Bloggin’ Bout a Revolution
I have to admit that when I think of revolution the first thing that occurs to me is Ninotchka saying, “The last mass trials were a great success. There are going to be fewer but better Russians.” I also think of some flick where the White Russians are in control, and bureaucrats are processing peasants to decide who gets shot. Then the Reds take control and we see virtually the same line of peasants, still to be shot. And there’s Mme Defarge, and all that.
Even during the activism of the 1960s – and later, a song by Tracy Chapman – I didn’t consider the US as ripe for revolution, but then came the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, and now even idiots like Cliven Bundy are being taken seriously in certain circles. The media is paid to shift the attention elsewhere, but occasionally the subject surfaces. In a brief letter dated January 18th, 2014, venture capitalist Tom Perkins warned fellow readers of the Wall Street Journal about liberals who were demonizing the wealthy:
… I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.” … This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendant “progressive” radicalism unthinkable now?
Perkins’ invoking of Kristallnacht was widely scorned, and he was mildly, but amusingly, parodied by Tom Skerritt on The Good Wife, but in Perkinsnacht, the Journal defended him:
Five days on, the commentariat continues to drop anvils on Tom Perkins, who may have written the most-read letter to the editor in the history of The Wall Street Journal. The irony is that the vituperation is making our friend’s point about liberal intolerance — maybe better than he did.
More recently Nick Hanauer wrote, The Pitchforks Are Coming … For Us Plutocrats, in Politico, trying to convince his fellow “zillionaires” that situations can turn bad quickly. I wrote about Hanauer in Thanks, Short-Term Brains, and in his latest, In a Handful of Dust, John Michael Greer invoked the piece as an example that the situation is dire, but that the wealthy might be taking enough notice to effect changes. Some of Greer’s very active commenters pointed out that most of us wouldn’t even know where to find a 1%er to string up. But in every small town or city there is an elite of some sort, and my feeling is that someone can always be found to fit the nooses. “I’m not that rich,” won’t make for effective pleading.
In a June 19th, 2014 article from the Guardian, The open source revolution is coming and it will conquer the 1% – ex CIA spy, Robert David Steele, former Marine, CIA case officer, and US co-founder of the US Marine Corps intelligence activity predicts:
“We are at the end of a five-thousand-year-plus historical process during which human society grew in scale while it abandoned the early indigenous wisdom councils and communal decision-making,” he writes in The Open Source Everything Manifesto. “Power was centralised in the hands of increasingly specialised ‘elites’ and ‘experts’ who not only failed to achieve all they promised but used secrecy and the control of information to deceive the public into allowing them to retain power over community resources that they ultimately looted.” …
He points me to his tremendous collection of reviews of books on climate change, disease, environmental degradation, peak oil, and water scarcity. “I see five major overlapping threats on the immediate horizon,” he continues. “They are all related: the collapse of complex societies, the acceleration of the Earth’s demise with changes that used to take 10,000 years now taking three or less, predatory or shock capitalism and financial crime out of the City of London and Wall Street, and political corruption at scale, to include the west supporting 42 of 44 dictators. We are close to multiple mass catastrophes.”
What about the claim that the US is on the brink of revolution? “Revolution is overthrow – the complete reversal of the status quo ante. We are at the end of centuries of what Lionel Tiger calls ‘The Manufacture of Evil,’ in which merchant banks led by the City of London have conspired with captive governments to concentrate wealth and commoditise everything including humans. What revolution means in practical terms is that balance has been lost and the status quo ante is unsustainable. There are two ‘stops’ on greed to the nth degree: the first is the carrying capacity of Earth, and the second is human sensibility. We are now at a point where both stops are activating.”
I get the feeling that Steele thinks his Open Source revolution can be bloodless, but I doubt it.