"And the turtles, of course ... all the turtles are free, as turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be", Dr Seuss.
In the work I do I have noticed a pattern, that being the contemporary economic paradigm has placed far too many people in hand cuffs and has tossed away the key. People are trapped in big mortgages, car payments, and credit card debt. As a result, they go to work five days per week with two days off to do their house work, laundry, take care of the house, and catch up on the administration of juggling their bills. These people are stuck, unable to get themselves out of the economic trap, and so they do this year after year after year. This is their life, and this is exactly the place where exploiting employers prefer them to be.
Contrary to what some people may think employers do not have a preference for employees who have been smart enough not to get themselves trapped in the economic paradigm of too much stuff. Rather, they prefer the employee who is trapped. This is because the employee who is trapped will not, and cannot, speak out, as they are in need of their job. In this way they are much more easily kept under the controlling thumb of the employer/oppressor. Simply put, they are more easily kept in line with the employer’s agenda – whatever that agenda may be.
Clearly, it is the person who is not in need of a weekly income that is able to speak up against unfairness and injustice. It is the person who is not in need of a weekly income that is able to speak up about unsavoury oppressive immoral tactics such as racism. It is the person who is not in need of a weekly income that is able to speak up about unsavoury oppressive immoral tactics such as sexism. It is the person who is not in need of a weekly income that is able to speak up about unsavoury oppressive immoral tactics such as ableism. It is the person who is not in need of a weekly income that is able to speak up about unsavoury oppressive immoral tactics such as the destruction of the natural world.
Let’s be clear, it is the person who is not in need of a weekly income who is the employers’ worst nightmare because they have placed themselves in the situation of not needing a weekly income. These employees have a freedom that other employees do not have. Being reprimanded, disciplined or being fired is of no consequence to these more free employees as they do not have to worry about paying their mortgage, paying their car payment, and paying their credit card debt. This employee has more freedom of voice, more freedom of morality, and more freedom to create a better world for the less fortunate.
Retain Your Freedom by Desiring and Owning Less
If freedom and justice is your desire establish a secondary relationship to the current economic paradigm of destruction that bounds most people’s agency. Stop shopping, start sharing, exchange services, give up the materialism of Christmas, frequent second hand shops, frequent garage sales, have garage sales, buy used, grow and can your own food, budget like there are a million tomorrows, and do your best to live like a turtle and own less as this is where freedom is located.
Lynn Gehl, Ph.D. is an Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe from the Ottawa River Valley. She has a section 15 Charter challenge regarding the continued sex discrimination in The Indian Act, and is an outspoken critic of the Ontario Algonquin land claims and self-government process. She has three books: Anishinaabeg Stories: Featuring Petroglyphs, Petrographs, and Wampum Belts, The Truth that Wampum Tells: My Debwewin of the Algonquin Land Claims Process, and Mkadengwe: Sharing Canada's Colonial Process through Black Face Methodology. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and see more of her work at www.lynngehl.com.