Who Killed the Electric Car, Anyway?
The film, "Who Killed the Electric Car?" answers the question: If free trade is so free, why haven't I been able to buy an electric car at the local autoplex?
If you haven't seen "Who Killed the Electric Car?" yet...
The film defined a line-in-sand moment in American social activism, dragged a spotlight to the intersection of big money and American politics, and acted as a preview of the Occupy movement. GM was sure they could never be held accountable for their actions - but they were wrong.
Here's the general idea of the film. In 2006, Toyota and GM weren't producing electric cars, not even as a tiny, top-drawer, elite market. (I guess we all knew that much without even seeing the movie.) But the reason for this might not be, as they would have you believe, that we didn't WANT them, or that battery technology just doesn't exist that would support current automotive needs. The real reason might just be that the slash-and-burn capitalists who are making a killing (oh, pardon the pun, it just volunteered) off the 3 dollar a gallon petroleum business were in bed with the automakers.
And because our duly elected American government officials - the Bush II administration at that time - were in bed with both of them, separately and together.
And because, alas, we were voluntarily bringing our daily wages and slapping them down eagerly on the dresser so we could get in bed, too.
Eesh. (Bring on the Occupiers, please hurry...)
I said then:
"It might be a matter of bully-boy capitalists and corporate dictators pushing us around because they CAN, and you and me supporting them because we don't think we have any choice.
The dictatorship depends on a docile, mooing herd offering up its wallet and asking no questions, and we've been worked over by professionals through advertising and other means (read Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky, or rent the movie by the same title for an in-depth discussion of this topic) so we'll do exactly THAT. But the good news is that the corporate brainwashers are just renting space in our skulls, they don't have a long-term lease."
We CAN evict them. We're seeing it on every streetcorner in America today.
"Who Killed the Electric Car?" Trailer
Speaking of corporate dictators...
I've been trying to figure out what irritates me so much about the Plug-in Partners campaign which consists of circulating a petition aimed at automakers, asking them to please make us an electric car so we can spend our hard-earned money on it.
It's certainly not Plug-in Partners' fault; they're just being practical. Whatever it takes to get people into electric cars, right?
But petition? An automaker??
I always thought petitions were something the governed directed toward their governors. For example, a citizen might petition the mayor, the attorney general, the president, or whatever.
So how did an automaker, a supplier of products which I can choose to buy or not to buy, become so powerful that the only way I can get them to make a product I want to spend my money on is to petition them?
(Oh, right. Through cheating. Okay.) The reality is what gets under my skin; that rather than a free market, in which the buyer gets what they demand...
... we have a corporate dictatorship which offers limited choices designed only to benefit the capitalists behind the corporation at the expense of you and me and Aunt Corrie's dog.
In the context of a corporate dictatorship, of course a petition from the peasantry would be a reasonable communication.
So what if the big raunchy bed doesn't suit you anymore?
Maybe this week I don't make any changes in my buying habits; maybe this week I just feel my power as the owner of one of the many dollars it takes to make a corporate stockholder happy, and think about it.
That's another start. Thinking powerful thoughts - that's a start. Thinking powerless thoughts, that's NOT.
Deciding to watch "Who Killed the Electric Car?" was a pretty powerful thought. It really changed the way I look at our political process. I always knew we have lobbyists in our country, but I never really thought about how that could play out until I saw "Who Killed the Electric Car?".
Anyway...next week, maybe I ask a few questions about just who exactly owns what. It can be a real puzzle to unravel, of course, but thanks to the Internet, information is easier to come by than ever. Who makes Cocoa Puffs? General Mills? And who owns them? And what else do they own? And which political candidate did they support last election? (Probably all of them, interestingly enough. A million to you and two million to your opponent means you get defeated all right but I still get to call in my favors because I was THERE for you in your time of need. How clever.)
Then I could read something. (Hey look, I'm reading something now!)
Then I might be able to find five minutes here or there and write something. I could write just about anything, couldn't I, once I got started? A letter to the editor, an email to the governor, a note to the mouthpiece of one of those corporate dictators...something. I could express myself according to my conscience.
You could sign the petition. By all means, do. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that.
But hey, about that murdered EV in "Who Killed the Electric Car?"
Don't worry, it's not really dead, and I truly believe the electric car never will die. There's too much love.
Look for the three-ton HUMMERS to be gathering dust in GM's car-mausoleum. Where they belong.
Revenge of the Electric Car
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