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, March 26, 2015

Stopping climate change: what do we mean by system change?

Click here to access article by Elaine Graham-Leigh from CounterFire (Britain). 

I was very pleased to see this pitch for serious revolutionary change from a British left website. The British are famous for their watered downed versions of revolutionary struggles as manifested by their Fabian socialists in the early 20th century and the utopian socialists in the 19th century. The failures of these movements to change anything has caused some people to rethink revolutionary efforts. Graham-Leigh is one such person.
There can often be a reluctance in green circles to talk explicitly about revolution, but ultimately that is what full-scale system change is. Calling it system change may allow the implication that we can get there one food co-op at a time, but this just hides the size and nature of the task we face. If we understand that what we are talking about when we talk about system change is, necessarily, overthrowing capitalism, then it follows that what we need is organisation: to think strategically about where the system is weakest, to make connections between different aspects of the struggle and to grasp the key link in the chain, the point at which we can make the most difference. Only then can serious changes be imposed upon capitalist interests.