There was a time, not so many years ago, when we could look at a system of captured democratic institutions that no longer represent us, a system of imperialist wars to protect mega-corporations, we could look at this and say, “It would be nice to change this. We can do better.”
Now the systems that have asked for our consent to their authority are demanding greater deference, and what they are doing with their authority seems to be less supportable. Now change seems not to be an option but an urgency. Despite the increasing secrecy that shrouds the corporate state, we can see wars against nature, wars for global dominance, cold wars threatening to become hot. We will have to do better, or face tyranny and global ecosystem collapse.
My relationship with my family is built on trust. My relationship with my government is built on authority. One is rich with meaning and possibility built on cooperation; the other offers a mirage of security in return for obedience.
History has progressed from tribes to villages to city-states to nations to global governance. At each step, we have more relationships of authority, less of trust.
Freedom is not a tiny bubble of personal rights. We cannot be distinguished from each other so easily. Yawning and laughter are contagious; so are enthusiasm and despair. …When I drive a car, it releases pollution into the atmosphere you breathe; when you use pharmaceuticals, they filter into the water everyone drinks. The system everyone else accepts is the one you have to live under—but when other people challenge it, you get a chance to renegotiate your reality as well. Freedom is relationship, and we create it together, mine and yours.
Language serves to communicate only because we hold it in common. The same goes for ideas and desires: we can communicate them because they are greater than us. Each of us is composed of a chaos of contrary forces, all of which extend beyond us through time and space. In choosing which of these to cultivate, we determine what we will foster in everyone we encounter.
Growing up in this society, not even our passions are our own; they are cultivated by advertising and other forms of propaganda to keep us running on the treadmills of the marketplace. Thanks to indoctrination, people can be quite pleased with themselves for doing things that are bound to make them miserable in the long run. We are locked into our suffering and our pleasures are the seal.
Don’t cling to the old world
When we see what all the different institutions and mechanisms of domination have in common, it becomes clear that our individual struggles are also part of something greater than us, something that could connect us. When we come together on the basis of this connection, everything changes: not only our struggles, but also our sense of agency, our capacity for joy, the sense that our lives have meaning. All it takes to find each other is to begin acting according to a different logic.
The web site is ToChangeEverything.com. The name is “anarchism”.