SeizeTheMeansOfCommunity: Notes Towards a... Manifesto?
The following was originally intended to be a thread on Mastodon. Since I don't yet fully understand how posting to Mastodon works, I managed to screw up the sequence by deleting and re-drafting one of the posts. Here is the sequence as it was originally intended:
Since the late 19th century the world has seen several threats to the continued existence of global civilization. Two of these were world wars, which took terrible tolls but did not end global civilization. The crypto-theologically inclined, believing in inexorable historical progress, have tended to conclude that the world, overall and despite some glitches, is in most ways better than it was. This tends to be the belief of economists and the privileged. Others have doubts.
Another big threat to the continued existence of global civilization has been nuclear conflict. It has been (indefinitely) avertable and (so far) averted because a relatively small number of people have managed to exercise enough restraint. The crypto-theologically inclined have concluded (emotionally, if not propositiionally) that nuclear catastrophe is no longer a significant prospect.
The current most urgent threat is the one that is most directly enmeshed with physical, chemical and biological processes. It will be resolved not just with changes in laws and attitudes but will require massive, rapid changes in the way all of us interact with the physical world we inhabit.
If we try to meet this threat simply as individuals we will fail. Global civilization will end in the lifetimes of our children, our grandchildren or our great-grandchildren.
If we do not urgently address this threat we will not have the time to reap the benefits of any other economic, social or moral improvements we manage to achieve.
We need a 21st-century form of revolution... not the 19th-century sort of violent confrontation with power in the streets so much as the organized, mutual, collective undertaking of rapidly examining and altering the values and assumptions that have been inculcated in us, progressively, over centuries, and have rendered us so individualistic that we have lost most of our ability to act communally with solidarity.
We need to collectively, deliberately develop forms of community
- small enough that each member can know and care about each other,
- purposive enough that its members are motivated to inform themselves and each other about what needs to be done and then organize to do it
- inter-connected enough that perspectives are not merely local, fit within larger understandings and efforts
This approach doesn't guarantee success but it is our only hope.
Here are the original posts as they each appear on Mastodon (but presented in their intended sequence)
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