Revolution as a Transitory, Integrative and Holistic Process

Excerpted from R.C. Smith:

occupy 99“What is perhaps most vile about the political analysis emanating from out of many leftist groups today, is how so many tend to implicitly or explicitly treat people engaged in struggle as though they’re chess pieces in some sort of theoretical game: ‘a means toward an end’. There are so many ‘leftist’ theories as to what ‘social change’ might mean or look like, but these theories are often so bound up in an ever rigidifying political or theoretical framework that they tend to treat ‘the alternative’ the same way bureaucrats treat the young men and women who are about to be sent to die in some corrupt war.

In opposition to this sort of politics, an alternative philosophy of social change should recognise that sustainable change, at least historically speaking, has never really come as a result of a flash in the night revolution that many seem to idealise today (a la the French Revolution. Rather it is a transitory, integrative and holistic process. For this reason I often see a lot of good in small ‘everyday’ examples of people practicing life ‘alternatively’: from the local farmer who practices more sustainable agricultural methods to the alternative school that takes a more humane, holistic pedagogical approach to the community or organisation that continuously works toward ‘horizontality’ and alternative economic systems. These seemingly small events might not represent ‘the end’ and may even seem miniscule when held up against a globally corrupt system; but they offer in the very least concrete ‘guideposts’ in how we might do things differently in a particular area. In their very existence they contribute toward historical transition, and they do so in spite of facing extreme pressure from the current international political economy and its recent wave of neoliberal policy, which constantly tries to undermine their efforts.

In closing, this is one reason why I personally advocate that Occupy wasn’t a failure. Rather society failed Occupy. With Occupy what we witnessed were real people engaged in real struggle, who, rightly or wrongly, didn’t subscribe to the notion of traditional political engagement: the return of communism, an almighty revolution, or a new deified politic. It was far more grounded and concrete: formulating in a very human way viable, transitory networks of change like worker coops, participatory economic theories, alternative agriculture. These of course are not the end, but they’re concrete steps toward a more whole systemic alternative in the process of historical change (i.e., the notion of transitory change).”

1 Comment Revolution as a Transitory, Integrative and Holistic Process

  1. AvatarH Luce

    “Society failed Occupy”… that strikes me as odd. Of course, the government wanted to neutralize and destroy Occupy – as it does all social reform movements, either from the Right or Left, because they are a threat to the Status Quo. Governments set systems up to ensure stability:

    “When the business interests … pushed through the first installment of civil service reform in 1883, they expected that they would be able to control both political parties equally. Indeed, some of them intended to contribute to both and to allow an alternation of the two parties in public office in order to conceal their own influence, inhibit any exhibition of independence of politicians, and allow the electorate to believe that they were exercising their own free choice.” …

    “The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.” Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope, 1965, at p1245 et seq.


    And the general population is conditioned from their early childhood to not be able to conceive of any different way of doing things:

    “School as it was built is an essential support system for a vision of social engineering that condemns most people to be subordinate stones in a pyramid that narrows as it ascends to a terminal of control. School is an artifice which makes such a pyramidical social order seem inevitable, although such a premise is a fundamental betrayal of the American Revolution. From colonial days through the period of the Republic we had no schools to speak of — read Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography for an example of a man who had no time to waste in school — and yet the promise of Democracy was beginning to be realized. We turned our backs on this promise by bringing to life the ancient pharaonic dream of Egypt: compulsory subordination for all. That was the secret Plato reluctantly transmitted in The Republic when Glaucon and Adeimantus exhorted from Socrates the plan for total state control of human life, a plan necessary to maintain a society where some people take more than their share. … The current debate about whether we should have a national curriculum is phony. We already have a national curriculum locked up in the seven lessons I have just outlined. Such a curriculum produces physical, moral, and intellectual paralysis, and no curriculum of content will be sufficient to reverse its hideous effects. What is currently under discussion in our national school hysteria about failing academic performance misses the point. Schools teach exactly what they are intended to teach and they do it well: how to be a good Egyptian and remain in your place in the pyramid.”

    “Society”, if it did not actively prosecute war against Occupy, has been actively conditioned to not be able to conceive of such a thing – and the threat of masses of people breaking out of the prison created by their conditioning was a mortal threat to “Society”, and was treated as such by the propaganda machine of the mass media. Of course, the Left helped to further marginalize it and sabotage it, but that’s been the role of the Left for at least the past 40 years if not longer.

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