Monday, June 15, 2015

The "R" Word is Out

On the day that OEN published Chris Hedges piece entitled "We are in a revolutionary moment”  if you had been watching RT you would have seen the protesters outside the German venue of the G-7 Summit holding up big signs calling for Revolution against Capitalism and Globalization.  I believe this is the first time international protesters have explicitly called for revolution. Until now, their slogans have reflected the conventional wisdom of most of the left, that the system could be fixed. That American policy-makers would somehow realize that private-public cooperation makes for a wealthier polity, that the social-democracy that gave Europeans such a high standard of living was not the enemy of business and should be emulated rather than overthrown.

It is no coincidence that the call for Revolution should be going out now.  Since the 2008 economic crisis which I believe specifically targeted the European welfare state, the global economic situation has not improved: the smaller and southern countries of the EU are still mired in high levels of unemployment, as governments increasingly privatize sectors that were well-run by governments or government/private entities.  These changes are not being reported in the American press, nor have Americans been told of the many key sectors of Europe’s economy in which governments were heavily involved, such as education and health care. Most utilities were also run by join government/private entities, and the austerity programs imposed on the EU by the world economic organization have included their privatization, to the detriment of the populations they are intended to serve.

A few days ago RT did a short feature on a German university that has welcomed 4,000 American students to its post-graduate courses taught in English. Education is not only free for Germans and other members of the European Union, in Germany it is now also free for students from other parts of the world.  Across the EU, college tuition has always been minimal, making it for all intents and purposes, free.

Paraphrasing a comment to Chris Hedges’ article yesterday: 

<blockquote>Even as Chris publishes Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt, demonstrators at the G7 about to meet in Germany are calling for revolution. This is the first time I have seen this reported, and as a Senior Editor at, I watch international news channels all day. Besides condemning capitalism and globalization, demonstrators are holding signs calling for revolution. Of course, these things happen more easily in Europe, because there is a high level of ideological literacy there, even among the young.  America has Black Lives Matter but the long tail of McCarthyism has prevented minority movements from assimilating two hundred years of revolutionary discourse.</blockquote>

The reason why, as the G-7 gets under way - a prelude to the Bilderberg conference coming up, where the real decisions are taken - it’s still the Europeans who are carrying water for the American left is not just because Americans have to buy a transatlantic ticket to join the action. Sadly bereft of ideological underpinnings, the American left is still drawn to the daily charade over an election that is almost a year and a half away, instead of gearing up for resistance to an over-armed state which is in fact a subsidiary of the military/industrial/financial complex. The Hillaries and Bernies, the Ricks (Santorum and Perry) and the Walkers, Bush-maybe-three and presidential poster-child Marco Rubio, still in my view most likely to walk away with the Republican nomination based on his youth, energy and dazzling smile that will make Hillary look like a dowager, already dominate the news, while Ukraine comes closer to bankruptcy or all-out war, (the latter saving it from the former) and the US Navy tries to persuade the world that it should decide what goes on in the South China Sea.

The American Declaration of Independence is the only document I know of that specifically authorizes ‘the people’ to take matters into their own hands and replace a government that does not serve their interests. But that was our earliest founding document, and those that followed  - the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and other amendments - walked back its revolutionary message. 

Whatever happens from here on in, however long it takes for a world revolutionary situation to emerge, this weekend marks the watershed moment when McCarthyism was finally buried, and activists no longer hesitated to brandish the word ‘Revolution’. In terms of public figures, Chris Hedges, the former seminarian turned foreign correspondent, was not alone in using the ‘R’ word; he was preceded by Pope Frances who after rehabilitating liberation theology, ( condemned the atmosphere of war that prevails in the world.

As I’ve written before, physics has something called the arrow of time, which is irreversible. When a process gains a certain momentum, it cannot be stopped, much less reversed: it continues until it reaches a bifurcation point, thence to a new level of civilization which can be either higher or lower. Whether it will lead to a more equitable regime, or terror, the number of people driving the system toward a bifurcation appear to have given it sufficient impetus to continue in its forward trajectory.

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