Over the past weekend, the leaders of the world’s great powers met in France to commemorate the official end of World War I. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump pulled long faces, hugged each other and gave speeches lamenting the “horror” and “tragedy” of a war that claimed more than 16 million lives.
But their talk of “tragedy” and “suicide” could not hide the fact that they are all engaged in active preparations for a new and deadly world military conflict.
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