Monday, July 29, 2013

The Girls (1-2)

1.

State Detention Facility, Northern California

- I heard this story coming here. A gang of girls is killing their boyfriends. The police haven't any evidence yet. You girls know anything about that? No? A girl kills her boyfriend, you know why?
- Why, professor?
- I imagine her saying, you disregard me, take my love, act like I don''t have a right to live. If I don't have a right to live, you don't have a right to rule.
- Cool.
- When girls get out of here, does the State of California care if they live or die? The right to property is more important than right to life. Others property is more important than their lives. The girls don't have any property. They'll get some, or die. They'll just have to die.
- Life's not fair.
- Why do they accept that? Why die for the idea of property? Why don't they say to the State Of California, if I don't have the right to live, you don't have the right to rule?
- They don't know who to kill.
- And if they did, nothing would change.
- The world is a better place without my guy.
- What happened to him? Forget it. We don't think things can change, that's the problem. Boyfriends die right and left, but the right to property is still placed ahead of right to live. Some other guy will come along and try to take possession of some girl. What is property? Can any of you tell me?
- Your things.
- Things you use. Imagine I made you an offer. Keep what you use. But here's the deal: if you give up the right to what you don't use, I will give you what you don't have now, a right to live. Will you take the deal?
- Maybe I want to get rich.
- Or die trying.
- Yeah.
- Why do you want to get rich? Wait, I'll read you something:
For it is certainly nothing new that those who are being violated dream of violence, that those who are oppressed “dream at least once a day of setting” themselves up in the oppressor’s place, that those who are poor dream of the possessions of the rich, that the persecuted dream of exchanging “the role of the quarry for that of the hunter,” and the last of the kingdom where “the last shall be first, and the first last.”*
Girls want to be queens, sure. When they grow up. But right now, would they take the deal?
- Professor, some like their books, some like their fights.
- Would the girls fight for the deal?
- Fight who?
- The people who have more than they can possibly use.
- They'll give some of that extra property to others dying to have it. They'll have an army against us.
- Sure. But some girls like to fight.

*Frantz Fanon's "The Wretched of the Earth"


2.

- Where are the rest of you?
- Gone. We're getting out tomorrow. Why are you here?
- They needed teachers.
- Is that what you are?
- A Substitute.
- What do you get?
- 350 dollars for a day.
- How much in your wallet?
- I see. Right to life ahead of right to property. Put my money where my mouth is. Tell you what. I'll set my wallet down on the desk. Take it, if you think it's right. Or take it anyway. Only answer my question.
- What question?
- I don't have a right to property that takes away your right to live.
- You said.
- When you get something, and don't use it, still, you don't you want anyone else to use it. Why?
- Because it's mine.
- What does that mean? "It's mine".
- It's my property.
- Yes. But why do you want it?
- I like it.
- Say I make some money at work, use it to build a house, and live in it. I make some more money, don't have to use it. What do I do with it? If I don't make the mistake of arriving in the wrong classroom with the wrong three girls.
- Put it in a bank.
- Hide it under your mattress.
- Invest it.
- Bank it, or hide it, I might do, for emergencies, or if I had a family I wanted it passed down to. Those are deferred uses. Investment can be a deferred use too. But let's say it isn't. I don't have any use for more money, I don't want more money to do more things. Why would I invest money if I have no practical need for making more money?
- Profit. The game of making money.
- Why would I play such a game? Keep property for myself, and away from others, for the sake of getting more property for myself and keeping from others.
- For the the fun of it.
- As an art. What is the use of such an art?
- For its own sake.
- Children play games to learn about the toys they play with. Artists make models of the world and their experience in it that help them see the world more clearly. What does practicing the skill of making money for its own sake, not to use it, get us?
- We feel strong. Know we can buy anything.
- Is that useful?
- Why not?
- We said the money is invested because we have no use for it. What use is feeling strong because you know you can make money with money? Everyone is superstitious, at least a little, sometimes. Do you know why?
- No, Professor.
- Superstition begins with fear. You do something that is associated with what you are afraid of, and you are afraid of doing it again, lest it come to pass. Why?
- "Lest it come to pass!"
- Leaving the house in the morning a dog barks at you. You're afraid if you go out the same door, more bad things like dogs barking will happen, so next time you go out the other way. Now, what does the banker do?
- What?
- The banker repeats the act of making money. Money suggests to bankers power and safety. What if the repetition got us something not suggestive of money and power, but suggestive of weakness? Remember the money is not used, there is no real reason for repeating the act of making it, as there is no real reason for avoiding going out that door to the barking dog. Superstition is being afraid to repeat an act that has no real reason not to be repeated, as the banker's repeatedly getting more possessions without use is equally without purpose, is done for security from fear.
- You're saying money making is a kind of superstition?
- No. I'm saying both making money for its own sake and superstition are rituals. Rituals are repeated actions that have their purpose in the security we feel in knowing we can repeat them. Because you must pay attention to them, rituals leave you blind to the world outside their practice.
- The blind bankers see well enough to make money.
- They're blind to everything in the world but what they take to use in their rituals. Everything else out in the world is attacked, stripped of resources, then left to fend for itself. The world becomes more and more inhospitable, rituals more attractive. People who believe in the right to acquire unused property treat each other as they do the world in general, as resources of acquisition. They leave each other to destruction. They don't know why they shouldn't.
- Tell me again why they shouldn't.
- They become blind to themselves, to others, and to the world. If there is such a thing as a magical property right, a rule that has a basis somehow in the world, outside of what is good for people who live in the world, it is a destructive magic.
- Bad magic. I like that. So. Professor. Or magician. I don't know if you have more money than you can use. You look rich.
- There's a simple way of finding out. You need to know two things, first, if I employ anyone, second, if I employ money for the sake of making more money. Say I own three houses. If I can't employ anyone I won't be able to take care of the three, they'll fall to pieces. No one has reason to enslave himself to another for wages who has property, who has any choice. But if I collect things I don't use I'll be unconcerned with the needs of others, and have no problem enslaving them for wages. Look for employees or abandonment.
- If I don't have a house and can't get food, I say: you people with house and food, you have no right to stop me from having the same. When I have it, people say to me, you have no right to employ anyone, because no one would accept employment who had a house and could get food, and a right to property can be only what everyone accepts is good for all, and that is house and food. Good, Professor?
- Very good.
- I've got your wallet here, in my hand. I'm the cop, you're the suspect. Do you have investments?
- No.
- Do you employ anyone?
- No.
- Do you have a house?
- No.
- Do you have a way of getting food?
- Uncertain. You tell me this job is over.
- I can take money you can't use, right?
- If you want to be right.
- I'll keep this for now. Invest the money for you.
- In what?
- Tell you out in the yard. Let's go, you guys.

continued here