Talking About A Revolution

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Above Photo: watchingfrogsboil/Flickr

Saving people and the planet means upending virtually every kind of business — starting with the media.

It’s long been clear that if we want to avoid catastrophic climate disruption on a scale that threatens human civilization, we need to leave vast amounts of fossil fuels in the ground.

Environmental writer Bill McKibben pointed out the math in a crucial 2012 article for Rolling Stone: To avoid disaster, 80 percent of the carbon already discovered by private and state-owned energy companies has to be left alone — to be treated as useless rock.

The problem is, the energy companies are some of the richest, most powerful entities on Earth.

Corporations are designed to act like organisms with a single goal: maximizing profits. And the fossil fuel industry’s future profits — roughly 80 percent of them — depend on extracting that carbon and burning it, climate and civilization be damned. They’ve been using and will continue to use their vast influence to thwart any effort to avert that disaster.

Does humanity have the collective power to tell the current owners of carbon deposits that they don’t have the right to take them out of the ground and sell them as fuel? That the companies simply don’t own those assets anymore?

That’s the $640 trillion question.

Doing so is essential to our future as a species. But a massive transfer of wealth of that kind would be a revolution on a scale history hasn’t seen before.

But climate isn’t the only crisis that requires a revolution.

Health care provided by for-profit corporations inevitably tends towards more than we can afford to pay, as the demand for life-or-death products is infinite. Solving the problem of paying for medical care means telling medical corporations they can no longer expect the hyper-profits their market value is based on expecting.

Meanwhile, it’s increasingly evident that for-profit health insurance needs to be eliminated in order to bring health costs under control. The insurance industry, though, has a special power in our economy: As its business model involves taking money from people and investing it, virtually every corporation on the stock exchange counts insurance companies among its owners.

So taking on the insurance business, which is necessary to make health care affordable, means taking on all business. In other words, it means a revolution.

This conflict between the needs of the majority and the interests of the few runs throughout our economy.

On a local level, many cities have serious shortages of affordable housing. That’s not because it costs so much to build and maintain housing, but because the real estate market sets prices that assume landlords will maximize profits — and maximizing profits from a fixed supply of land leaves many tenants on the street.

If cities want ordinary people to be able to afford to live in them, they’ll need to lower the value of their real estate — which would be a revolutionary reversal of priorities for most local governments.

These gaps between the status quo and our survival are why we need a new media system, too.

Media corporations are really designed around preserving the status quo — unsurprisingly, because they’re owned by the class of people who benefit from things staying the same. And they’re funded, through advertising, by the same corporations that profit from the disastrous course we’re on — with energy, healthcare, and real estate among the most prominent industry sponsors.

You won’t learn from corporate media how much danger their advertisers are putting us in, or what we can do to stop them. Revolutions need organizing, and organizing needs information. We need a revolution, and the place to begin is with the media.

  • AlanMacDonald

    WOW, someone actually wants to promulgate an effective competitive strategy against the EMPIRE that has been kicking the **it out of these distracted, divided, deluded, and disempowered demonstrators, protests, and street theater ‘actions’ (along with gutless and visionless Bernie) for the last decade?

    Now that’s a novel idea!

  • David Schultz

    Sensible discussion of the issues. Yes, the revolution must begin with the main stream media. Unplug and turn it off!

  • AlanMacDonald

    NO. Turn the ‘media/propaganda-sector’ of the EMPIRE against the EMPIRE!

  • David Schultz

    How do we do that? Big media is owned by billionaires and some of them are foreign globalists who caring nothing about America.

  • AlanMacDonald

    Easy —- all we have to do (and only the American people can do it) is to fire a; loud, public, ‘in the streets’, sustained, but totally non-violent “Shout (not shot) heard round the world” to ignite an essential Second American “Political Revolution against EMPIRE” — and when the dumb-ass media idiots ask, “What ‘EMPIRE’ do you mean?” — the American people, unlike the “Occupiers” who gave a hundred different and divided answers, 3% to 5% of ‘we the American people’ uniformly and clearly ‘call-out’, expose, and answer, “Why the EMPIRE that controls our former country, of course”

    “That’s the EMPIRE that we are all demonstrating, protesting and REVOLTING AGAINST!”

    And since 1991, when the supposed ‘last Empire on earth’ collapsed — and since the media/propaganda-sector of the EMPIRE itself has been saying, and shouting for the last three decades that there is NO, Zero, NOT ANY EMPIRE left on earth, but just our wonderful, essential, exceptionalist, democracy — then the obvious single, signal, seminal, and essential purpose of this ‘our People’s Patriotic Revolution’ is to overturn this Disguised Global Capitalist EMPIRE which has taken-over, captured, controls, and now fully OCCUPIES our former country, and is illegally using and abusing our former country as the EMPIRE’s nominal global HQ, and merely ‘posing’ as, America!!!! —- just as the Vichy Regime in captured, and “Occupied” France c. 1940 was just a phony front for the Nazi EMPIRE.

    Fortunately, our forefathers learned 242 years ago, it is never
    treasonous, and always patriotic, to ignite a “Revolution Against
    Empire” [Justin du Rivage's new book of the same title].

  • DHFabian

    How are people going to fight back against the very corporations on which we’re dependent? This “empire” owns the very things we need to survive, and most of our jobs come from the corporate powers.

  • DHFabian

    Who isn’t awake? People are so stressed that they can hardly sleep anymore. Life in the US has been a series of crises, and we could spend months debating which crisis must be addressed first. It took years to reach this point, during which people were pitted against each other by class, race, ideology.

    Ordinary people can’t risk losing their jobs by Rising Up, knowing there’s nothing to fall back on today. That empire is also our means of survival — of paying the rent, feeding our children, in a country that has no mercy on the jobless. What, exactly, would you revolt for? Who would you strike out against?

  • AlanMacDonald

    WOW!

    What a cop-out on; democracy, justice, equality, freedom, and liberty —- and just to live a barely-comfortable ‘material-life’ in this oppressive Disguised Global Capitalist EMPIRE?

    But don’t feel bad DHF —- i’m sure that many; British, French, German, Japanese, and many other people must have felt the same — that is, before they learned Hannah Arendt’s lesson:

    “Empire abroad entails tyranny at home”.

  • PETER CHILDS

    As I read this, a Martian plucked at my sleeve and slipped me the following note:

    Mr. McDonald’s analysis is excellent; he is, as you Earthlings say, “right on” with regard to what is wrong and what to do about it. His suggestions certainly should be followed.

    But it won’t work. It will improve matters but it will not solve the real problem that you now face, not because his analysis isn’t correct and insightful as far as it goes, but because it doesn’t go far enough; it fails (like almost every other analysis being done by even the best of you) to recognize the enormity of what’s really going on on your planet now, which centers on the fact that you have brought your history to the point where you must now either radically expand your understanding of all Life and your place in it, or wreak havoc upon yourselves and the rest of your fellow life forms on Planet Earth.

    You humans love complexity but you don’t do well with simplicity, and what you now need to understand couldn’t be simpler. It is no more nor less than the difference between Right and Wrong. Any problem is defined fundamentally as “something wrong”. You are so accustomed to a virtually infinite array of problems in your life that most of you are unable even to imagine what life could be like with no problems. But in fact you have and have always had only one problem, and that is that you have any problems at all.

    You are not supposed to have problems. It is your destiny to have no problems ((that destiny will, one way or another, be fulfilled). That’s right; NO problems. Arguably the wisest man who ever walked among you told you “Be ye perfect”, and he knew what he was talking about. Here’s the gist of what he was trying to tell you:

    All things did not proceed from nothing (there is no such thing as nothing); SOMETHING (not some “thing”) had to cause it all to happen. You realize this intuitively; you call that something “God”, or “Allah”, or “Jehovah”, or “Spirit”, or a number of other names, all of which indicate your realization that something infinite, all-powerful, and unimaginably wonderful created you and everything else that exists. I’ll use the word “God”.

    God did not create everything for no reason. God had (has) a Plan. It is vital to understand that that Plan is entirely good; it is perfect. It has direction, which you perceive as the flow in space/time that you call “evolution”. Now here’s the key: the human being has the ability (further along, you’ll understand why) to go with or against that flow . When you go with that flow, that is the meaning of the word “Right”; when you go against it you do “Wrong”. God has so arranged things that anything wrong yields pain, not (as is so commonly misunderstood) to punish you but to get your attention; to make you seek out the source of the pain, to see the problem and to correct it, thus removing the cause of (and the existence of) the pain.

    Your central Problem is that you have become so hypnotically accustomed to the presence of Wrong, constantly and in virtually every area of life, that you assume that Wrongness and its consequent pain are inevitable, So you have done all manner of things wrong (not in accord with God’s will) throughout your history, and you have done so with exponentially increasing power to affect yourselves and the environment within which you exist. Now push has come to shove; all the chickens are coming home to roost. What you must do now is come to understand what Right and Wrong really mean; to put forth your best efforts to do things (ALL things) right, and to increase your understanding through your heart of what is in accordance with God’s will, and what is not.

    If you do not make this the core of your efforts, you will not change the basic dynamics that have brought you to this critical state of affairs. Power will continue to flow into hands that wrongly seek to grasp it and, like water flowing downhill, they will find a way. Which will be disastrous; you have already flailed about with so much power that you now threaten the continued existence of life as you know it on your planet. To go further down that path with even more power will be catastrophic, which is why it is so important that you now awaken to the realities of your current predicament.

    The choice is yours. You CAN awaken. You CAN solve all your problems (when you are sincerely trying to do Right all the forces of Heaven and Nature come to your assistance). If you choose rightly now, you will enter an entirely new octave of Life; you will take a giant step toward your true destiny. You will realize that you do not die, because you will see what you really are. You will understand that That Which Made You will sustain you. You have no idea what wonders await you if and when you put your hand in God’s and simply DO RIGHT.

    Wth much interest, love, and prayer, The Martian

  • David Schultz

    I did that with Occupy. Hours of my videos covering protests against the 1% remain dormant and forgotten on YouTube. I’ve certainly have taken the “red pill” as you, and see it. Unfortunately the numbers of leftist activist in opposition to the Democratic Party are tiny. And to my astonishment I do not see these numbers growing. If anything they are being drawn like moths to a flame to fake resistance movements like Antifa. I just saw a story on violence breaking outIbetween Antifa and some KKK group. This is a nightmare!

  • PETER CHILDS

    As I read this, a Martian plucked at my sleeve and slipped me this note:

    Mr. McDonald’s analysis is excellent; he is, as you Earthlings say, “right on” with regard to what is wrong and what to do about it. His suggestions certainly should be followed.

    But it won’t work. It will improve matters but it will not solve the real problem that you now face, not because his analysis isn’t correct and insightful as far as it goes, but because it doesn’t go far enough; it fails (like almost every other analysis being done by even the best of you) to recognize the enormity of what’s really going on on your planet now, which centers on the fact that you have brought your history to the point where you must now either radically expand your understanding of all Life and your place in it, or wreak havoc upon yourselves and the rest of your fellow life forms on Planet Earth.

    You humans love complexity but you don’t do well with simplicity, and what you now need to understand couldn’t be simpler. It is no more nor less than the difference between Right and Wrong. Any problem is defined fundamentally as “something wrong”. You are so accustomed to a virtually infinite array of problems in your life that most of you are unable even to imagine what life could be like with no problems. But in fact you have and have always had only one problem, and that is that you have any problems at all.

    You are not supposed to have problems. It is your destiny to have no problems ((that destiny will, one way or another, be fulfilled). That’s right; NO problems. Arguably the wisest man who ever walked among you told you “Be ye perfect”, and he knew what he was talking about. Here’s the gist of what he was trying to tell you:

    All things did not proceed from nothing (there is no such thing as nothing); SOMETHING (not some “thing”) had to cause it all to happen. You realize this intuitively; you call that something “God”, or “Allah”, or “Jehovah”, or “Spirit”, or a number of other names, all of which indicate your realization that something infinite, all-powerful, and unimaginably wonderful created you and everything else that exists. I’ll use the word “God”.

    God did not create everything for no reason. God had (has) a Plan. It is vital to understand that that Plan is entirely good; it is perfect. It has direction, which you perceive as the flow in space/time that you call “evolution”. Now here’s the key: the human being has the ability (further along, you’ll understand why) to go with or against that flow . When you go with that flow, that is the meaning of the word “Right”; when you go against it you do “Wrong”. God has so arranged things that anything wrong yields pain, not (as is so commonly misunderstood) to punish you but to get your attention; to make you seek out the source of the pain, to see the problem and to correct it, thus removing the cause of (and the existence of) the pain.

    Your central Problem is that you have become so hypnotically accustomed to the presence of Wrong, constantly and in virtually every area of life, that you assume that Wrongness and its consequent pain are inevitable, So you have done all manner of things wrong (not in accord with God’s will) throughout your history, and you have done so with exponentially increasing power to affect yourselves and the environment within which you exist. Now push has come to shove; all the chickens are coming home to roost. What you must do is come to understand what Right and Wrong really mean; to put forth your best efforts to do things (ALL things) right, and to increase your understanding through your heart of what is in accordance with God’s will, and what is not.

    If you do not make this the core of your efforts, you will not change the basic dynamics that have brought you to this critical state of affairs. Power will continue to flow into hands that wrongly seek to grasp it and, like water flowing downhill, they will find a way. Which will be disastrous; you have already flailed about with so much power that you now threaten the continued existence of life as you know it on your planet. To go further down this path with even more power will be catastrophic, which is why it is so important that you now awaken to the realities of your current predicament.

    The choice is yours. You CAN awaken. You CAN solve all your problems (when you are sincerely trying to do Right all the forces of Heaven and Nature come to your assistance). If you choose rightly now, you will enter an entirely new octave of Life; you will take a giant step toward your true destiny. You will realize that you do not die, because you will see what you really are. You will understand that That Which Made You will sustain you. You have no idea what wonders await you if and when you put your hand in God’s and simply DO RIGHT.

    As your great Walt Whitman observed: “I say that no man has ever yet been half devout enough; none has adored or worship’d half enough; none has begun to realize how divine he himself is, or how certain the future is.”

    Wth much interest, love, and prayer, The Martian