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

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meeting decline face-to-face

by Juan Cole from Asia Times Online

The author has an excellent grasp of the realpolitik of international capitalist rivalries and the strategies of the US ruling class. Here is a good example of the latter:
Bush and former vice president Dick Cheney thought in terms of expanding American conventional military weapons stockpiles and bases, occupying countries when necessary, and so ensuring that the US would dominate key planetary resources for decades to come. Their world view, however, was mired in mid-20th century power politics.

If they thought they were placing a marker down on another American century, they were actually gambling away the very houses we live in and reducing us to a debtor nation struggling to retain its once commanding superiority in the world economy. In the meantime, the multi-millionaires and billionaires created by neo-liberal policies and tax cuts in the West will be as happy to invest in (and perhaps live in) Asia as in the United States.
Cole's analysis of recent events suggests that that the post-WWII US hegemony is definitely on the decline. To me this is not reassuring. I recall that the inter-capitalist rivalries of the 20th century resulted in the horrors of two world wars followed by numerous small proxy wars between the US and Soviet Union.

Thus, it is now more urgent than ever to prevent a repeat of this scenario and to save our planetary habitat from climate change and resource exhaustion. To do this working people all over the world must take control of their societies away from these sociopathic capitalist elites.