Though it may sound somewhat paradoxical, “Indies of the world unite!”
It occurred to me recently just how much I have dropped out of mainstream society. The music I listen to is of the independent variety, bands you have never heard of and yet ones that are capable of producing brilliant music without the assistance of the corporate machinery. The authors I know are indie authors, the news I consume comes from non-establishment sources, the movies I watch are increasingly indie films. I have joined a food co-op in order to support local farmers, and try to buy as much as possible from local and small businesses. I try to avoid chain restaurants and support the mom and pop eateries. I am trying really hard to build an indie career.
In short, I have become an indie. The corporate world has little appeal to me anymore. When I was younger I wanted nothing more than a Quarter Pounder and Fries, was content with viewing whatever sequel was playing at the multiplex. I walked down the path of least resistance and didn’t contemplate much where it was leading me.
But in the back of my mind, the pit of my stomach, or perhaps in the depths of my soul, there was a voice telling me that the path of least resistance was not leading to a very healthy place. As I learned and grew, I began to realize that McDonald’s cheeseburgers were not very good for me, the environment, the local community, or the animals that gave their lives to up my calorie count. But for years, even after realizing it was not the best thing to do, I couldn’t seem to keep away. Even today I am not completely safe from the occasional Big Mac attack.
McDonald’s is no different than any powerful corporate entity. They appeal to the weaker aspects of our humanity, lull our adult capacities to sleep while preying upon our more childish desires and fears. Corporations are like that, because they don’t care about people but profits. If they do profess to care about people it is only so that they may increase profits. Corporations are means by which normal human moral concerns are stripped away in order to reduce human interactions into economic transactions. If you belong to a corporation and suggest that moral considerations be placed above economic ones, you will be punished for it.
So being a human being, I have rejected the corporate mentality that says everything can be reduced down to financial transactions that are to the benefit of corporations. That the only goal in life is to be of worth to the corporation and the corporate society so that you will be richly rewarded for your strengthening of it. I am attempting to reclaim my humanity from the corporate paradigm just as our forefathers sought to reclaim their humanity from the influence of their rulers across the ocean. And like our founding fathers, we will need to work together in order to accomplish our independence. We must define ourselves as a group so that the corporate media must recognize and react to us rather than ignore us and our argument.
The line that divides the two differing narratives—the indies and the corporatists—is quite evident, though corporate media, propaganda, and marketing have done all in their power to blur and obscure that line. On one side of the line is art for art’s sake, the other, art for profit’s sake. On one side is food for humans, the other, profit and dominance for Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland. On one side is…well, you get the idea.
I am well aware that corporations deliver necessary goods and services to people, and that I myself am far from being independent of them. I type these words on a Hewlett Packard laptop using Microsoft Word, use AT&T, Facebook, and other corporations as means to share this message with others. Corporations are necessary to us in so many ways, at least in the world as it now is.
But they have become the master rather than the servant to humanity. Let not their necessity convince us that we are hypocrites for suggesting they have become too powerful. This situation must be dealt with, human beings must find within them the desire and the power to reclaim from corporate entities and a corporate mindset their own destiny. Corporate-produced material goods, food, and media, are not always possible to avoid, but we need to become conscious of our relationship with them and reduce our dependence as much as possible. We need to go about the business of creating an environment that puts human rights and interests above corporate ones. And that is what I refer to as an indie revolution.
We need to, as much as possible, become independent of the corporate entities that seek to own us as they own any other commodity. The very notion of “indie” is a call for independence, for freedom, for autonomy. Go see a local musician perform live, buy local art, read that which is written by indie authors and journalists. Buy from local farmers and shop at local stores. Once you begin looking at life through an indie lens you will see all the decisions you can make and the power you have to alter the world in which we live.
The line that is blurred must be made clear. The corporate media must react to the reality of the indie revolution. And we must define the terms, must not allow the corporate media to shape the debate. We must not react but instead demand they react to what it is we, real live human beings in the pursuit of human values, see as the way forward to a better world.
To this end, it must be made clear that corporate media is no longer the voice of authority, that their very corporate values disqualify them from being allowed to shape our view of the world, because the only view of the world they can give us is a corporate one. Let the line be drawn quite clearly and always remind corporate interests that they are not on humanity’s side of it.
To this end, we must view corporate politicians as what they are, employees of a corporate system that places profit above human wellbeing and the planet that allows for our existence. I will not tell you never to vote for a corporate politician, though I personally find it foolish, but if you do so without making it clear that you and not they are the master in the relationship, you have given away everything that is important to you for the promises of liars.
To this end we must embrace an indie lifestyle and build an indie movement that places human values and human perspectives above corporate profit and growth. If corporations say they wish to serve us, then let them serve us, but no longer should we allow them to be our masters.