We Have More Important Evils to Resist than #DeleteUber
#DeleteUber went viral this weekend in the wake of DT’s Muslim Ban, as people posted on social media screenshots of them deleting their Uber account, urging others to do the same. Trends like this may seem to be positive actions in the resistance against DT’s dystopian presidency. However, there are far more important things we should be worrying about than not giving our money to an enterprise that’s already been proven to promote DT philosophy.
But first, here’s what happened:
- Trump’s signs Executive Order which indefinitely bans war-torn Syrian refugees from entering the United States, freezes all refugee entry for 120 days, and blocks immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.
- Muslim ban results in chaos as immigrants, refugees, and green-card holding legal residents are detained at airports across the world.
- Thousands of people flock to airports in protest, and legal action, with the help of ACLU and Brooklyn federal judge, is swiftly taken to release and protect those affected by Trump’s inhumane islamophobic order.
- In support of the protests, NY Taxi Drivers Alliance, historically hurt by monopoly-like companies like Uber, issues a taxi ban at JFK from 6 to 7pm on Saturday.
- Uber quickly tweets that they have removed surging at JFK, breaking the taxi ban in the name of low prices
- #DeleteUber goes viral
Uber made a grave mistake with its tweet about surge pricing in the midst of global turmoil. Uber later responded that their tweet was not meant to break the taxi ban, though it actually did do so. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick released a statement claiming to oppose the Executive Order, and offering pro bono compensation to any worker affected by it, but the damage was already done. Did the public misinterpret the intentions of the tweet? Is Kalanick’s move strategic–he’s just profit-minded and trying to cover his tracks to retain customers and avoid a PR disaster? Is Uber just a bit clueless and perhaps didn’t mean to maliciously interrupt the taxi ban? Is Kalanick going to use his place on Trump’s economic advisory meeting to advocate against the islamophobia? I don’t know. I don’t know any of those answers, and I’m not going to waste time pondering them.
Here are some things to think about in the wake of #DeleteUber:
We already know Uber is a terrible enterprise that we should not support. If your goal is to not give your money to bad companies, perhaps you should have already deleted Uber a long time ago. Furthermore, if your goal is to not give money to DT-associated companies, there’s a whole slew of companies you should you should add to your outrage, here’s just a few.
Boycotting unjust companies has had success in the past, and usually has good intentions. However a true resistance movement will have to go much further than simply shifting our money to more ethical avenues. Ethical consumerism is a tool, but we must not let ourselves be reduced to consumers in the market as we prepare to go to battle against an impending fascist regime.
“Ethical consumerism is a tool, but we must not let ourselves be reduced to consumers in the market as we prepare to go to battle against an impending fascist regime.”
We live in an oppressive capitalist society and the solution to it will not come through capitalist strategies. Audre Lorde taught us a long time ago that we can’t dismantle the Master’s house using the Master’s tools. Yet, somehow we are continually tricked into believing the myth that tells us if we just buy the right way we can steer our way out of global crises. “Use Lyft instead of Uber”–sure, do it! But do more! We have more power than our pocketbooks. What we need to be is more than consumers, and more than entrepreneurs. The solution to Trump’s Executive Order is going to be way more complex than just deleting some of your privilege or retweeting something so you can pat yourself on the back for being “ethical”, without making any real sacrifice.
Social media is a powerful tool. It envelops me and entices me and keeps me distracted for most of my day. But it scares me and it should scare you too. When things “go viral” on social media it’s because people are having a rapid emotional reaction to something that is happening in a very short period of time. In today’s world of clickbait, alternative facts and Trump-enforced media blackouts—it’s dangerous to re-post anything you see online without thoroughly fact-checking it through multiple sources. It’s frightening just how tiring it can be sorting out the truth. The information superhighway transmits misinformation just as rapidly.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t delete Uber nor am I advocating for Uber in any form, I’m saying: stay focused and stay informed. They want us to be sheep. Don’t be intellectually lazy. Question everything you read, even if it’s from a source you know you can trust. Especially if it’s from a source you know you can trust. Remember the media works to create a spectacle of distraction.
How fitting that 1984 was the top selling book on Amazon just a few days after Kellyanne Conway coined “Alternative Facts”. Because we already have a “Ministry of Truth” rewriting facts about inauguration crowd size and the “illegals” who stole DT’s popular vote, and destroying any press or entity that may state anything to the contrary. The Interior Department’s Twitters were ordered to be shut down following side-by-side tweets of actual inauguration photos. The current media blackout includes the USDA Agricultural Research Service, banned from releasing any scientific research to the public, and the EPA–banned from press releases, blog posts, social media posts, awarding new grants and contracts, and an immediate suspension of all new business. What’s next, a Thought Police?
The real evil isn’t Uber, the real evil is the white supremacy being fueled by a DT presidency that is scarier than any dystopian novel I read as a kid. But it’s so much easier to blame Uber or DT or your old classmate you don’t agree with, than something as insidiously entrenched in US identity as white supremacy.
The real evil is that while everyone was freaking out about Deleting Uber, DT reorganized the National Security Council (NSC) by elevating Steve Bannon (WH Chief Strategist), and demoting the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We already know that former Goldman-Sachs investment banker Steve Bannon is a Washington-outsider and former executive chairman of Breitbart News, a KKK-supported white supremacist website for “alt-right” propaganda.
The real evil this past weekend, is that our chief intelligence advisor and chief military advisor have been replaced with Steve Bannon. The real evil is that the NSC allows secret authorized killings via the Obama Administration’s “Disposition Matrix”–a sanitizing euphemism for “Kill List”, a secret database for tracking, capturing and killing anyone (including U.S. citizens) who are “suspected” as being “terrorists” or “enemies” of the U.S. Government.
Anwar al-Awlaki, Islamic lecturer and alleged Al-Queda terrorist, was the first U.S. citizen to be targeted and killed by US drone strike in 2011. His 16 year old son was killed by US drone strike two weeks later. His 8 year old daughter Nora was killed by a DT-ordered rare ground operation just yesterday. Yesterday’s surprise dawn attack on a village in Yemen killed one US Navy SEAL and innocent women and children while they were sleeping, in an hour-long gunfire battle–though it was initially denied that civilians were killed. The real evil is this is just DT’s first “counterterrorism” operation. The real evil is Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, clandestinely transformed into the busiest drone base outside the Afghan war zone. The real evil is not knowing how Steve Bannon will use Kill Lists. How many US-backed drone attacks will we see in the coming days? And in the light of the “Muslim Ban”? And with the media blackouts and alternative facts—how will will even know about it?
The real evil is the ideological control over the media and over information and over knowledge. The real evil is soon we may not know what’s real and what’s not. Soon all we may have are our tweets.