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Think (Nonviolent) Revolution

December 19, 2016

And have we truly come to that point? Why yes, we have.

The alternatives are forms of irresponsibility, by which I mean inability to respond adequately, both positively to pain and need, and negatively to persons among us who are happy to serve their own interests at the extreme cost of others’ well-being: we can choose blindness, resignation, acquiescent decline, and cooperation in our own destruction—destruction of our loved ones, friends, neighbors, and others (persons and other beings) with whom we share this country and the planet.

Each of those alternatives is a colossal failure of our imaginations, personal and collective. With each, we give over our imaginations of the nature of being, spirituality, morality, and the good life, to a small but remarkably powerful minority of persons whose visions are inspired by egotism and greed, and at worst by evil—which they are willing, in their grandeur and banality, to enact.

This is where we are, the moment to which the plotline has been brought by Republican plotting, during more than sixty years since, for instance, the Joe McCarthy witch hunts and blacklists (1950), and the founding of the John Birch Society (1958, incl. Fred Koch) [see below], through Watergate, the Southern Strategy, and the “Reagan Revolution” (yep *). We have also been brought here by assassinations of liberal leaders, and by the Democratic Party’s Clintonite decision to buy into the Reaganite vision of the virtues of wealth and the wealthy.

Where are we?

[1] The climate of the planet to which we have adjusted our being for millions of years is on track to produce conditions that do not support human (or other) life as we have known it. Things will be bad.

[2] The Republican Party, the party of the aristocratic philosophy of governance, has achieved, by steadily diminishing our democracy, the ability to reduce it to name only, replacing it with minority rule.

[3] The super wealthy few control so much of the total wealth that they can buy anything, even our lives. And they do. That’s the nature of power and privilege in a society that measures value in dollars.

[4] The financial resources of the bottom 50% of the U S population has been stagnant since about 1970, and the wealth of the next 40-45% is declining. The super wealthy have moved, consciously, to reduce the financial resources of the middle class to the point at which it does not pose a threat to their control of society; and they have succeeded to the point where there is no longer a pool of middle class financial wealth that is large enough to hold the super wealthy few in political check. The conditions of life for millions of people are bottoming out. More of us are scheduled to follow them down.

In these circumstances, as Richard Eskow (for instance) explains, “resistance” is necessary but insufficient. It’s a defensive action, when we need to go on the offense.

We have to give a lot of thought to the forms that our nonviolent, political and cultural revolution can take. I think that, for one, we have to move swiftly to turn the Dem Party into the Progressive Dem Party. The current Dem Establishment is not inclined to deal with [1 – 4], because they believe that their interests are best served by alliance with the super wealthy within the Reaganite vision of how the world works. A major example is their presidential campaign failure to imagine the plight of many working class families in the Industrial Midwest (as Keith Ellison reminds us it should be called), their failure to enter into conversation with those families about disappointment, resentment, and desperate desire for change. (Such desperation, with help from Republicans, can make fools of a lot of people.) Another example is the Dem Establishment’s inability to imagine an issue-oriented (see [1-4]) political identity that cuts across stereotyped social identities, and that can unite and motivate many millions of voters, regardless of stereotypes and prejudices, with a positive, people-powered vision of change and the shared, common needs of the good life.

I should think we’ll have to do things that show the strength of numbers of determined souls. We’ll have to throw wrenches (as Thoreau would put it) into the fascist machinery.

Frankly, when I began this narrative, in December 2014 (not realizing, on that day, that I was beginning a novel), I knew things were interesting, and I suspicioned some possibility for psychological realism (in and out of magical realism), but I didn’t realize—I failed to imagine—that the plot would become this exciting. In my hormonal tilt towards optimism, I thought we could hold off the dark, albeit with a sometimes desperate struggle, even deaths. I just thought the inner light, democracy and all, would be strong enough. We’d be okay.

And now for a prediction: If we don’t get our revolutionary act together, in 2020 or 24 we’ll elect our first woman president of these disunited states, Ivanka Trump. I see it in her eyes. Her Highness.

* We’ve had the FDR genuine revolution against the plutocratic Republican business elite of the ‘20s, then the “Reagan Revolution,” as the Republicans call it, which has actually been a long reactionary counter-revolution against the FDR vision and policies, and now the Trump Plutocratic coup, first within the Republican party and now the nation. Looks like, given the enormity of the problems that we face, we need another FDR-style, progressive revolution.

[Update same day:  Speaking of Trump and the JBS.]

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