29 September 2014

Who's Gonna Stand Up?

I'm feeling pretty despondent lately about the future.  I'm losing faith in democracy as a means to govern in the best interests of the majority of society. 

Majority rule, government of the people, by the people and for the people, is one of the most basic ideas behind our republic, but I feel that certain more dedicated and organized groups are gaming the democratic system to not only work it to their own benefit, but to make it so that even when the majority is organized against them, it cannot wield any power.  It's one thing to feel depressed over an inability to create an electoral majority, but it is another entirely to feel that even if you can, it will be made impotent by a minority dedicated to thwarting it or scuttling the entire system to prevent progress and change.

When you lose faith in the system, you look to other means, and working outside of the law necessarily involves use of force and threats of violence.  This, of course, is against everything I stand for on the most fundamental level, and I fear that even entertaining such extrajudicial measures undermines my political philosophy with such hypocrisy that the philosophy itself loses integrity.

But how do you convince your fellows of your positions using logic, when the positions they hold are not based in logic in the first place?  How do you engage in non-violent protest when the people you are fighting have no qualms about doing violence to you, and the people you are trying to win to your side have no consciences about seeing the weak and innocent attacked and harmed?

Ever since the 60s, the left has had a severe political disadvantage.  The right does not FEAR us, because we believe in peaceful change and appeals to conscience and to reason.  The right may fear the changes we advocate, because those are a threat to their worldview and power structure, but they do not fear US, or our ability to enact those changes because they are willing to sink lower and use tactics and methods that we consider ourselves beyond and above.

There was a time when the rich and powerful feared the working classes.  We were unwashed barbarians, under the spell of socialism, and we could become violent at any moment in a mob frenzy and put all the oligarchs to the guillotine.  They don't fear us anymore.  Now we're just a bunch of dirty hippies camping out, smoking weed and banging drums.  They make fun of us from their office windows and then sent their police to pepper spray and disburse us. They don't fear the destruction of their property or a few thrown stones at their Pinkertons either. That just plays as "looters and rioters" on the tv news, and it keeps the fearful people on the oligarchs' side, especially if the protesters are black or Hispanic or weird looking hippies.  The oligarchs have secured themselves to such an extent that they will not fear unless it is their very bodies that are threatened, and they are locked behind doors and fences with guns and guards to prevent that ever happening.

No entrenched power has ever voluntarily relinquished any of its strength without at least the implicit THREAT of violence, and today there is no such threat.  So they push their advantages further and further with each passing year, with no fear that there will ever even be resistence, much less a counter offensive.  The pendulum will not be swinging back our way, because they have rigged the pendulum and are pushing and pulling it their way.  Eventually, they'll just break it off and we won't even know that the system has been permanently taken.

I firmly believe that there is no problem that cannot be solved by the people acting together in concert.  We lack only the political will to do these things.  Most of the problems we face today have KNOWN SOLUTIONS, but there are entrenched powers that are working against the solutions, either because of greed, or because of fear or ignorance.  Poverty and the slide of the middle class into subsistence living is not an accident, and it could be reversed easily through economic and tax policy prioritization, but it will not happen in any political environment I can foresee.

We do not have forever to fix some of these things. Climate change will not wait for consensus, nor even for the market, and it certainly isn't going to wait for a democratic government being stymied by an entire political party.  I am ashamed to say that I want to see those people wiped away, but I fear that it may be humanity's only chance to avoid a horrific future. 

I wish I believed that God was coming to smite the evil people of the world, or to divinely inspire humanity to a spiritual transformation to a better, more just and peaceful society.  But I don't.  What I see is a worldwide bifurcation occurring between those who want to make a better world for the future, and those who want to return to an imaginary past that never was, and I see no way to drag those reactionaries into the future, even if the futurists had vast majorities, which we do not.  I would love for there to be a major evolutionary event that would end the lines of the reactionaries, but I don't see that without a worldwide civil war with unimaginable bloodshed and trauma.
So I watch, and hope, without much reason to hope.  Who do the Giants play this weekend?

1 comment:

  1. Punk - we know the pain. But it's all about me & you -- not them & us. Last we checked, it seems that some of our friends are standing up. For example, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZASMupO5Bvg
    or http://neilyoungnews.thrasherswheat.org/2014/09/fan-video-whos-gonna-stand-up-and-save.html