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, December 24, 2013

Reigniting the debate: Climate change is fundamentally a human story

Click here to access article by Kieran Cooke from Climate Code Red

It seems that most people simply refuse to engage in conversation about the threats posed by climate change. The article takes off from the experience reported by one communication specialist who has long tried to engage people.
I’m always casual about it – after all, no one wants to find themselves sitting next to a zealot on a long-distance train journey. But I need not worry because, however I say it, the result is almost always the same: the words collapse, sink and die in mid-air and the conversation suddenly changes course…it’s like an invisible force field that you only discover when you barge right into it. Few people ever do, because, without having ever been told, they have somehow learned that this topic is out of bounds.
Wow! Can I ever relate to this article! Much of my life has devoted to questioning the socioeconomic system of capitalism and the coming environmental crises both of which I am convinced are directly related. Over the years I've tried to engage many people--including friends and relatives--in conversation about these subjects and I've almost always encountered a wall of resistance. Because of these experiences I've become fascinated about the way a ruling class--this ruling capitalist class in particular--is able to manage the minds of its subjects.

Delving further into this phenomenon has led me to understand the incredible power that today's thought managers of the capitalist class have over what ordinary people talk about to each other, and even think about; and has led me to understand their overwhelming control of all institutions in society. With the rewards of access to good paying jobs, to media exposure, to funding of cultural and scientific projects, and their use of foundation money to influence information and opinions (see this), they exercise profound influence throughout society--more now than ever before. 

With such power, and the confidence that is generated by such power, it is no wonder that the ruling capitalist class has aggressively gone on the offensive to enact measures that are totally self-serving and attacking all social programs in spite of having just tanked the economic well-being of many ordinary people in the Western countries. And now we face the worst future of all: catastrophic climate events. How different our current period is from the 1930s after the ruling class destroyed the economy in the Crash of 1929!  Then, they were very much on the defensive.