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 Lapp√©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Those Who Want To Build, Those Who Want To Fight: The World Social Forum with a North African Twist

Click here to access article by Cihan Tugal from Jadaliyya.  (Highly recommended)

Tugal reports on his experience and observations of the recent World Social Forum held in Tunisia in March. Rarely have I seen all the nuances and realities of political views and activities expressed so clearly as in this report by a Turkish sociology professor at UC Berkeley. His report therefore constructs a lesson in revolutionary change and many of the real problems which this entails in our era.
...in a world where a small percent of the global population controls an immense part of the whole world’s wealth, any effort that will put their privileges in question risks being marginalized, repressed, or incorporated. Building alternatives to the world they have built needs to go hand in hand with efforts to redistribute their wealth. I cannot imagine that happening without a fight. And I cannot imagine the big fish leaving us alone if we don’t spread out the wealth they have monopolized.

The limits of both negotiation and building small-scale alternatives, in short, are much starker in the era of globalization. Statism is an easy, but misleading, response to these limits.
He then goes on to dismiss statism, a revolutionary relic of the 20th century, by stating:
We have seen in the past that statism can be as oppressive and inegalitarian as capitalism. Why put all our eggs in one basket again?