The Revolution of the Mind is Underway
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Fabio Berti
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Chris Hedges has an important essay in Truthdig this week, Our Invisible Revolution. Essentially he describes a revolution of the mind in which people’s consciousness are raised as they become aware of the inability of the current governmental and economic systems to respond to the needs of people and the planet. When this is understood, then the revolutionary changes that seemed impossible become possible. Hedges writes:
“As long as most citizens believe in the ideas that justify global capitalism, the private and state institutions that serve our corporate masters are unassailable. When these ideas are shattered, the institutions that buttress the ruling class deflate and collapse. The battle of ideas is percolating below the surface. It is a battle the corporate state is steadily losing. An increasing number of Americans are getting it.”
People realize that the institutions don’t work because they are experiencing the consequences.
This week was the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy and the recovery effort, Occupy Sandy. Occupy Sandy is still active because people on the New York and New Jersey coastlines continue to suffer from the effects of that storm. To mark the occasion, people from those areas brought a human “wave of change” to city hall in New York and held a march they called “Turn the Tide.” Protesters are demanding that five priorities be met: good jobs, affordable housing, sustainable energy, community engagement and strong healthcare.
One year later, Sandy demonstrates the dysfunction of government to address both the people’s needs and climate change. As Naomi Klein wrote this week in How Science Is Telling Us All To Revolt, “there is still time to avoid catastrophic warming, but not within the rules of capitalism as they are currently constructed; which may be the best argument we have ever had for changing those rules.”
Within the current rules, big business continues to build pipelines, even when experts say there is a 90% probability of leaks, and withholds information from the public, as in North Dakota where there were 750 “oil field incidents” including 300 oil spills in two years. When people stand up and protest these realities, big business spends large sums of money to stop those efforts, as big oil is doing in South Portland.
Big business impacts activism in other ways too. Young people at the Power Shift conference experienced how the entrenched big environmental groups hold them back from saying and doing what they believe is necessary. All of this adds to the awakening of the consciousness, the revolution of the mind, that Hedges writes about.
The effects of the unfair economy are also waking people up. The root of the economic crisis, the housing market collapse, is still with us five years after the crash. Foreclosures continue and people are angry. Constituents of Georgia Senator Johnny Jackson (D) stormed his office to protest his threat to filibuster a new head of the Federal Housing and Finance Agency who might finally do what needed to be done years ago, reduce the principal on home mortgages to real housing values. And on October 30 th, there were protests across the country against the major money managers, Pimco and BlackRock, who oppose principal reduction.
As families struggle to keep their homes, billionaires are trying to cut the meager social safety net that exists in the United States. It is becoming more obvious that the current system is rigged in favor of the rich. JP Morgan, who is negotiating with lawyers at the Department of Justice that used to work for them, will likely receive what sounds like a big fine but really amounts to a slap on the wrist. And Hillary Clinton is charging a minimum of $200,000 per speech. She spoke at two Goldman Sachs events this week raking in at least $400,000 – ten years of work for the average American.