DRIVE IT TILL IT DROPS is the title of a book I read many years ago (Joe Trose 1980) when I was trying to keep an old clunker going. The advice from the author as I remember it (I no longer have a copy) was that with the exception of the brakes, as long as an old car would run without repairs then run it. Putting new money into an old, failing car was pointless. The inference was that no matter how the clunker polluted the air, made driving a nightmare, and occasionally killed people because of vehicle malfunction, the point was it could be done. And this worked until the clunker just refused to run anymore and/or the brakes were no longer functional.
Our economic system is still running, after a fashion, but the brakes are no longer functional. We need a new vehicle. We need a government that will recognize the earth’s fragile state and act as a protector, not an uncaring destroyer, a kind of government that won’t kill people and wild species due to deliberate neglect, and one that will make mass transit an overriding priority. But in order to get to something new, we have to get rid of the old.
How old is old? Well, we have a prime minister who is, in my opinion, a US Right Wing Republican Fundamentalist Evangelical in all but birthplace; a staunch believer in making secret decisions favoring privatizing public everything. He wants the old days back when capitalism reined without regulations. The Egypt Spring revolution turned out to be, after all, a Muslim Brotherhood take over with a desire to return to sharia law and female genital mutilation, a step so far backward the entire country is close to falling into a social abyss of no immediate return.
US President Barack Obama has his own personal kill list. His foreign policy is one of ruling by decree (along of course, with Hilary Clinton) with as much secrecy as possible concerning drones, torture, occupations, arms sales, etc. President Netanyahu of Israel is so frustrated in his attempts to make Obama bomb Iran that he had to bomb somebody himself…so he bombed Gaza instead.
The American revolution of 1783 that declared all men equal (not black men or women of any race) turned out 239 years later to be a nation where corporations are “human” and humans have no standing against them. All this, while half the US population is lurching toward an unspeakable poverty. Some European populations are peering at the same scenario in utter dismay while in many parts of the Muslim world whole populations already live in unspeakable poverty.
At the top of the heap, of course, are the global banking systems who rule the world. After all, it is they, The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the National and International banks circling the globe like toxic veins, they, the superhumanly powerful as they must be as it is they who define what kind of terms they will permit humans and entire nations to live by. China owns its own banking system and doesn’t need international banking loans. However, China seems to be on the same page with the rest of the capitalist world in upping their people’s enthusiasm for more cars, more roads, more electronic gadgets and more development. All of which requires more energy… more oil, translated into more oil sands bitumen, more natural gas, which means more fracking, more coal, more open pit mines. There is nowhere near enough wind, solar or thermal energy anywhere on the globe. The earth itself is cracking, flooding and becoming desert. Capitalism’s answer? Well, keep it going, drive it till it drops. The problem with this mentality is that we will all drop with it.
What should we as citizens think of these events? What should we do?
Revolution? Revolution requires guns. Most Canadians don’t have guns, and even if we had them, we wouldn’t use them. There is another weapon, much more powerful. And it has the added attraction of being relatively bloodless. At least in theory. It is called peaceful civil disobedience.
And while peaceful civil disobedience does not require guns, if it is to be effective, it does require a great deal of energy and sacrifice. There is a difference between protests where people gather to march, sing, and listen to speeches. These activities are valuable, especially if they morph into actual peaceful civil disobedience. I’ve been thinking about this a lot as I believe the time is approaching when people will have to make decisions concerning how, when and where to protest or to get seriously involved in peaceful civil disobedience that can change the course of nations. More on this later.