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

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Crisis of Civilization (a must-view documentary film)

For this YouTube video I must express my profound appreciation to "Don Quijones" (likely a pseudonym) for posting and recommending it as "an absolute must-watch documentary" on his website Raging Bull-Shit. After viewing it last night, I completely agree with him as to its importance.

The one hour and 17 minute video ties together all the many crises that humans face today including, but not limited to, climate destabilization, never-ending wars, terrorism, austerity policies, and growing inequality as stemming from the dysfunctional system of capitalism. To be absolutely clear, I don't mean a certain kind of capitalism with the implication that there is a good kind--I mean the dynamic, evolutionary system of concentrated private ownership of economies that is presently engulfing and mauling the entire world. The film has been produced according to the highest professional quality standards of the film industry. And, more importantly, Ahmed brilliantly weaves together evidence and arguments to show how the various crises have most of their origins in the system of capitalism.

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, who wrote the script and narrated it, is the Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Research and Development in Britain, an investigative journalist, author, and environmental writer for The Guardian. The script is based on his 2011 book with a similar title, A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization. The film was also released in 2011 and initially shown at several international film festivals. Now in September of 2014 is the first time I have heard of it, and apparently the first time that this British blogger living in Barcelona has heard of it. I ask myself, "why is that?".

Well, I have my suspicions, suspicions that are solidly based on a long history of similar experiences while living in the center of the world's dominant capitalist empire. It is because the ideas advanced by Ahmed in this book and film are very threatening to capitalist ruling classes. Thus, I deduce that the main directors of these ruling classes went to work right away to prevent the wide circulation of both the book and film among the people by insuring that these products never received any reviews or recognition in mainstream media. (I am very curious as to exactly how they manage this type of censorship. I wish that there were renegade whistle-blowers within mainstream media circles who would report on this subject.)

In contrast to the lack of reporting about this film and book, notice the wide advanced reception given to Naomi Klein's new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate in the Empire's liberal media (see this, this, and in The Guardian!). Ahmed's own book apparently was not regarded by The Guardian as being sufficiently worthy to be reviewed even though he is featured as their environmental writer. I noticed also that one couldn't purchase the DVD of Ahmed's film from a US source such as Amazon, but you could purchase it from Amazon's British website, and have it shipped from Britain! 

For further discussion of this phenomenon of capitalists' methods of censorship, see my other posting of today.