cj#886> resend- rkm’s model of revolution & democracy

1998-12-29

Richard Moore

Dear cj & rn,

Last year, following publication of the `model of the world', there was a
cj discussion about revolution. Several people sent in different
perspectives, each thoughtful. In responding to those, I tried to
synthesize a perspective that took into account the points which had been
raised. There were a few rounds of iteration, culminating in the `model of
revolution & democracy', below. The whole exchange was, in my view, an
elegant (& unplanned) example of productive online collaboration.

I would make a few significant changes in this model now, based on later
learning & investigation -- in particular it is insufficiently radical
re/capitalism.  But it still seems pretty close to the mark.   Comments
invited.

rkm

(w/ apologies for cross-posting)

~-===================================================================-~
Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998
From: •••@••.••• (Richard K. Moore)
To: cyberjournal
Subject: cj#758> rkm's model of revolution & democracy


               rkm's model of revolution & democracy
               ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
                   (c) 1998 by Richard K. Moore


1. Where the world is heading - the context of revolution
   (brief recap of "rkm's model of the world"):
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
        (a) There is, today, an elite who benefit from and ultimately
control the overall direction of global events and who determine the basic
framework of public propaganda, namely (surprise) the _capitalist_ elite.
The megacorp (TNC) is the fundamental tool of capitalist operations: the
ship-of-the-line of the elite fleet.

        (b) Globalization is a two-level political transformation: a
centralized world government is being set up, while simultaneously nation
states are being aggressively undermined by a whole range of assaults from
privatization to engineered currency crises to massive anti-government
propaganda.  National sovereignty and democracy are being replaced by
global bureaucracies under direct elite control, thus officially and
permanently institutionalizing absolute elite hegemony.

        (c) Global peace and harmony, as a scenario for world order, is
perceived by the elite to be unstable and unmanageable; ongoing tension and
chronic localized conflict are preferred.  This is a scenario the elite
knows how to manage - an ongoing version of dynamic "divide and conquer" -
and it has the secondary benefit of funding a profitable arms industry.

        (d) Marx predicted what might happen if the elite turned off their
collective brain and simply kept the laissez-faire throttle on "full speed
ahead", running directly onto the the shoals of an apocalyptic collapse.
The experience of the petroleum industry provides a much more likely
scenario: when the shakeouts come down to a few major operators in each
industry, they will cease serious competition and will instead
collaboratively manage production, distribution, and pricing to their
mutual benefit.

        (e) The prognosis for humanity is extremely bleak: nearly universal
disenfranchisement; chronic conflict; social hardship and environmental
decline; hi-tech surveillance and suppression; heartless bureaucratic
domination and corporate exploitation under the control of an aristocratic
elite.


2. Why revolution is necessary:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
        (a) The current course of global events must be changed, and must
be changed radically, for humanity to avoid the dismal future toward which
it is rapidly heading.  It would not be enough to simply moderate the
excesses of the current system: fundamentally different political and
economic regimes must be established.

        (b) Economically, society must adopt a green-tinted paradigm, one
which recognizes certain fundamental realities: the globe is finite;
renewable and non-renewable resources are finite; ecosystems and biosystems
are the very stuff of life, and they are fragile.  Unregulated growth and
technological development (eg, biotech) are not merely unwise: they are
incompatible with continued human health and survival.  Capitalism, even if
it was appropriate to the previous era of intensive development, has now
outlived its utility as a primary economic organizational paradigm: its
interests have become incompatible with those of humanity as a whole.

        (c) The recognition of limits and the ending of capitalist hegemony
does not in any way imply that economic prosperity must be sacrificed, or
that society must become static, or that economic initiative must be
stifled.  The Earth and appropriate technology can provide adequate
prosperity for all, and entrepreneurship and innovation should continue to
make contributions and reap rewards.  But the blind and relentless pursuit
of "growth, change, and progress" must be abandoned as youthful folly:
intelligence and wisdom must be marshalled to regulate the management and
development of economic and technological systems.

        (d) Politically, society must find a new focus of leadership to
replace that of the capitalist elite, one that is aligned with the
long-term health of humanity and that embodies the wisdom and intelligence
of society, not just its greed urges.  Only in that way can the necessary
economic and social agendas be defined and implemented coherently and
successfully.  Such a focus of leadership must be ultimately based in the
population itself: such is democracy, and the people are the single
constituency whose interests are most aligned with human welfare and
happiness.

        (e) All avenues of significant political influence under the
current global system have been co-opted by corporate/elite interests.  The
USA, the only nation with the power and influence to seriously modify the
global system, is thoroughly dominated by elite political influence; other
nations, in those cases where they are not similarly dominated directly by
the elite, are severely constrained by elite/corporate domination of
international trade, finance, and military power.

        (f) Only a major political revolution which changes the basis of
leadership and power on a global scale can shift the direction of global
society.  In order for such a revolution to succeed, the USA must either be
in the forefront or not far behind: it single-handedly has the power and
influence to make or break the revolution, as its geopolitical track record
over the past 50 years has amply demonstrated.

        (g) "Revolution" implies neither armed insurrection, nor the
disruption of societal systems, nor the re-design of constitutions and
governments.  It requires "only" that a critical faction of today's leading
national powers (including the USA) be brought under the leadership of
slates of elected officials who are in alignment with the necessary new
paradigms, who are dedicated to democratic principles, and who collectively
bring to office coherent and comprehensive reform agendas.  With the
support of such an initial beachhead, the wider spread of revolutionary
successes could be expected to follow rapidly.

        (h) For such an electoral revolution to occur, a revolution in
popular consciousness must occur first: grass-roots mobilization and
organization must arise on an unprecedented scale.  Well-informed and and
strategically-minded "movements" of majority proportions will be necessary
to define adequate agendas and to achieve electoral victories.  Incumbent
governments and the mass media will employ all means at their disposal,
overt and covert, to disrupt and neutralize organizational efforts, hence
special care will be necessary in setting up the communications and
leadership infrastructures of the movements.


3. The practical prospects for revolution:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
        (a) As the ravages of globalization unsettle even the Western
middle classes, the objective constituency for revolutionary change
approaches supra-majority proportions.  By abandoning the nation state and
their erstwhile political allies, the elite have left themselves vulnerable
to creative and determined political opposition.  As the "ladder of
success" ceases to function, the trance of capitalist mythology looses its
formidable grip.

        (b) The potential for political rebellion, based on objective
economic conditions,  has not escaped elite notice.  As a consequence,
consolidation of the globalist power grab is being pushed at a breakneck
pace, adding kindling daily to the potential fires of rebellion, as well
adding urgency to the need for popular response.

        (c) In order to manage the (already visible) growth in public
discontent in the West, new elite tactics of "democracy management" are
being deployed to maintain control over national politics.  Instead of
traditional consensus-based politics, where politician pied pipers take
turns distracting the masses with "new national visions", a politics of
intentional divisiveness is being pursued.  Constituencies (aka
special-interest groups) are becoming, in effect, mutually isolated cults
(fundamentalists, environmentalists, militias, feminists, National Fronts,
libertarians, etc.) - each voting negatively for the candidates least
obnoxious to its minority belief system.  Thus disempowered, each
constituency blames others for society's ills, and the principle of
divide-and-conquer is effectively applied once again by the crafty elite.

        (d) The undermining of respect for government, politicians, and
democratic institutions has been from the beginning at the core of
globalist neoliberal propaganda.  Thus blame for globalization-induced
social deterioration has been hung at the door of "bungling politicians"
and "inefficient government".  By this jujitsu maneuver, the elite have
conditioned the populace to distrust the one avenue of power available to
them: effective participation in the democratic process.

        (e) By abandoning national-consensus politics, and by nurturing
cultish divisiveness, the elite have exposed another point of political
vulnerability.  As more and more people become open to considering
"alternative" political belief systems, and as mass-media "news" falls
increasingly into the same disrepute as politicians, an opportunity is
opened for an inspired propaganda counter offensive.  Each constituency can
be targeted with customized educational outreach messages:  a volatile
public mind is more ready for revolutionary consciousness than is a
mesmerized silent majority.


4. Principles of a democratic revolutionary strategy:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
        (a) Foremost is the necessity to focus on the creation of an
ongoing instrument of popular consciousness, a grass-roots based coalition
movement that embodies popular will and can act effectively and
responsively to promote popular interests in the long term.  The
organizational structure and operational style of the coalition must be
carefully designed to support this strategic democratic mission.

        (b) The very process by which the movement can be built up is the
same process by which it can be dynamically maintained: mediation among a
growing circle of constituencies, promotion of mutual education and
understanding across constituency boundaries, the establishment of
consensus agendas, and the negotiation of coordinated programs of policy
and action.  So as to maximize grass-roots responsiveness and minimize
bureaucratic self-aggrandizing tendencies, the coalition itself should
remain an umbrella organization of constituencies - a lean mediating
agency, not a power brokerage nor an "institution".  Checks-and-balances
mechanisms will be necessary to guarantee on-going grass-roots orientation
in coalition operations.

        (c) Electoral impact follows naturally as the movement gains
majority proportions and can articulate a consensus societal vision.
Individual candidates with competence, integrity, and dedication to the
coalition agenda can be identified (or recruited) and their political
campaigns endorsed.  Electoral politics should not dominate the activities
of the coalition or its allied constituencies: their common focus as a
movement should be on organizational vitality, direct participation in
societal affairs, and mutual collaboration in pursuit of a more livable
world for this and future generations.  Elections are a means to enable
formal government to align itself with objectives already being pursued on
the ground by movement members and organizations.

        (d) The initial attempts of the growing movement to exert political
influence will involve considerable struggle against immense odds.  The
elite are capable, among other things, of sponsoring terrorist acts and
blaming them on the movement, of engineering distracting international
conflicts or domestic crises at critical political moments, and of mounting
formidable and divisive demonization and harassment campaigns against
leaders and specific constituencies.  Divisiveness and destabilization are
favorite elite tactics, and the coalition must be structured to withstand
such tactics.  If the reactionary counter-attack is successfully endured,
the movement and its leadership will emerge from the struggle with
significantly enhanced political maturity, much better prepared to
participate in societal leadership.

        (e) The core leadership of the initial coalition organizing effort
will face a comparable trial-by-fire when they first show up on elite
radar: the robustness and integrity of the initial leadership effort must
be insured by appropriate organizational principles, and early trials will
serve to refine those principles for the greater challenges to come.

        (f) The first principle of democratic organizing is openness and
frankness: not only is this sound democratic process, but it is disarming
of elite counter measures.  As Noam Chomsky has pointed out, the elite are
best prepared to neutralize conspiratorial movements; they are somewhat
taken aback by leaders and groups which operate publicly and honestly.
Membership, discussions, policies, and plans should not only be non-secret,
they should be actively publicized.  If some leaders are suppressed, new
ones can rise from the ranks, already informed of policies and operations.
Public exposure is the safest sea for democratic revolutionary fish to swim
in.

        (g) The second principle of organizing is more subtle and concerns
the deliberative process of coalition sessions, both internal and with
allied and potentially allied constituency representatives.  An effective
consensus-development process is necessary, and skill in facilitating such
a process in sessions with diverse constituencies is essential for
coalition leaders.  Abalone Alliance (70s, California), Quakers, and other
groups have refined such processes, and the coalition should base its
approach on those techniques which have proven themselves to be effective
in practice.


5. Why revolution must be pursued with extreme urgency:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
        (a) The window of opportunity for peaceful revolution is closing
fast.  National destabilization and disempowerment continues apace as
globalist institutions continue to consolidate their power.  Erosion of
civil liberties proceeds in the West (eg, US "Anti-Terrorism" bill) while
police are being paramilitarized and citizen surveillance becomes more
pervasive.  The prospects for effective democratic revolution are being
systematically and intentionally foreclosed.

        (b) The notion that revolution must wait until "things get worse"
and the "masses spontaneously arise" is one of the most dangerous traps of
revolutionary thinking.  "Things" are sufficiently "bad" for revolutionary
organizing to begin, and as time goes by revolutionary prospects are
deteriorating faster than public discontent is growing.  Official
propaganda is specifically designed to explain away deteriorating
conditions in ways that diffuse spontaneous revolutionary consciousness and
which encourage passivity.


6. How the revolution might be launched - some proposals:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
        (a) Circulation of this document among activist groups will
hopefully encourage strategic revolutionary thinking and discussion, and
help point the way to a productive consensus perspective.

        (b) If sufficient interest can be aroused among activist leaders, a
leadership conference could be convened aimed at (1) adopting a draft
coalition platform which could be more widely circulated for feedback, and
(2) planning of follow-up organizing activities.


7. Getting the ball rolling - a proposed draft coalition platform:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
        - recognition of the nation-state as the most practical venue for
(initial) democratic rejuvenation: the infrastructures are already in place
and democracy is more feasible/manageable at a national rather than global
scale.  Still smaller units, though they may be ultimately desirable, would
be too weak during the inevitable confrontation phase with international
capitalism

        - re-assertion of national and constitutional sovereignty:
repudiation of "free-trade" treaties, re-regulation of foreign exchange and
corporations, balanced budget through taxation of corporations/elites - all
to be implemented prudently and incrementally

        - comprehensive reform of the democratic process within
constitutional constraints

        - realignment of domestic priorities around sustainable economics,
general prosperity, environmental prudence, human welfare, responsive
government, and citizen participation

        - realignment of foreign-policy priorities around defusing of
tensions, radical reductions in armaments, human rights and democracy,
international cooperation, forgiveness of debts created under duress,
respect for sovereignty, and encouragement of local economic autonomy and
self-sufficiency.

~-===================================================================-~

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