Today marks the 50th anniversary of the historic 1964 protest at UC Berkeley that launched the Free Speech Movement.
That was 50 years ago. Much has changed with technology and the internet, yet at the same time, it seems that requests for equity and justice continue be ignored or suppressed by the select few in governments and corporations around the world.
What’s more open today — some examples:
- Citizen’s voices in the Occupy Movement who want more fairness and equity
- Consumer voices who want fewer GMOs and more organic foods
- Independent journalist’s voices regarding the oppression of Gazans, who still suffer under the Israeli Occupation — Eman Mohammed
- Hong Kongers who want more democracy and less communism
What’s worse today — some examples:
- Punishing behavior toward journalists and activists who speak up for transparency and legal government/corporate behavior — Julian Assange, Edward Snoden, Chris Hedges
- Violent government behavior against its citizens in one’s own country, such as in Ferguson
- US government officials spying on European officials
- Catholic leaders continue to hide pedophile priests, giving them continued access to children
- Internet browsing companies control the information each consumer sees and accesses
Why haven’t things changed significantly in 50 years, even amidst all the “openness” of the internet?
Might it be that most people are still basing their thoughts and actions on specific assumptions rooted in the industrial model that aren’t even correct? Here they are, compared to a humane, human-centric model:
For example, could it be that the assumptions that people are “cogs in a wheel” create the suppression of free speech and equality? When it’s assumed that people are cogs in a wheel, they don’t matter, so their freedom of speech doesn’t matter. Leaders in companies can say that they look out for peoples’ interests by providing jobs, even when they lay off people to ensure high profits. Leaders in governments can say they seek to protect their citizens’ interests by bombing others who might be dangerous, even when they create more danger by killing innocents or instill hatred in others their own countries. In the end, the assumption makes people think that some “cogs” are worth more than others.
Or maybe the assumption that human capital being a commodity affects freedom of speech. If human capital is a commodity, then each person is essentially the same as the other, unless that person proves otherwise with visible achievements. Have you ever met anyone at work who is not really a useful contributor to problem solving, but gets lots of attention? Or another person who is a super contributor, but no one at the executive levels knows it? Whose speech is more valued in those cases?
If all people were treated with respect and appreciation, would there be freedom of speech issues?
What do you think?
Why haven’t we, as societies, progressed more with freedom of speech since 1964?