I have been reading and listening and watching a lot these last few months. From people like Glenn Greenwald and Chris Hedges to Carl Dix and Cornel West. About revolution and OWS and non-violent protest and the military’s response to civil unrest and dislocation caused by some next economic collapse, crash and/or catastrophe. The right, libertarians all convinced that THEY are the targets and the left convinced that THEY are the targets and Wall Street the same.
All the hubris aside, I think it’s time to take a few steps back and try to see the whole picture.
For one thing any total economic collapse will take a long time to ensue. It well most assuredly come about however we are talking about a global economy here. Not just 3 or 4 blocks in NYC. And you really cannot compare it to the Soviet Union since the Soviet Union was for the most part a closed system. Even then it took them a number of years to come apart. Also the powers that be will continue to attempt to prop up the current system/situation which will delay this even further.
There will be no massive taking to the streets be the general populace, OWS not with standing. People are simply too concerned with getting on with their own lives and living day to day the best they can. Most take little notice in what is happening on a statewide or country wide scale let alone a global scale. They are more interested in making sure they have food on the table and a roof over their heads the same as the have for years. Even during the depths of the depression of the 1930s there were more people in bread lines than there were protesting the current injustice. So I really do not see masses of folks with gins and knives and pitch forks and fiery torches marching on Wall Street or Washington. Even the Greeks have gone home to eat some pita and Kalofagas for a while.
Here is a little story. After the hurricanes that hit Florida in the 2004 and 2005 season and the media was making them into the next spectacle of the week, I went out to see just what was going on. What I saw was one guy with his pay-loader clearing one of the streets. He was not told to, he just went out and did it. In another part of town people were clearing the roads and their properties of downed cables and lines and branches so that the first responders and utilities could get into the area to finish the job. In other words people just did what needed to be done.
And this is what I truly believe will be and is being done right now. It is no coincidence that we are seeing a bigger interest in community clinics, do-it-yourself, small farms, farmers markets. As the big multinationals slowly fail. Metro areas looking and seriously implementing solar power by putting solar arrays on roof tops.
As each of these big, over priced and inefficient systems fail, people are doing what needs to be done to replace them with local and/or regional initiatives. Cooperative farms and businesses. People leaving the big banks and going to credit unions. Local clinics etc.
As the extreme right and the extreme left argue and fight over the roll of the federal government, the federal government itself is becoming less and less responsive to either and heading slowly toward irrelevancy. Both sides are in delusion. The right thinking they can have the 1950s back and the left the 1970s where everything was beautiful.and nothing hurt. We are seeing that will not be the case even as we speak. With the metro exo-burbs slowly but steadily declining as people leave. Here in NE Ohio I can find houses upon houses in these upscale communities for sale with the prices being dropped over and over again. Where the big Malls and big box stores getting emptied and will soon be idle. One by one the smaller factories are closing and with each their suppliers closing. So as these behemoth monoliths get emptied, they can sometimes put to more useful purposes.
In the health fields we will see the slow and inevitable collapse of the big private health facilities with their over priced and over payed professionals being forced to leave or maybe, maybe even joining a community center. Bringing real health care to people who need it. I know this sounds really optimistic but stranger things have happened.
And those jobs that people want to see come back, will not. Japanese, Swiss and German firms are now gearing up to make robots to take over even the least skilled tasks of assembly and Chinese manufacturers wanting to automate their “sweat shops”. Even robotic security guards.
What we will see and what were are seeing then is a move toward smaller specialty companies that are regionally located and regionally focused instead of the big industrial firms we once had.
So as the right wing nuts see their glorious move toward some libertarian utopia and the extreme left dreams of a peoples revolution, the people themselves are just getting on with it. Doing what they see needs to be done.
Which is as it should be. The problem with historical times is that we generally do not see them as what they really are except in an historical perspective. So the best possible thing that I can see come out of the OWS and other such movements is the continued enlightening of each community to what is happening. And helping each initiative when ever possible. And forget those pie in the sky ideas.