By Teka Lark (September 9, 2015)
The institution is made up of the systems that holds up the elite. The elite are the people who keep other people oppressed, so that they can continue to hold power. Many systems (people, organizations and laws) within the institution set up a sort of living narrative that makes it easier to participate in your own oppression than to go outside and play with your dog.
Systems can organize and be part of the institution, but any system can (dis)organize and break free from the institution.
The purpose in most systems is to participate in or uphold the institution, but that doesn’t have to be the purpose of a system.
Any system can participate in dismantling the institution.
Many people have a binary view of life. Do you vote or do you not? Do you go to school or do you not? Do you choose a or b?
There are over 7,000 languages on earth. There are 26 letters in the English alphabet. There are at least 46 alphabets being used in the word. There are languages that don’t have an alphabet. There are possibly 700 languages that have no written component.
The institution makes us feel as if we have to pick “a” to survive or “b” and die. We spend a lot of time in more “real issues” type groups/systems discussing should we survive or die in the institution.
Many people call academia the institution. I don’t agree academia is the institution.
Dismantling academia will not dismantle capitalism or stop oppression.
Dismantling one system will not dismantle the institution.
If we use the dictionary definition of the word “institution” the military is as much of an institution as academia. Much of academia has become institutionalized, but it’s not the institution.
Academia is no different than any other system. If it does not actively organize to not uphold the institution that keeps the rich, rich and it is no longer of value to the rich, it will go away.
It won’t go away permanently, but academia as we know it will go away. It will come back as the New Coke or the McRib Sandwich or the University of Phoenix.
Academia is a system, the church is a system, the law is a system, law enforcement is a system, political groups are a system, the military is system, art is a system, journalism is a system, the left is a system, the right is a system and most of us in the US are part of a system.
We all have power within our systems to dictate the conversation and to elicit radical change and sometimes radical change isn’t saying “no” when everyone else is saying” yes,” sometimes radical change is randomly throwing a party.
Teka Lark is a journalist, poet and satirist based in the L.A. suburb of Inglewood. She is the founder of the Blk Grrrl Book Fair and the editor of Blk Grrrl Magazine– www.blkgrrrl.com and the author of the upcoming book, Queen of Inglewood, to be published on Punk Hostage Press.