Being a child of the 60's (despite my parent's best efforts to "protect" me) I have been around revolutionaries quite a bit. I have thought of myself as a political revolutionary and been a member of revolutionary organizations. May 1 is the traditional Workers Day, celebrated (back when) in the communist nations, but shape-shifted to Labor Day in the U.S.A.
Today industrial capitalism has triumphed not only over the workers of the world, but over nature itself. Mankind, as organized by international corporations, has become the biblical plague of locusts, sucking the rivers dry and stripping the land of its corn.
The only political revolution that happened was the fall of communism. Many of us thought the fall of capitalism was imminent after the U.S. lost its war against the people of Vietnam. We were way too optimistic.
Somewhere along the line I realised that socialist dogmas, whether Leninist, social democratic, or anarchist, where incomplete without taking into account man's relationship to nature. If socialism had fulfilled its promise to make the average family better off we would almost certainly have the same overpopulation, global warming, and other ecological problems we have now.
I argued for ecological positions within the anarchist movement, as did many others, and most anarchists came around. But in the meantime the rebirth of anarchism as a trend after the collapse of the Soviet Union never really went anywhere. The anarchist movement has done some great things, from Food Not Bombs to helping to stop the World Trade Organization's nefarious plans, but we are no closer to an anarchist revolution than in 1950.
Instead of anarchism the most dynamic political movement in the world today is radical Islam. While there are some good aspects of Islam, this is not what the world needs.
The Industrial Revolution which started in the 1700's has proceeded apace, and we had a Service Revolution in the last half of the 20th century. The service sector comprised 76% of the U.S. economy in 2006.
Meanwhile most American minds remain Medieval at best. Religions that looked stupid to the ancient Greek philosophers predominate in the U.S. At the other end of the spectrum many non-religious people, as well, are consumed by greed, alienated from nature, and unable to abide by any system of ethics. The Scientific Revolution has proven to be not a two-edged sword, but the sort of multifaceted virus described in William Gibson's Count Zero. It's main result has been an unsustainable population boom. The Internet seems to be serving as a general accelerator, like adrenalin or methedrine in a human body.
Most likely candidate for the next revolution: the weather. Take a gander at Bruce Sterling's Heavy Weather for what might lie ahead.
I believe the real revolution that is needed now is in philosophy. Getting people to change their philosophy is no easy task, especially when religious faith gets in the way. But we are in the Era of Global Warming. It is time for a change.
A revolution in Philosophy cannot take place without a revolution in practice. I will keep doing my part to protect nature. I will do my part for social justice and within-the-system political change. But I'll be doing more writing and lecturing about philosophy too.
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