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Hi Everyone! #84 — Where There’s Hope …

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The Revolution will not be animated ...

The Revolution will not be animated …

I’ve been having a lot of conversations lately about Bernie and the future of the movement. What does it mean, this tremendous outpouring of excitement and political work by people who haven’t done anything political before? Things have gotten to a certain point. It’s clear to more and more people that existing institutions and methods are not going to make things better. And that it’s deeply, deeply urgent things start getting better in a big damn hurry. And if there’s a credible way to try to accomplish that, a whole lot of people will pitch in. The next 30 years will be completely unprecedented, and there’s not many people on earth who are remotely close to guessing how it’s all going to shake out.

There’s a notion that I first ran into in Howard Zinn’s writing, that the ‘60’s were not a self-indulgent and unwashed failure, that it was taken very seriously by people very high up in the powers that be, and we were a lot closer to a fundamental transformation than anyone realized at the time. And certainly closer than the nostalgic, things-of-childhood, charming but spectacularly naïve politically incompetent failure it’s portrayed as in the standard history.

In the same way that Occupy Wall Street is portrayed as having its heart in the right place maybe, but it fell apart behind not getting its act together. Never mind the deeply intense physical repression that ended it. And never mind its very significant accomplishments. In many circles of common understanding, it’s another piece of evidence that you can’t fight city hall, that it’s already too late, that we’ve already lost.

And rest assured. Whatever happens in the rest of the Bernie story, there will be forces interested in portraying it as a kind of spasm born of an optimistic and exciting energy that never really understood how the world actually works. Never understood why things can’t be much different from how they already are. And leaving aside for the moment questions of how much conspiracy is currently operating, if the status quo can be said to want something, it wants us to believe that Resistance is Futile. And yes, in many hearts, there are beliefs like those expressed in A Bug’s Life, and by Shelley, after yet another massacre, this one in 1819:

Rise, like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number!
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you:
Ye are many—they are few!

(the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre will occur on August 16th, 2019. Hope to see you then!)

When the power of the state is made available to serve corporate interests, what's that called again?

When the power of the state is made available to serve corporate interests, what’s that called again?

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