But can we overcome our fear on a collective, species-wide level?
We are players in the game of revolution: the long cat-and-mouse game between Power and The People that has been raging since our side first demanded democracy in antiquity.
Over the many centuries of civilization since, sometimes the progress of our revolution has been slow and sometimes great leaps have been made in a flash when just the right spark comes along … but through it all the guiding dream that unites us in a great historical chain has been the same: a people’s democracy constituted by liberty, equality and community.
The world is a dark place now. Maybe we are in the Iron Age or the Kali Yuga or the last gasp of a dying species. But during the insurrectionary storms of 2011 to 2012, we saw something at Adbusters: a reason to keep rising up and fighting until the bitter end. We saw that you and I are now closer than any previous generation of humanity has ever been to achieving people’s democracy. And not just in my country or your country but in every country. A people’s democracy on a global scale is within reach … if we have the courage to seize it.
All too often The People shy away from their historical destiny. We get scared as a movement both when we fail and when we succeed. The only moments we enjoy are the most fleeting. We look back on our past victories (The French Revolution, The Defeat of Fascism, May 1968, Occupy Wall Street) and, instead of seeing an inspiring proof that we can do it again, better and longer, we accept cynicism. We see only our excesses or the ways we failed to live up to our Ideal. We don’t see how close we’ve come; we only see how far we still have to go. It seems that most of the time The People have failed to take Power primarily out of deference to the elite and fear of their paramilitary police.
Actual revolution – the overthrow of the status quo and the founding of a new social order – is a high stakes game. Treason … sedition … mutiny … call it what you will, bringing justice to an unjust society is always illegal until it succeeds in ratifying a new constitution. Historically, the odds are against the endeavor: revolutions are rare and rarely succeed.
Those who tread the labyrinthine trail of liberty-equality-community know full well the dangers. It is very easy to get lost. There are rumors of secret paths, of clues and shortcuts, of times when a surefooted The People knew the way … but that knowledge has been forgotten& … or maybe the labyrinth keeps shifting. Either way: each step we take is an act of overcoming our fear.
Occupy was an exercise in losing our fear on a collective, species-wide level. If only for a brief moment, the internet gave The People a global epiphany. We saw that we had the ability to think, learn and act together at the same time everywhere at once. Hash-tags became wormholes that collapsed space and time because it didn’t matter if a jammer was in Madrid or Oakland, they were playing into the same revolutionary game: #killcap. A united front became possible the moment we started fighting for a shared platform that was struggling to articulate itself.
Occupy globalized activism, opening up a whole new horizon of political possibility: a coordinated uprising of seven billion humans versus a cabal of corporations … a universalist-leaderless politics that mobilizes The People in Cairo as well as it does in Beijing and New York City toward a single global people’s democracy.
That project was never completed. Occupy’s intensity was not sustained long enough to master the next step: acting together at the same moment to target the same enemy everywhere-at-once; to take down a global enemy of The People, like Goldman Sachs, and send a chill down the spine of every other megacorp in the world. Now the next challenge in the long march to democracy is before us.
At Adbusters, we have struggled to imagine how a global uprising could crystallize into a united front. In our brainstorming sessions, one likely scenario we’re thinking through is the birth of global political party that sweeps into Parliament in countries with fair elections and pulls off insurrections in countries without fair elections. A World Party that embodies the anarchist principles of our ancient uprising for people’s democracy … a global front that respects local autonomy while also learning how to finally implement the concrete global bottom-up solutions – like economic degrowth, a Robin Hood Tax and a True Cost market regime – to the spiritual, ecological and political catastrophes plaguing humanity.
Humanity’s collective unconscious is yearning for an uprising that unites our species against Earth’s avowed enemy – the corporatists. But this time around the revolt will crystallize around memes, and not leaders. There will be no Mao, Stalin, Lenin or Pol Pot … only hashtags that flicker, carrying each wave of humanity forward. Our generation’s great task is to find words in every language for, and to fight in our own way for, this new universalist-leaderless politics – a hybrid blue-green-black politics that mobilizes all of The People toward liberty, equality and community.
With this perspective, the global uprisings look different. The various movements within the movement no longer appear as contradictions but as aspects of the same emerging blue-green-black vision – the why of our global revolution.
Blue – the color of intellect and imagination – stands for mental environmentalism and our party’s commitment to internet democracy, political transparency and personal anonymity. We stand with Anonymous, WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowers and the Pirate parties of Europe. Blue is our spiritual insurrection: the revolution in our mind and inner-reality. It is our quest to steward the mental environment by balancing the rational (intellect) with the irrational (imagination) in politics and life and culture. A distinctly Blue psycho-politics gels a range of Left and Right organizations and concerns into a fighting force. Equally proponents of commercial-free schools, promoting open source software, circumventing censorship, systemic declassification of our governments, strict laws upholding public anonymity, liberating and de-commercializating information … the umbrella concern is with restoring our cultural and psychological health. Blue warriors vow to change the way information flows and to shake up the production of meaning in our society.
Green – the hue of earth and immortality – stands for the four-decade-strong resistance movement against environmental degradation which we must win for a sane, sustainable future. Green is our collective project to find meaning in an eternal political act: our will to overcome mortal finitude with a multi-generational struggle to save the Earth for our children’s great-great-great-grandchildren. Green politics is as much a response to death and life (and the terror of living through the ecological endtimes) as it is a rejection of authoritarian-consumerism and ecological-fascism. Philosophers Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek have said that ecology is the opium of the masses because governments can use the environmental crisis as an emergency excuse for totalitarian rule. And it is well-documented that Australia and America’s militaries are already training for an environmental apocalypse while Pentti Linkola and James Lovelock are openly calling for authoritarian environmentalism. We must tread a course between the need to implement some kind of global egalitarian environmental regulation – whether it be carbon rationing, emission limits, or maverick initiatives funded by a Robin Hood Tax – and the danger of force and impatience. Green requires that we think and act globally – a very dangerous thing.
Black – the tenor of struggle and justice – stands for our party’s promise to abolish corporate personhood and institute a new post-capitalist global world order in which corporations bow to the will of the people. Black is the color of Occupy and anarchism: nonviolence, horizontalism and innovation … the qualities that make our movement great. Black is our militant edge but it is also our belief that no modern revolution will be successful without a steadfast promise to virtue – especially nonviolence and charity – in pursuing justice. Guided by the light of fidelity and patience, Black stands for our wholesome commitment to humility, goodness and wisdom in pursuing our long-term insurrectionary goals. Fidelity is about never giving up hope. And it is also about resisting the temptations and distractions that are thrown in our path to lead us astray.
Together, the long-term strategy we pursue is universal. We win at the ballot box in the places where fair elections exist and we win in the streets in the places where elections are a sham. We win by any means necessary and adapt our methods to the local context. We send material aid and tactical support to neighboring countries whenever possible, and build alliances across all boundaries, until the world is governed by people’s democracy. The stakes are too high for anything less.
Blue Green Black raises many questions. Is it really possible? What form will it take? How will it embody horizontalism? Will there just be one World Party or will there be global elections where citizens of Earth can vote on one of many options: the Red, Brown, Golden, or the Pirates? Who is going to count the seven billion votes? Will there be an assembly based around national boundaries like the United Nations, or a coalition of powerful affinity groups, religions and bioregions? How will we demobilize the world’s militaries peacefully? What about the nukes? How swiftly can we bring greater peace and joy to the 99%?”
And the one question that troubles us most: does humanity have the wild spirit left to pull this off?
– Micah White