We must begin to awaken ourselves to what's happening in the world and taking action to overcome the oppressive conditions. And here Freire's books are exceptionally helpful.
"Who are better prepared than the oppressed to understand the terrible significance of an oppressive society? Who suffer the effects of oppression more than the oppressed? Who can better understand the necessity of liberation? They will not gain this liberation by chance but through the praxis of their quest for it, through their recognition of the necessity to fight for it. And this fight, because of the purpose given it by the oppressed, will actually constitute an act of love opposing the lovelessness which lies at the heart of the oppressors' violence, lovelessness even when clothed in false generosity."
As oppressed people we must become aware of what has happened to us and develop our own sense of what it means to be truly human.
"How can the oppressed, as divided, unauthentic beings, participate in developing the pedagogy of their liberation? Only as they discover themselves to be 'hosts' of the oppressor can they contribute to the midwifery of their liberating pedagogy. As long as they live in the duality in which to be is to be like and to be like is to be like the oppressor, this contribution is impossible. The pedagogy of the oppressed is an instrument for their critical discovery that both they and their oppressors are manifestations of dehumanization."
As we begin to struggle against oppressive conditions, we must retain an optimistic attitude, with assurance that the struggle for freedom will ultimately succeed.
"In order for the oppressed to be able to wage the struggle for their liberation, they must perceive the reality of oppression not as a closed world from which there is no exit , but as a limiting situation which they can transform." |
We need to struggle against all the different forms of oppression:
- Political: for example, making people think that politicians aren't bought by big money
- Economic: making people into wage slaves and creating increased unemployment
- Military: creating huge defense budgets so the military-supply corporations make obscene profits
- Informational: making people think that the false information they're being given is true
- Allowing ourselves to become people who want others to make all major decisions for us
- Failing to keep ourselves informed about what's happening in the world
- Failing to become aware of our own prejudices and blind spots
- Making ourselves believe that we can't change ourselves and our world
Oppressors, persons who have become possessed (literally) with the idea that "having" is the ultimate value, lose the ability to think rationally over time. At present, the plutocratic elite is blind to anything but their own frenzy to gain more wealth and fame. They are unaware that they are creating the very circumstances of their defeat: a society in which larger numbers of people are falling into poverty, where people of all ethnic, gender, and religious groupings are beginning to see that their common enemy is the plutocratic, corporate-based plunderer class.
Americans have a history of ultimately ridding themselves of oppression, as in the American revolution and the passing of anti-monopoly laws in this century. As we create effective methods to assimilate the newly-arriving Americans into our historic cultural values of democracy and human rights, a mighty struggle is building against the current oppression of imperialistic globalism.