Over discussion about the connections between occupation, resistance and colonization, some dear friends of mine made a simple argument in two parts that shifted my understanding of why support for the current widespread calls to social change are so important.
First, it is precisely because we are so deeply implicated in the current systems of capitalist exploitation–with reaches deep into the realms of culture, economics, the environment, social justice, et cetera–that we should be passionately involved in possibility of alternatives. The fact that someone may drink Starbucks coffee is not reason to dismiss their protest otherwise, but rather a clear and tangible reason for their action in the first place. (Thank-you, Francisco.)
Second, it is wrong to figure a person’s democratic potential by a capitalist calculus. If I am to take seriously the idea that I vote with my dollars, then I doomed to have barely anything to say. If dollars=votes, then no wonder the 1% have so much sway. (Thank-you, Leila.)
In other words, the radical political energy of a person is not diminished by drinking Starbucks coffee. We are all hypocrites, granted. This does not preclude being idealists as well. Living in Canada or America, or maybe anywhere in the world these days, it is impossible to not participate in globalized networks of goods and services. This does not mean we don’t dream of it being otherwise, and it doesn’t mean that efforts to make it so can be flippantly dismissed. People are much more than dollars. They are revolutions.