The Coastal Post - January, 1997

Next StageA New Movement?

BY GUY W. MEYER

In the 1930s, when I was young (and a white male Christian Republican, I might add), a fairly large minority of people worldwide, suffering from the Great Depression, were talking about world revolution. "Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!" This was the heyday of the Internationals-Communist, Socialists and other anti-capitalists.

Came the War and people turned their attention to other matters. Many fell in line with the totalitarians of the Right and the Left.

Today the Communist (Marxist-Leninist) Movement has crumbled. One hears little of socialists and anarchists. Capitalism seems firmly in the saddle, with little threat from anti-capitalists. Yes, capitalism rules, outside of a few spots of resistance-Cuba, Vietnam, China, for instance. Even these are beginning to yield to the glitter of the market system.

Today, also, bloody wars are raging worldwide, revolutions (not for the global humanist ideals of the Leftists of the '30s, but for the glory of ambitious generals, prime ministers, and religious leaders), and terrorism that knows no national borders. Weapons exist in power and number sufficient to destroy all human and most of other life. Millions starve and are homeless, while a few hundred are billionaires.

Greedy timber, mining, oil, fishing, cattle, and development corporations plunder our planet, as though there were no limit to their loot. Not only do they grasp for waning resources, at the same time they discharge poisons and pollutants into the air, water, and soil of our planet home.

The damage done by modern profiteers, supported by power-hungry politicians, dwarfs out of all proportion the harm done by capitalists of the early 20th century. Yet where today is there serious talk of world revolution? Surely the justification for such is many times greater than in those earlier days. Why is this so?

In the first place, there are no charismatic leaders calling for revolutionary change (although we often read of the "need for a paradigm shift").

Secondly, the recent memory of the failed Communist Revolution, its bloody excesses, tyrannies, and production failures repels most people from the very idea of "revolution" Very few people want to try that kind of revolution again.

Could any kind of world revolution be of actual benefit to humanity and our prospects for long-range survival? I believe there is. This would not be a violent revolution, for the active revolutionaries would reject the use of violence. Counter-revolutionaries, however, clinging to traditional values, might resort to violence in a vain attempt to block revolutionary change.

The revolution I envision (name it as you will-New World Movement, Caring Revolution, or ?) is not directed at the killing or harming of any person. It does not involve the use of threat or fear to coerce current power wielders. Its strategy is to identify and remove public support from those whose power is based on divisive and destructive values.

The global revolution urgently needed today to bring peace and health to humanity and our environment is aimed at changing the values-goals and loyalties-of a critical mass (influential minority) of thinking people worldwide.

To some degree the Great Revolution-to-be, marking a watershed in human history, has already begun. There are signs of its germination, its early sprouting.

In the first place, we note the emergence of activists who care for the well-being of all humans, especially the handicapped and down-trodden, and our environment. These activists promote "Reverence for Life," a feel for the sanctity of vegetable and animal life, for the diversity and protection of non-human creatures.

These carers ("Care-takers"?) express little respect for the process of acquiring and ruthlessly competing for profits, luxuries, privilege and power, and excessive honoring of institutions, segments of humanity-nations, races, religions, cultures, etc. They feel that loyalty to any of these human-made entities must give way to caring for Life-created beings.

Gradually, these Caretakers have begun to network and cooperate, thus enhancing their efforts (e.g., as in the international Green Movement). The emergence of caring and its downgrading of acquiring is the essential element of the Great Revolution.

Throughout the world, millions of thinking people, experiencing directly or through the media this world-spread insanity of militarism-nationalism, are hoping and praying for an end to it. They are ready and waiting for a sign of hope, a powerful movement to replace acts and values based on greed, fear, and hate with values associated with caring. One could say that a large slice of humanity worldwide are ready and waiting-ready to join a movement that offers real hope.

Then there are the children and youth of the world, those now most subject to harmful indoctrination, recruitment, conscription, and exploitation of all kinds.

Youth especially look for excitement, group identity, glory, and challenge to authority. The world's youth are in urgent need of a Great Cause, one that could be the most important social movement in human history.

In the Civil Right Movement to abolish segregation in the U.S., and in the Gandhian Indian Independence Movement, many young people found all these desirable features. They found that a non-violent movement could be just as exciting as participating in violence. In fact, the glory was greater, as their cause drew more universal applause.

The movement to replace the dominance of acquiring and its related greed, fear, and hate values, will be driven not only by those challenging militarism and nationalism, but also by activists concerned for feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, educating, healing, uplifting the disadvantaged, by those deeply concerned for the wholesomeness of the environment and for the protection of wildlife.

The Movement will be recognized as such when these caring activists (Caretakers) become aware that they do, indeed, share a common objective, that they belong to and promote a single movement, and together will overcome.

The first phase of the Movement, however, must be the abolition of mass killing and weaponry, as well as the glorified excuses for their continuance.

As the American Civil Rights Movement was directed against racial segregation, and for integration, the coming Movement will be aimed at ridding the world of national segregation, and the establishment of World Community.

The Great Revolution to elevate caring for human and other life, and for caring for the planet's environment, above acquiring-money, luxuries, privilege and power-will triumph in the end by following strategies similar to those of Martin Luther King, Jr.-non-violence coupled with firm resistance to divisive, destructive practices and institutions.

Had he lived, King might now be heading such a global movement. He wrote, "I have said that the problem, the crisis we face, is international is scope. In fact, it is inseparable from an international emergency which involves the poor, the dispossessed, and exploited of the whole world.

"Can a nonviolent, direct-action movement find application on the international level, to confront economic and political problems? I believe it can. It is clear to me that the next stage of the movement is to become international."

-Martin Luther King, Jr., Non-violence and Social Change

What actions could power such a Movement. What actions might trigger it?

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