Monday, October 20, 2014

Start Thinking About the Next Society. This One Has About Had It.

I'm with Chris Hedges.  We are sorely in need of revolutionary change.  It's come to the point where we have to kick over the traces if we're to have any hope of reclaiming democracy and salvaging a liveable world for our grandchildren.

For me, the straw that broke the camel's back was the report last week that we have lost half the planet's wild life over the last 40-years.  Such an unbelievably brief interval to have caused such devastation.

I predicted at the time that the report would be forgotten, consigned down the memory hole, within a week and that is precisely what has occurred.  Our political caste has treated the whole business as a non-event.  It's not even on their radar.

If we can be so complacent about the loss of half the world's wild life in just 40-years, what does this portend for the remaining half?  What is our tipping point for biodiversity collapse?  How vulnerable is our civilization, how fragile are we?

A lot of people have no clue how dependent mankind is on biodiversity.  We don't grasp how interconnected the species are and how the loss of part of our biodiversity ripples through every other species.

We lose the pollinators, we starve en masse.  Plain as day.  Without the bees and other insect pollinators plants don't reproduce.  That includes all the plants that we feed on.  Predator species keep pests and disease at bay.  Lose enough of them and your life will become very different very rapidly.

We're facing an extraordinary, immediate and potentially existential threat and all our political caste can do is yawn - and preen.  And that's just one threat, one of several.

Making the country work for Canadians is more than tweaking tax policy even if neoliberals don't see it that way.  It's about building a society that is as robust and cohesive as possible.  That means countering the forces that corrode social cohesion - inequality, authoritarianism, corporatism.  Make no mistake, these are forces that degrade our democracy and there are a good many within our political caste who are just fine with that.

Our political apparatus is no longer responsive to the needs of our people and the future needs of our nation.  Biodiversity, who cares?  Inequality, sure we'll get right on that.  Climate change, we get it but just not now.  The death of democratic press freedom?  Next.

Perhaps you're a true believer who thinks all Canada needs is new management - i.e. your party in power - and all will be right.  I'll tell you what I believe.  I believe that's delusional thinking.  Rubbish, utter nonsense.  The best we can hope for out of the New Democrats or Liberals is government "less worse" than the Harper Conservatives and that's still no damned good for us, our grandkids and our Canada.


Anonymous said...

Hoping for a common sense revolution is giving the electorate way too much credit as most are cretins that only think of their needs.

Even supporters of so-called socialist parties like the NDP are only advancing their beliefs.

While the NDP or Liberals maybe "less worse", they are still completely inept.

The Mound of Sound said...

If we don't have a mass movement, Anon, the default option, chaos, will most likely prevail. Populism has flourished, almost out of nothing, before and it can again. The public needs to become fed up and I fear the opposition parties serve to distract and divert effort from fundamental change.

Lorne said...

I read your post and the original piece by Chris Hedges, Mound. While I agree everything you and he are saying, and the need for urgent action is incontestable, most people need a little time to breathe, to regain at least a modicum of perspective, and that cannot happen while Harper is in power. The other two may be only nominally less worse, but getting rid of Harper still has to be the first order of business. While I realize there are many arguments against simply replacing the dictator, I don't see any other feasible starting point.

The Mound of Sound said...

I do have your point, Lorne, but I think that motivating a mass movement for change of this magnitude is going to be far harder to accomplish with the NDP or Liberals in power.

We associate both parties with some degree of progressivism, the NDP in particular but that was the legacy version of these parties, not the current iteration. Today their progressive mantle is a false flag.

No one likes the pressure of Harper's relentless abuses but, absent that, I think Canadian society will succumb to complacency until we're overtaken by events.

You're right, there is no other feasible option but it's best not to consider it a "starting point."

As I read Naomi Klein's book, or the insights of John Raulston Saul or Hedges, I'm struck by how alien their thinking would seem to many of us who are disengaged, wrapped up in the cocoon of "protective stupidity" Harper has spun for them. Being incapable of acting by virtue of conditioning they're effectively neutralized, each a small victory for neoliberals and the status quo.

Eventually there will be some seismic event which the public will not be able to ignore. If we're extremely lucky it will happen quickly, while there's still time to act. That's remote at best. Far more likely we'll be in the same position as the 3-pack a day smoker deciding to quit after getting the lung cancer diagnosis.

It's interesting when you consider that the views of Saul and Wolin, quoted by Hedges in the post "The Imperative of Revolt", go to the preservation of democracy and the defence of democratic freedom against neoliberal feudalism.

If we can't rise up in defence of our democracy, our political and economic liberty, what chance must we have of acting in defence of our environment and society? Our failure to act on one narrows our chances of meeting any of the others.