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 7, 2017
So You Want to Start a Resistance
I am posting this because its author is a well-respected critic of the existing power structure and all of its manifestations, but I find his arguments about resisting this status quo lacking in convincing political substance. I've often wondered what the ideology of his politics were, and this piece really lays them out. To me, it sounds like libertarianism, although I think they might qualify that as libertarian anarchism. I also learned that his thinking is very similar to James Corbett who has been a proponent of technology has furnishing a means of confronting "the powers that be" (I hate that expression!) in an alternative way.
I use "the powers that be" expression deliberately because I think both of them, along with many other activists, regard the capitalist ruling class as invincible if opposed head on, or maybe they don't see any alternative. And they consider the latter as consisting of only protests and militant demonstrations against "the powers that be". This I think reveals a lack of imagination and a lack of understanding of what humans are really up against and ways to carry on a revolutionary struggle. It may also reveal a desire to keep things quite the same because they personally are very comfortable, and they don't want to rock the boat too much for fear that it might affect their comfort.
I don't have time, or maybe the ability, to really take apart their activist ideology, but I can't let their politics go as a promising form of resistance pass unchallenged. I have been an activist for over 60 years in which I grew from a petition-signing person trying to convince our immediate masters in the government to behave better, to a protestor and militant demonstrator, all the way to a convinced revolutionary.
The capitalist system can tolerate many forms of alternative economic practices as long as they don't disturb the system. They also welcome these alternative practices because they see them as sort of experiments of doing business; and whenever they succeed, they will be integrated into corporate practices. This is precisely what has happened to much of the organic food movement. I've watched it from the sidelines since the 1960's when it began, and it hasn't interfered with business as usual one iota for the capitalist governing class.
The same goes for technology. I remember reading articles by James Corbett extolling the virtues of what he calls a new "peer to peer economy" illustrated by entrepreneurs using the internet in creative ways to rent out extra rooms in their houses or to use their vehicles to earn money transporting people. And sure enough Uber company has taken control of this latter service and earning huge salaries for their officers. There is growing criticism about this company. I think the same is likely true of Airbnb and maybe Bitcoin.