Freedom. It is a something that every person wants and deserves to have, from the freedom to speak their mind without fear of persecution to the freedom to practice their religion of choice to the freedom from government involvement in their private lives. Freedoms such as these are quite important, however, freedom needs to be taken beyond matters such as these and into the territory of revolutionary freedom in order for us to truly be free.
Revolutionary freedom must be looked at in three distinct, yet interconnected ways: intellectual, political, and economic.
It has been said for quite some time that history is written by the victors. This is quite true, but there must be a closer examination of the type of history that is written by these victors. Usually, in the case of the United States, Britain, France, and other imperial colonizing powers, the histories of entire peoples and regions were rewritten to enforce racial and cultural inferiority of an indigenous population while elevating the race and culture of the colonial powers. The colonized were stripped of their actual history and had it replaced with one that was full of fabrications and distortions. This not only destroyed the indigenous population on a cultural level, but also destroyed them on a psychological level as it resulted in the near decimation of the identity of the colonized people.
In order to increase the intellectual destruction of the indigenous identity, new language was created to enforce that racial differences between colonizer and colonized and to enforce the inferiority of the latter. This resulted in a colonization of the mind in which the indigenous peoples were further degraded and more likely to develop a sense of self-hatred in which they would attempt to detach themselves from their identity in order to be more like their oppressors.
This destruction of history and of self-identity has affected people all over the world. Yet there is hope. It can be overcome by people writing histories from their points of view, whether it be in a nonfictional or fictional manner. What matters is that people write the history of their country from their point of view. This would aid in the reestablishment of their identities and the reclaiming of their history.
Currently, around the world the United States and other Western powers are propping up corrupt and morally bankrupt regimes such as the regimes of Saudi Arabia, which hasn’t been affected by the Arab Spring, and Bahrain, which has been murdering its own civilians for quite some time. There are also many corrupt regimes in Africa whose leaders borrow money from the World Bank and the IMF and, rather than using it to improve the quality of life for ordinary citizens, embezzle large amounts of it for personal use. Both external forces and government incompetence/corruption are major problems that result in the people having to pay the price.
Yet, this price is paid multiple times. It is paid in that the country as a whole is not allowed to chart its own political destiny. It is paid in the form of the social genocide that is austerity, when the World Bank and the IMF come in with their structural adjustment programs, in order to get back the money owed to them with interest. It is paid in the form of the sovereignty of a country being handed over to foreign powers that care not about the citizens, but rather about the resources that a country has and how it plays into their larger geo-political chess game.
This can change only when the people rise up and take back their country. This occurred somewhat in the Arab Spring, but the end results are still quite murky. In taking back their country, the people must institute systems that are accountable, transparent, and have the national interest at heart, for without all three, one runs the risk of returning to a corrupt regime. Yet in doing this, one must be careful as to not allow for foreign influences to come into play and unravel the struggle and sacrifice that people have made to get to that point.
Just as important, perhaps even more so, to reclaiming the political sphere is the reclamation of the economic sphere. In so-called Third World nations, countries are routinely pillaged by the West in the form of the IMF and the World Bank as to allow for Western corporations to come in and control the economic resources, which ultimately allows for these same corporations to control a country’s political destiny. These leeches need to be ejected and the economy taken back in the form of it being used to produce for the many and increase the national wealth as a whole. The money gained would be reinvested by the government into developing a quality education program and develop new industries. The reclamation of the economy is of crucial importance because without economic liberation, there can be no political liberation. This can be seen in countries on the continent of Africa, where they are politically independent, but exercise no economic independence.
All of these are interconnected due to the fact that without intellectual freedom, we will not know who we are and how we got to this point in history. Without knowing how we got here, we won’t be able to take back the political and economic system and if we aren’t able to take back the economic system, than political freedom is meaningless.
In order to truly be free, we must have revolutionary freedom.