July 4, 2010
Social Paralysis, The Crises in front of us and where do we go from here????
Friends, Loved Ones, CompanYer@s, Familia,
Happy (Really?) Independence (From What Exactly are people in the United States “independent?”…The British Empire?) Day…
For myself, and maybe for many others who share similar experiences, it is a strange time….
On the one hand, the Empire of Corporate Power that we have seen/denounced/lived in is coming apart at the seams… Just as many of us thought it would. After all, how could a society in many ways built on denial (of the genocide of the Native Americans, of the horror of chattel slavery, of the exploitation of every vulnerable immigrant group upon arrival, of the exclusion of the feminine, of the imperial looting of the world’s peoples, of the damage this all does to the psyche of each and every one of us, of the pillaging of the Earth, and the list goes on and on), avoid such a breakdown?
As we know from our own life experiences, denial can work as an effective coping mechanism for a time, even for a long time, but, sooner or later… it catches up to you. So, there is a small, unfulfilling albeit, sense of, we saw this coming….
On the other hand, it is a terrifying time. This coming apart at the seams has led us to a period of unprecedented uncertainty in our lifetimes and to regressive policies that roll back important gains won through heroic struggles over decades, by many who came before us and collectively fought against a multitude of “denials” (aka lies)? And, perhaps most troubling, the crisis has not led (yet?) to the outbreak of dynamic people’s movements to challenge the status quo and demand something different, something better, something inspiring….
Finally, while it may be difficult to see here in the United States, it is a time of great hope and dignity. People around the world (yes, even here) are organizing in new, creative, loving ways to build alternative societies in the face of great challenges. New environmental movements, campesino movements, cooperatives, students, labor activists, women’s groups and the list goes on… Ideas considered off the charts radical one or two generations ago (self-determination, equality across gender, racial, cultural, sexual identity, etc. lines, human rights for all) are often claimed by some of the most reactionary figures in a hypocritical strategy to maintain their legitimacy.
So, for those of us seeking dynamic social change, what to do? What’s the strategy? Where’s the movement? Who’s on first? And how do we get to second (much less home?)
Leftists in the US have no shortage of analysis of what is wrong. We have great writers who analyze the failures of our system, past and present, and let us know why things are the way they are on both the macro level and in relation to individual issues.
What we don’t have, at least enough of, are processes that are leading us somewhere else. Talking about what’s wrong and how difficult things are is important, but it is not enough and it will not get us where we want to be (a more loving, just, creative, healthy society)..
So, on this Fourth of July, I ask you to join me in thinking about where we go from here?
I have some ideas, and I promise to post them in a week (or so)… but any process that is valuable must be a collective one…And the more collective the better!!!.. So,…..what do you think, my friends, loved ones, companYer@s, familia?????