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We, as a society, are knowingly heading into a state of total collapse.
Despite multiple cultural and technological revolutions, society is refusing to change.
The powerful always remain on top, only to be toppled by others who will fill the power vacuum with more class violence, more use of unilateral force, and more abuse of the politico-judicial apparatus for their own benefit.
Creating an artificial need for money in order to keep the lower and middle classes under their control, those who sit on top of the capitalist food chain contribute barely anything to society and use their unfairly obtained wealth and power to forcefully keep others beneath them. Maintaining this status quo of oppressors and oppressed is the endgame of capitalism, protected by an illusion that anyone could one day become rich themselves and sit on top of the pyramid. The mere thought of pulling each other higher through mutual aid is seen as dangerous in this egotistical system.
We, as a society, are knowingly heading into a state of total collapse. The ecological consequences of unsustainable overconsumption are threatening our very future as a species. This voluntary lack of foresight is a side effect of the endless greed of capitalism: the rich are lining up their pockets without care by exploiting the underprivileged, using their labor in order to pillage the resources of the planet. Such a situation puts a time limit on the urge to change the power structures of society, as the Earth's ecological balance is close to collapsing irreversibly.
This is a contramanifesto: it stands against everything the current sociopolitical system stands for. Most of what we achieved as a capitalist society is disposable, without any care for the future unless it is for a financial investment, without any consideration for the victims of the system unless it becomes financially relevant to consider them. We worship financial growth as if it were a divinity, building an altar to it from the bones of those who were unlucky enough to stand in the way of the never ending grind of unrestricted greed.
This must end fast, and a new system must be reborn from the ashes of the current one. In this contramanifesto, we will expose ways in which the current system has undeniably failed, then provide concrete ways to build the future social and political system that must replace the current one.
Change is not doomed to fail. But it can only come from a total rejection of the current establishment.
We have no reason to place our faith in a society that wants to crush most of us.
We demand a right to have a collective future on this Earth.
We will topple this system of oppression.
We must dissent.
Everyone deserves equal access to political theory.
Before going further, the use of language itself must be questioned.
Language can be exclusive. With this in mind, the contramanifesto tries to use a simpler language whenever possible. Everyone deserves equal access to political theory.
The contramanifesto is built on the shoulders of many political theories. Anarchism, marxism, socialism, communism, feminism, and more served as major inspirations. While these are all interesting frameworks exploring worthy ideas, this manifesto positions itself at the intersection of these schools of thought, embracing some parts of each while rejecting other elements.
With this context in mind, we will begin by exploring the violent side of the system. A denouncement of the oppression, domination, and submission that most people experience under capitalism. We will then shift into a more positive mindset by thinking about how we can collectively grow, pull each other upwards, and become better both as individuals and as a society.
This manifesto has been kept as short as possible. A sum of its whole, no section is meant to be skipped.
The exchange of money for work undermines consent, as people would never consent to be yelled at by an old man in a suit every single day, yet here we are.
The system pretends that we are all born as equals, thanks to a so called "social contract": in exchange for performing certain duties, we will be rewarded with certain rights. Respect the law, and you will avoid jail. Vote, and you will be represented in the decision making process. Work, and you will earn money, which you can use to purchase goods. Breed, and your offspring will be given the same duties and rights as you were.
This unwritten "social contract" keeps most people satisfied with the state of society, even pushing many towards a conservative political stance: why would you change a system that works? If you are ill, then you will receive treatment. If you are poor, then you will get assistance. If you are the victim of a crime, then the criminal will be judged and you will be compensated for your suffering. The endless growth in productivity and endless rise in quality of life over time must be proof, in their minds, that this system just works. It must not be questioned, as challenging its status quo could cause a total collapse of the system.
But collapsing the system is the dream of those who have awakened and seen it as it truly is. What is presented to you as a "social contract" is actually a bond of domination between the powerful and the rest of society. Those who are born privileged inherit a better "social contract" than those who are not. The law does not apply to them with the same degree of strictness, justice does not apply to them with the same amount of violence, even when considering working or producing value to society the "social contract" is optional to them - they get all the benefits but do not need to follow any of the duties.
Meanwhile, those who are given few privileges from birth are coerced into following their duties to this "social contract" - which they never asked for or agreed to. The mere concept of capitalism goes against the nature of freedom: the exchange of money for work undermines consent, as people would never consent to be yelled at by an old man in a suit every single day, yet here we are. It becomes our duty to the underprivileged to tear up this metaphorical contract in order to free the working class from their chains.
No society can claim freedom or political representation exist when its workers spend most of their day laboring for the interests of privately owned autocracies. We are given leisure to be ourselves, have the lives we desire, yet when asked what your worth is, you will not answer "I am well versed in sociology", "I am a good carpenter", "I help people in need", or even "I am a human being", but instead just give a number: your financial worth. This is what the capitalist system reduces you to. A mere number.
In essence, the "social contract" deprives us of what makes us human. The laws that it follows are written by the dominant class to keep themselves in power. An obvious alternative is possible to this system: let people be who they want to be, do what they want to do, stop rewarding the privileged for being born in the right family, and pull the underprivileged upwards so that they become equal members of society.
We should be humans. Not wage slaves.
The ultra rich are well adapted parasites: their existence is mostly detrimental to their host organism, without which they would not be able to survive.
Capitalism is a political and economic system in which corporations own most of the property and take most of the political decisions. The corporations themselves are the property of one or more rich individuals, who get full decision making power, thus making them the driving forces of the system as a whole.
As a consequence of capitalism, the political system is ruled by wealth, fear, and violence. Fascists prey on the uneducated masses who are tired of capitalism by convincing them that minorities are the real problem within our society. Meanwhile capitalists game the electoral system by saying "don't vote for this fascist", even though their own system contributes to people's willingness to listen to said fascist. They purposely and knowingly invest in raw hate in order to maintain their position on top.
Not only do the rich prey on the lower classes to keep themselves in power, they also turn them into wage slaves by making every necessary commodity (water, food, health care, etc.) worth arbitrary amounts of money. This forces people to work if they want to survive, even if it means working awful jobs that should not exist or should be replaced by machines, even if it means stifling their creativity and preventing them from contributing to society in more useful ways. All in all, the ultra rich are well adapted parasites. Their existence is mostly detrimental to their host organism, without which they would not be able to survive.
The ultra rich's accumulation of wealth knows no limit, growing boundlessly only to be transferred to the next generation through the patrilineal inheritance system that we have maintained since the feudal era. They would be angry if they discovered a resource leak within their corporations, yet their obscene accumulation of wealth is a resource leak in a system where those resources could instead be used for the common good. Their endless quest for growth forces society as a whole to exhaust the planet's resources, which are necessary for citizens of poorer countries to simply survive and have a future at all.
There is no justification for the ultra wealthy to exist in a world where poverty also exists. However, they use their positions of power to spread class contempt, making us afraid of the underprivileged instead of willing to help them. Through closed borders, they ensure that those who are born in poorer areas of the world are never given the opportunities that the richer countries can offer. By spreading hate and maintaining systemic racism through the political game, they also keep themselves as a social class on top, ensuring that aspects of our being that we cannot change - ancestry, skin color, gender, sexual orientation, physical handicaps - will constantly contribute to pushing the underprivileged below the rest of society.
Yet, the rich need the underprivileged. Closed borders are a tool used to create masses of economic migrants that will work cheaply and get exploited by capitalists out of fear of being sent back to their home country. Minimum wage workers will have no money to save, investing all of their earnings back into the goods produced by the corporations owned by the wealthy. Oppressed minorities become opportunities to market specialized products, causing the wealthy to pinkwash or greenwash their corporations in exchange for a bigger range of devoted customers.
When pondering the worth of capitalism, it is common to consider that the opposite of a privately owned corporation is a state owned corporation. Fear of an overly powerful state and the pipe dream of one day becoming the owner of a powerful corporation makes people forgiving towards the system's failures. However, it is critical to keep in mind that there are more alternatives to capitalism than you might think: for example, corporations could be owned by unions, workers, or people, and contribute to the collective good. Governments, both on a global and local scale, could become the sole actor in markets for basic needs (water, food, health care, etc.), and citizens could become owners of these governments through less pyramidal politics.
As an aside, capitalists love to point at the death tolls of other political or economic systems. This makes it important for us to point out the death toll of capitalism: slavery, colonialism, endless useless wars, fascist puppet regimes used for proxy wars, work accidents, suicides caused by burnout, artificially caused famines, collateral victims of police brutality and military violence, the current and upcoming climate change deaths. All these things have been done in the name of capital gain or maintaining the status quo of the current system.
Capitalism only has good sides when you are privileged.
Capitalism must have prisons to protect itself from the criminals that it creates.
The system's status quo rests on violence. The upper classes keep themselves on top through their control of the judicial system. They make sure that the laws they pass are enforced through their control of the police and military, whose jobs include making use of physical violence.
How can anyone respect the rule of law when the laws are written by the dominant class to keep themselves in power? The disproportionate crime statistics of minorities are not caused by inherent violent tendencies in these minorities, but rather by the fact that the legal system targets them disproportionately. Every time the underprivileged find a new way to survive without relying on the privileged, a new law will follow to make it illegal, and police repression will be mandated to enforce this new law.
To make sure the masses remain docile, nationalism is used as a pretext. Basic necessities must be purchased using money earned through wage slavery, for the sake of the country's growth, lest it be overtaken by the growth of other rival countries. Migrants must be sent back to their home country, for the sake of preserving the country's made up "national identity". Preventive wars must be fought in poor countries to protect rich countries from artificial threats, for the glory of the country's might and radiance.
These countries are all arbitrary plots of lands whose borders have been decided by the elders of our elder's elders, often even stolen from the natives who lived there first. They hold worth only in the eyes of those who have been thoroughly indoctrinated by the system's schools, which include a lot of violent rhetoric and nationalist fearmongering within their study programs. A shame, given how education for all is by far the most important tool in reducing inequalities and giving everyone equal opportunities in life. Instead of its true purpose, education is being bent as a propaganda tool in ways optimized by the fascists and nazis of old, repurposed for modern society by the political ruling class.
For the country's sake, anything will be tolerated. Political leaders openly order war crimes, which their military force will gladly comply with. Some even build and maintain nuclear arsenals, being able to press a self destruct button on the whole planet for the sake of their country's grandeur. Drunk on the perceived superiority of their culture and country, citizens will encourage their government in this globally scaled mutual destruction, applauding acts of war, sending their own children to die for the sake of the wealthy's exploitation of the markets created by these constant wars.
On a local scale, the ruling political class will use the threat of terrorism to terrorize their own citizens into giving up their basic rights to freedom. Establishment politicians will celebrate with glee as the people they have sworn to protect get blown to pieces by the villains that they themselves created through their wars and international manipulations. When the citizens try to fight back against this status quo, they too get labeled terrorists. Fascists get to openly demonstrate in the streets, but any glimpse of antifascism will get violently fought by the police or the military as if they were committing acts of terror by resisting fascism.
In order to maintain their grasp on the people, the ruling political class and the wealthy will use the service of police forces. Theoretically meant to protect all citizens, they will only ensure the law is applied to the underprivileged, through the usage of violence. Those in the police forces who disagree with their role as oppressors get silenced or booted away, turning state police into a gang of violent thugs. As police members are rarely if at all punished for their exactions when they make excessive use of violence, this gives them the belief that they are above the law, which creates a feedback loop of infinitely escalating one sided violence.
Meanwhile, those who break the law get piled up in jails without regard for their lives. Even the smallest offense, even if done for the sake of survival, will lead the underprivileged to jail. In there, locked up along with actually violent criminals, they build up resentment against the system, ensuring that minor offenders can turn into violent criminals once released, thus padding up the crime statistics used by the ruling class to fan the flames of racism and hate. Instead of trying to prevent, the system punishes. Instead of trying to educate, the system locks people up. Capitalism must have prisons to protect itself from the criminals that it creates.
The dominant class tries to make anyone who opposes the law, the police, the military, or other forms of state controlled violence look like a deviant, regardless of the context. In a climate of perpetual violence - which mostly targets minorities - being politically neutral is akin to being an accomplice to this systemic brutality. Neutrals and political centrists, often too privileged to grasp the suffering of the underprivileged, are choosing the side of the oppressor. It is our duty to awaken them to the reality of the system's violence.
Neutrality is just as complicit to violence as capitalism, fascism, or totalitarianism. We must dissent.
Unchecked growth for the sake of growth is how cancer works.
Using the threat of state violence, capitalism pushes its underprivileged citizens to follow the one and only allowed way of life: work or live an even more miserable life. Any attempt at finding a lifestyle that isn't centered on work will not only lead to financial ruin, but it will also lead to being ridiculed and rejected by the masses for not being "productive" or "useful" enough.
Projecting their suffering on others, victims of the system will disregard those who they perceive as parasites - ignoring the fact that the true parasites of society are the privileged. What does a land owner or landlord contribute to the common good, other than collecting the money of the working class without much care for the condition of the land or housing they provide? What does a shareholder contribute to society other than collecting dividends and imposing their views on how companies should be ran in order to maximize profit, without care for the workers that will suffer to bring them said profit.
The success of a country is measured in work related metrics: How low is unemployment? How high is the GDP? How strong is growth? Yet the metrics that should matter get ignored: How happy are the people? How big is the wage gap between the privileged and the underprivileged? Are everyone's basic needs met? Unchecked growth for the sake of growth is how cancer works.
Work has become such a core part of the system that people would go to their jobs ill and risk spreading diseases rather than staying home. Employees are so afraid of the violent and unforgiving nature of work that it makes sense for them to threaten the collective wellbeing out of fear of personal punishment. What good does corporatism offer to society that would not also exist in a world of cooperative labor, where employees would not have to fear putting their wellbeing first and would get to actually earn the profits of their labor.
Even in an ideal society where shareholders do not need to exist, where land owners and landlords are replaced by cooperatives of those who actually live in the land or the buildings, the value of work itself deserves to be questioned. Why do we work? What are we trying to achieve? Any work done as a learning experience, for personal growth, or for personal enjoyment is a net positive. Any work done for the collective good, with the end goal of improving the lives of each other, should most definitely be encouraged. Any other form of work has no reason to exist.
In this ideal society where work is chosen and not done under threat, people would be able to live the lives they desire and set their own goals in how they want to contribute to society. Those who opt to work as little as possible would have a right to exist, and those who want to work to fill their days with labor would be able to spend their time and energy helping others and building a better world instead of chasing profit margins and pleasing middle managers.
For, in this society of tomorrow, the so called "bullshit jobs" will be gone for good. Faced with problems that are currently being solved with wage slave labor, we will have to invent new solutions. Who will transport food or materials between producers and consumers? A collective solution will be to encourage those who travel to also transport goods. Who will clean up trash from the streets? It will be the perfect opportunity to learn as a community about the zero waste goals needed for our collective survival on this planet, which the capitalist consumerist society does not seem to care about.
As for the manufacturing jobs that produce the goods we consume, most could disappear thanks to automation. Few people will truly miss being a factory worker, doing tedious jobs on assembly lines in exchange for the bare minimum required to survive. Former factory workers could still be able to transform their talents in manufacturing into true craftmanship, bringing back a higher quality of goods that have disappeared for lack of profitability or become exclusive to the privileged due to their price.
Another side effect of turning work into a choice will be the creation of local communities of like minded workers, learning from each other, combining their skills. Education also would become more efficient, giving passionate teachers more leeway to transfer their knowledge and passion to the next generation. Without the nonsensical paranoia of losing their jobs to migrants, and with education drained of its nationalist component, closed borders would no longer be necessary and the rest of the world would be forced to become a better place for their citizens or risk losing them to this new society, as they would inevitably escape the capitalist dictatorship of forced labor to join it.
Perhaps this all sounds too utopian, but ask yourself, to someone who would not know of capitalism, how unrealistic and nightmarish would capitalism sound? The current system is beyond extreme in its exploitation of the masses, thus any other normal system sounds so far removed from it that it will be perceived as being the extreme one. Perhaps, once freed from the chains of the "social contract" of capitalism, this utopia will look more like a tangible reality to the masses, which are currently victims of the very system they cannot imagine a realistic alternative to.
We have lost touch with what makes us humans. Under capitalism, work is exploitation.
Human nature is one of mutual aid.
The usual defense of capitalism includes the dubious statement that without capitalism, we would never have done the leaps and bounds in science and technology that led us to the industrial and digital revolutions. Proud of human advancement powered by child labor, colonial exploitation, and underpaid work, capitalists will dare claim that the world becomes a better place thanks to the benevolence of the ultra rich, who are "forced" by the markets to always innovate and improve the products they sell. Surely, without huge corporations running giant laboratories and hiring armies of scientists and engineers, we could not have made all the big discoveries that we did?
A closer look at capitalist history will show that this is pure fantasy. Many great discoveries have been patented even before they were manufactured, letting one company lazily own the monopoly of that product while the rest cannot even try to compete. When its inventor purposefully decided not to patent the polio vaccine, global health improved greatly, sparing many children from an incurable life long illness. The lesson capitalism learned from this was that there was money to be made in medicine. People's health became a game of patents and profits. Innovation in medical science is now controlled by those who own the rights to certain molecules or manufacturing processes.
This happened in every field of science and technology. Great inventions in accessibility such as the computer mouse are only available to us thanks to its patent holder being too naive to realize its true finincial worth. Meanwhile, simple concepts like finger movements on a touch screen are impossible to use on any device due to the large amounts of money those who patented it are willing to spend to prevent others from using it.
Human nature is one of mutual aid. Until capitalism and its patents appeared, progress had always been done through sharing knowledge and building upon the work of others to expand collective potential. The very people who mourn the destruction of the former great library of Alexandria will not realize that they are forbidden from reusing anything learned from a modern book or patent. Yet humans demonstrate their natural inclination towards mutual aid even in the most corporate domains, such as in computer science where many important building blocks of the collective computing ecosystem are free to use thanks to open source licenses.
Even worse, those who control the monopolies on science and technology will often use them for evil purposes. In their drive for money, the biggest corporations in the world will happily collect people's personal data and hand them away to governments or use them for personal profit. We consent to using their services not out of choice, but because they entrenched themselves in a position where there is no alternative to their services. Denying us our right to anonymity, protecting hate speech in the name of "free speech", these corporations are shining examples of the egotistical nature of capitalism.
Held down by the brutal constraints of patents, copyrights, and restrictive intellectual property laws, creative people are stuck in a situation where it sometimes becomes illegal even to simply produce fan content in appreciation of something they enjoy. Further holding down potential artists, the system mocks those who choose to express themselves by pursuing a career in liberal arts, considering them failures for their inability to pick a field of study that leads to a stable and profitable job. How and why have we reached a point where we mock artists instead of celebrating them? Where people are ridiculed for following their passions?
Yet again, capitalism will claim that only it could produce modern works of art, such as blockbuster movies with outrageous budgets. But the truth is, in a society where people are free to work out of passion, those movie projects would still exist. Writers, producers, and actors would still be respected, but for their artistic ability rather than for their ability to earn money back on investments. Visual effect artists would earn the recognition they deserve, being able to express love for their craft instead of releasing half-finished content because of tight deadlines and poor financial compensation. Theaters would have no reason to stop existing, being ran collectively out of love for the visual medium.
In its current state, intellectual property is nothing but a constraint on creativity. Patents are holding us back, preventing science and technology from fully blooming. The world would be a much better place if we could pool all our brainpower into one collective virtual library of knowledge, maintained not for greed but for the sole purpose of allowing us to mutualize our collective creativity and intellect. Billions of minds working together will always be more creative and more productive than the few privileged enough to currently benefit from the concentration of wealth that controls art and science.
Capitalism, even though it pretends otherwise, is holding us back.
The true enemies of the Earth are the shareholders who only care about dividends and infinitely increasing greed.
There is no denying that humanity's obsession with greed, growth, and war has ruined the planet. Biodiversity is at an all time low, climate change is threatening our future, many places have had their soil ruined by intensive agriculture, the planet's balance is threatened by deforestation. So much irreversible damage has already been done that the richest of the privileged are now dumping money into interstellar planetary travel and the terraforming of Mars "just in case". Cowards, they would rather flee the scene of their own crimes.
Capitalism, realizing the public image cost of being complicit to climate change, is treating ecology like a financial market. Small meaningless actions are done to look ecology-friendly, cheaply greenwashing brand images while they continue to destroy the planet. Large scale change is only done where greedy investors see potential markets. Renewable energy sources and organic agriculture are being invested into solely because they have become financially viable.
The damage of capitalism is even worse in poorer countries, often located in places that suffer more from climate change. These new hardships imposed to them by first world capitalists are causing these countries to invest enormous amounts of time and money in preventing and fighting climate crisis after climate crisis, ensuring that they will never be able to catch up to the higher quality of life standards of the privileged world.
Playing into this situation like a game of post-colonial chess, the richer countries are investing in those poorer countries. These so called investments are in actuality the modern face of imperialism, redrawing the bond between colonies and their former oppressors through financial servitude. In the endless pursuit of greed, manufacturing jobs are outsourced in these countries, destroying the planet even more using cargo ships and planes to bring home the product of human exploitation.
As the planet is falling apart, as irreversible damage is being done, the blame is being put in the wrong place. Countries and governments are being blamed for their industrial politics. People are being blamed for their overconsumption habits. Corporations are being blamed for their inability to change to greener ways. But in reality, the true enemies of the Earth are the leeches: the shareholders who only care about dividends and infinitely increasing greed. They are the ones who call the shots, the ones who decide to keep polluting on purpose for better returns, the ones who decide to sell goods with a planned short lifespan to consumers, the ones who decide to outsource production to poorer countries in order to optimize their profit margins.
The cynical among us will claim that humans deserve to die of the very ecological collapse that they are triggering. But what of the innocents that would die along with us? What of those who actually try to fight for change, what of the underprivileged victims of this system, what of the innocent animal species that we are slowly exterminating, of all the fauna and flora that deserve a right to live on this planet along with us? It is our urgent duty to prevent this imminent collapse, those who suffer and die can no longer wait.
The once strong link between humans and nature has been broken by capitalism. Once overthrown, it will become crucial to restore this symbiotic relationship. Agriculture must care for its environment: unsustainable monocultures must disappear along with toxic pesticides, biodiversity must be protected, herding must be done with more respect for the animals. The wilderness must become wild again, landscapes must be protected, natural resources must only be extracted in reasonable amounts, and the infinite growth of concrete roads and cities must be stopped and reversed, so that nature can reclaim the territory we stole from it.
Stronger together through mutual aid, humans will evolve into a more caring, more respectful, and more creative society. But mutual aid is not only between humans, it is also between humans and nature, most importantly humans and animals. Sadly, we have turned our former partners of the animal kingdom into our enemies: the disgusting exploitation of farm animals for resources and meat has become an important part of climate change. Farm animals should be treated as our companions instead of our meals.
It is not too late to save the Earth. Greed cannot be green.
Change must come from within, and it begins within yourself.
Focusing on anger is an unhealthy worldview. Resentment is akin to taking poison and waiting for someone else to die from it. Although not everyone can afford to channel their negativity into motivation to fight for progress and change, those of us who can should unite and drive for collective growth.
Many centuries ago, Siddhārtha Gautama realized that peace must come from within, as it usually does not exist on the outside. Capitalism is purposefully trying to turn your life into perpetual suffering, as anger clouds judgement and prevents the unity required by opponents of the system in order to topple it.
In an effort to mentally free yourself from the oppression of society, it is necessary to drain yourself and others of any toxicity. Try your best to distance yourself from the bad elements in your life. If you can gather the required energy, help those who are in distress overcome the pain in their lives.
No system can be toppled with anger alone, as people fear anger instead of listening or helping. Change must come from within, and it begins within yourself. If you have the strength to fight back, use it to lay the foundations required to change the system. In the workplace, unionize. On your free time, volunteer. Around others, spread political theory. Build support groups. Reassure those who think there is no hope.
For some, peace of mind cannot come without spirituality. Even within spirituality, there is a fight to be had: a fight for progress, representation, equality. This fight is easily dismissed by conservatives citing the unalterable nature of ancient writings, but truly, religion is a spiritual framework that should be interpreted on a personal level. Conservative preachers are but mortal beings, trying to hold together the system they were born into. This system too must be toppled, replaced by a better one that will allow spirituality to be what it should be: a force for good, for unity and mutual aid.
Rejecting spirituality would be a critical error. Many progressive social and political movements, seeing that organized religion and cults fight against them, consider them enemies. However, spirituality can be on the side of progress. Many people are believers by nature, and rejecting them would be creating a society unfit for everyone. They are our allies, and deserve to be treated as such. Hating each other creates divisions and benefits the system of oppression.
Respect other's choices as long as they do not impact you negatively. Be a good person.
We spend far too much time talking on behalf of others.
The so called "golden rule", the ethical guideline for social interactions, is that you should do onto others as you would have them do onto you. Even though it has good intentions, this rule is a symptom of an egotistical society, where even a heartfelt attempt to do good does not account for the critical step which is listening to others needs. In a more empathetic society, the golden rule should instead be that you should do onto others as they themselves would want to be done to them.
This manifesto was written by listening. Prior to writing the very first word, a lot of time had already been spent talking with people from many different backgrounds about how they did not feel represented by any existing political movement. Listening is an underrated tool. You can learn a lot about yourself and others from developing the ability to truly listen instead of simply hearing.
Listening is a social duty. We spend far too much time talking on behalf of others, thinking we know what is best for them. But what good is the representation we are offering them if it sidelines the actual voices of the people we are meant to represent? Everyone has a unique story, many of which are molded by the ways they deal with the systemic violence of society. Let them speak. Invite them in your heart and in your home, open your ears, be respectful. Listening is not a debate or an argument, it is an exercise in curiosity and compassion.
Of course, not everyone is worth listening to. Fascists and other oppressors can listen to each other and it is not your duty to listen to them or to change their mind. But as long as someone suffers from the system - even if their political opinions differ from yours radically - it is crucial that you let them tell you how and why they feel that the system oppresses them. Even some seemingly bad people can be lost souls, misguided, with a good nature hiding beneath the surface.
We will most likely have only one shot at building the future we want once capitalism has been toppled, and this future should take into consideration the needs of all the disenfranchised, not just of those whose voices are loud enough to be heard above the others. Remember that every conflict that looks one sided can actually be a class conflict, where the underprivileged on both sides are the victims of the privileged on both sides. This is why listening to the underprivileged is so important, not everything is as obvious as it seems.
Eventually, you will realize that many movements have a common cause. Every fight against the system is one big battle that we should be fighting together instead of rejecting each other for petty reasons. Simply through speaking to an open minded audience for the very first time in their lives, some people will feel a type of freedom that they have never felt before. Grant them this opportunity.
Grow social circles, listen to others, become an ally to those who have none.
40 points for a better future.
Everything that was discussed above, both the negatives and the positives, can be summed up in 40 points for a better future. Those are not mandatory rules to follow, nor are they strict and immutable. They are simply suggestions for building a future society free of the violence of capitalism, without replacing it with another systemically violent or unjust society.
No matter which guidelines are followed by the society of the future, keep in mind that they should always be open to debate and discussion. When liberating people from an oppressive situation, we cannot impose freedom onto them. It is up to those being granted freedom to take it and define it entirely on their own terms.
1 · Demand a right to have a future.
2 · Tear apart the social contract. Create a new paradigm to replace capitalism.
3 · Think inclusively. The smaller details such as using gender neutral and less violent language can be fought for at the same time as big changes such as fighting racism and hate. Battles are not mutually exclusive.
4 · Promote equality. Remember that equality of opportunity matters just as much as equality of outcome: some people will need more help than others and it is fine. Nobody is less deserving of a chance in life just because they were born in a specific family, in a specific place, with a specific skin color, with a handicap.
5 · Encourage varied social structures. Society is designed around nuclear families and single parent families. Give equal representation to voluntarily single individuals, childless couples, relationships involving more than two people, extended families, communes and cooperative communities, and other structures.
6 · Abolish inheritance. Education must become more important than building capital when raising children, no system that causes children to await their relative's deaths is a good one. Only items bearing an emotional value should be transferred to the next generation.
7 · Make justice universal. Get rid of laws that disproportionately harm minorities, and apply the law equally to the privileged so that they become subjects of the very rules that they have been pretending to enforce.
8 · Reboot the police. Replace the current police institution so that instead of serving governments, they serve the people. Given their position of power, members of police forces should be even more strictly subjected to the laws that they enforce.
9 · Stop jailing everyone. There are other ways to enact justice than to remove people's rights and lock them up. Think differently: try to understand the causes instead of punishing the consequences. For the gravest offenders who require prison sentences, make jails more humane, and work on rehabilitating criminals.
10 · Publicly condemn systemic violence. Retroactively judge every crime committed by police forces, every war crime committed by military forces or ordered by politicians, using the rules and laws of the system they themselves have been enforcing. This is not about blood for blood revenge, they do not need to be punished, but this must happen as a way to give closure and show that the past is behind us.
11 · Stop encouraging growth. Greed or productivity related metrics are harmful. If social scientists must focus on metrics, then it should be metrics related to meeting essential needs, happiness, health care, life expectancy, scientific progress, individual fulfillment.
12 · Abolish land ownership for profit. Make currently existing buildings cooperatively owned by those who live in them. Let anyone have the right to claim empty land for their own purposes (building houses, working the land, or simply living), but let local governments deny these claims if they harm nature or the collective good.
13 · Seize excessive wealth. Take the excess money and goods of the ultra rich and use it to pay off the debts of individuals and nations that they have artificially created. Any remaining seized goods should be used towards building a better collective future. Only seize the excessive wealth, leave them some of their comfort of life. Even after these seizures, the former ultra rich should have an equal place in the new society.
14 · End wage slavery. Ensure that everyone's basic necessities are met without a need for money or hardships: food, water, healthcare, housing, transportation, etc. Make it so that working stops being a necessity and becomes a choice.
15 · Destroy useless jobs. Any form of work that existed for the sole purpose of generating capital for the privileged and did not contribute to the common good of society, any job that is physically taxing and unrewarding, should be automated or stop existing. Those who wish to continue practicing those jobs for any given reason are, of course, allowed to do it, but only out of their own free will.
16 · Disband vertical corporations. Corporations can continue existing, but should be owned by those who contribute labor to them. Any corporation owned by executives or shareholders must be given to its employees, who will decide whether to keep it alive as a collectively owned corporation or whether to disband it.
17 · Publicly condemn unethical capitalists. Executives and shareholders must pay for any profit they have earned off exploitative labor, for any profit done over political instability and wars, for any contribution to the deliberate destruction of the planet. Just like any other criminals, they should not be victims of punishment or revenge, but rather destituted of their power and rehabilitated to become equal members of the new society.
18 · Education is paramount. Gather those who love teaching and give them all the tools and means required to do so. Encourage everyone to keep learning all life long, even if it is all that they choose to do in life.
19 · Abolish exclusive intellectual property. Copyrights and patents are holding back science, art, and health care. Any form of intellectual property that prevents others from building upon existing things must disappear along with capitalism. However, permissive intellectual property should still be enforced in order to ensure creators and artists always get the credit that they are rightfully due.
20 · Share knowledge. Encourage the worldwide sharing of knowledge and blueprints, not for profit but for the common good. Equality in access to knowledge is a requirement for underprivileged areas of the world to catch up with the more privileged.
21 · Promote cultural restitution. Give cultural artefacts and work of arts back to their owners. We will never have a chance to move on from our colonial and imperialist history until we have given back control of their past and future to pillaged cultures.
22 · Respect beliefs. Encourage philosophy, meditation, spirituality, and respect the life choices of both those who choose spirituality and those who reject it. Humans are simultaneously spiritual animals and skeptical beasts, both sides must join each other in mutual respect.
23 · Emasculate patriarchal religions. If the conservative components of certain religions refuse to follow the transformation of society, then they must be forced to do so. Organised religions must be decapitalized, they must not seek profit from their followers. Oppressive cults must be disbanded and their victims freed.
24 · Unite with like-minded movements. We must come to the realization that we all have a common enemy in capitalism, and should unite along with like minded political movements to fight centrists, neutrals, conservatives, capitalists, and fascists.
25 · Enact electoral reform. Rotten electoral systems will destroy people's trust in politics. Switch to ranked choice voting or similar systems that make people choose their representatives instead of voting for those they hate the least. This will encourage diversity in the political discourse, create more varied political bodies, and encourage compromise and alliances rather than majority rule.
26 · Clean up political corruption. Encourage the fact checking of anything politicians say. Exclude politicians from the system if they get caught defending interests other than those of the people they serve. Career politicians are a good thing, they accumulate experience and knowledge, but they must serve the people, not third party interests.
27 · Disband centralized governments. Heads of state have too much power, they represent a modern version of divine right monarchs. The existence of such roles drives power hungry fiends into becoming career politicians. Instead, governments should be small scaled, local, and have no ruler as their head. Large scale decisions can be taken by exceptional assemblies made up of representatives from local political bodies.
28 · Draft a world constitution. Create a new constitution befitting a new era. This constitution must include a clause that any country or entity that signs it ceases to exist. It should be a key goal to get as many countries and entities as possible to sign this constitution.
29 · Erase borders. As countries and entities sign the world constitution, their borders will disappear. It should be free for anyone from anywhere in the world to move between two points on the planet without being stopped. We should become welcoming of migrants.
30 · Prevent mutually assured destruction. Countries and entities that sign the world constitution should disband their military, which will become useless in a society where there are no more national interests to defend, and dismantle any military grade weapons under their control, especially those of mass destruction.
31 · Overcome nationalism. A violent tool used to keep citizens subservient, nationalism should disappear altogether. People should no longer think of themselves as citizens of a country or as products of a military history, but rather as human beings and as products of intersecting cultures.
32 · Decolonize the world. Erase the remains of capitalist imperialism by dismantling any corporation or structure which exploits poorer countries. Turn over assets to locals and help them mend the wounds that colonial and imperial exploitation have left behind.
33 · Ruthlessly depollute. The environmental emergency has reached a point of no return. Any corporation which relies on polluting or exploiting excessive resources must be forced to change their business model. Make the fight against climate change a frontal battle.
34 · Rethink transportation. Encourage local public transports, shared rides, and give more space to non motorized transportation methods and pedestrians. Mutualize the transportation of goods, so that there is no more need for excessive amounts of private transportation dedicated to moving specific goods around.
35 · Free farm animals. The mass exploitation of farm animals for the sole purpose of slaughtering them must end. Not only is it inhumane, but it also heavily contributes to climate change. We should have symbiotic relationships with animals, not be their tormentors.
36 · Forget about monoculture. Agriculture too should respect diversity. Replace infinitely spanning fields with polycultures and forests. Humanity will easily be able to survive the drop in food production as farm animals - not humans - are the main consumers of the crops grown in monocultures. Through a healthier agriculture, we will increase the quality of our food and remove the need for toxic products in crops.
37 · Think locally. Reduce the need to transport goods whenever possible. Encourage everyone to learn about agriculture so that they can grow crops locally as communities. Promote the organization of local production chains so that every person involved in producing goods lives closely to each other.
38 · Minimize waste. Recycle as much as possible, have local communities try to achieve zero waste goals. Make manufacturing less wasteful by creating higher quality goods, as including planned obsolescence in manufacturing designs is a deliberate side effect of capitalism that must be reversed.
39 · Use renewable resources. Switch all energy production towards renewable sources, and encourage energy production on a local scale. Only use natural resources when they are needed and aggressively push scientific research towards finding alternatives to non renewable resources.
40 · Never give up. If you cannot find the strength to fight, then do not blame yourself and let others fight for you until you can gather the required strength. Remember that even once the battle is won, the fight is not over: once our goals are accomplished, it will be time to move on and create new political theories. Encourage political thinking, and make political theory as accessible as possible to all.
Capitalism must fall apart before the planet does.
Praxis is the act of taking any theory and turning it into reality. In the case of political theory, praxis encompasses any form of activism, including simply educating others or spreading a message.
If you are in agreement with this political manifesto, then the next logical step is praxis. Destroying a system is a long term endeavor, born of a collective drive for change. Everyone can do their part, even those who are too scared to act publicly, even the ones who think they do not have the strength or the ability to act at all.
Below are ten of the simplest ways to achieve praxis. Just like the solutions presented above, these are mere guidelines to battling the system from within, not mandatory rules to follow. It is up to you to pool up your collective creativity and come up with other ways to achieve praxis, which is a necessary step given the urgency of the situation: capitalism must fall apart before the planet does.
1 · Spread the word. There are many others out there who might be allies in this fight, but some have never been exposed to any political thought that compels to them. Exposing them to the failures of the system, and showing them solutions for a better future is key to releasing them from the trap of neutrality.
2 · Grow social circles. Growing as a movement requires unity, and organization. This comes through the establishment of politically like-minded social circles. Break away from the conservatives, capitalists, and fascists around you. Join or create new social circles, and build them up as outlets which help in relieving your mind from the constant systemic violence.
3 · Go vote. It might seem like a lost cause given the unfairness of the institutional electoral system, but every single voice counts in systems where abstention is not taken into account. Support your local anticapitalist candidates, make capitalists afraid, and vote against fascism even if it seems pointless.
4 · Unionize. Capitalists are deathly afraid of any loss of productivity. Unions threaten their livelihood. Strikes weaken them. It might not always be safe to do so, but if you are a member of the capitalist workforce, then unionizing is your most efficient method of direct action.
5 · Show yourself. Capitalism turned politics into a show of public image. To grow a movement, it must grow not only in size and reach but also in visibility. Everything from flyers to posters to demonstrations is helpful, especially if they catch the eye and send a clear message. Become a part of culture. Become art, become memes, make yourselves a known element of the public discourse.
6 · Share knowledge. Make use of modern technology to share as much knowledge and as many tools as possible with each other. Ensure that anything you create is protected by permissive intellectual property licenses, so that it cannot be appropriated by capitalists, but can still be shared and used freely without any limitations.
7 · Reinform. Disinformation is the most efficient tool of capitalists. Become the bearers and sharers of collective knowledge. Prevent fake news, moral panics, and manufactured outrages from defining the future. Helping others understand just how violent the system is requires facts, sources, comprehensive documentation. It is up to us to counter their propaganda.
8 · Use your privilege. For those who are lucky enough to have some privileges, it is important that you make use of them. In capitalism, the underprivileged rely partly on the privileged to relieve them from systemic violence and discrimination. However, do not do it seeking glory. Actions which you are able to do solely because the system allows you to do them should be cause for selflessness, not for personal validation.
9 · Fight fascism. Capitalism harbors fascism and breeds it, using it as a tool to scare the masses. Sometimes, their creation gets out of their control, and needs to be kept in check. Even though pacifism is an important virtue when trying to rally the masses to your cause, the oppression of fascism justifies resistance.
10 · Share this manifesto. If elements of the contramanifesto resonated with you, then they might resonate with others aswell. Its goal is not to grow a political party or to trigger a revolution: it is simply a motivational call for hope. Even if you do not feel represented by any political movement, even if you lack the strength, wealth, time, or motivation to fight, you can still play a part in the collective fight for a better future.
Society has failed us. We, in turn, must fail society.
Words in the wind, a bottle at sea, the contramanifesto is the manifestation of one's person hope.
It is meant to be read, shared, spread, adopted, adapted. Feel free to appropriate it and make it into your own.
Even though we live in a hopelelessly egotistical world, empathy still manages to have an effect on most people. Caring is a strength. Listening is a power. Mutual aid is human nature. We are stronger together.
Society has failed us. We, in turn, must fail society.
Time is ticking away.
Written by Éric Bisceglia
Published on nobleme.com
First published: 2020-03-19
Current version: 2021-12-14
Thanks to all