Well, I am not sure and I don’t think many have noticed anyway but we just might be in the beginning stages of a revolution. Maybe.
Hard to tell.
First off, it isn’t a violent one. So not noticing is OK. No parliament buildings are going to be blown up. No riots (I hope). Generally speaking it is a soft revolution gently underway and barely visible (which I think is the strategy) but a revolution it is nevertheless. I think.
Could be me. You know, projecting? Let me explain…………
First off, a lot of people everywhere are disgruntled about all-things-government, institutional, the economy, politicians and especially automated phones (just to name a few irritants in this, our modern life). Rejection of some of this – at the very least – is inevitable. Witness the run to organic foods. Witness the growth of alternative medicine, alternative energy and even alternative media (Twitter, etc). We are rejecting or opting out of a lot of stuff.
Witness those highly respected members of society especially beloved and respected by thousands hightailing it off to live in the woods!
But, more to the point: witness the millions of people not paying taxes!
It is passive resistance, to be sure, but it is rampant. Hell, in Greece, it seems, no one has ever paid taxes! (we Canadians still do but balked at the HST. It is a start).
Add to that the growing number of people who can’t pay taxes! They’ve lost their homes in the last recession. Their jobs in the previous decades. And their pensions and investments to banks, Bernie Maddoffs and bureaucratic bungling over the last few years (locally see BC Hydro, BC Ferries, BC Rail and the stupid, bloody Olympics!). There are now more and more bankruptcies every year. The homeless are all over. And the only institutions growing unchecked are food banks.
NOW we have disgruntlement plus disappointment.
Add to the mix those who were previously doing just fine but find themselves barely able to ‘keep it together’ even when earning as much as $100 K a year. This is a frustrated group.
Disgruntlement, disappointment and frustration. That is the stuff that fertilizes dissent.
And where it was much worse, we actually had some visible dissent. We had the Arab Spring – Arabs twittering their anger to the point of actual revolution! It is happening in the USA, too. In Bolivia. Iceland. Ireland. Battle in Seattle. Riot at the Hyatt. See the ‘Occupiers-of-Wall Street’ and the labour unions join hands. For that matter, the labour unions and the Greens have joined hands on some issues. Wow! See the Salmon Wars! Hard hats and hippies on the same side! And the pipeline-Tar Sands battles are coming soon to a theatre near you.
Or your beaches.
And get this: China is going through it as well. China has over 100,000 protests a year and basically sweeps most of them under the carpet. But, with their version of Twitter, they can’t do that anymore. Chinese crowds are gathering over just about everything from poorly run hospitals to buildings that fall down to poison in the food.
Corporate-think and Institutional-think are just not garnering the following they used to enjoy previously – albeit, mostly by benign ignorance on the part of the public. In fact, the RCMP are no longer much respected (tasering) at all. Not by anyone. Neither are the courts (years and years of lawyering that get no where and government protected crooks getting away Scott-free with their legal fees paid! Royal Commissions that cost millions and do nothing. Gordon Campbell being nominated for the Order of BC).
What is there to respect?
But let’s go back to passive – for a minute, anyway. Local people are eating local, driving less. Fewer people fly. Fewer people are RVing, as well. And hardly anyone goes boating up this way anymore (unless the yachts are huge). Not compared to yesteryear, anyway. Passive resistance, in this case, is taking the form of staying home. Alternative energy is growing. And swap and shops and garage sales are proliferating. So are ‘free stores’. The people are opting out where they can. They are voluntarily choosing to find ways around the corporate beast. And they are succeeding to a point.
(Man, being a conventional retailer these days must be hell. Rampant shop-lifting, Costco on the right of you, a free store on the left, a drug pusher out front and a garage sale in the alley behind you. No wonder main streets all over are empty!)
I know, I know. You think that this is just a self-interest movement more than a political one but I suspect that all revolutions are that way. So something revolutionary just may be afoot.
Is this a revolution? Not yet. Sheeple don’t revolt until they they are actually hungry. They take a beating and keep on bleating. Plus they need to know the time and date of the revolution so that it can be scheduled in (it is just so embarrassing to show up for the revolution in a red bandana and heavy boots just to find out that you are a week early!).
But, in the meantime, this passive resistance thing is good. This alternative economy is good. This eating and shopping local thing is good. And this growing desire to stop feeding the beast is really good. We could use a few more occupations of Wall Street. Especially in Canada. That is for sure.
I recommend starting in BC.
For a real revolution we need another Ghandi but absent that kind of charismatic leader, we can at least passively support alternatives, think differently and perhaps support some of those who are sticking their neck out.
Alex Morton is one who comes to mind.