“If you want to shrink something,
You must first allow it to expand.
If you want to get rid of something,
You must first allow it to flourish.
If you want to take something,
You must first allow it to be given.
This is called the subtle perception
Of the way things are.”
Tao Te Ching
Noam Chomsky, someone I revere and respect, spoke a couple of years ago on student debt as the means by which to indenture the young and discipline them into our controlled Society. Suitably conditioned they are then too busy to revolt. I am really not sure about this one.
18 months after he spoke we had the riots in Greece, where the young played a key role. Debt was not the issue so much as finding the ability to repay it, with little opportunity for meaningful employment over the next several decades. That anger and unrest is still very much alive and will flare up again but the rest of the world is kept in ignorance by corporate media.
The Cultural Revolution in China, just 65 years ago, was driven by the Red Army whose members were the youth of China, intoxicated by Mao’s Red Book on how to rid the country of abusive Capitalism. (That its success led to a regime that competed with the Third Reich for atrocity and inhuman behaviour is for another time.)
On a wider front, the surveillance of demonstrators and website activity in Brazil is frightening. The people are also suffering the worst recession and multiple complex political scandals. Adding insult to injury, the politicos themselves are only concerned with preserving their own careers and ‘plugging holes’.
The repression of public protest is ignored by the media, as is the threat to Civil Liberties, ensuring they hardly register in the public consciousness. In addition to the country’s security services, there is now a burgeoning private security sector, all of whom are cracking down on protestors.
(None of the above is contained to just Brazil, these are worrying global trends ringing bells with all of us.)
As a species we demand purpose to our lives. It is an intrinsic part of who and what we are and the majority get it from their work, no matter how unsatisfactory that work might be. It is that lack of purpose that ignites revolt, as we seek some form of involvement and satisfaction from the simple act of living Life.
‘Revolutionary change’ comes from two sources. Either it is evolutionary, as in the case when we began managing our food supply by farming and then moved off the land with the call of the Industrial Revolution. Here the only revolt came from the few who felt threatened by the fencing off of land in the former case and by the new machinery which threatened livelihoods in the latter. The Sexual Revolution of the 60’s was an equally significant example.
The second comes from social unrest, as demonstrated in France, Russia, US, India, China and South Africa in recent history. Here the rule by the few over the many became so abusive as to warrant rebellion.
We are now in a Technological Revolution and the repercussions from this simply cannot be predicted. It is different to all the previous revolutions we have ever experienced as a species, be they evolutionary or through social injustice. The past revolutions still maintained the power of the few, albeit in a new order but continuing the dominant social order that has always prevailed.
This time around the nature of the power is different and making itself felt upon the majority rather than the few. I am talking about the greatest power available to our species . . . that of information. In the past the 99% have been controlled by their ignorance, through the careful suppression of information – TTIP Anyone!
New technology is now rapidly lifting the veils of that secrecy and educating the masses on how society is actually controlled. From rule by out moded doctrines, to the growing influence of the corporate world and their determined destruction of democracy, nothing can any longer be hidden.
Technology may increase their powers of surveillance but the young are equally adept at using this new means of communication. Hacking groups like Anonymous and lone individuals like Edward Snowden demanding moral integrity, are changing our social landscape forever and shifting the balance of power.
From the abuses of the Catholic Church to phone tapping, be it journalists or the Pentagon, nothing is sacred and beyond this technological spotlight. It is uniting and empowering the masses globally, allowing them to throw off their traditional shackles of oppression.
In response, those wielding power are becoming increasingly frightened by this new revolution. They are reacting in the only way they know how, by conflict, threat of conflict and repression, seemingly unaware that their actions are now fuelling unified global unrest . . . something that has never happened before.
The genie is now very much out of the bottle. Having experienced the new power and freedoms the internet has opened up to us, it will be impossible to put it back. Like the Farming and Industrial Revolutions, there can never be a reversal of evolution and any attempts to restore the old order will fail, by force if necessary.
Revolution, like a volcano, is a cycle not an event. The growing tensions under the surface can be felt and eventually erupt in an uncontrollable fury of awesome proportions. The eruption is always unpredictable but occur it certainly does.
Just consider how the internet is designed to enable us, globally, to launch massive boycotts of goods, services and institutions, as Gandhi did when he took India away from the British . . . A new and powerful Democracy is being given to the people to resist global corporations and institutions!
I am utterly convinced we are in the death throes of the old world order, brought about by the Information Revolution and nothing will ever be the same again, once we get the hang of it!
Until the next time.
Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes