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    24 March 2005

    A Revolution

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    This essay was written by Stirling Newberry and appeared in the Daily Kos web log on March 18th. The message is powerful and in my opinion right on. I however don’t believe that credit will be due to the present Democratic Party, the Democratic Party is a political tent concerned only with 50% + 1, a majority. The means for this revolution is the citizens of the state. It happens to be self-evident to people like me, the author, and I suspect most of you that the Democratic Party is the logical path to achieve the desired end.
    I’ll pickup towards the end, but please read the whole thing...

    ( . . . )

    Instead we are becoming a society of stars and the drudges that labor for them. Instead of a society which brings forth the flower of each person's abilities, we treat most people as mere manure to fertilize the enterprises of the wealthy few. Such a society cannot continue to attract the best and the brightest and it cannot compete against numerically superior nations. There are 1.2 billion in China, and 250 million in the US. We must, therefore, be five times as efficient in finding our talent, simply because we have so much smaller a pool to draw from.
    We cannot continue to waste creativity, intelligence and vision as we do. How many people of ability are now shoveling in the grease mines of McDonalds, or engaging in data entry - simply because we do not have the ability to identify them and promote them? Many, many times many, many times many times many.

    Our anger at the reactionaries who destroy, and the conservative impulse in the Democratic party which does not advance is not rooted in juvenile angst, but because we have lived with the ecology of technology. In this ecology there are three simple concepts which govern all: a successful ecology must be accessible, scaleable and sustainable.

    It must be accessible: people must be able to teach themselves to use it, it must provide benefit which is abundant and obvious, and must be able to grow into the richness of its application. It is only in this way that a technology spreads.
    It must be scaleable: it must grow as its community of users grow. That which does not scale, will not survive. It must develop in people the talents and abilities needed to deal with the challenges of its growth. It must never reach the point where adding the next person costs logarythmically more than adding the one before.
    It must be sustainable: it must not burn through the capital which creates it, the people who maintain and develop it, the resources which supply it.

    Our present economy, of slash and burn mass agriculture, resource raping extraction and gross inequalities of affluence meets none of these criterion on the scale of the next century. We will not quadruple the bandwidth of oil that we extract within the two generations we have to extract it. We cannot reach thermal equilibrium by trying to bury carbon in caves. We will not feed, cloth and educate the world, in a world where the entry to affluence requires more per week to maintain than many people earn per year.

    These three principles: accessible, sustainable and scaleable - must governing all thinking in a technological ecology. The thinking of hit and run extraction, however, is what is rewarded. How many companies have been shells for an IPO? How much productivity has been wasted, not reducing our dependence on oil, but to entice us to buy more that is made with, and which consumes for its continuance - oil. It would be as if a man who had been poisoned, rather than reaching for the emetic, reaches for another dose of the poison.

    To create a society on these principles requires a fundamentally different series of rewards. Now we have created a kind of technological fuedalism: where patents, copyrights and monopolies serve as fiefdoms, gates over bridges where all who pass are charged a toll. We have created a vast class of the idle rich, whose primary gift is that they can strip mine consumers - selling cancer, fat and fatuousness, leaving behind people who are ridden with disease and obesity. Even if Americans desire to live this way, the rest of the world does not. Even if the United States wishes to make a virtue out of grease, goo and greed - does not mean that the reek of decay can be perfumed away.

    And thus we want a revolution. Many of the individual demands are set aside, because there has been no defense of the pattern that the whole makes. We demand universal health care: because people must be fit and healthy and free of the burden of worry of catastrophic illness so that they may focus on the great work that must be done - and because the should not profit by collecting taxes on acts which pollute the air, our bodies and our minds. And if the state no longer profits from selling obesity, it will end the incentives to do so in the economy. The wealthy, many of whom have gained their privileged position by doing exactly this, understand on an intuitive level that a healthy people are no longer easy targets for a consumerism that consumes them.

    And thus we want a revolution. Progress is thwarted by deceptions and dissembling: the right wing is already attempting to convince Americans that we will simply substitute oil for hydrogen, and thus there is no problem. The problem is that unbound hydrogen is found in quantity only on the Sun, and we are not landing there any time soon.

    And thus we want a revolution. The myriad of changes which must take place demand selfless, rather than selfish, attention and devotion. We must act, not because it is to our present advantage, but because it is to our future necessity. We must realize that we cannot lock billions in poverty without an inevitable and violent upheaval when they choose to take what we will not give. We must realize that the oceans which protected us from the last two great global conflicts, will not protect us from the next. We must realize this before it is too late.

    But it is almost too late: human capacity for destruction is much farther advanced than for creation. We can more easily destroy a life than save it, we can more quickly demolish a city than build it, we can more easily overthrow a government - than creating a new government to replace it.

    It is almost too late, but everywhere we are told to wait. And as long as temporary prosperity remains with us, the leadership of the Democratic Party has paid homage to complacency. They seem to feel that having turned back one of the myriad Republican attempts to shred the society, that they have earned their keep for the next two years, and can spend the rest of the time permitting the bankruptcy bill and anti-American restrictions on our civil rights to pass. They feel that having done three months of work for the people, that they are now free to go back to working for the lobbyists.

    It is folly, and it is a folly whose magnitude will only be appearant later. There is a sense among many in elected office that the next down turn will restore them to power. But, in fact, the reverse is the case, having not warned of impending collapse, they will not be entrusted with government on the day that collapse finally arrives.

    And so I say again: we want a revolution. One which creates a society that works for the benefit of the future, so that there will be one. One that rewards selfless action with more than a flag and a coffin. One that raises up those who improve the quality of people's lives, rather than strip mines people so that they might make a living.

    We must make a world which is accessible to people's understanding, and is yet both scaleable and sustainable. We must cease to reward the process of burning more oil to avoid cost in the present. We must cease to throw away the vast crop of talent which America produces, because it is the fruits of this talent that we expect to harvest. There is only one vehicle in American politics to achieve this: the Democratic Party, which by its inevitable purpose and political logic, is the party of the people, and of organizing the people to meet the crisis in the present, without creating catastrophe in the future.

    And thus, before all else, we demand a revolution in political affairs, beginning with the Democratic Party, and endowing each of its parts and all of its representatives with an iron sense of purpose and determination. The course we are on leads into the abyss, it cannot be sustained, and therefore it will not be. The lesson of history is that nature delivers only a final decision, from which there is no appeal, and it does so without warning and without mercy. Growth continues, until collapse begins - it is the record of the fossils of previous ages, and the record of the stock market - dizzying peaks followed by devastating collapses.

    It is difficult to argue in the face of complacency, and it is impossible without having a deep seated belief and impenetrable faith. But no writing on the wall of the past is clearer than the results of a people that live behind their means, we find their ruins scattered through out the global, and mighty glyphs carved in dead statues about their empires that could never fall. The right wing wishes to deny evolution, because they know the what it would tell us: adapt or perish.

    And so we demand that our leaders have faith in revolution, faith in the ability of the American people to remake themselves and society. Faith in the ability of human reason married to human intuition to come to the best decision. Faith that the future can be an American future.

    Because the day will be seized, if not by us, than by others.

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