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
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Politics On The Plate: Mob Wives, GMOs And Salt
This essay points in slightly a different direction than most his writings. With his long experience living in India, this English blogger summons intellectual resources from there to deal with the vital question of how a revolutionary consciousness can be created.
This got me thinking about my own blog and others that aim at a more educated public than what Todhunter suggests we should be targeting: people whose life circumstances prevent them from acquiring anything beyond a basic education. After some reflection I think that we bloggers are correct in addressing an audience of people who primarily reside in the middle class.
First of all, people who follow our blogs, I think, use mostly computers to access them. My rather limited experience with hand-held electronic gadgets has left me with the opinion that they are designed more for instant communication between their possessors and to direct the latter to mostly mainstream and commercial websites. Thus I tend to view the gadgets as providing another weapon in the arsenal of the ruling class to deflect people from accessing more serious websites/blogs which offer critiques of mainstream opinion.
In Western countries computers are used most often by people in the middle class who have more than an average education. Hence our content must be similarly at an intellectual level to appeal to these people. Furthermore the middle class (managers, professionals, scientists, and highly skilled technicians) are vital to the rule of capitalists--the latter's system could not function without them. The latter reason is why capitalists provide them with so many perks and much higher salaries instead of low hourly wages. Also there are many indications, which I have frequently commented on, that suggest that middle class people are now feeling an increasing sense of precarity in their lives which makes them much more receptive to political consciousness raising efforts.
My argument in no way suggests that other people should not engage in political work that appeals to the more concrete issues that affect less educated working people's lives. There are plenty of opportunities for all activists to do revolutionary work, but we must tailor our methods to the circumstances of the people we wish to convince. While I disagree with Todhunter's main point, I am so glad that he posted this essay to get us thinking about the best revolutionary strategies.