We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The End of the Age of Protest

Click here to access article by Jeffrey St. Clair from CounterPunch

I am directing in this post to only the first part down to where he writes "The time for protests is over." In this first part he argues that we are now in the era of action, by which he explains consists of the following:
Action is standing arm-in-arm before water cannons and government snipers on the frozen plains of North Dakota. Action is hanging from a fragile perch 150-feet up in Douglas-fir tree in an ancient forest grove slated for clearcutting, through howling winter storms. Action is chaining yourself to a fracking rig in rural Pennsylvania or camping out in the blast zone at a Mountain Top Removal site in the hills of West Virginia. Action is intervening when police in storm trooper gear are savagely beating a defenseless woman on the streets of Portland. Action is jumping into the Pacific Ocean with a knife in your teeth to cut the vast trawler nets ensnaring white-sided dolphins and humpback whales. Action is stopping bad shit from going down, or trying to.
His (gay?) partner, Alexander Cockburn (deceased in 2012) and St. Clair lived near Arcata, California where he gave a talk which was a version of this article. From this I infer that St. Claire still lives in nearby Petrolia, CA where he shared a residence with his late friend Alex Cockburn. As you may know, Cockburn and later St. Clair joined him as editors of CounterPunch for many years. As co-editors they earned a reputation of being rather radical in their views. Cockburn's nuclear family were well educated and descendants of quite wealthy and highly educated people on the left

However I always felt that the two editors were always a bit too liberal for my taste in politics, and wondered if these two iconoclasts were more dilettantes than serious critics on the left. This piece doesn't alter this perception.

It seems to me that it is not only that I sees protests as futile, but also "actions" such as St. Clair writes about. I think it is time (maybe even past time) to think about revolution, and I intend to do just that in the remaining time I still have before returning to nature. Hopefully I might even influence other people to do just that like I have influenced people to write about "capitalism" instead of using euphemisms or circumlocutions as substitutes. (See my commentary here and the comments section for this post.)  

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