if roughly the same scenario happened, but instead of boycotting sporting events, 30,000+ students at a major university all banded together and boycotted Gen. Ed. classes, pointing out that for most majors they have little or nothing to do with their specialized field of study, and that the supposed goal of “making well-rounded individuals” is really just an excuse to force college students to take an extra two years of college, thereby making universities (and banks) that much more money and putting the students that much more in debt.  (I can understand the importance of these classes for some professions; for instance, they would be helpful for those who intend to become school teachers, but they could easily be trimmed back by at least half as much as is currently required.)  If students fought back like this all across the country, the universities would have no choice but to concede to their demands.  College would take half the amount of time and cost half the amount of money.  These are the kinds of things that need to happen if we want anything to change.

     Workers need to organize and unionize again, especially in the service and retail industries.  People need to fight for better wages, just like those who struggled in the early 1900’s did, whose hard work and labor caused reforms that many of us still benefit from today.  The decent wages and middle class that the U.S. enjoyed and thrived upon for so many years didn’t just happen—people fought for it.  And now, through years of ignorance and complacency, we’ve let almost all of it slip away.

     We need to put our heads together and find ways to force our “elected” officials to pass trade agreements that benefit workers and regular citizens, not just corporations.  We need to boycott mega-businesses that don’t pay a living wage, especially when their own financial reports prove that they easily can—they just choose not to.  (I realize that some (many?) people don’t believe that unskilled labor deserves better wages, but a simple analysis of historical data shows that these same unskilled laborers make less now adjusted for inflation than they did fifty years ago, while corporate wealth has increased by leaps and bounds, in some cases by 200-300 percent when compared to the leading corporations of half a century ago.)

     We have the power to make great change if we get together, stand up for ourselves, and refuse to cooperate with the people or corporations that use us to make Themselves powerful and rich.

     Think about it—if an entire town got together and said that they weren’t going to shop at a particular supercenter retailer until they started paying better wages and benefits, conducted fairer business practices, and sold more local, state, or national products, they’d be closed down in a month.  Some other business that would accommodate these demands would happily take their place.  So much is possible if we only stand up and work together.

     And if none of these things work or don’t happen right away, you can be an army of One.  Educate yourself.  Knowledge is power.  Do what you can, however little it is.  It all adds up after a while.

     Resist.  Rebel.  Revolt.  Rearrange your life.  Make freedom your primary concern … not just for the sake of being free from Them, but for your own good and as its own reward.

     It’s up to you.  This book is but a small taste of what’s out there.  With tools such as the internet and social media at your disposal, you have the accumulated wisdom of the world at your fingertips.  Use it.  Free your mind.  Aspire to be great, to be something other than a cog in the wheels of the bankers, corporations, and politicians money making machine.

     Rise up.  Fight back.  Stand your ground.

     Be Free.

Excerpted from Them and Us: A Philosophy of Freedom by Adam Soto