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Is The Revolution Possible?

chicago dyke's picture

In addition to the rising price of bread and letters de cachet, 'tax farming' is what caused the French Revolution. This isn't new in this country, but it is spreading and it's one of the reasons why I call it "the Predatory State." But is it enough?

You probably know what I think. Unless and until people can no longer afford cable TV, happy pills, and HFCS junk foods, there will be no Revolution in this country. What do you think?

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Submitted by libbyliberal on

CD, High Fat Carbs Sugar?

I have authoritarian follower ostrich neurosis when it comes to BIG SPECTER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS. It takes a lot to feel entitled and empowered to fight back. IRS has intimidated for years. Once made a mistake on a return and they were not kind.

I was trying to pass out Green leaflets outside another midtown bookstore yesterday and except for a sympathetic hot dog vendor no one would take one. Even less people acknowledged me or the word Green (though I still figure my being there and saying the word Green is planting a seed and role modeling someone doing something). Now it was a windy day and when I faced myself in a bathroom mirror when I got to work my hair looked absolutely witchy so maybe that didn't help my appeal :) (must comb out just before leafletting from now on), but it was disheartening.

Some people walk by and say "I'm good" and pat their hand in the air. At least they acknowledge me and that is polite rejection slang. I know I don't readily get involved with those on street corners passing out stuff or even recruiting for noble causes sometimes either, but when they say "I'm good!" I want to scream back, 'NO, YOU ARE SOOOO NOT GOOD!!!! WE ARE IN SUCH BIG TROUBLE! WHY DON'T YOU GET IT?" Of course, the people with the net would probably come after me if I started doing this. I just say, "Vote the Green Party. The Party of Integrity!" The ratio of people plugged in to their ipods or talking on cell phones is so high. Doesn't anyone keep their heads where their feet actually are any more?

Predatory state says it well. In France it is the youths and their movement who are really putting themselves physically out there and over the increased work age to 62. I am impressed that they are willing to fight NOW for that erosion when it impacts oldsters and they are years away.

I know in the sixties we had voices of conscience set to music like Seeger and Dylan and PP&M and Baez and so many others. The folk music that was so touching and real and optimistic in its vulnerability. Now there are so many artists though the oldies still tell their messages.

I still feel once the hundredth proverbial monkey gets it the entire monkey nation will get it. Many people had a dress rehearsal of spirit when Obama won, lining up to be led by a leader with heart and of the people. Tragically it was a false alarm. But despite toxic media and toxic pols there was a heart chord struck in the people. Yearning to be led by someone with conscience, so spiritually sickened by the Bush years especially. Hard for me to forgive Obama for playing Lucy and the football on that level with so many .... and escalating the motivation to return to American numb out.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

street work is the hardest. Years ago I stood outside of a grocery store passing out leaflets for Democratic candidates. Very few people took them or gave me good feedback. This was in a precinct that carried for the candidates by an overwhelming margin.

Human beings are social creatures and they need to see other signs of support before they feel comfortable supporting a candidate or joining a movement, that is why emergent party work is so very difficult. Console yourself with the knowledge that you have made a beginning.

I have thought a revolution was on its way anytime since the impeachment. I have spent more time with people this summer and autumn and less time online, and have a more balanced view. People are angry as never before, but they are not quite ready for revolution. Moreover the powers that be understand there is a rising tide of anger and have been remarkably successful in the use of strategically managed hate to divert people's anger. While the left recognizes it, it has not countered it successfully yet.

Students of Crain Brinton have known we are in a pre-revoluntionary state for quite some time.

The people are not ready, they won't be ready by 2012. The earliest I see it happening is 2016. Much will depend on how third party candidates do between now and then.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

DC, thanks. Only have a sec but glad I caught this. Your wisdom and good will. I will have to explore your link later. Thank you!!!!

It is sobering to be out there walking the walk. Talking the talk is really important, too, and a kind of walking the walk. But walking the walk IRL with the people is "sobering". The invalidators and the indifferents and the encouragers as they stream by. And it does take a faith in the scope of this marathon and the "seed planting of grassroots participatory democracy." And the serenity of the long time activists inspires me. They are out of the sophomoric anger that I lapse into and know the real deal. And have commitment and staying power. People in my own life listen to a degree but some consider this my personal hobby, this political interest, as if it has nothing to do with their lives. And I am a bit too intense with it, btw. Concern for MY off-balancedness, I suspect. And I am off-putting to them at times, or else I surrender and stop trying because of my own discomfort.

That old story about the guy who stands on a street corner for years pleading with people about how corrupt the world is and people pass by unheeding. Finally someone stops and says, "Clearly no one is paying much attention. Why do you still do this?" He says, "When I started I did it to change them. Now I do it so they won't change me."

Another good story about Thoreau being visited by Emerson when he was jailed. Emerson called into the cell, "Henry, what are you doing in there?" And Thoreau replied back, "Ralph, what are you doing out there?"

I know, DC, I am committed to work to plant the Green seed for this election but I am hoping to unseat Obama with a third party person in 2012. Not quite ready yet to give that up but your long-range thinking helps me. Before I hit the street I figured if I embraced the Greens, well, c'mon rest of world. And then I get a profound "reality check" and must adjust. Shut up my own ego-driven and narcissistic will, I guess, and humbly try to stay a part of the solution and not the problem. Focus on myself as they say, my side of the street to keep inventorying. I see how it is the enablers of the power-addicts that are our real challenge. And America is working its way out of the 5 stages of grief post Obama campaign.

Submitted by Fran on

they are personally 'suffering'. Human nature I guess.

Standing out there in the cold alone takes a lot of energy. I used to do it, but it was always with a friend. She was the experienced one. btw, she has told me that you get much more feel for the anger in the street than you would think from the news reports, etc.

It's hard because schools don't really teach history or civics anymore, and the newspapers don't do much in-depth reporting. (Not everyone gets their news online.)

I cannot afford cable, so that must be why I am ready.

Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on

Interesting questions, C.D. I'm actually a bit worried that when the "revolution" comes - as it inevitably will if the raping and pillaging of the middle class and poor continues - it won't really look like what we're hoping for.

In my fantasy revolution, it's those responsible for the destruction of the middle class who suffer the consequences.

In reality, the MOTU have already successfully turned the middle class into a circular firing squad.

The revolution, when it happens, will simply turn into one of the nastiest race wars in the history of the human race.

Everybody's got guns. And everybody's just gonna shoot who doesn't look like them.

Submitted by weldon on

When unemployment doubles and a sufficient number of people can no longer afford a roof and we're officially in a depression, we might see some rumblings. Most people who suffer are afraid to do anything that might lead to more suffering. The more they lose, the more tightly they hold on to what they have left, and really, one can't blame them. This country has a very limited tradition of mass action, and what there once was of it was driven by labor, in the early part of last century, and students in that brief Vietnam moment.

Other countries still have powerful unions along with students who are willing to take to the streets. We don't have that anymore. And even in those other countries, notably France and Greece at the moment, serious disruptions aren't accomplishing much with respect to reining in the state.

So I'm not optimistic in the near term, and the thought of people suffering the degree of pain that could lead to effective action in the long term is frankly awful.

zot23's picture
Submitted by zot23 on

As soon as (or if?) the food chains are disrupted, there won't be enough channels on all of cable/sat TV to quell the fan hit shitting that will occur.

It's easy target practice to gripe about people being listless and spoiled with cable TV, iPads, and such but all that is after you take into account: we're well fed, well watered, heated in the winter, generally have stable electricity. As soon as one or more of those things are in scarcity or famine - look the hell out!

Americans are plenty capable of taking to the streets and getting all French in the man's business, we just don't have a good enough reason yet. Sure, there's fraud, corruption, torture (somewhere else), war (somewhere else), and all that but if there's food on the table and fridge is still keeping the remaining food cold, well then you gives a crap to light a car on fire? Take away that food or power and it's Baghdad, Illinois baby!

I am also available as a freelance optimist for parties and bar mitzvahs.

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

1930s Germany is, I think. Yeah. I'm really pessimistic. Revolution will come eventually. It's inevitable. But first the whole moonbrain-crazy wing of US politics will blame everyone except the fat cats at fault. And I doubt they'll stop at blame. It's going to be ugly.

Submitted by lambert on

Sclerotic ruling class, 100% bullshit on all media 24/7, decaying infrastructure, organs of state security everywhere, with the exception (I think that Ian Welsh pointed this out) the USSR had done things like build towns with central steam heating and refrigerators that were family heirlooms, so our baseline is potentially lower -- all our "stuff" is going to fall apart in a few years.

One might take the optimistic view that Americans have more social capital than the Russians did, and to the outcome (oligarchs advised by neo-liberals) will be different. Don't know.

wuming's picture
Submitted by wuming on

The local foreclosure moratoriums are probably the only way to get real change off the ground. Also, different from the Soviet model, the US has property dispute resolution procedures, if only we can pressure our local elected officials to respect the procedures. Judges are elected. So are Sheriffs, and the county boards that pay them.