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Resources from Communicating the Revolution II

 

Communicating the Revolution III

Sunday November 17

Democracy and the eco-social crisis

Discussions built on Steve’s presentation, exploring the eco-social crisis from a dialectical point of view. We examined the laws and contradictions of capitalist society and how in particular: 


Slide 1: What is the connection between these 6 pictures in one word?

Dialectics

1. Heraclitus 535BC Ephesus. World’s first creativity teacher: “Everything flows – panta rhei” – philosopher of becoming."Everything changes and nothing remains still ... and ... you cannot step twice into the same stream"

2. Lao Tzu -6th century BCE – Philosopher of Daoism – The way + I ching the book of changes (not a Western idea)

3. Spinoza

4. Hegel

5. Ying-Yang

6. Zizek

Lenin-Marx: Dialectics is “the science of the general laws of motion both of the external world and of human thought”.

The need for, let alone the possibility of a scientific approach in politics has been under heavy fire from sociologists like John Holloway in his Change the world without taking power.

Understanding the connection between the dialectics of nature and the dialectics of human-social life is crucial if we are to solve the eco-social crisis.

In other words end the extreme alienation that the profit system causes between nature and human beings, as well as between one human being and another. It is vital if we are to solve the ecological crisis.

The notion that the cosmos exists within us was put forward by the American astrobiologist Carl Sagan

“The Cosmos is within US”.

Slide 2

Dialectics

Carl Sagan said:

“A central lesson of science is that to understand complex issues (or even simple ones), we must try to free our minds of dogma... and to guarantee the freedom to publish, to contradict, and to experiment.

We need wide appreciation of this kind of thinking. It works. It’s an essential tool for a democracy in an age of change.

And, just in case anyone thinks the idea of laws is a determinist or Marxist myth:

“We have found that scientific laws pervade all of nature, that the same rules apply on Earth as in the skies, that we can find a resonance, a harmony, between the way we think and the way the world works…”

Slide 3: Russell Brand – “The Messiah Complex”

Dialectics

“Total revolution of consciousness and our entire social, political and economic system is what interests me, but that’s not on the ballot.” https://plus.google.com/+RussellBrand/posts

Brand said quite frankly that working out how to make such changes requires knowledge and experience that he lacks. So he has thrown down a challenge – to find those contradictions within our society which can lead to such a revolution.

So – being able to search out and assess what is new and what has revolutionary potential by:

Slide 4: “dialectics breaks bricks”

Dialectics

Slide 5

Dialectics

Or to put it another way:

the social and political also operate in a law-governed way – each with its own contradictory forces and transformations – cultural, historical and political.

The whole – global capitalist system – greater than sum of its parts:
Globalisation – CRASH 2008-9 – Austerity has changed social, political landscape forever. Changed the relation of people to the state – politics.

For example: how has the state been changed through the economic processes, the crisis and how has this affected people’s relationship to it?
The mass disaffection from politics – nearly half of people under 30 rejecting political parties is a build-up of quantity heading for leap. (R Brand)

What kind of organising, what kind of networked organisations can help to do this? How to do when the majority of people are alienated from politics in general? We are the heart of a microbiome.

Amazing individual courage of Snowden, Assange, Pussy Riot, Greenpeace, Chelsea Manning. Working collectively on strategies to go beyond resistance.

Slide 6: Social movement

Dialectics

Human microbiome and social networking.

“Any story about a human's microbes tends to invoke impressive numbers. Take the 10 trillion or so microbial cells living in the gut, which exceed the number of human cells by 10 to 1. Between them, they harbour millions of genes, compared with the paltry 20,000 estimated in the human genome. To say that you are outnumbered is a massive understatement.

But that might not be a bad thing. There is strength in numbers; so much so, in fact, that some biologists regard a human as a 'superorganism' – a community that adds up to more than the sum of its parts. The body itself is merely one, albeit encompassing, component.