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

Monday, January 23, 2017

One Does Not Hate When One Can Despise: Derrick Jensen on Donald Trump and How We Got Here

Click here to access article by Derrick Jensen from Seven Stories Press. (This post was suggested to me by Caren and Christopher who operate a sustainable farm and teach classes in sustainable living in northwest Oregon.)
The primary function of Democrats and Republicans alike is to take care of business. The primary function is not to take care of communities. The primary function is not to take care of the planet. The primary function is to serve the interests of the owning class, by which I mean the owners of capital, the owners of society, the owners of the politicians.

We have seen over the last couple of generations a consistent ratcheting of American politics to the right, until by now our political choices have been reduced to on the one hand a moderately conservative Republican calling herself a Democrat, and on the other a strutting fascist calling himself a Republican. If we define “left” as being at minimum against capitalism, there is no functional left in this country.
I think he is a bit too negative here because I have witnessed in recent years a number of people (like Jensen himself) who are questioning capitalism as a system that is destroying not only human habitat but responsible for many other crimes against humanity. Like Jensen (see this as a prime example), many of these critics in the past have limited their target to industrial capitalism which suggests that their is another kind of capitalism that could work well if only we could reform it, but increasingly these critics (including Jensen) now blame the system itself for the ongoing assault on our lives and the environment.

Another criticism I have is that Jensen casts too much blame on the victims of capitalism and often seems to argue that we are intrinsically all racists, women haters, and suspicious of foreigners. This is placing far too much emphasis on social identity politics and not on the ruling capitalist class's favorite method to divide and conquer us by encouraging such behaviors and attitudes. 
The US is profoundly and functionally racist and woman-hating, nature hating, poor hating, and based on exploiting humans and nonhumans the world over. So why should it surprise us when someone who manifests these values is elected?
Still, the overall thrust of this article is very positive:
...movements emerge only through organized struggle. And someone has to do the organizing. Someone has to do the struggling. And it has to be you, and it has to be me.

A doctor friend of mine always says that the first step toward cure is proper diagnosis. Diagnose the problems, and then you become the cure.

You make it right.
Caren and Christopher also recommend this encouraging piece by James Corbett entitled "Chaos Out of Order". 
...we have to understand that we have been brought to this point for a reason. In order to get their new order, the powers-that-shouldn't-be had to generate this current chaos. The unprecedented levels of social, political and economic tension we are experiencing right now are part of a game plan. To reset the chess pieces, the board has to be knocked over first.

This presents us with a glass-half-full/glass-half-empty situation. When the game board is overturned, the would-be tyrants waste no time in getting to work, trying to arrange things to their liking.

But their control is not total. At times like this, when the glacial status quo has been liquefied and everything is in flux, we have an opportunity for true change.
Actually, in contrast to most Americans, I don't see that the Trump administration (as puppets of the capitalist puppeteers) portends a significant amount of change from the past. It might be refreshing to see them more openly and honestly (for example, see this) revealing their fascist nature which the other capitalist party often hid; and because of this, the Trump administration might generate more incentive for people to learn about what is really going on.