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

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Belief in capitalism as a material force [an absolutely must-read article]

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from his blog Systemic Disorder.
...we must distinguish between governing and ruling. Presidents, prime ministers and governors may govern for set periods of time, giving way to new officials, but these men and women do only that: govern. They manage the government on behalf of the dominant social forces within their borders, and those dominant social forces are in turn, depending where on the international capitalist pecking order the governed space lies, connected to and/or subordinate to more powerful social forces based elsewhere.

It is capitalists — industrialists and financiers — who actually rule.
I can't remember an article that has moved me so much after reading it than this one. I strongly advise all activists to read it, and if you don't "get it" the first time, read it again and again until you do. We have all been brainwashed in the capitalist swamp, so it might take some extra effort to cleanse yourself of capitalist mud, especially from your eyes, to see reality. But be warned that knowing the truth will not always be beneficial to you--often ignorance is bliss. Truth, I believe, offers one only a life of authenticity.

Anyway, so as not to distract you further from reading this very insightful article, I will only make one more comment. The article proves what I have long believed: activists must engage fully in the battlefield of ideology if capitalism is going to be overthrown. This first step must be accomplished if we humans can then go on to the next steps of revolution and ultimately to survival. Dolack, as usual, says it best:
The modern working person has faced a lifetime of the most sophisticated propaganda, and the task of undoing it in ourselves and for others should not be under-estimated. Millions of people, nonetheless, have done it and more are doing it. The continuing stagnation, erosion of social protections, promise of more austerity and the looming environmental catastrophe of global warming are bound to open more eyes. Many more eyes will need to be opened, with a concomitant willingness to struggle and organize, if a better world is to be created. A “counter-hegemony” is necessary: We provide our own leaders or they won’t be provided at all.

Or, to put it another way, we have to believe that a better world is not only possible but can be created. Once a sufficient portion of society comes to believes in this, then belief in, or resignation to, capitalist exploitation goes the way of trembling at the feet of monarchs. A belief in ourselves, that cooperation rather than dog-eat-dog competition is the route to a stable economy with enough for all, becomes a new material force.

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