Friday, August 21, 2015

Currents and Contours of Capitalism

What I have to offer is very short.

Capitalism makes things strangely familiar.

As I drove through the forests of Washington I was greeted by the familiar faces of Arco, McDonalds, and Chilis. Oregon was lined with Safeways; Idaho shook my hand with a giant Chobani factory, and even in the deserts of Nevada, there stood good ‘ole Texaco.


I finally made it as far south and as far west as I needed. Hello, Ms. Arizona. I’ve looked upon your glorious cacti and laughed as you revealed your bumbling tumbleweeds to me.

What I didn’t expect, however, was to know you. I’ve never stepped foot upon your contours, nor tasted your red rock, but I knew you. You, whose water flows from the Rockies, and whose life is made for profit.


I knew you because you had all the general fixings of home. Winco, Walmart, Target, Ross, TJ Maxx, Century Link, and Starbucks.  I can drive down the street to Cost Plus World Market and Michael’s craft store. I know where to get what I want, and your resources are no less scarce than my dear, sweet home.

And though I’ve left Washington to come a place where I am able to reinvent myself, to create a context and make history unlike the past, I realize that I am a part of a bigger system that feeds me familiarity and robs me of my power.

Just what is our relationship to capitalism and global currency?

How can I escape its forces and be free to be a me unmediated by profits and private interests?

I thought that I would come to know a new world where I would have to navigate new systems and a new structure. But, no, of course not. Not in Arizona. Not in the whole of the US.

To find my people and forsake my profits, I have to travel inside—inside of me—and find the strength to disconnect from the larger economic and political systems and to realize that the power I am searching for already lives within me.

And while capitalism homogenizes our lands and peoples, it cannot account for the elation one feels when they become conscious of their own confines.

There is a history, a context, a people, a fight, a heart—we just cannot become too familiar or else we risk missing it.

-LB Travellin

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