The Emperor – Finley Quaye. Thoughts on Leadership & Disempowerment

There is a huge variety in the ways that LEADERSHIP shows up in societies.

The danger today is that there are many cultural views of leadership that have internalized the stresses, violence, and abuses of larger or larger populations needing to be CONTROLLED.

In smaller communities, carried often by many of the indigenous peoples today in some manifestations, wisdom was an important factor and necessary for leadership.  Today, who even understands the term ‘wisdom?’

Colonization, carrying some of the aspects of imperialism in its nation-state making, has globalized certain forms of coercion and its maintenance.  Elitism has replaced leadership, masquerading as such.

As a knee-jerk reaction, especially in the global north, there has been a tendency to supposedly create the opposite.  So we have many leaders who sound ‘nice’ and ‘good’ and harmless and talk in a certain tone with certain very familiar expressions and use very rational modes in order to get their ideas across.  In other words, it is a reaction, but there has been no change.  Many of the nicest-sounding leaders can be just as abusive.  But they would have no power unless they knew how the population they want to influence, could be controlled.  CONTROL is a major factor.  We fool ourselves with this.

In the United States, there is the tradition of anti-authoritarianism.  This means that all authority needs to be opposed.  Supposedly, this will lead to independence and freedom.  Instead, as we can see in the United States, there are increasingly more and more people who cannot think, who cannot create anything new, and who think in terms that come through the advertising and media institutions.  What they may create are new forms of those ideas, not something radically different, that may change society to another course.

Then, as we see the picture, there are power struggles and an urgency of the many powers vying for control over the peoples all over the world.  They may be the best and instigating through fear, or they may be people who have the gift of tapping into people who may not want to think, but want to follow.  Increasingly in a stressed world of business, work, running here and there entertaining ourselves and getting ahead, or just lounging around in leisure to get away from it, there is the need to follow something ‘cool’ and ‘good’ and popular.  The need to really reflect on what is necessary is being sucked out of life.

In the global north, since forgetting is an important piece to citizenship, and information and facts are controlled by our nation-states and corporations, there is less and less effort to understand the construction of our nations and communities and consequently–our own identities.  Yes, we have a hand in it ourselves.  But we are also formed by the societies we live in.  So in the political history of the United States, for instance, we think of ‘the communists’ and ‘the Nazis’ as bad, as fascist.  However, we must remember that even nowadays, many United States citizens are recognizing some interesting parallels between our current government and corporate enterprises, and fascist elements in how they are operating.  Others agree with what is going on.  Arizona’s laws in the May-June-July 2010….yes so many think it’s a good idea.  It’s not bounded by Arizona’s borders.  It linked with people in person and online in California, Nevada, New York, Florida about the Arizona policies currently pushing for anti-immigrant policies and anti-ethnic studies in universities, etc., forming considerable strength.  Naive people who think that all is good until proven, they only find out about how prevalent deep roots of this complexity much later than wished.   The actions that the state shows, confirms their own value-system and thinking. There are those who disagree and therefore on these sides of a seemingly polar opposite, people feel more empowered and legitimized as they gain in numbers.  There is no thought or reflection or willingness to negotiate or to think in complex ways.  So what I am pointing to is not that there are fascists and non-fascists.  No one would say they are fascist, like no one would say they are ‘against’ human rights.  We think about looking at particular elements and trains of thought, as opposed to identities and things.  Instead, the battle becomes fought on two polar opposite grounds or along complex issues.  It becomes a battle with its leaders addressing the issues in certain ways.  The ‘battle’ becomes fought in pre-determined ways.  Instead of battling, perhaps there can be different ways of negotiating the struggles and to want ways in which all sides are given what they can handle, given the complexity, and for all to concede some things.  Until our communities become smaller and self-sustaining, our issues are bound with one another.

Some people are more prone to totalitarian, universalized thoughts, but those same people may have some astounding democratic principles in other ways.  The point is to deconstruct how we ourselves, and others, breakdown/form walls/form legitimate affirmations towards violence and subjugating the other.  Oppression happens in small spaces.  How could we arrive at such a point?  People say it is too idealistic.  Usually it is because we EXPECT these things to go the way we want, when we want, to convince others.  However, some people are not interested in changing their way.  It is paramount for them to be ‘right’ and/or superior.  In this case, what imagination can enter for us to change directions so that we can live and they can live?  What do we need for self-protection?  Are all groups opposed to our ideas enemies?  What and how do we construct ‘the enemy?

The governance of societies have changed drastically over time, but there are complex arrangements that move according to what is happening.  Those groups of people who control more resources, have the power to influence and create technologies, the majority of them unknown to masses. Since World War I, there has been a concerted effort on the part of the international banking cartels, coupled with their centuries old versions of controlling populations and creating a self-made world, that are totalitarian in many ways and there is more realization of this.  This would also mean that we must watch this IN OURSELVES.  We are part of this system.  If we assume that the evil is always over there, and not a fabric of our own lives, then it will continue.  This continuity would mean perpetual wars.

The evil that we may have internalized, is usually not recognized as evil.  This makes the healing and deconstruction of this precarious but interesting.  This would be a struggle.  Within AND Without.  Not one place or the other.  We are citizens of a nation, a culture.  The market capitalist system is in every corner of every continent.  Thus, we must struggle with each other, ally with each other, and have goals to eradicate oppression.  But if we just do it in ‘other’ — i.e. the government, the corporation, etc, and not struggle with our own demons that repeat some of this, then it’s futile.  We will invite enemies.

In this excavation towards liberation, we will meet many who aren’t interested at all in liberation.  They just want to ‘be right’ and have control.  So this is the struggle.  People are not ‘evil’ or ‘good’ to me.  People are sometimes one or the other, or both simultaneously.  If you think deeply, you know what I mean right?  Some are more of one thing.  Some people say they are ‘independent and free thinkers.’  I always respond with:  Did you make your own clothes, your own car? Your own house?  Did you choose your land, your government and what is allowable in your community with your community?  Probably not.  So what do you mean by ‘independent’ and ‘free?”  What parameters have been set up for us to allow certain freedoms but within the confines of what has been created FOR us.  So we can say somethings and have alot of diverse restaurants to go to… this ‘freedom?’  They are forms of freedom, certainly.  But……

Also, most people who are doing ‘evil’ are intending to do good.  They are doing it to ‘save’ humanity, to make a pure something.  So they destroy.  They think they know everything.  This is a problem.  Their philosophies and ideas may be incredibly powerful and beautiful.  But it is also a seduction.  I do not pretend that this will be easy or pretty.  What I am saying is that we are each responsible for what has been happening.  It’s not all ‘out there.’  It has been happening for a long time and still happening.  How will we, then, resist?  Will you disempower others while you think only of people that think like you?

The fear of being ‘evil’  (because it is undesirable) and the fear of being ‘good’ (because it takes alot of responsibility to be good), creates many problems.  Denial, unthinking, self-hatred, delusions, etc.   These help the elites who want more control, to control things.  Again, fear is being prioritized.  The polar opposite, a common reaction (as opposed to a thoughtful response), would be a blind courage.  We need difference in order to think in more complex ways.  This take community.  Today, as more and more people become more alike, and there is less diversity in the world, there is more danger.

Finley Quaye, in this beautiful song, speaks of mankind’s holding this power.  The emperor.  WHO is the EMPEROR?

The Emperor

Followers of evil things
Worshippers of idols
What they know they have corrupted
What they do know they’ve devoured
Love love today
Well well

Somebody changed the order
20000 dying
Unnecessarily dying
Mankind got a hold of power
Then he rebuilt Babel’s tower
Until the stench of wickedness rise up to jah jah’s nostrils
I will bawl out
Who stole the order
Who stopped a cloud
Over my head
Gone a little bit too far
Who stole the order now

All I know is that they are lovers of evil things
Worshippers of idols
What they know they have corrupted
What they do know they’ve devoured


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