Radical Change is Taking Place Whether We Like It Or Not
“We visualize it, imagine it, and think that it’s not going to happen, and it’s happening.” Yoko Ono
Capitol’s apologists are paradoxically joined by many of its critics in seeming unity of belief that there is no chance or need for change. Driven by despair, many assume that either the end is near or that it will await their demise before things get so bad they can’t get worse. This is understandable as we experience an almost endless loop of bad news about everything, along with a political system that offers a choice between polio or cancer every election day with no seeming hope for ending the disease. Luckily, there are more who see change as not only inevitable but absolutely necessary for survival and they are doing all they can to bring it about, no matter how our ruling minority’s media and political servants act to the contrary or some left critics insist it’s ineffective or even hopeless.
As America enters the early stages of a presidential campaign to reduce thoughtful people to more weeping and gnashing of teeth than biblical believers can imagine, other nations are moving from our form of political hypocrisy to a real experience of political democracy. And even some in the USA are responding to the need for substantial change, with citizen movements toward taking control from minority wealth to make majority rule a reality.
While nations like Greece and Spain take new party action in the face of brutally imposed austerity and greater inequality than ever, cities in the USA like Richmond, California vote for progressives despite millions spent against them by fossil fuel fundamentalism and Seattle elects a radical socialist to its city council. And there is already a socialist contesting the coronation of another Clinton in the Democratic primary. This is hardly a revolution, but it’s far more potential reform than the nation has seen in more than a generation.
Meanwhile, despair is fed by the U.S. owner minority’s government and media as more unrest is promised in propaganda wars against Russia and China that could turn into military action if the slack jawed warlords in Washington continue manipulating a dwindling congregation of true believers among their captive public. And the total lack of confidence in and growing criticism of the government is also coming from a resurgent right conservative wing which is sometimes more irrational than what it criticizes but often makes some of what passes for a left seem moderate and even irrelevant by comparison.
While the danger to humanity is greater than ever, so are the possibilities for success that remain less visible on the global stage due to the source of that danger; the stage is owned, controlled and the actors directed by capital’s forces of economic and environmental destruction that benefit most from everyone else’s loss.
Renewed efforts to socially democratize instead of ending capitalism, whether in Greece, Spain, Scotland, Seattle, Richmond or hundreds of other places, should be seen as positive and not simply negated by those who’ve experienced such efforts before and understand they are not enough. They should also understand that what went before also wasn’t enough. This time, the efforts are much broader, involve greater numbers of people, and even if seemingly not visible in some locales are global as much as national. And these efforts, whether to raise taxes on the rich, pay higher minimum wages, open the electoral process to new parties, free Palestinians from colonial domination or create public banks, to name only a few, are not exclusively aimed at the effects of private capital control but also at the cause of those effects. They are politically democratizing steps in seemingly isolated places that represent humanity’s march toward a far more social economy to replace the anti-social profiteering that makes a minority rich beyond belief while impoverishing and destroying more of the world each day.
And real democracy will be needed to end the environmental fanaticism that is being confronted by citizens, some of whom may be in capitalism denial while accusing others of climate change denial, but are still battling against a major menace to humanity and taking us all in the direction of salvation and away from destruction.
Still lacking a solidarity that crosses lines of reductionist, identitarian and forced minority action, there is need for united political organization in the scattered movements for change that are more numerous and militant that at any time since the sixties and in many cases far more conscious of global rather than simply local problems. But whether they are moves for separatism in Scotland or Black lives Matter in the USA or indigenous people’s demands for protection of Mother Earth everywhere, there are signs of growth in not just the numbers but the consciousness of single issue groups that offer strong possibility that awareness of humanity’s common condition will overwhelm falsely created divisions in ethnicity, religion, culture, or worst and dumbest of all, race.
And what’s most important to remember, especially for those who criticize and sell the new movement short, is that for all the alleged past successes, they were all simply social democratic and never did a thing to really change capitalism. And with military “advisors” being sent to Iraq, military patrols in the South China Sea insisting China has no right to be there and NATO puppets lining up to screech in unison that Russia is threatening the USA by resisting warrior states on its border, the mental capacity of the profiteers is becoming very much like that of rats on a sinking ship. Unity among advocates of radical change was never more vitally needed and while constructive criticism is always necessary, destructive carping about theory can only lead to more of the defeated practice of the past. Wake up and smell the present reforms, people; they are numerous enough to suggest revolution, but it will need constructive criticism, not the other kind.