Archive for the history Category

The Central Challenge Of Our Time

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, American Freedom Agenda, American Freedom Campaign, analysis, anarchism, anthropology, banks, capitalism, Chomsky, civil liberties, class, climate change, collapse, common ground, consciousness, constitution, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, coup, crisis of democracy, democracy, democratic deficit, detention centers, ecological crisis, ecology, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, environment, fascism, freedom, geopolitics, global warming, globalism, globalization, history, imperialism, inspiration, Jefferson, libertarian, Mussolini, must-read, nation state, national democracies, neo-feudalism, people's movements, philosophy, police state, policy, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, social theory, sociology, sovereignty, sustainability, the world's other superpower, tipping point, Uncategorized, war on democracy with tags , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2020 by jtoddring

What is the central challenge of our time? It is not what most people think it is. It is not race or gender, or climate change, or the environment broadly, or issues of war and peace, or poverty, or justice, or equality, or fighting terrorism, crime or violence, WMDs and disarmament, the arms and drugs trade, imperialism, national sovereignty and the rule of law versus aggression, “regime changes”, coups and “intervention”, or freedom, or democracy, constitutional rule or human rights. All of these things are extremely important, of course. But there is one issue which connect them all.

The central fact, dynamic or pattern, which connects all of these things, and is at the centre of them all, is the excessive concentration of power. This we must address, above all, and immediately, or we stand no chance of resolving any of these other issues, or even making any serious or lasting progress on them.

Until we address the extreme and growing, excessive concentration of power in the world, both within nations and also globally, we will have no chance at a better future, no chance at a decent future, and, in fact, little chance of a future of any kind.

*

Marx was a terrible political philosopher, it must be admitted – but it must also be admitted that he was a brilliant sociologist. That is, his analysis and portrayal of the problems of modern state-sponsored capitalism (and it is always state-sponsored, because the business elite demand it, and because otherwise it would even more quickly self-destruct) was very perceptive, honest, and revealing. We would do well to continue to study Marx – as a sociologist. His diagnosis of the problem held some considerable merit, even if his proposed solution was poorly thought out. And one of his central observations, as the clear-minded sociologist that he generally was, is that capitalism tends to concentrate wealth. And that much should be perfectly obvious to us by now.

In 1812, Thomas Jefferson warned of the growing power of the business elite, and said, prophetically and passionately, unequivocally, “I pray that we shall crush the birth of the moneyed aristocracy in its infancy, for already it defies our laws, and seeks a contest of strength with our democratic government.” That was over 200 years ago. The central problem now is, quite simply: we failed to listen.

We allowed wealth, and far more dangerously, economic power, to grow unchecked, and to become astronomically concentrated, far beyond anything ever seen before in history. We placed checks and balances on political powers, but not on economic powers – foolishly, and most unwisely.

The result, is that 200 years after Jefferson’s warning, which we failed to heed, we no longer have liberal-democracy at all: we now have oligarchy – rule by the few, or plutocracy, which is rule by the rich, or as Mussolini defined it, corporatism, which as he said, is the merger of business and the state – as the business elite have grown so powerful as to take over the state – and which Mussolini said is the proper term and description of fascism.

It is called by sociologists, institutional capture.

The global business elite have captured (or effectively ruled from the start) the all of the major social institutions: including the major international organizations (the IMF, World Bank, WTO, ECB…), the financial system, the media, and the majority of the governments in the world – including all of the most powerful governments of the Western world.

The street level, plain English description is simply, a coup.

Well, the people had better recapture their democracy, or they will soon be slaves. They are already serfs – they will soon be slaves, if they do not act now, or very, very soon.

*

We now have a global situation where the largest 500 corporations, and the 2,000 or so billionaires who own or control them, have more power than the most powerful nation in the history of the world (the US, of course). A situation where the eight richest families control more than half the wealth on the planet. And the growing concentration of wealth, and far more dangerously, of power, continues to accelerate rapidly.

This is what people are referring to as the oligarchy – or plutocracy, or kleptocracy, or corporatocracy.

This is what I have described as a new world order of global neo-feudal crypto-fascist corporate oligarchy. It has already devoured democracy, and is busy devouring all freedom, all constitutional rule, and all rule of law (law is for the little people, the 99.9%, not for “the masters of the universe”, as they like to call themselves). The new global corporate empire is now, without question, devouring both the people and the planet – along with our freedom. Clearly this has to stop, or we will not only be in chains: the life-support systems of the living planet will be destroyed, and our future will be extraordinarily dark.

As I have said before, we now have one remaining choice: revolution, or a new dark age, followed by extinction, and collapse.

*

The new empire ruling the world is not the US empire, which is in decline and heading for collapse, bankrupt, and heading fast for economic and financial implosion; but the global corporate empire, which has swallowed the US empire whole, and uses it now as a puppet-master pulls his strings – mainly as a hired thug.

The new masters of the world, the new oligarchs, are an elite who are clearly drunk with power, and have become, not only insatiably rapacious, and much more dangerously, insatiably hungry for power, but also, parasitic, frankly sociopathic, rabidly anti-democratic, as well as anti-ecological, suicidal, and world destroying. We either remove them power, or they will destroy the Earth which we all share, not to mention our freedoms in the process.

*

The good news is that since 2001, it has been recognized even by the ruling elite, from their own global poll, which came back in early of that year, proving the point beyond any doubt: there is a profound and growing, crisis of legitimacy for the ruling powers. The people of the world are fed up with the power games and machinations of the ruling elite, and are hungry for change. There is a global awakening taking place.

However, the elite see the global awakening of humanity, not as a great boon, a cause for rejoicing, but as a threat.

The Davos club – what John Ralston Saul called, “the new Palace of Versailles”, and “the new royal court”, and which the world’s leading business journal, the Financial Times called, “the de facto world government” – knew in 2001, or it was spelled out to them by their intellectuals in residence, what their own global poll meant. It meant the Western power elite are experiencing the same kind of crisis of legitimacy which caused the collapse of the Soviet Union.

For the first time since its founding, the WEF meeting at Davos was not jubilant or euphoric – it was deeply nervous and glum. There were only three remaining options, in the face of the indisputable, serious and growing crisis of legitimacy: a) compromise, and give the people a New Deal of some sort; b) surrender power, or else get ready to lose power completely; or c) batten down the hatches, and prepare for lockdown, repression, fascism – a police state, and resort to brute force. The Western elite concluded very quickly that the first two options were unacceptable. You can figure out what conclusion they came to from that – and why we have been moving rapidly towards fascism ever since.

People who do not understand these central facts of the past two decades of world history, understand nothing at all. Their advice is meaningless, for they have no connection to reality.

Remember Neville Chamberlain’s foolish statement: “Peace in our time!”

No, we need more serious voices and appraisals – and advisors – now. Churchill, for all his faults, is vastly preferable, to a Chamberlain, or worse, a Vichy government, or a Quisling – and believe me, the latter are in great abundance, while the former, at this, our truly darkest hour, is exceedingly rare.

*

The first step, is for the people to unite, and to reclaim their power. That, by now, will require revolution of some manner or another, in most nations on Earth. Whether by ballot box, or, more often, by blockades and political-economic siege, it is revolution – non-violent, Gandhian-King style – that is needed now.

What we must do, is to reduce the vastly excessive powers of the international business elite, and the trans-national corporations and institutions (such as the IMF, World Bank and ECB), which they control; and to either break up these giant economic empires, as is most wise, in most cases (such as the big banks, the fossil fuel giants, the arms merchants and the media empires), or else reduce their powers dramatically by some other means, and bring them under the control of democratic processes – meaning, bring them under control of the people, so that the people rule the nations, and set checks and balances on the powers of both governments, and also corporations and other economic powers.

The alternative is that the global corporate empire rules the world, as it effectively does now; and the 99.9% of the people who are not among the ruling elite, are reduced to peasants, serfs, or slaves.

Let us not play games. These are not realities we can safely avoid, or sweep under the carpet. We either face reality, and now – both political-economic reality, sociological reality, that is, as well as ecological reality – or our future will be bleak indeed.

*

The nation-state, as Chomsky has said, is the only institution powerful enough to be a counter-balance to the powers of big money. Therefore, we must, as Chomsky has also said, temporarily strengthen the nation-state, in order to reign in the excessive powers of big business.

In order to remove the corporate elite from their current position as the unelected and unaccountable, de facto rulers of the world, we will have to temporarily strengthen the nation-state, and national democracies.  This makes libertarians of the right and the left nervous, but it simply must be done. The alternative is neo-feudalism, and global corporate-fascist rule – which anyone of sound mind should view to be far worse, than a limited form of constitutional democracy asserting its power to reign in the corporate giants and the ruling business elite.

You can talk all you like about your libertarian or anarchist views, but you will be discussing them in chains, if we don’t deal pragmatically and immediately with the present order that now rules the world. Your high ideals, in short, will have to wait. We have more immediate dangers to take care of, first.

Once the people have recaptured and reclaimed their democracy, their constitutional republics;,and the business elite, the new corporate oligarchy, has been dethroned, and also placed within very firm checks and balances on their powers, then we can look to a further decentralization of powers – which would be…nay, will be, the further evolution of democracy and freedom. But first things first: we have a global oligarchy and police state to defeat. Fascism is here again.

And let us make no mistake, we will need all the tools, short of violence, that are at our disposal – including, most centrally, the state – in order to defeat this second round of fascist usurpers and would-be Gods.

*

Note that the greatest of libertarians, Chomsky and Thoreau, have argued for exactly the same thing. They combined a rare long-range vision which was highly idealistic, very far-sighted; and yet, at the same time, an immediacy of pragmatism: what do we do now – right now, in this moment, while keeping our long-term vision, our high ideals, and our dreams alive?

To my mind, the most important piece of political literature, the most important political document ever written, is not the Magna Carta, or the Bill of Rights, the UN Charter of Human Rights, or the Declaration of Independence, though all of these are greatly important, of course. But all of them, to the last, are merely pieces of paper – unless the people stand up to protect and defend them, and what they stand for.

For that reason, I believe the most important political documents ever written are those of Thoreau and La Boite – for they urge the people to stand up for themselves and one another, and to embrace their power. The other documents mean nothing without this.

(See Etienne de la Boite, The Discourse On Voluntary Servitude, and Henry David Thoreau’s short essay, On Civil Disobedience, which has reverberated around the world for over 150 years, inspiring Tolstoy, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the environmental movement, and popular movements around the world to this day.)

Thoreau remarked, in his famous essay, On Civil Disobedience, (and I am paraphrasing, mostly accurately, from memory here) “I heartily agree with that motto, “That government is best which governs the least”, and I should like to see it acted up to more speedily and more fully. And I would extend it to say this: That government is best which governs not at all. And when are prepared for it, that is precisely the kind of government they shall have.” (And note his emphasis – “when men are prepared for it”.)

But, having made his views clear as a decided libertarian, he goes on to say, “But I am not among the “No government men”. I do not wish for, at once, no government, but at once, a better government. Let every man state what kind of government would command his respect, and that shall be one step towards attaining it.”

Now that, to me, as with Chomsky’s views, is what Thomas Paine might agree is a matter of Common Sense. Let us first secure our liberty in the broad sense; and seek to dispel the greatest dangers, and the greatest threats to it first – which is, to be sure, the growing police state and fascist architecture, which is being actively and eagerly created by a set of bankers and their business friends, cronies and stooges in high places.

After we have dispensed with the greatest of dangers, then we can afford to be more high-minded and idealistic in our visions. But for now, let us deal with the reality at hand. We must defeat the new corporate oligarchy, or not only will liberty be vacated, but the planet, and the people, will also be laid to waste; and the new God-kings will rule, until they destroy themselves as well.

Stand now.

It is now revolution or slow death.

Choose wisely.

To be perfectly clear, we must recognize this fact: the state and the government are going to exist for some time to come – the question is, who controls it: a handful of global bankers and an oligarchy of business elites, or the people?

Again, I would say, Choose wisely. This is the critical hour.

A shift in consciousness, culture and lifestyle are urgently needed and essential, if we are to survive as a species, much less have a good, or even a decent future – yes, that is undoubtedly the case. But no New Age revolution of mind, or any other kind of shift in consciousness, is going to be successful, or mean anything at all, unless the new would-be God-kings are deposed and dethroned, and removed from power.

If that is not yet clear, it will be soon, and in terrifying ways. Better to act now, before the reality is confirmed in starker, more brutal ways.

Heed the warning, I urge you now. We failed to heed the warning of Thomas Jefferson, 200 years ago. That was a grave mistake. And the consequences will be even greater, and far more grave, if we fail to listen now.

Stand.

JTR,
March 15, 2020

Post-Script:

Flash-Drive Revolution:

Save this or any other document, image, video, poster, film or song that you find important, or socially/politically/philosophically relevant or pertinent, to a USB flash drive, for safe storage and sharing. Censorship is increasing now. We need alternative ways to communicate important ideas and information if, as is likely, censorship increases further. Consider, at least, all of my books, essays and writings as public domain. (Other living authors will have to decide the matter regarding their own works for themselves. I would urge people to respect their rights unless they state something similar to what I have just stated here.) I would appreciate people buying my books or making donations to support the writing and research, as I am a typically broke writer; but do share my writing with others – that is far more important to me. I certainly did not become a writer, much less a philosopher, for the money. Vive la revolution! For a better world for all.

WATCH THIS – EXTREMELY IMPORTANT:

Whether this is a warm-up, a dry-run, a preamble to the big putsch, or the main event, the following short video will remain extremely important. Please watch immediately:
Celente: Police State Emerging Now        https://youtu.be/5aLiEVbNTUs

Further Reading:

Chomsky, Necessary Illusions, Class Warfare, and Year 501 (These three in particular)

Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine

John Perkins, A Game As Old As Empire, & The New Confessions Of An Economic Hitman

Naomi Wolf, The End of America

John Pilger, The New Rulers Of The World

Susan George, Shadow Sovereigns

C Wright Mills, The Power Elite

Peter Phillips, Giants

and I would recommend my two first published books:

Enlightened Democracy: Visions for A New Millennium

and,

The People vs The Elite:
A Manifesto For Democratic Revolution,
Or, Survival In The 21st Century And Beyond

 

The Collapse of Modern Civilization

Posted in activism, alternative, analysis, anthropology, books, Chomsky, class, climate change, collapse, common ground, consciousness, crash, crisis of democracy, democracy, ecological crisis, ecology, economic collapse, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, environment, Eric Fromm, fascism, freedom, geopolitics, global warming, globalism, globalization, good news, history, imperialism, inspiration, must-read, neo-feudalism, neocon, neoconservatism, neoliberalism, peak oil, people's movements, philosophy, police state, policy, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, politics of oil, post-carbon, reading, resources, science, social theory, sociology, spirituality, sustainability, the world's other superpower, Uncategorized, war on democracy with tags , , , , , , on March 12, 2020 by jtoddring

More than 150 years ago Thoreau commented, “Our sills are all rotten.” He was right. It is for that reason that Western, and Westernized, “modern” “civilization” is collapsing.

This could be cataclysmic, of course, (as in, an ecological holocaust), or relatively peaceful, (akin to the Maya abandoning their great cities and returning to rural village life). As a grand transformation, it could be more of a collapse, or more of a thoughtful and voluntary transition. So, the spectrum is between cataclysmic and relatively peaceful transition, depending on how we respond to the collapse that is already in progress and well under way.

We needn’t be pathetically fatalistic, it should be noted,  for that is self-neutering, self-disembowelling, and self-lobotomizing. But we do need to deal with reality. The slowmotion collapse of modern civilization is unfolding now.

At present, most nations are paying lip service to the growing, interconnected crises that we face. As a result, most nations and regions will likely experience the unfolding collapse and tectonic transition in cataclysmic ways, to varying degrees, unless radical action is taken en mass, and immediately.

Avoidance of reality never works well as a strategy for responding to change.

 

That does not mean that all is lost. We should, along with radical efforts at social change, and serious contingency planning, also look to the road ahead: to what comes after the transition, or collapse, as the case may be – and again, it will be more one or the other depending on the nation, region and community.

Thomas Kuhn’s, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, along with Stephen Toulmin’s Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity, among other important works, beginning with Thoreau’s, Walden, mark the beginning of the end of modernism – and they mark the beginning of post-modernism and the post-modern era. (Or whatever terms we come to settle on, after the dust settles.)

If the terms post-modernism and the post-modern era have any meaning at all, it is not in that pseudo-intellectual bog that is the incoherent and self-contradictory collection of thoughts in Western “philosophy” that have taken hostage of the minds of the Western intelligentsia for the past 50 years, and which is called “post-modernism”. No, it is here, in the deeper, more lucid critique of modernism, and the pseudo-scientific, quasi-religious ideology of modernism, and the social structures, institutions, power structures and systems of modernism which are built on this castle of sand, and which have dominated the world for the past 300 years, and which are collapsing now, thankfully.

And if we are to survive as a species, we will have to hasten their demise. 

Toulmin, Kuhn, Thoreau, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Fromm, Kropotkin, Chomsky, Rifkin, Kroker, Orwell, Bookchin, Eisler, Joseph Campbell, Alan Watts, Aldous Huxley, Allan Wallace, Joanna Macy, Vandana Shiva, Margaret Atwood, Ronald Wright, Jared Diamond, Wade Davis, Mathiew Stein, David Suzuki, and Helena Norberg-Hodge, Michael Hudson, Ellen Brown, Yanis Varoufakis, Naomi Wolf, Naomi Klein, Gregory Bateson, EF Schumacher, Morris Berman, and yes, Nagarjuna, Shankara, Meister Eckhart, Lao Tzu, La Boite, Socrates and Spinoza, are a few of the guiding lights who can help lead us into the post-carbon, possibly post-collapse, post-modern era, through the 21st century and beyond, with confidence, compassion, and clarity of mind.

And we will need every source of good guidance and light we can find.

Keep calm, and let the revolution, and rebuilding, begin.

We must remember, however, that there are two extremes to be avoided. One is passivity. The other is fascism. Both are “trending now”.

JTR,

March 12, 2020

 

The Mayans, the ecological crisis and the end of the world: a little sanity please

Posted in analysis, anthropology, books, collapse, consciousness, disaster, ecological crisis, ecology, environment, history, political philosophy, politics, science, sustainability, tipping point, world religions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2012 by jtoddring

It seems like a lot of people are going to extremes with regards to the Mayan predictions – and I mean the skeptics as well as the fanatics. Some are dismissive of the Mayans altogether, while others are taking a very literal and grossly overly simplistic view, and thinking the world will end on a specific day in the near future: December 21, 2012. The Mayans never said anything of the sort – and at the same time, they were also far too intelligent, thoughtful and sophisticated in their understanding of the cycles of time for us to dismiss them altogether.

The Mayan prophecies do not speak of the end of the world in a literal sense. The Mayans said that the world has ended four times before, so clearly, they are not talking about the end of the physical world, or even the end of the human species. They are talking about the end of a civilization – a social collapse, and the end of an era. And that is something we cannot so easily dismiss, because we have seen civilizations collapse in the past – Sumer, Easter Island, and the Mayan civilization itself, for example (the Mayan urban civilization, that is). (See Jared Diamond, Collapse, Ronald Wright, A Brief History of Progress, or Mathew Stein’s When Technology Fails.) We are also seeing our infrastructure beginning to crumble, while the environmental crisis is accelerating. Clearly, the collapse of our current civilization is not something far-fetched, but a clear and undeniable possibility – and we seem hell-bent on ensuring that it happens.

The Mayans were, furthermore, too subtle and sophisticated in their thinking with regards to the cycles or patterns of time to believe that things will come to an end in a single day, I would think. They mark the passage of time in great cycles of 500 years, and larger cycles of roughly 26,000 years. To think that the Mayans believed everything would end on a single day would seem to me like a gross over-simplification, and a serious misunderstanding. It would be akin to Christian fundamentalists taking an extremely literal reading of the Bible, and believing that the world was literally created in seven days.

I would say it would be unwise to be categorically dismissive of the BIble, just as it would be equally foolish and confused to take it on an overly simplistic or literalist reading or interpretation. The same is true for the predictions of the Maya and their rich and unparalleled calendrical knowledge and understanding of the cycles of time. We do have the intellectual capacity, one would hope, for something a little more refined and a little more subtle than a knee-jerk reaction to either reject and dismiss them out of hand, or to embrace them in a literalist and overly simplistic way.

What is likely is that the Mayans meant that December 21, 2012 would mark the beginning of the end for a certain civilization or world order – ours – and the beginning of its collapse and replacement by a new civilization. The changes that they predicted may come swiftly, but they are not likely to come all at once, in the span of a mere 24 hours. It is possible, but it is unlikely. But that doesn’t mean that the Mayans were wrong – it means we shouldn’t be so crude and sloppy in our thinking, or so presumptuous or arrogant.

Consider this. The Maya had predicted for centuries that on a given year, month and day, one cycle of 500 years would end, and another cycle of 500 years would begin. They said that on that day, the balance would shift from light being predominant, to darkness being predominant. This was a prediction that had been passed on for generations. Well, as it turned out, the prediction coincided to the day with the first conquistador stepping foot on the mainland – Cortez.

If we were to look at the last, say two thousand years of the history of the Americas, we would most certainly mark the arrival of the first conquistador on the mainland as the beginning of an entirely new and radically different era for all of the Americas. How did the Mayans foresee this great shift, and predict it for hundreds of years in advance? Surely we cannot look at this fact and then dismiss the Mayans. Somehow, they have made stunningly accurate predictions, and although we cannot understand how that was possible, it is proven beyond any doubt. To dismiss the Maya considering this, would simply be irrational in the face of the evidence.

Take acupuncture as another example: we don’t know how acupuncture works, and Western medicine is baffled by Traditional Chinese Medicine, which gave rise to acupuncture, but one thing we do know for certain: acupuncture works. It is the same with the Mayan predictions: we cannot understand how they could make such startling accurate predictions, but we know for certain that they have. Therefore, although we may not understand it, we cannot dismiss the predictions of the Maya when they have demonstrated such stunning accuracy in the past.

What is the scientific approach? The truly scientific approach would not be to say, well, nobody can predict the future, so the Mayan prophecies must be rubbish. No, the scientific approach would be to look at the actual evidence, and not make foregone conclusions. And what does the evidence say? The evidence says that somehow the Mayans were able to predict major shifts or bifurcation points, major junctures in time, with stunning accuracy. Just because this does not fit into our current theory or ideology does not mean it is wrong. The facts are the facts, and the scientific approach is not to dismiss the facts when they discomfortingly fail to conform to our theories, but to change our theory and our view to conform with the facts. Anything else is pseudo-intellectual and pseudo-scientific, and is pure bigotry and blind dogmatism and ideological fixation. The facts say that the Mayans were able to predict certain major changes in history, centuries before they happened. Our theories and our views obviously need modification. But more immediately, the facts require that we take an attitude towards the Mayan predictions which is one of curiosity and respect, and not derisive dismissiveness.

Consider another example: gravity. We know that gravity exists, and we know that it works, but scientists still don’t really understand how it works. But simply because we don’t know how gravity works doesn’t mean we say, well, gravity must not be real. Again (to belabour the point for the benefit of the chronically closed-minded and pseudo-scientific) the same is true for the Mayan predictions: we don’t know how they are possible, but we know that they were correct. Do you “believe” in gravity? No, nobody “believes” in gravity – you don’t have to: just drop an apple, or trip on the stairs, and it is proven. The broken nose and the bruised apple are proof enough. Belief has nothing to do with it. Believing or not believing in the Mayan prophecies is the same: they are proven accurate; and it is evidence, not belief, which is all that matters.

Furthermore, considering that not only the Maya, but also the Hopi, the Ojibwa, and many other native peoples have predicted essentially the same thing – that there would come a time when the people become wooden, and lose their natural feelings of empathy and compassion, caring and responsibility for one another and for the broader web of life, and that as a result, calamity would follow, and their civilization will collapse – and considering that is now obvious that we are fulfilling such predictions, it would seem very unwise to disregard their warnings. Complacency, now as always, is a much greater danger than is precaution. We don’t have to run screaming for the hills, but we do need to deal with our environmental crisis, or our civilization will surely collapse, exactly as predicted – maybe not in a single day, but over the course of the coming decades or years.

Consider the fact that other native elders are on record for having predicted, before the start of the first Persian Gulf War in Iraq, that it would be a horrible environmental disaster, as well as a humanitarian one: and they said they had had visions of a black rain falling from the sky. Well, what happened? Saddam Hussein’s troops set fire to the Kuwaiti oil wells when they retreated, and black rain fell across the region. How do we dismiss such proven predictions?

In fact, we should have listened, and prevented war with Iraq. Let those who have ears hear. Let those who have eyes see. The deaf blind will have to accept that they will continue to fall into ditches and injure themselves, for they are heedless, and cannot be guided or forewarned. Pity them for their stubbornness and ignorance.

Consider the most famous proven prediction of all, or certainly one of them. Months before the assassination of JFK, Jean Dixon repeatedly warned the White House that the president’s life was in danger. She particularly urged him not to travel to Texas during that period of time. How such things are known, we do not know – but we know that some people at least do have such fore-knowledge of events: knowledge which transcends mere perspicacity or ordinary foresight.

Consider the stories told for generations by a certain native tribe in Northern Canada about a certain lake, which they said was very evil, and which they warned the people to avoid at all costs, without exception. The native people living nearby had a prediction, a prophecy, that one day men would come and take stones from the lake, then they would use those stones, and a large bird would then fly and drop fire from the sky with material from those stones. That lake is now called Uranium Lake, and it was the site of the first uranium mined for the first nuclear weapons, and the first bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima. How is that for uncanny? If that does not send a shiver down your spine, or at least make you wonder, then as Einstein said, you are as good as dead.  How can we dismiss such fore-knowledge when it is proven beyond all doubt?

Or consider the prophecies of the Inca, which said that if the great white brother came from across the ocean carrying a cross, there would be trouble. Well, the first conquistadors came bearing crosses, and there certainly was trouble, and a lot of it.

Considering all of this and more – and this is just the briefest list of examples, and barely scratches the surface – to be dismissive of native prophecies is simply foolish, and also irrational and unscientific. We know they knew, even if we have no idea how that is possible. Our frankly racist and ethnocentric presumptions must fall in the face of the evidence. The simple fact is: prophecy works, or at least it certainly has at certain times in the past. Just as the Western medical establishment, with its severely flawed and out-dated biological-reductionist and mechanistic medical model has been forced to admit that acupuncture works, despite not being able to understand it, so too must all seriously scientific or even rational modern people admit that prophecy is real – whether that is baffling to us or not – and the Mayans in particular have proven their accuracy in these matters.

Considering the way we are undermining the basis of life on earth, and pushing our civilization to the point of collapse as a result, it would seem unwise, if not simply foolish to dismiss the Mayan predictions entirely. At the same time, to think that the world will end on a certain day this month, is in all likelihood foolish as well. The reality is somewhere in between, in all probability, and we had best heed the warnings of the Maya, and take care of our environment, or we will see, not the end of the world, but the end of the world as we know it, and the collapse of our civilization. And that may be closer than we think.

It is time for us to get it together, environmentally speaking, and make some very real and urgently needed changes now, or bear the consequences of our apathy and denial. This world order will most definitely end. But that will not be the end, but only a new beginning. And the sooner this predatory, anti-ecological, suicidal and grotesquely unjust order ends, the better.

Of course I could be wrong, and it is conceivable that the Mayans somehow foresaw a cataclysmic event that would happen on a certain day, which would wipe out our civilization – if not instantly, then over the months that follow – and many millions or billions of people with it. That would be horrific to contemplate, but it is possible – anything is possible. It is, however, extremely unlikely.

What is not unlikely however, and what is in fact absolutely certain, is that if we do not change course, we will continue to drive ourselves into the ground, through a simple lack of common sense and ecological wisdom, until our infrastructure collapses under the weight of a crisis we have created for ourselves, and our civilization itself collapses. If that happens, then billions of people will suffer greatly: and that will happen, unless we take bold and decisive action now, and without delay. But whether we see a crushing collapse of our current civilization, and have to scramble to survive afterward, and rebuild from scratch, starting with pre-industrial, medieval levels of technology, in small communities barely hanging on; or whether we make the bold moves to transform our present civilization before such a collapse, is entirely up to us.

There is no fate in this. It is a matter of choice. The power is in our hands. It is a matter now of whether we will boldly do what is obviously necessary, and make the needed changes swiftly and without delay, or whether we continue to drift on our present course until collapse hits.

We can still make a relatively peaceful transition to a new and better world, even though we will certainly have to weather a great storm of our own making which has already been set into motion; or, we can wait until change is forced upon us, in which case, the transition will be painful in the extreme.

It is our choice. Humanity will survive in either case. What is in our power to determine is how painful and traumatic, or how peaceful the transition is. But whether we make a major change, is not an option. We will do it willingly, or the environmental crisis will force it upon us.

Better to act freely, and with foresight, and now.

And you don’t have to be a prophet to see that.

JTR,
December 17, 2012

Smedley Butler and the Business Plot

Posted in Bush, BUSINESS PLOT, corporate fascism, corporatism, coup, democracy, fascist, FDR, freedom, history, Prescott Bush, Rockefeller, smedley butler on January 19, 2008 by jtoddring

How corporate America nearly destroyed democracy in the United States in 1933

It is unsurprising that powerful vested interests in business and government, as well as many within the media and academia who are devoted to these powers, attempt to shape perceptions, distort or conceal information, and do so with considerable success, even in relatively free and ostensibly democratic societies. What is almost amazing, however, is that at least one event of the greatest significance in the past one hundred years, was successfully erased from history and the peoples’ awareness almost completely. I am talking about the little known “Business Plot” of 1933, in which a number of the most powerful of the American business elites, including individuals from General Motors, Prescott Bush, grandfather of George Bush Jr., J.P. Morgan and the Rockefeller dynasty, attempted to seize the White House by military coup, and to install a fascist regime in America. Americans as well as people across the Western world, indeed, the world as a whole, should know about his dark scheme by the business elite to destroy democracy, a scheme which would have been successful but for the integrity and courage of U.S. Major-General Smedley Butler.

We are extraordinarily fortunate that the business elite chose the wrong man for the job – that Smedley Butler, very intelligently, listened to the plotters’ plans and went along with them long enough to find out who was involved, and then went immediately to Washington, and testified before Congress as to the atrocity which was being planned by some of the most powerful U.S. citizens and business “leaders.”

This was the last straw for the highly decorated General. He wrote what should be required reading for all high school students, “War Is A Racket,” in which he declared he has been a “gangster for capitalism” for over thirty years, on three continents. After having been corporate America’s man for so long, leading the charge to secure territory, resources, cheap labour and markets for U.S. business interests, he was asked to go one step further in the betrayal of his conscience, and perform the same function at home: destroy democracy and install a business-friendly dictatorship. His stomach turned, his conscience revolted, and the rest, is history – or it would be, if it had not been erased.

In order to correct this dark and dangerous silence, it is important that Smedley Butler’s tale now be told. In his own words:

“The U.S. has routinely destroyed democracy throughout the globe while its leaders spout words about spreading democracy.

“I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism….

“I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

“During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

– Major-General Smedley Butler, 1933.

“According to retired Representative John W. McCormack, former Speaker of the House, if the late Major General Smedley Butler of the U.S. Marine Corps had not been a stubborn devotee of democracy, Americans today could conceivably be living under an American Mussolini, Hitler, or Franco.

“An ironic aspect of the conspiracy General Butler unmasked is that few Americans have ever heard about it, or even know anything about the general.

“Former Speaker McCormack told the author, “In peace or war he was one of the outstanding Americans in our history. I can’t emphasize too strongly the very important part he played in exposing the Fascist plot in the early 1930’s backed by and planned by persons possessing tremendous wealth.”

“The crucial events of the plot to seize the White House unfolded between July and November, 1933, with hearings before the McCormack-Dickstein Committee begun in New York City on November 20, 1934. On November 26 the committee released a statement detailing the testimony it had heard, and its preliminary findings. On February 15, 1935, the committee submitted to the House of Representatives its final report, verifying completely the testimony of General Butler.

“There is strong evidence to suggest that the conspirators may have been too important politically, socially, and economically to be brought to justice after their scheme had been exposed before the McCormack-Dickstein Committee of the House of Representatives. The largely anti-Roosevelt press of the New Deal era scotched the story as expeditiously as possible.”
(From The Plot To Seize the White House, by Jules Archer)

The story resurfaces:

In July of 2007 an American investigative journalist, John Buchanan, broke through more of the fog surrounding these largely buried events of critical importance to our understanding of both history and on-going political-economic realities of power in society. What he found was that in addition to the details already outlined here, it is established beyond any doubt that Prescott Bush, George Bush Jr’s grandfather, was indeed involved in this grim and sinister plot. After this reporter again broke through the icy chill of silence and forgetfulness, a U.K. newspaper picked up the story, the Guardian, followed by the BBC, which did a full documentary on the subject. Since that one brave and determined journalist sought and found the truth, and unearthed the story in July 2007, there has been a growing revelation and interest surrounding this most astonishing, or at least, striking of events. Smedley Butler should be read and honoured, and the Business Plot both studied, and more importantly, learned from. The next coup against democracy may not be so direct, but no less dangerous. The price of freedom is in truth, eternal vigilance. This is neither paranoia nor “conspiracy theory” but simply a clear and honest understanding of history.

Research summary:
J. Todd Ring
(Free use with attribution)

(My apologies for the primitive formatting of this article. I’ll polish it later. Content first.)

Articles, videos and books:

The White House Coup – BBC Documentary: US Business elite attempt to install fascism in America, 1933

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/document/document_20070723.shtml

The Plot to Seize the White House, by Jules Archer

http://www.wanttoknow.info/plottoseizethewhitehouse
http://www.amazon.com/Plot-Seize-White-House-Conspiracy/dp/1602390363/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-3462640-4229555?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173652210&sr=8-1

By the way, the Bush family really does have a history of fascist sympathies and Nazi collaboration – something we might want to know: (Search “John Buchanan” Bush YouTube, if this link is deleted)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1D6fxyOtVeI

In Search of History – The Plot to Overthrow FDR – History Channel

http://www.amazon.com/Search-History-Plot-Overthrow-Channel/dp/B000FKP0NM/ref=pd_sim_b_img_2

War Is a Racket: The Anti-War Classic by America’s Most Decorated General, Two Other Anti-Interventionist Tracts, and Photographs from the Horror of It

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0922915865/ref=pd_cp_d_2?pf_rd_p=316286001&pf_rd_s=center-41&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B000FKP0NM&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=13W9ZK7QKVFS2SMPXX4C

Maverick Marine: General Smedley D. Butler and the Contradictions of American Military History

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0813109574/ref=pd_cp_d_3?pf_rd_p=316286001&pf_rd_s=center-41&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B000FKP0NM&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=13W9ZK7QKVFS2SMPXX4C

Earth 101: Essential Reading

Posted in alternatives, analysis, anthropology, books, cosmology, epistemology, history, ontology, philosophy, politics, psychology, reading, religion, resources, science, sociology, spirituality on April 13, 2007 by jtoddring

So many good books, so little time……..…but so few truly great books.

Here’s a short list – author’s picks: some of the best books and articles for both breadth and depth of awareness.

Essential readings for early 21st century human beings on this small blue speck in space.

38 books, 9 essays – one hell of a tour of human existence.

“Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.” – Henry David Thoreau

J. Todd Ring

April 2007

Links to all texts not online are listed below

Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau – full text

Necessary Illusions; Thought Control in Democratic Societies – Noam Chomsky

Year 501: The Conquest Continues – Noam Chomsky

The Dispossessed – Ursula Leguin

Stolen Continents: 500 Years of Conquest and Resistance – Ronald Wright

The Chalice and the Blade – Riane Eisler

The Ecology of Freedom – Murray Bookchin

Roads to Freedom – Bertrand Russell

Escape from Freedom – Erich Fromm

The Power Elite – C. Wright Mills

The Corporation – Joel Bakan

A History of God – Karen Armstrong

The Power of Myth – Joseph Campbell

No Boundary – Ken Wilber

Dialogues With Scientists and Sages – Renee Weber

Dreamtime and Inner Space – Holgar Kalweit

The Holographic Universe – Michael Talbot

Mysticism and the New Physics – Michael Talbot

World As Lover, World As Self – Joanna Macy

Buddha Nature: The Mahayana Uttaratantra with Commentary – Jamgon Kontrul and Khenpo Tsultrim Gyatso

The Mother of the Buddhas – Lex Hixon

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying – Sogyal Rinpoche

The Gospel of Thomas – Marvin Meyer, transl.

Tao Te Ching – Jane English, transl.

Chuang Tsu: The Inner Chapters – Gia-Fu Feng, transl.

Ralph Waldo Emerson – The Harvard Divinity School Address

Thoreau’s Walden

Tao: The Watercourse Way – Alan Watts

The Way of Zen – Alan Watts

The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are – Alan Watts

Psychotherapy East and West – Alan Watts

The Art of War – Sun Tzu (Shambhala Dragon Edition – translation matters!) The classic text on both strategy and conflict management: decidedly anti-war.

A Short History of Progress – Ronald Wright

Ancient Futures – Helena Norberg-Hodge

The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies – Richard Heinberg

Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance – Noam Chomsky

Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War – Christopher Simpson

The CIA’s Greatest Hits – Mark Zepezauer

The Threat of a Good Example – Chomsky Example Odonian

A Marxist Threat to Cola Sales?

Rollback

Drain The Swamp And There Will Be No More Mosquitoes – Chomsky

The Responsibility of Intellectuals

Scientific American Mind: The Samaritan Paradox

Their Libertarianism And Ours

Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior – Chogyam Trungpa

Where to find them:

full links below, or search with these tools

Powell’s Books

Alibris: Used, Rare & Out-of-Print Books

AbeBooks: New & Used Books, Textbooks, Rare & Out of Print Books

The Internet Classics Archive: 441 searchable works of classical literature

Internet Sacred Text Archive

Earth 101: Essential Reading

Who or what are we?

Cosmology, epistemology, ontology, philosophy
(don’t let the terms scare you)

Alibris: Dialogues with Scientists and Sages: The Search for Unity – Renee Weber

Amazon.com: Dreamtime and Inner Space: Books: Holger Kalweit

Amazon.com: The Holographic Universe: Books: Michael Talbot

Amazon.com: Mysticism and the New Physics (Arkana): Books: Michael Talbot

Amazon.com: World as Lover, World as Self: Books: Joanna Macy

Powell’s Books – The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

Powell’s Books – Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, the – Revised Edition: New Spiritual Classic from One of the Foremost Interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism by Sogyal

Buddha Nature

Amazon.com: Mother of the Buddhas: Books: Lex Hixon

The Gospel of Thomas – Marvin Meyer, transl.

Amazon.com: Tao Te Ching, 25th-Anniversary Edition: Books: Lao Tsu,Gia-Fu Feng,Jane English

Amazon.com: Chuang Tsu: Inner Chapters: Books: Gia-Fu Feng

Amazon.com: Tao: The Watercourse Way: Books: Alan Watts,Al Chung-liang Huang

Amazon.com: The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are: Books: Alan Watts

Amazon.com: The Way of Zen : Books: Alan W. Watts

Amazon.com: Psychotherapy East and West: Books: Alan W. Watts

Amazon.com: No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth: Books: Ken Wilber

The Harvard Divinity School Address, Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Amazon.com: The Portable Emerson: New Edition (Viking Portable Library): Books: Ralph Waldo Emerson,Carl Bode,Malcolm Cowley

Amazon.com: Walden: (Writings of Henry D. Thoreau): Books: Henry David Thoreau,J. Lyndon Shanley,John Updike

Amazon.com: A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Armstrong, Karen): Books: Karen Armstrong

Human Society: Understanding the Basics

Anthropology, social theory, political philosophy

Amazon.com: Civil Disobedience and Other Essays (Dover Thrift Editions): Books: Henry David Thoreau

Amazon.com: The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future: Books: Riane Eisler

Amazon.com: The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy: Books: Murray Bookchin

Amazon.com: Roads to Freedom: Socialism, Anarchism & Syndication: Books: Bertrand Russell

Amazon.com: Escape from Freedom: Books: Erich Fromm

Ancient Futures


Understanding Human Society – part two:

History, sociology, political economy

(The categories over-lap of course, both within these sections and between sections: phenomenon are non-dual, interdependent – categories are a function of thought, not actual boundaries in reality. “Naming is the mother of the ten thousand things.” – Lao Tsu)

Amazon.com: Year 501: The Conquest Continues: Books: Noam Chomsky

Amazon.com: Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies: Books: Noam Chomsky

Amazon.com: The Dispossessed: A Novel (Perennial Classics): Books: Ursula K. Le Guin

Amazon.com: The Power Elite: Books: C. Wright Mills,Alan Wolfe

Amazon.com: The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power: Books: Joel Bakan

Amazon.com: The Art of War (Shambhala Classics): Books: Sun Tzu

Amazon.com: Stolen Continents: 500 Years of Conquest and Resistance in the Americas: Books: Ronald Wright

Amazon.com: A Short History of Progress: Books: Ronald Wright

Amazon.com: The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies: Books: Richard Heinberg

Amazon.com: Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance (The American Empire Project): Books: Noam Chomsky

Amazon.com: Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War: Books: Christopher Simpson

Amazon.com: The CIA’s Greatest Hits (The Real Story Series): Books: Mark Zepezauer

Amazon.com: Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior: Books: Chogyam Trungpa

Posted in activism, corporate rule, democracy, history, labour, people's movements, politics, the world's other superpower on March 5, 2007 by jtoddring

What Must Be Done:
When corporatism and Leninism have both failed

Part One: For a future (worth living) to be possible

With the clear and accelerating hyper-concentration of power in the world, primarily via the hyper-concentration of corporate economic and financial power, which now threatens to swallow any last vestiges of democracy, freedom and human rights, we clearly need a united grassroots citizen’s movement to restore and protect the basics: democracy, fundamental human rights, and freedom. If we fail to create such a united popular force, we will see the full emergence of a global corporate feudalism – a phenomenon which is already well underway.

Serious thought and action must be directed toward creating a broad-based citizens’ coalition to defend democracy, and to create the possibility, and the actuality, of a more peaceful, just, sustainable and democratic world. In order to accomplish this, some form of federation of citizen’s movements is needed. We do not necessarily have to join or form a particular political party, nor are party politics the central issue. What is required is a citizen’s movement, broad enough, empowered enough, bold enough, and sufficiently united across its diversity, to create the kind of popular pressure and initiative that makes change happen. The great accomplishments of our collective human history have come about in this way: leadership from below. We should not expect it to be any different today.

If we look to history, who led the changes in society brought about by the civil rights movement? People like Rosa Parks, the students who started the lunch counter sit-ins, the ordinary citizens who launched the Montgomery bus boycott, and the millions of ordinary people who stood up, spoke out and created the people’s movement that led to great changes.

Who led the movement for universal suffrage? The right to vote, first by non-property owners, then by women, was not gained by a decree from on high, but by the struggles of ordinary men and women working together to create change.

Who brought down the Vietnam war fiasco? Not JFK, who launched the bombing on South East Asia, not LBJ, who stepped it up, not Nixon or Kissinger, who took the aerial bombardment to literally genocidal levels, not the corporate elite who backed, armed, and heavily profited from the venture, and not the political “leadership” of the major parties. It was the grassroots, again. It took 14 years then, before a grassroots coalition could be built strongly enough to bring the war to an end. And should there be any doubt as to how the war ended, take the statements from then National Security adviser to the U.S. government, chief intellectual-in-residence to the political power elite of the United States, Henry Kissinger. He made it clear to his boss in the White house that in order to win the war in Vietnam, more troops would have to be sent, but if more troops were sent from America, stability could not be assured at home. The crisis at home, the crisis of legitimacy brought on by this gruesome war, the crisis precipitated by a great and powerful citizen’s movement that demanded an end to this unjust and horrific war, was at a level by the mid-70’s that the war in Vietnam became unsustainable. The citizen’s movement ended the war, as Kissinger himself admitted directly.

In European and North American history, who led and ultimately succeeded in the efforts to bring about a work week that is 40 hours, and not 80 or more, as it had been? Who led and ultimately succeeded in raising wages, first above starvation levels, then above meager subsistence levels, to a point where a decent life is possible – despite the roll-backs of the last twenty years? Who led and ultimately succeeded in ending the worst workplace safety dangers – something most people take entirely for granted? Who led and ultimately succeeded in the drive for social programs to benefit the old, the poor, the ill or injured? Who led and ultimately succeeded in giving the people of the Western world the standard of living we now have? Not the unalterable laws of capitalism – the barons of capital opposed all of these initiatives. Not the political elite – the political elite opposed all of these initiatives, until the public demand for them was so powerful it could not be opposed any longer, and the political elite took credit for a concession they had fought for years, if not decades or centuries. It was primarily the labour movement, along with other popular movements, that won the people of the Western world these gains.

Who broke the back of the biggest empire the world had ever seen – the British Empire – the empire that controlled two-thirds of the globe c. 1940? Not another military superpower. Not America, the now self-proclaimed global super-cop, judge, jury and executioner, exporter of “democracy” through the barrel of a gun. Not Superman, the Lone Ranger, extraterrestrials or some other fantasy rescuer. It was one little Indian of great stature, Mahatma Gandhi, and more importantly, millions of ordinary heroes.

Who initiated, led, and brought considerable gains for the earth and humanity with the environmental movement? Again, not the political or corporate elite, who fought these initiatives tooth and claw the whole way, only to take credit for every concession that they yielded to popular pressure. To be fair, there have been and are business people and politicians who have sought and contributed to positive developments in society and in environmental protection – of course – but the initiative and the pressure, the drive and the creative force has always come, almost without exception, from below – from the people themselves. It is no different now.

The question that confronts us now is, will “the world’s other superpower” – as the business press, as well as the UN Secretary General has called the world’s citizenry – come together in sufficient unity to oppose the destruction of democracy and the earth? Is it going to be a bang, a whimper, or a shout of joy and determination that ends, not the world, but the world as it was – out of balance, out of harmony, out of time? If it is not a global citizen’s movement that is decisive in this question, then arguably it will be either a bang or a whimper. We cannot afford to let this happen. It must be a collective shout of joy, a determined and powerful “no” to violence, destruction, and the prey of the few upon the many – an emphatic “yes” to the future of life on earth. We must rally unity amid diversity now.

Part Two: What Must Be Done: When corporatism and Leninism have both failed

Posted in activism, corporate rule, democracy, history, labour, people's movements, politics, the world's other superpower on March 5, 2007 by jtoddring

What Must Be Done:
When corporatism and Leninism have both failed

Part One: For a future (worth living) to be possible

With the clear and accelerating hyper-concentration of power in the world, primarily via the hyper-concentration of corporate economic and financial power, which now threatens to swallow any last vestiges of democracy, freedom and human rights, we clearly need a united grassroots citizen’s movement to restore and protect the basics: democracy, fundamental human rights, and freedom. If we fail to create such a united popular force, we will see the full emergence of a global corporate feudalism – a phenomenon which is already well underway.

Serious thought and action must be directed toward creating a broad-based citizens’ coalition to defend democracy, and to create the possibility, and the actuality, of a more peaceful, just, sustainable and democratic world. In order to accomplish this, some form of federation of citizen’s movements is needed. We do not necessarily have to join or form a particular political party, nor are party politics the central issue. What is required is a citizen’s movement, broad enough, empowered enough, bold enough, and sufficiently united across its diversity, to create the kind of popular pressure and initiative that makes change happen. The great accomplishments of our collective human history have come about in this way: leadership from below. We should not expect it to be any different today.

If we look to history, who led the changes in society brought about by the civil rights movement? People like Rosa Parks, the students who started the lunch counter sit-ins, the ordinary citizens who launched the Montgomery bus boycott, and the millions of ordinary people who stood up, spoke out and created the people’s movement that led to great changes.

Who led the movement for universal suffrage? The right to vote, first by non-property owners, then by women, was not gained by a decree from on high, but by the struggles of ordinary men and women working together to create change.

Who brought down the Vietnam war fiasco? Not JFK, who launched the bombing on South East Asia, not LBJ, who stepped it up, not Nixon or Kissinger, who took the aerial bombardment to literally genocidal levels, not the corporate elite who backed, armed, and heavily profited from the venture, and not the political “leadership” of the major parties. It was the grassroots, again. It took 14 years then, before a grassroots coalition could be built strongly enough to bring the war to an end. And should there be any doubt as to how the war ended, take the statements from then National Security adviser to the U.S. government, chief intellectual-in-residence to the political power elite of the United States, Henry Kissinger. He made it clear to his boss in the White house that in order to win the war in Vietnam, more troops would have to be sent, but if more troops were sent from America, stability could not be assured at home. The crisis at home, the crisis of legitimacy brought on by this gruesome war, the crisis precipitated by a great and powerful citizen’s movement that demanded an end to this unjust and horrific war, was at a level by the mid-70’s that the war in Vietnam became unsustainable. The citizen’s movement ended the war, as Kissinger himself admitted directly.

In European and North American history, who led and ultimately succeeded in the efforts to bring about a work week that is 40 hours, and not 80 or more, as it had been? Who led and ultimately succeeded in raising wages, first above starvation levels, then above meager subsistence levels, to a point where a decent life is possible – despite the roll-backs of the last twenty years? Who led and ultimately succeeded in ending the worst workplace safety dangers – something most people take entirely for granted? Who led and ultimately succeeded in the drive for social programs to benefit the old, the poor, the ill or injured? Who led and ultimately succeeded in giving the people of the Western world the standard of living we now have? Not the unalterable laws of capitalism – the barons of capital opposed all of these initiatives. Not the political elite – the political elite opposed all of these initiatives, until the public demand for them was so powerful it could not be opposed any longer, and the political elite took credit for a concession they had fought for years, if not decades or centuries. It was primarily the labour movement, along with other popular movements, that won the people of the Western world these gains.

Who broke the back of the biggest empire the world had ever seen – the British Empire – the empire that controlled two-thirds of the globe c. 1940? Not another military superpower. Not America, the now self-proclaimed global super-cop, judge, jury and executioner, exporter of “democracy” through the barrel of a gun. Not Superman, the Lone Ranger, extraterrestrials or some other fantasy rescuer. It was one little Indian of great stature, Mahatma Gandhi, and more importantly, millions of ordinary heroes.

Who initiated, led, and brought considerable gains for the earth and humanity with the environmental movement? Again, not the political or corporate elite, who fought these initiatives tooth and claw the whole way, only to take credit for every concession that they yielded to popular pressure. To be fair, there have been and are business people and politicians who have sought and contributed to positive developments in society and in environmental protection – of course – but the initiative and the pressure, the drive and the creative force has always come, almost without exception, from below – from the people themselves. It is no different now.

The question that confronts us now is, will “the world’s other superpower” – as the business press, as well as the UN Secretary General has called the world’s citizenry – come together in sufficient unity to oppose the destruction of democracy and the earth? Is it going to be a bang, a whimper, or a shout of joy and determination that ends, not the world, but the world as it was – out of balance, out of harmony, out of time? If it is not a global citizen’s movement that is decisive in this question, then arguably it will be either a bang or a whimper. We cannot afford to let this happen. It must be a collective shout of joy, a determined and powerful “no” to violence, destruction, and the prey of the few upon the many – an emphatic “yes” to the future of life on earth. We must rally unity amid diversity now.

Part Two: What Must Be Done: When corporatism and Leninism have both failed

%d bloggers like this: