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, September 22, 2010

Do Not Pity the Democrats

by Chris Hedges from Truthdig

Although I often agree with people like the author and Ralph Nader that he often quotes in this article, I have problems with both of them. They both come from a very moralistic position that spends great effort on condemning the actions of others and making frequent references to the evils of corporations.

I think they both are very decent, highly intelligent people who don't really understand the systemic forces which inform all the political and economic surface issues that vex them so much. 

However, I see hopeful indications in this article that they are beginning to extricate themselves from the thought constraints and tenets of capitalist religion. Also I notice that the author makes a couple of brief references to "socialism". It appears that both Hedges and Nader are beginning to see that participating in the system's elections does not provide any hope for real change, that elections are little more than political theater to maintain the illusions of "democracy". And they (at least Hedges) have started to think about other systems, but they really don't understand these alternatives. At best, they suggest supporting green community enterprises.
It is anti-corporate movements as exemplified by the Scandinavian energy firm  Kraft&Kultur  that we must emulate. Kraft&Kultur sells electricity exclusively from solar and water power. It has begun to merge clean energy with cultural events, bookstores and a political consciousness that actively defies corporate hegemony.  
Hence they don't expand or explore issues from a real alternative point of view--from a systemic point of view. They're strong on moral condemnation, but weak on understanding the system which promotes immoral, or sociopathic, behavior. 

It is on the latter task where the work must be done while, and at the same time, investigating the alternatives in great detail. It is a colossal waste of time to keep beating the dying horse of capitalism moralistically to death!