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View Diary: Are we on the verge of another 1848 or 1917? (283 comments)

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  •  What do you think it will take for your generation (27+ / 0-)

    to really demand major change? I mean, something revolutionary such as voting as a bloc against all mainstream politicians and for true insurgents who want radical change in the economic system? Or perhaps huge street protests that will make Occupy Wall Street seem like an appetizer in comparison? Or maybe a mass movement to reject the consumer capitalist economic system through systematic nonparticipation in its institutions, forming cooperative nonprofit enterprises, intentional communities, a simple back-to-the-land lifestyle, etc.?

    Regardless of the form that the demand for major change may take, how close do you think we are to the majority of your generation refusing to go along with the current economic system (i.e. not just being pissed off about it, but actually doing something about their anger and frustration)?

    And what do you think are some of the most helpful things that could be done by older progressives to help encourage your generation to take that next step?

    Thank you for your diary. Tipped and rec'd. I look forward to hearing your thoughts in response to my questions.

    The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

    by Eric Stetson on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 11:00:10 PM PST

    •  Tipped and recommended as well. And I'm curious (7+ / 0-)

      to what extent younger people see themselves being able to change the system, either from the inside or outside?

      I do think we are living in times where the inequality has grown far too large. I fear, however, that the systems in place today are so much stronger at repressing the masses that it will be very difficult to affect change. I believe NSA mass surveillance is there for a reason, likely the coming water, food, and survivability issues from climate change.

      The "terrorists" they are trying to gather information upon are "we the people." Militarized police with 18ton armored trucks and heavy weaponry aren't used for catching corporate embezzlers or fraudsters. Nationally-coordinated security officials in every single county in the nation, tied directly to "Homeland Security" are not necessary or needed for issues regarding a few dozen malcontents in the middle east with pipe bombs and underwear bombs.  That's far more wide-spread than at all necessary for anything other than social control.

      Democracy was declared dead in the 2000 coup.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 08:45:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hunger. (0+ / 0-)
      •  The GOP is working on that one. (0+ / 0-)

        If I didn't know better I'd think they wanted people to go hungry so there will be riots.

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 10:39:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I would like to see this. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Stetson, AoT
      maybe a mass movement to reject the consumer capitalist economic system through systematic nonparticipation in its institutions,
      How about a large-scale movement rejecting their currency? Taxes would be tough, and that's probably the main way such a movement would be attacked, but I think it's a promising idea.

      I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 10:54:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've been thinking about this as well. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        I first became interested in the idea of rejection of the currency as a form of protest when I learned about what exactly the Federal Reserve's policy of "quantitative easing" (QE) is. Essentially, the Fed has been creating lots and lots of new dollars by giving them to banks. The banks then invest them in the stock market and other financial assets. Very little of the QE ever makes it to the people themselves. It's pretty much a form of welfare for banks, disguised as a policy to stimulate the economy. If banks would actually use the QE funds to make lots of loans to small businesses and people who need help, then it could be legitimately stimulative, but instead, most of the new dollars being created are being hoarded by already-wealthy institutions, in the form of financial assets.

        There is a specific way to create an alternative to the dollar which is legal and could be managed by a nonprofit institution which would share/distribute the wealth of that alternative currency equitably and democratically. The technology already exists to do it. It's just a question of putting together a team of software developers and others who care about making it happen.

        If you want to talk about this idea in more detail, send me a PM.

        The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

        by Eric Stetson on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 11:37:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I do, and will. Sadly, no time tonight to pick (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Stetson

          up this incredibly cool discussion.

          I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 05:01:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Rule #3 (0+ / 0-)

        The Rules:
        1.  You can't win.
        2.  You can't break even.
        3.  You can't drop out of the game.

        "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

        by ActivistGuy on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 11:46:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not true. More and more people are dropping out (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SouthernLiberalinMD

          of the ultra-capitalist rat race game, by forming intentional communities, worker-owned coops and nonprofits, and/or living off the land. It's not easy, but it's possible. I think the main reason more people aren't choosing such a path is because it's very challenging and requires creativity and dedication; also that it marks you as a "freak" and thus hinders your social life in mainstream society. Most people, in any society, want to fit in rather than depart from the norm. But the option to exit the normal mode of life and choose a radically different alternative still exists for those who wish to pursue it.

          The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

          by Eric Stetson on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 12:01:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're talking the barter system. (0+ / 0-)

            That's what happens when wages drop so low it's no longer worth going to work. Governments have a bitch of a time collecting taxes on it.

            Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one.--Sam Rayburn

            by Ice Blue on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 12:12:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Possibly. But also worker-owned nonprofit corps. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SouthernLiberalinMD

              Let's say a bunch of unemployed or underemployed or social democratic people get together and start a business to make widgets or provide some service. But they incorporate it as a nonprofit, or they give each worker in the company an equal share of the stock. Because they don't allow the CEO and upper management to make obscene salaries and bonuses, they can reduce costs that way, and thus be competitive with normal ultra-capitalist businesses.

              This is the kind of thing I think our economy needs more of.

              The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

              by Eric Stetson on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 12:17:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Community manufacturing coops would be another (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Eric Stetson

                possibility. Imagine if a neighborhood could save up collectively and buy a space locally and install a textile production facility that is largely automated. Figuring out the same for food would be the primary problem, but doable. Use those places to help spread other manufacturing coops. The point would be primarily providing for the needs of people.

                It's important to remember that accessibility needs to be one of the key goals of these sort of projects. That means in terms of money, location, and socially as well. A lot of people will stay out of these spaces because of the various social norms that generally are associated with them. That generally means that white middle and upper class people are the norm. There are clear exceptions to this but they are rarer than should be. How to change that I'm not completely clear.

                If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                by AoT on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 02:36:11 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The fact that everything was built around (0+ / 0-)

                  the technology of the internal combustion engine makes things more difficult.

                  I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

                  by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 05:03:15 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  At the beginning of O's first term (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Eric Stetson

                there were some factory workers in a window-making company that did something like this.

                Workplace democracy is one name for it, I think.

                I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

                by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 05:02:24 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Nope, there are systems other than barter (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SouthernLiberalinMD

              Quite a few of them. The myth of barter is a creation of economists. There have been numerous other types of systems that aren't barter or money. The rise of money paralleled in time the rise of writing and as such when we look at history it appears that we have always had money. Economics breaks down when people don't just exchange things, but also share them. And that was the dominant mode of distribution in the past. How we decided on sharing them varied greatly, but "the market" was never one of them until money, and it's "the market" that bartering takes place in.

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 02:25:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  We should all read _Debt the First 5000 Years_ (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT

                by Graeber and Web of Debt by, I think, Ellen Brown.

                I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

                by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 05:04:26 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  sounds like (0+ / 0-)

            1969 and we all know how that ended

            •  I wasn't alive in the '60s, but I think the reason (0+ / 0-)

              why the hippies didn't succeed is because most of them were too unrealistic. America has a long history of socialist commune experiments, most of which eventually failed. It's not as though the people in the '60s were the first to try it.

              The reasons for the failure needs to be studied (and probably already has been by some sociologists), but if I had to guess the main reason, it's probably because they went too far toward pure communism.

              Some kind of worker-owned businesses is a middle ground that could actually work. What doesn't work is a bunch of people sitting around "sharing the wealth" while smoking weed and not working hard.

              The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

              by Eric Stetson on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 01:16:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, and also, from what I hear (0+ / 0-)

                the communes involved some people, often the women, working their asses off, and others sitting around smoking weed and not working hard.

                I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

                by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 05:07:02 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Interesting. It wouldn't surprise me. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  RiveroftheWest

                  The only communes that have survived are the ones that have well-planned and strictly enforced policies about work requirements for all members.

                  Twin Oaks in Virginia is an example of one from the '60s that has lasted and succeeded, because of this. I just visited there last fall. They own profitable businesses and everyone there works 42 hours per week, gets room and board, health insurance, and a small monthly stipend. There were some aspects of that community that didn't appeal to me, but as for being a successful worker-owned business and residential community, it's one of the best examples around.

                  The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

                  by Eric Stetson on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 08:07:55 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There's also The Farm, which worked. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Eric Stetson

                    Probably a few others that I haven't heard of.

                    I hear that co-housing has a higher success rate.

                    A good book has been written on this by the way Creating a Life Together

                    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

                    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 06:06:14 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  it ended with a civil rights act, the end of (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT

              Jim Crow, and a US withdrawal from Vietnam.

              Didn't it?

              In the end, reality always wins.

              by Lenny Flank on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 01:37:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Nah. The 60's were by choice. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eric Stetson

              This is because people have little or no choice. It's not that the mainstream is immoral (though it is); it's that the mainstream is fucking self-destructing in completely in-your-face intrusive ways that screw with people's day-to-day lives--and this is probably going to keep getting worse.

              That gives people an additional motivation for making alternative systems work.

              IMO, this looks more like the 30s than the 60s.

              I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

              by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 05:06:18 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I agree. I think we need a more organized (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eric Stetson

            movement around all these efforts.

            I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 05:01:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I know a few people who are working on this. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SouthernLiberalinMD

              There's some really cool stuff going on, but most of it doesn't get much attention. I think the main problem is lack of money. But I do think that problem can be overcome, with a combination of innovative thinking, lots of outreach and networking, and the willingness of people to work together to create an alternative economic system existing in parallel to the mainstream, rather than everyone just going off and doing their own isolated project.

              The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

              by Eric Stetson on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 08:13:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Well, let's all find a relatively painless (0+ / 0-)

          form of suicide, then.

          I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 04:59:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Any candidate that would actually change anything (0+ / 0-)

      Would be scorned to the margins, support for that candidate ridiculed and denounced, long before election day.  The election system and the corporate media work together to guaranty that nothing. ever. changes.

      "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

      by ActivistGuy on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 11:42:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's why I mentioned other alternatives besides (0+ / 0-)

        electoral political movements.

        I understand that it's indeed possible that a majority of Americans will always continue to vote for mainstream candidates who will screw them, rather than ever voting for radical change that could help them.

        I hope that's not true, but I accept it as a fairly likely possibility. So, we always need to be thinking about other ways of making change besides the ballot box.

        I'm personally not much of a fan of street protests (Ray Pensador is your go-to guy if you want to get involved in that). But I tend to be more a fan of Gandhi-style noncooperation/nonparticipation in corrupt systems, and creating parallel alternatives that people can shift their lives into. Hence, I mentioned that possibility as well. Maybe this kind of method would resonate more with the American character, since it's based on individual choice (e.g. boycotts, creating nonprofit worker-owned businesses, alternative currencies, etc.)

        The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

        by Eric Stetson on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 11:50:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  What it will (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT

      take is solidarity and sacrifice and I don't see much of that

      •  Well, don't expect it to get covered on the news (0+ / 0-)

        Or even really here. The day to day work necessary isn't especially photogenic. It never really is. If it were we'd be a very different country right now.

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 02:38:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  media (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          is business and always has been.  Do not expect anything more.  In fact expect nothing from anyone that you yourself are not willing to give.

          I recently joined a union.  As a federal employee it was of course a useless gesture since this union has no power whatsoever.  Still, I felt the need to do so after watching young people here trying hard to get just the right to have a union.   The $50 it costs me a month I can ill afford to lose but just maybe that sacrifice will help just one other person find the courage to act.

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