The “rights of man & of the citizen” are the rights of those who make them a reality.”
-Ranciere, Hatred of Democracy
Don`t just wait around for someone to offer you `rights`. Take them. Remember that chick who wouldn`t get off that bus? Some people said she didn`t have the right to be sat there. A hundred years ago and some, I wouldn`t have had the right to vote. A few decades ago, homsexuals didn`t have the right to get married. What changed? Those groups, and people who believed in statements like the one above, said “HEY, hang on a minute. We want these rights. We HAVE these rights already. It`s just time for you to recognise that.” If you want freedom, act as though you are free.
The paragraph leading up to this statement is pretty long & political but I`m going to type it up anyhow.
We do not live in democracies. Neither, as certain authors assert – because they think we are all subjected to a biopolitical government law of exception – do we live in camps. We live in States of oligarchic law, in other words, in States where the power of the oligarchy is limited by dual recognition of popular sovereignty & individual liberties. We know the advantages of these sorts of States as well as their limitations. They hold free elections. These elections essentially ensure the same dominant personnel is reproduced, albeit under interchangeable labels, but the ballot boxes are generally not riged & one can verify it without risking one`s life. The administration is not corrupt, except in maters of public contracts where administration is confounded with the interests of the dominant parties. Individual liberties are respected, although there are notable exceptions here to do with whatever relates to the protection of borders & territorial security. There is freedom of the press: whoever wants to start up a newspaper or television station without the assistance of the financial powers will experience serious difficulties, but he or she will not be thrown into prison. The rights of association, assembly & demonstration permit the organisation of democratic life, that is, a life which is independant of the State sphere. `Permit` is obviously an ambiguous word. These freedoms were not the gifts of oligarchs. They were won through democratic action & are only ever guaranteed through such action. The `rights of man & of the citizen` are the rights of those who make them a reality.