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

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lame duck out of the Silk Road caravan

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from RT.
There’s hardly a more graphic illustration of where the multipolar world is going than what just happened at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing.

Take a very good look at the official photos. This is all about positioning – and this being China, pregnant with symbolic meaning. Guess who’s in the place of honor, side by side with President Xi Jinping. And guess where the lame duck leader of the “indispensable nation” has been relegated. The Chinese can also be masters at sending a global message. 
This champion of a "multi-polar world" provides us with a recent update on the contending capitalist gangs for dominance in the world. While I don't buy into his thesis about the wonderful benefits of a multi-polar capitalist world, I do respect his analysis of the current scene in which their battles are currently being played out. 

To be sure, Russian and Chinese capitalists now want a neutral world in which capitalist players play by the rules. However, when and if they attain supremacy, I have little doubt that they will take on the same characteristics that so upsets Escobar about the current US-led Empire. Capitalists of all stripes, like street gangs, always want to extend their control over territories. They will combine with other gangs in ever changing alliances in order to achieve dominance in the forms of wealth and power. 

Of course, the problem with this kind of world is that ordinary people in the neighborhoods end up being victims of their activities--think worker exploitation and catastrophic climate destabilization due to the endless fouling of the atmosphere and oceans with carbon from fossil fuel consumption required to drive their growth machine of capitalism. Worse yet for the near future is the prospect of a global nuclear war. 

My curiosity is aroused by a sentence in his final paragraph where he drops a hint about the future in relation to Russian and Chinese ruling classes, but which he does not develop.
Russia and China may not be proposing an alternative system – yet.