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, May 9, 2014

This Land Isn’t Your Land, This Land Is Their Land

Click here to access article by Peter Van Buren from TomDispatch. (Note: Should you wish to skip Engelhardt's introduction, you will need to scroll down to the article.)

Van Buren takes us on a tour of many parts of the US, and in doing so he sheds much light for those of us over the age of 40 on the dramatic changes that have appeared across this land in the last three or four decades, changes which parallel the much more devastating changes our masters in the One Percent have wrought across Iraq, Libya, Syria, and now Ukraine. Outside of the enclaves of One Percent neighborhoods, the only areas resembling America 30 years ago are odd little immigrant places like Spanish Harlem and military bases. However, military base communities are heavily subsidized, rather artificial places that come with authoritarian rule. Welcome to neoliberal America!
I grew up in the Midwest at a time when the country still prided itself on having something of a conscience, when it was a place still built on hope and a widespread belief that a better future was anybody’s potential birthright. Inequity was always there, and there were always rich people and poor people, but not in the ratios we see now in America. What I found in my travels was place after place being hollowed out as wealth went elsewhere and people came to realize that, odds on, life was likely to get worse, not better. For most people, what passed for hope for the future meant clinging to the same flat-lined life they now had.