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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12 Responses to After the Revolution: Searching for a Messiah

  1. Colin Mackay August 18, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Liam, might I suggest the starting point is the establishment of a set of governing principles. These principles should be the subject of extensive, public debate. It is however important to realise any such principles are in and of themselves controversial. This will lead to division within the emergent leadership and the underlying population. Suffice it to say that, inclusion in any group should stem from a willing acceptance of the first principles. An absolute divide when considering competing idealology’s. For me, I will not willingly submit to any government which is non secular.

    • Liam August 19, 2011 at 5:30 am

      Agreed. Non-sectarian is key to peaceful, rational, emancipation. I suggested the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a potential for guiding principles. Is this along the lines of what you are thinking, or were you thinking more in terms of the mechanics of some sort of governance to agree on? The mechanics must be built on, an can only be given credibility and validity, if they follow and are completely in line with the principles.

  2. Colin Mackay August 18, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    My point I guess is that these issues should be addressed before the revolution.

    • Liam August 19, 2011 at 5:35 am

      Agreed, that would be wonderful. But, revolutions have a way of taking on a life of their own, and, with the current rise of economic strife, and disempowerment of the masses, and the subsequent uprisings, globally, we may already be playing catch-up. It’s time to start identifying and articulating those principles to provide a good foundation for the future, before we get stuck in the same ruts that exist now.

  3. Arbed August 19, 2011 at 1:42 am

    Intelligent and thought-provoking article, thanks. It reminds me of what Julian Assange said about politics of every persuasion being redundant until we find out how the world actually works in reality – I guess we’re in that process now – then we can formulate the best approach. As a building-block for looking within to find the kind of maturity, responsibility and empowerment you mention I like the Japanese concept of ‘esho funi’ – the oneness of self and environment – which posits that just as our environment affects each of us on a subjective level, so too we each affect, create even, our own environment through our actions, beliefs and attitudes. If we want to see a change in our world we must therefore change something within first.

  4. anonymous_coward August 19, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Naive. Keep your utopia for yourself. You are simply replacing one overlord with another where you are the arbiter.

    • Liam Fox August 19, 2011 at 10:37 am

      Wow, all of it just went completely over your head, didn’t it.

  5. the_alternative August 19, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Hi guys, there is a saner alternative. Google “Resource Based Economy” and read for yourself, on a rational and resource based approach to organizing our societies.

    • Liam Fox August 19, 2011 at 10:35 am

      Very true. A search of ‘PARECON’ will bring up some interesting reading as well.

  6. Alex August 19, 2011 at 10:59 am

    “Marxists, Trotskyists, Anarchists, Libertarians”

    That doesn’t make much sense to me. There was never a “Trotskyist” country, there was a Trotskyist movement, and Trotsky was influential in the early days of the Red Army and the USSR, but he was assassinated by Stalin’s guys to prevent him from attaining any real power. To date, Trotskyism has been more about communist opposition to Stalinism and degenerate worker states (like the USSR).

    As for “Marxism”, there was never really a “Marxist” country, either. The USSR was originally Leninist, which itself was relatively more liberal than Stalinism (the USSR was originally ruled through an almost syndicalist system of worker co-ops/communes) , but Stalin’s nationalism and deal-making set it quite apart from the Hegelian tradition of Marxism.

    Blaming Marx for Stalinism seems a bit like blaming Jesus for modern-day child molestation scandals in the Catholic church. If anything, his theories regarding capitalism are more relevant than ever before, and Marxism — stripped of post-Marxist ideas that were added due to the specific material conditions of the early 20th century — is still as viable as ever.

  7. Jaydubbia August 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    You made some great points, Liam. I’ve become more and more disillusioned with capitalism as time goes on. Largely because money has inevitably corrupted the democratic capitalist/socialist system. This includes the legislative and judicial branches…and, given how much money it takes to be elected to the presidency, the executive as well. Change is afoot…but it will be fought tooth and nail by the powers that be (read: big money). What I would like to read more about is HOW the power could be fought effectively – because money is smart…and it finds many ways to absorb, corrupt, or co-opt any threats to it. I’ve increasingly heard talk such as yours – but it is a very minor threat to them at this point.
    On the other hand…all great things start as small things.

  8. apathy_avenger August 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    This is a great, thought provoking piece. Revolution is necessary and eminent. Anti-capitalism has dressed in the sheep’s clothing to limit the playing field of monetary control and its power. The survival instincts of the many will deliver the thousand paper cuts necessary to slay this dragon.

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