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

Friday, April 1, 2011

Whose miracle?

by Richard Swift from New Internationalist

After Deng Xiaoping announced in 1992 that ‘to get rich is glorious’, this writer shows how Chinese capitalists were so easily able to exploit Chinese peasants.
China, despite its embrace of corporate capitalism and private investors at the top, remains for many at the bottom highly autocratic and arbitrary. Nothing is more indicative of this than the Maoist-era hukouzhidu laws on family registration that (despite various reforms) still dictate who has the right to live where. This has left millions of China’s new proletariat in a situation of chronic insecurity, preyed upon by their bosses and often corrupt municipal authorities and police.
But now there are definite signs that workers are organizing and fighting back.