Tuesday, September 29, 2020


Nothing would please me more than if peaceful, constitutional means could be found to overcome the number one problem of our time – the climate crisis. What joy it would bring to me if the self-styled progressive parties would tackle the crisis with the same seriousness the way WW2 or the present Covid 19 crisis were dealt with. (As so many activists have pointed out) This is not the case, nor is there any hope that they will get serious. All the major parties talk, but do not walk. We can speculate why this is - they are tied to the fossil fuel industry, to the developers, speculators, the construction companies. They may be afraid of retaliation by the Chinese Government if we are not haulers of wood and water for them. The NDP is tied to the resource-based business unions and local developers who stand to gain from the status quo. Whatever, barring a miracle, there is no hope from this quarter.
What about the Green Party?, you ask. It says the right things but it is tiny. There is a real political disconnect with the populace. Overwhelmingly, people are worried about the climate crisis, but these same people vote for the talkers who are not doers. For many, the climate crisis is further down the road than issues like unemployment or healthcare. Thus, they vote for the big parties who can actually do something about these immediate concerns.
If parliamentary means are closed off, change must occur from outside the system. When significant change is induced from outside the “regular channels” it is called a revolution. This seems to be our only option.
But revolutions are not made by small groups of activists, they occur “spontaneously.” I put quotes around the word because in the decades prior to a popular rising, there are many smaller actions, and many groups and individuals promoting or engaging in new ideas and practices. The revolution arises as a single salt crystal placed in a supersaturated solution makes the whole solution crystallize.
Without the correct set of conditions there can be no revolution. These conditions are the complete failure of the established system to deal with serious problems stemming from that system and the will of a significant section of the population to act. Furthermore, this action must be a clear break with the old system and involves the creation of new political and economic structures. As few as 10% of the population acting – providing the majority are not hostile – can make revolutionary change.
Here is the problem. If people cannot bring themselves to vote for candidates who are serious about the climate crisis, how in the world can you expect them to “take to the streets” by the millions? A partial answer is that political parties divide people and mass movements unite. People may be divided between Liberals, NDP, and Greens party-wise, but the pre-Covid pipeline struggles brought together embarrassed Liberals, NDPs, Greens, anarchists, Communists and the non-aligned. Revolutions do the same.
Nevertheless, it is hard to see millions in the streets. A revolution seems like a distant dream. Across this land there may be a few hundred thousand people willing to act. This is certainly better than the past, but we need ten times that number or more. The problem of climate change is that it is like the story of the frog in the pot of water that is gradually being heated. Many people are concerned, but the water is still not unbearably hot. They will act when they have no choice, when adjustments are no longer possible, when it is without too much exaggeration, “do or die.” Historically this has been the case, with many revolutions, the problems engendered by the old regime become unbearable and a breaking point is reached.
This is the most pessimistic scenario, but there are always those “black swan” incidents. An event like the Arab Spring may trigger a rising before we reach the point of no return climate-wise. This is always possible. All revolutions seemingly come out of nowhere, and it is only in retrospect do people interpret the causes. Thus, one must never give up hope, even if chances are slim.
Either way, change will probably come too late. The clock is ticking, we have only a few years to act, every year that goes by without dealing with emissions, is another year frittered away. Revolution is needed for going into survival mode, even if we cannot create the ecologically sane alternative we wish.
If we cannot trust the rulers with doing something about the climate crisis, how can we trust them to create a situation where a significant portion of humanity can survive when the disaster really strikes? They do not care about us, other than as bodies and minds to exploit, and certainly won't care about us in our grim future. Their concern will be about saving their own skins and continuing to dominate and exploit what is left of the world's population. They have to go. (No, I am not saying we should exterminate them, though they deserve it, but give them an island some place where they can bully each other and leave the rest of us in peace.)
Even if it is too late to “save civilization”, the revolution will be necessary. It will be necessary as a means to maximize the survival rate and maintain the culture and knowledge that has accrued over the centuries. It will be necessary to deal with the fascists and regular criminals who will attempt to take advantage of the chaos. It will be necessary to eliminate the dominator-system that has brought us to this calamity and prevent it from ever re-establishing its cancer-like existence over humanity and the natural world. 
End of Part One
Part Two – What Might a Contemporary Revolution Look Like?
and Part Three – What Is A Revolutionary? Coming later...


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