We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Friday, January 29, 2016
The Commons is the Future: Rediscovering a Paradigm Beyond States and Markets
In the current anti-capitalist, left-wing scene the argument advanced in this article seems so much like a straw-man argument. Only the most naïve left-wingers advocate state-based socialism nowadays. The experience of the 20th century has led most contemporary activists to lay this anti-capitalist paradigm firmly in history's trash-bin. The great challenge for contemporary humans is how to organize effectively against capitalist rule in order to overthrow it before a capitalist driven catastrophe occurs in the form of a nuclear war and/or climate destabilization.
This presupposes an activist consciousness that refuses any longer to respect capitalist ideology, to disaffiliate themselves from capitalist values, and to affirm the values of the commons and the paradigm of a bottom-up authority structure. Such an activist consciousness does not yet exist in sufficient numbers to overthrow the rule of capitalism due to the pervasive and successful thought control of capitalist ideological institutions of media, education, and entertainment. The average person is so overwhelmed by the demands of survival and so isolated in ideological ghettos under very sophisticated capitalist control that they are unable to handle the assault on their reason and common sense in order to form such a revolutionary consciousness. In my opinion, only a vibrant alternative media can effectively begin to counter this assault, and the results so far are not promising.