The Revolution Issue

I, Revolution

The future does not compute ... It's time to accept radical change as a viable alternative.
I, Revolution - Photo by Stefano Rellandini
A protester throws a rock at riot police outside Aviano Air Base in northern Italy.
Photo by Stefano Rellandini

A Brief History of Revolution

In all revolutions, the agents of change – usually a small core of fired-up individuals – reach a personal point of reckoning where to do nothing becomes harder than to step forward. Then come the televised actions, the rebellions on campus, the random acts of defiance in high schools, supermarkets, malls, workplaces. A mass of support accrues. The little daily confrontations escalate. Momentum builds.

And finally the revolution ignites. Very often the ignition spark is a single symbolic act that takes the old power structure by surprise, a gesture that becomes a metaphor, living forever. Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on the bus. A Vietnam protester feeds a daisy into the barrel of a rifle. A dissident stares down a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square. Nelson Mandela walks out of his prison cell in South Africa. A freedom flotilla breaks the siege on Gaza. These memes penetrate skulls like bullets.

The biggest impediment to revolution is a personal one: our own deep-seated feelings of cynicism and impotence. How can anything “I” do possibly make a difference? Most of us have trouble accepting radical change as a viable option. Entrenched in a familiar world, we cannot imagine another. It’s hard to see our current system as simply one stage of a never-ending cycle that sooner or later will fall and be succeeded – but this process of creative destruction is exactly how the world works.

We don’t need a million activists to jumpstart this revolution. We just need an influential minority that smells the blood, seizes the moment and pulls off a set of well-coordinated strategic moves. We need a certain level of collective disillusionment (a point I think we have now reached) and then we need the leaders of the affluent, “First” world nations to fumble a world crisis like global warming, a stock market crash or a nuclear standoff in the Middle East. By waiting for the right moment and then jamming in unison, a global network of a few hundred of us can pull the coup off. This November we create a sudden, unexpected moment of truth – a mass reversal of perspective; a global mindshift – from which the corporate/consumerist forces never fully recover.

What will you do? Share your ideas: [email protected]

For the Wild, Kalle


Part: 12345678910

Audio iconRight-click to download the full audio version of "A Brief History of Revolution"

92 comments on the article “I, Revolution”

Displaying 51 - 60 of 92

Page 6 of 10

Julia

I do not consider myself a naive person, but right now I wish I did. How I would love to be involved in a revolution, change, justice. A few years ago, this would have gotten my blood flowing and my brain ticking. However, after a few years of more advanced education (and I'm not speaking solely of the post-secondary institutionalized sort) I can see that it is absolute malarkey. Revolutionize WHAT exactly? The minds of the wealthy? The economic system we have here in Canada? How about our own ideas, maybe? Maybe we shouldn't be so arrogant to assume that we, the lefties, are right. I completely understand the concept of consumption, lack of education, lack of the ability to SURVIVE without a complex system of trade and production. Sorry folks, that's the way it is. It needs to be changed, yes, but what's the difference between us speeding up the process (which, of course, will eventually occur) of human failure and the human species speeding up the process of mass extinction? We are trying to extinct ourselves, essentially. Which is all fine and dandy on the large-scale, but not when it's your sister, your brother, your parents, your children, your self. We can't focus on the larger picture. And we can focus on the small scale - that's just selfish. So what do we focus on? Our cities, towns, villages, our communities. Maybe we need a revolution, but not an angry, extremist change. We need slow communities, respect for where you're from, locality. And those aren't extreme revolutionary things. Those are the basics. Can we get back to those, please?

Julia

I do not consider myself a naive person, but right now I wish I did. How I would love to be involved in a revolution, change, justice. A few years ago, this would have gotten my blood flowing and my brain ticking. However, after a few years of more advanced education (and I'm not speaking solely of the post-secondary institutionalized sort) I can see that it is absolute malarkey. Revolutionize WHAT exactly? The minds of the wealthy? The economic system we have here in Canada? How about our own ideas, maybe? Maybe we shouldn't be so arrogant to assume that we, the lefties, are right. I completely understand the concept of consumption, lack of education, lack of the ability to SURVIVE without a complex system of trade and production. Sorry folks, that's the way it is. It needs to be changed, yes, but what's the difference between us speeding up the process (which, of course, will eventually occur) of human failure and the human species speeding up the process of mass extinction? We are trying to extinct ourselves, essentially. Which is all fine and dandy on the large-scale, but not when it's your sister, your brother, your parents, your children, your self. We can't focus on the larger picture. And we can focus on the small scale - that's just selfish. So what do we focus on? Our cities, towns, villages, our communities. Maybe we need a revolution, but not an angry, extremist change. We need slow communities, respect for where you're from, locality. And those aren't extreme revolutionary things. Those are the basics. Can we get back to those, please?

Jevva

Some of the comments given here are very interesting. I agree with Julia that it seems quite arrogant to assume that we, the lefties, have to be right. Also, when she says that we should discard an extremist revolution and support slow communities that can originate the most interesting changes in society. Specially, if we consider that the socialist revolution produced in the last century is associated to the horrible conditions in which people lived at that time. Nowadays, instead, a majority of people in developed countries live comfortably - even living in the dole - and don't want to take part in a big and extreme revolution. Only radicals do. Whereas, people in developing countries are more fascinated with consumerism than ever right now.

If you've read 'Animal Farm' you probably haven't forgotten what a big revolution can bring, with the pigs heading it and doing the same things than the owners did after holding the power for a while.

We should start buying as much as possible in small markets and only those brands that have a sustainable approach to business and to the world; support local farmers; and recycling our own clothes, specially considering that fashion is cyclical.

However, the biggest challenge is how to insert that into our daily habits and....how to make people in developing countries understand that we all have to look after the planet. Specially, since they're experiencing the same craziness in terms of consumerism we started experiencing decades ago. We all need to act now to save the planet and future generations from lack of resources and warming temperatures among other changes.

Jevva

Some of the comments given here are very interesting. I agree with Julia that it seems quite arrogant to assume that we, the lefties, have to be right. Also, when she says that we should discard an extremist revolution and support slow communities that can originate the most interesting changes in society. Specially, if we consider that the socialist revolution produced in the last century is associated to the horrible conditions in which people lived at that time. Nowadays, instead, a majority of people in developed countries live comfortably - even living in the dole - and don't want to take part in a big and extreme revolution. Only radicals do. Whereas, people in developing countries are more fascinated with consumerism than ever right now.

If you've read 'Animal Farm' you probably haven't forgotten what a big revolution can bring, with the pigs heading it and doing the same things than the owners did after holding the power for a while.

We should start buying as much as possible in small markets and only those brands that have a sustainable approach to business and to the world; support local farmers; and recycling our own clothes, specially considering that fashion is cyclical.

However, the biggest challenge is how to insert that into our daily habits and....how to make people in developing countries understand that we all have to look after the planet. Specially, since they're experiencing the same craziness in terms of consumerism we started experiencing decades ago. We all need to act now to save the planet and future generations from lack of resources and warming temperatures among other changes.

Kevin Kelley

The current consumerism is based on our behavior and most revolutions are mental or philosophical. Even when other systems are imposed like communism people tend to behave like capitalists- getting as much as they can for themselves. Animal Farm shows us, and so do many other historical tales of revolution that the people heading the revolution will come in control, and therefore another way of control is imposed from those new leaders. Ultimately control is always exploited. Instead of trying to change who controls, we need to change what is being controlled. Consuming is not the end all of the world because we all must consume and people will always try to exploit consumers. What we need to do is become better consumers by buying and using products that help or minimize harm to the world (people, planet, and soul). Doing this requires a more mindful living, and I do believe that people are waking up to the evils generated by immoral and blind consuming, though this revolution is not yet great enough to even begin healing the world.

Kevin Kelley

The current consumerism is based on our behavior and most revolutions are mental or philosophical. Even when other systems are imposed like communism people tend to behave like capitalists- getting as much as they can for themselves. Animal Farm shows us, and so do many other historical tales of revolution that the people heading the revolution will come in control, and therefore another way of control is imposed from those new leaders. Ultimately control is always exploited. Instead of trying to change who controls, we need to change what is being controlled. Consuming is not the end all of the world because we all must consume and people will always try to exploit consumers. What we need to do is become better consumers by buying and using products that help or minimize harm to the world (people, planet, and soul). Doing this requires a more mindful living, and I do believe that people are waking up to the evils generated by immoral and blind consuming, though this revolution is not yet great enough to even begin healing the world.

Quarters

It is amusing to read all the comments, it seems people are equally discontent with the idea of revolution as they are with what might bring us to one. It is all too easy to find flaw. We may not be happy with the current consumerism that has overtaken all of us at one point, maybe still does. So then we suggest a revolution. the word itself is a symbolistic bomb, people are too attached to previous notions, peacful martches or laying your body down on the front line. It doesnt have to be so romantic. I am more on the line with changing how people consume as some of the comments suggest. This week in novemeber should represent what we want to see more of not how much we hate what we are seeing. "Be the change you wish to see in the world" My idea is to bring all of my unused shopping bags that i keep bundled up under the kitchen sink and hope to reuse and hand them out to people on there way in. it is simple and kind and what i wish more people could be!

Quarters

It is amusing to read all the comments, it seems people are equally discontent with the idea of revolution as they are with what might bring us to one. It is all too easy to find flaw. We may not be happy with the current consumerism that has overtaken all of us at one point, maybe still does. So then we suggest a revolution. the word itself is a symbolistic bomb, people are too attached to previous notions, peacful martches or laying your body down on the front line. It doesnt have to be so romantic. I am more on the line with changing how people consume as some of the comments suggest. This week in novemeber should represent what we want to see more of not how much we hate what we are seeing. "Be the change you wish to see in the world" My idea is to bring all of my unused shopping bags that i keep bundled up under the kitchen sink and hope to reuse and hand them out to people on there way in. it is simple and kind and what i wish more people could be!

Pages

Add a new comment

Comments are closed.