Revolutionary Times

Inferno for the old, celebration for the new

by

Our current economic model and its cronies are bankrupt, literally and morally. We need to burn them down and replace them with the future.

Thankfully alternatives are emerging. Professor Gar Alperovitz, a leading thinking and practitioner in the new economy, has recently said “just below the surface of media attention literally thousands of grass roots institution-changing, wealth-democratizing efforts have been quietly developing.”
Along with people like Professors Erik Olin Wright, Steve Keen, John Bellamy Foster and David Schweickart, Alperovitz is just one of many academics and think-tanks, like Nef, actively working on the shape and functioning of a radically new form of economics.

“New citizen parties, such as Partido X and Podemos, are showing how differently politics can work, as are participative democratic innovations.”

Alongside this is a fabulous proliferation of post-capitalist alternative practices which are showing how consumption and production can be done in very different, person-to-person (p2p), democratic ways. But, as William Gibson has said: “The future’s here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” Too many dinosaur ideas, structures and organizations are blocking change. So we need to burn the old ways and celebrate and nurture these new ones.

Leading progressives in the business community are tuning in to this thinking, and indeed themselves supporting experimentation. But our politicians are almost all asleep at the wheel. New citizen parties, such as Partido X and Podemos, are showing how differently politics can work, as are participative democratic innovations in places like Porto Alegre and Paris. A new form of decentralized p2p politics, people-powered participative democracy, will need to emerge from these ashes. Again there are plenty of examples of innovations in these spaces but they are blocked by the incumbents.

Guy Fawkes is sometimes toasted as “the last man to enter Parliament with honest intentions”. That sounds about right. So we need to burn down the centralized, inert, heavy clunking fist that Westminster represents. A far better use for Parliament and Portcullis would be as cultural and creative centers, Fab Labs, cafes and nightclubs. Or maybe, rather than burn down Parliament itself, it’s time to throw out the politicians and shift power back to the streets, the factories and the people.


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