Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Take-Away from the System Change Initiative

There are of course many different but complementary take-aways  from the Council of Canadians System Change Initiative:

This is a summary of what seems salient if not crucial to me:

Global Warming is caused by unsustainable economic production in the material world, a process that has been driven by an abundance of energy, the main component of which is oil, which has, unbeknownst to many, already peaked.  As a result, we will have to - whether we want to or not - move to sustainable local economies eventually in order simply to survive.

Neoliberalism (and liberalism before it) is the ideological (social and political)  economic ground of this phenomenon, which assumes that aggregate economic growth is the order of things and can go on forever without repercussions in the natural or social world in which we dwell. 

Global Warming in turn generates climate change, and these together are gradually destroying the planet and, with increasingly less subtlety - because of the necessity for environmental reparations and social adaptation - our socio-economic lives. 

And so our political efforts should focus on the “system" that is the root cause of this unsustainable, destructive set of conditions - on assaulting the particular policies of neoliberalism that facilitate the enabling of this pernicious way of thinking and acting into which the entire western world and much of the developing world as well have inscribed themselves. Neoliberalism's destructive effects extend way beyond the discipline  of economics as such.  

This is the political space in which we need to develop strategies to shift public discourse on our current economic-political-social system, for in 2012 this is the only place where change might actually happen.  As a co-operative endeavour, the occupy movement is a promising beginning, for it has already opened up a gap in public discourse for progressive voices to be heard in the mainstream. The forthcoming Occupy Handbook, which mixes progressive and mainstream voices together, is a testimony to that extraordinary effect - at least in the U.S. Would that we had that sort of revelatory opening up here in Canada.

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