After the Revolution: Searching for a Messiah

As the citizens of the world, newly enlightened through the advent of ubiquitous digital media and champions of free speech and transparency such as WikiLeaks, Anonymous, Antisec, et al., begin to rise up against their exploiters and oppressors, the question of alternatives to the status quo is becoming the focal point of conversation. What next? We can see the wrongness of the current system but feasible alternatives are becoming the fertile ground for new conflict that threatens the success of the revolution.

The world has never seen such an empire of States and corporations, old money and new. Ancient European dynasties and new corporations break bread with dictators, international banking cartels, and the political elite that prop up the illusion of democracy. As Gilbert Mercier has explained, the beast of capitalism is a Hydra, a multi-headed heartless beast.  Each head is more than willing to eat the others. The only shared goal is profit, and the only conspiracy is one of greed.

As complex as the French Revolution was, involving the church, the monarchy, and the lesser nobility, let alone individual players, it pales by comparison to the complexity of the challenge humanity faces today in pursuit of emancipation. The American war of independence from the British crown is equally simplistic in comparison to the intricacies and sophistication of our modern dilemma. And, just as there is an entirely new, completely unrecognizable form of subjugation, with all new actors, factors, technologies, and methodologies, the solutions must also be new.

Many are hoping for change within the current system through either a tweak of the way they are ruled, or hope for a kinder, gentler ruler to come along for them to “elect.” In America, some Democrats become Progressives and some Republicans become TEA Partiers, and in the end everything remains the same.  Taking a different position on the same field of play, when all the rules remain the same, will not change the outcome of the game. In Egypt, and Tunisia, where the citizens are back in the streets, they can tell you how futile such reforms are.

The world held its breath when Obama was elected. People truly believed that he would bring real fundamental change, as he promised. Three years later, as broadening wealth inequality spreads around the globe like a plague, and the very few rich get even richer while the masses become increasingly homeless and hungry, the harsh reality that salvation cannot come from any party or individual leader is starting to take hold in people’s consciousness.   A change of the actors in a play does not result in a different ending.

The need for change is clear.  The courage to make change is growing.  Camps are already forming. People are joining teams. Marxists, Trotskyists, Anarchists, Libertarians, and every other past model and theory is being pulled off the shelf and dusted off as a potential road map for a post-predatory capitalism future. But, just as we cannot effect real change within the confines of the status quo, we cannot move forward by trying to rewrite the past.

A preconceived agenda will not champion a successful future.  We must enter into this challenge with open minds, filled only with the principles that we want our political structure, not only to reflect, but also to nurture.  Whatever political system(s) is chosen, it must be built on principles such as equality, justice, sustainability, and emancipation, not on the failed ideologies of different, yet oppressive systems. Past models and failed experiments — which is all the past has to offer — must be treated as nothing more than learning experiences.

If there is going to be any real, lasting change, it must begin from within. Gilbert writes;

This year some positive changes are occurring in the global consciousness: Arabs are challenging the power of corrupt autocratic rulers across the Middle East, protests are spreading in Europe within Greece, Spain, and now London. Activists are reaching across country boundaries to join forces and define common goal. Some are talking about the need for a global revolution. However, we can only challenge the order of a ruthless, amoral, “dog eat dog” mentality that is our global reality, by having a revolution within ourselves. We must change our own psychology, otherwise we will never make lasting progress in a global consciousness where brutality, selfishness, corruption and amorality are the real driving forces of social success.”

We must first address our personal reliance on, and inability to see beyond, the hierarchical systems we impose on ourselves.  Monarchs and lords of the past have been replaced by modern states and corporations. As long as we choose to remain the subjects, the “children,” of others, we will be the victims of their choices, and will never have the power to deal with the challenges we face. If we want to address the environment, education, and health care, and myriad other urgent issues, we must become the adults and reclaim not only power, but also responsibility. Emancipation will not come from those who crave to rule over others.

There is no magic bullet. There is no secret formula. Just as there is no instruction manual as we become adults individually, there will not be one as we do this as a global society. We must rely on the fundamentals we’ve learned from our mistakes growing up, and the principles we’ve developed and articulated in the Universal declaration of Human Rights, as a guide to build on towards maturity.

As children, we all needed someone there to save us, often times from ourselves. As adults who face serious threats to our continued survival, we no longer have this luxury. The only place we will find our messiah is in the mirror.


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