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 LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Opportunity in collapse: the horizon of the post-apocalyptic

Click here to access article by Joseph Todd from Reflections on a Revolution.

Cultural products of capitalist society relating to a collapse of government authority often portray themes of social disintegration, chaos, people running amok and abusing each other for their personal advantage. But is this valid? Or is this another propaganda prop to deter people from rebelling against the capitalist social order because this order is protecting us from something much worse? Could this be a projection of the personalities of sociopathic capitalist elites onto ordinary people? He examines a wide variety of evidence from situations where state authority has broken down or was completely missing to find the answers.
It thus turns out that our view of the apocalyptic is necessarily bound up with our pessimistic view of human nature and the world around us. Ever since Hobbes, civilization and the state have been our savior from a brutish, natural realm; a place we go for adventure, one of risk and daring that only those more unfortunate than us inhabit.

Yet this notion of a violent, competitive, dog-eat-dog natural world with which capitalism and the state justify themselves is in part a fallacy. In fact, nature teems with co-operation — both between animals, between species and within the ecosystem as a whole.