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, March 3, 2014

Goodbye to the future

Click here to access article by Out of the Woods's blog (a collective) posted on libcom.

The authors first construct a convincing argument that humanity, whose actions are mostly shaped by immediate rewards, is doomed because it is caught between a capitalist system that promises, and sometime can deliver (to some), immediate rewards while facing a far-off future of climate destabilization that requires immediate action but no prospect of immediate rewards. Having led us down the path to doom and gloom, the authors immediately launch into an argument (which logically follows) that we must support a utopian vision which can be constructed in the near future. 
To survive we must couple bleak reality with the utopian impulse. No Future, Utopia Now. Let us jettison the notion of gradual change. There is no time for a transition. Let us pledge ourselves unflinchingly to a utopia. Not a distant one, not an imaginary thrown out into the future, but one we can build right now. One in which work is all but abandoned, in which the liberation of every minority is a priority, in which collective well-being is the only ideology. In which the machines which previously worked against Earth and its inhabitants are turned into the mechanisms of their preservation and emancipation. 
Because capitalist ruling classes control all ideological institutions of society, I think it will take a "game-changing event" (or several) even more dramatic than 9/11 to get people to consider other alternative ways of living. I have little doubt that this will happen; but I fear that by the time it happens, it will be too late.