Usually at year’s end, we’re supposed to look back at events just passed — and forward, in prediction mode, to the year to come. But just look around you! This moment is so extraordinary that it has hardly registered. People in thousands of communities across the United States and elsewhere are living in public, experimenting with direct democracy, calling things by their true names, and obliging the media and politicians to do the same.
This is a crisis of human industrial civilization. Everything is on the table and everything is collapsing, including our faith and beliefs in many venerable sacred cows. Addressing the issues of finance, politics or energy alone or separately will not solve the fundamental problem, which is that we live in a global civilization and culture predicated first and foremost on infinite growth, which is obviously no longer possible.
We can certainly perceive this story as yet another in a long line of indicators of how decadent industrial civilization has become. We can rightly compare it to the scourge of child sexual abuse that has marked the Roman Catholic Church for centuries. And just as we can become obsessed with the story or turn white hot with anger, we can also choose to ignore it or simply chalk it up to the sports industrial complex. However we choose to respond, I believe it is important not to miss this debacle as a prototype of empire itself and to construct a vision of how this not-so-happy valley could be deconstructed and revolutionized in a post-industrial world.
It’s strategic to bring protest to Wall Street rather than Washington. We must go directly to the crime scene — not with a request for reforms, but with an arrest warrant from the people.