Saturday, September 19, 2009

it's happening again...and again...and again...and....

Einstein said, "You cannot solve problems with the same level of consciousness that created them."

Pres Obama has even used Einstein's aphorism in his speeches. Turns out the prez is more of a motivational speaker than a transformative leader. For he and all the other American politicians and civic leaders with any clout continue to follow the same tired old, inept, deadly pattern: same jargon, same bickering, same lame old politics...same old urgings to consumers to "spend our way out of debt" while bailing out the "too big to fail" institutions, spending enormous sums on war, and ignoring the worldwide climate crises....

Meanwhile, members of "the peace movement" continue to meet, discuss, strategize, and carry signs in the street. Our strategies are so old and tired that they've even trickled down to the "the right" - who is using them quite successfully for the time being. What more glaring indication that new and creative directions are needed than "the right" - aka "the right wing nuts" -- emulating progressive tactics and getting 60,000 or 70,000 protesters into the street in short order? (True, these numbers are disputed...but 60,000 to 70,000 are the low end of the scale. The accusation that 'the right wing media' inflated the numbers - another post-street protest cliche - is missing the point. When was the last time 60,000 to 70,000 war protesters showed up in San Francisco?)

Robert Fisk addresses this theme in his article, ""Everyone seems to be agreeing with bin Laden these days". He closes, "More troops will not guarantee success in Afghanistan," failed Republican contender and ex-Vietnam vet John McCain told us this week. "But a failure to send them will be a guarantee of failure." How Osama must have chuckled as this preposterous announcement echoed around al-Qa'ida's dark cave.

Parsing "Failure"

I don't have the energy to attend strategy meetings anymore. I'm tired of the same old thing: just figuring out a date for the meeting takes a week of emails going back and forth about why the various potential attendees cannot make that date. Finding a venue is tough. Tallying who will or will not show up then fretting about changing dates and venues to accommodate changes goes on for more weeks. Finally, about a third of those confirmed actually show find a sub-meeting already occurred somewhere else and all the significant decisions have been made.

How is this different from meetings held in corporate or bureaucratic workplaces? Both are showpieces to present roles and get "buy in" rather than practices in democracy.

And, yes, I feel bad about all of this. I feel bad about myself. I feel bad feeling bad. I feel bad that I recognize that "the peace movement" - or the anti-war movement - is a failure... and I feel bad that I sound blaming when I admit our failure to hardworking "comrades".

We, the People are stuck in our individualized, atomized worlds.

Alas! A change of consciousness is needed...but how? And who? And when?

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