(Eng)El Acratador #49 - part 4 (Cast)

Luis Prat (prat@chem.ucsb.edu)
Thu, 8 Feb 1996 15:54:34 -0800


*** VOLUNTEERS FOR THE SYSTEM ***

We live in a society that revolves around work, where human activity's
market orientation has given form both to social life as well as to the
politico-economic structures. Nevertheless, this system is begining to crack
and the most evident symptom of this is the systematic elimination of work
as the principal agent in the economic proccess.

The fallacy of its democracy, a democracy of parties, is evident as it shows
itself without scruples nor shame every day, like an electoral machine
without any other worries other than its own survival. The fact that the
party in power changes periodically doesn't imply that the system will be
affected by a profound change, on the contrary, by means of this apparent
regeneration the system is reaffirmed. This strengthening turns it into a
totalitarian system that shields itself precisely behind its image of being
the only one that represents individual freedom, when the only freedom it
defends is that of the market. It's this mirage that makes it so unmoveable
and leads us to think that a global transformation is impossible, thus
favoring individual performance, but always within the system. Therefore the
system fosters individualism and personal interest. However, this could end
up generating a situation of malcontent, so the State feeds a minimum
involvement of people in social matters. That is why faced with a reality of
continuous loss of identity and quality of life, people turn their hopes to
any project as long as it is clothed in an optimist discourse, that
mitigates fear, without stopping to analyze the deceit it harbors.

The social movements that appeared at the end of franquism were sewpt away
by a fraudulent transition under the promise of a political and supposedly
efficient treatment of the social problem. But as years go by the multiple
failures of the system have become more and more evident, generating
generalized unhappiness and apathy. The State has found in volunteerism an
escape valve for this growing animosity also allowing the citizen to feel
useful and involved, besides it solves the state's problem in the matter of
cutbacks in social budgets. It is in this milieu where the ONGs
(non-government organozations T.N.) which during the last few years have
proliferated so, exist. All of the sudden, it appears as if everybody has
subscribed to the task of patching up planetary misery, the origin of these
movements being alms-giving christian charity. It is not strange that the
World Bank and the International Monetary Fund support these initiatives
based on improving certain situations, ignoring the deeper root of the evil.
Evidently the WB and the IMF do not find it inconvenient to whitewash their
image by sponsoring ONGs as long as the projects submitted don't imply
demands that affect their politics of exploitation exercised in the Third World.
What hides behind the humanitarian facade of the ONGs?
- A feeling of guilt in ample sectors of the middle class as they see
themselves as the beneficiaries of the exploitation of the third world and
the destruction of the environment.
- The possibility of arriving at the management of important economic funds,
we could well cite such examples, institutions that end up becoming
enterprises by feeding on volunteers and using those funds for personal ends.
- Voluntary activity, at the same time it alleviates consciences serves as
group therapy for the "west's spiritual vacuum" allowing for the recovery of
self-esteem and to "fill with meaning" a life more mediatized every day.
- The channeling of rebelliousness within a reformist framework protects the
system from other possibly more drastic confrontations, contributing to its
stability.

Extracted from the article "The volunteerism that surrounds us ... The new
ways of adherence to the State/system" (ekintza Zuzena #18). For more
information consult "everything you always wanted to know but never dared
ask about the 0.7 and the ONGs" (Acrat #41)

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Luis
@@@@@@@@@@ ****
* /\ *
Luis J. Prat * /__\ *
* / \ *
University of California * *
Chemistry Dept. ****
Santa Barbara CA 93106
(805) 893-3295
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