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'Nothing Less Than a Systemic Transformation of Our World'


'Nothing Less Than a Systemic Transformation of Our World'

Jon Queally, staff writer

"Nothing less than a systemic transformation of our societies, our economies, and our world will suffice to solve the climate crisis and close the ever-increasing inequality gap."


The biggest problem is that the “people” who matter most in this world are the big corporations and the wealthy. They somehow think they can wiggle out of this coming human catastrophe by hanging out in their wealth bubbles, keep invested in fossil fuels and war, and ignore the plight of the rest of us.


The climate and social justice movement’s “message to world leaders, for both Paris and beyond, is this: We are watching you.”
But the Banker and Billionaires Club’s message is “We are paying you.”


It is fascinating to watch the philosophical conception of grand change alter over the last half century. For all the foolishness that gets tossed about, for all the ingenuity of a few previous individuals, for all the ubiquity of petty squabbles and perhaps even because of it, we appear to have a new awareness on the part of a growing portion of the world population, an awareness of particular characteristics of the need for change that have been difficult to conceive.


“This joint statement is a clarion call for justice and sends a clear message to political leaders that we will not except empty promises in Paris. It’s a powerful moral and political demand for people power.”

In a rigged system based on oligarchy bribery and with our “leaders” jobs at stake, what politician listens to the downtrodden’s moral and political demands?

People power is in our votes, but in America, Republicans seem to have emasculated people from voting.


i appreciate much of what you contribute but factually, people power is regularly exercised OUTSIDE of electoral systems.

We need a broad deep movement of solidarity and action, with electoral components but focused on the effective exercise of popular power in multiple ways, not deemphasizing non-electoral measures or privileging electoral measures. Electoral efforts should emerge from wider forms of popular organizing, not as the foundation of popular power but as the outgrowth of popular power.

The intense focus in Common Dreams comment threads on electoral politics (in different guises and positions that commenters take toward electoral politics) misrepresents the ways people can organize and communicate and take effective action.

It’s been referenced a thousand times but read Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States about ways in which popular power has been exercised. It’s not a book about electoral campaigns. Vandana Shiva is not organizing electoral campaigns in India or promoting them around the world, she is organizing and promoting grassroots empowerment and solidarity against corporate colonialism. Noam Chomsky writes extensively about the exercise of power and strategies for undermining plutocratic, oligarchic, military and corporatist power systems. Chomsky does not promote electoral strategies as foundational or primary.

Idle No More, Rising Tide, Black Lives Matter, numerous other organizing efforts and paradigms are energetic and visionary and inspiring, generating social movement, changing people’s understanding of our own power, of what we are up against, of the need and opportunity for real solidarity and real challenge to entrenched militarist and nationalist and corporatist and colonialist power systems.

What do you think?


i see some evidence of this, or sense some evidence. i certainly hope your assessment proves true!


Good points. If I stop and think about the modes of engagement in everyday lives of everyday people, these are the skills that get things done and through experience of those widely varied and complementary skills recognition of community consensus of potential representation arises.

The century old ‘electronic hallucination’ that posits a paid talking head as “leadership” still holds a percentage “embarrassed millionaires” in thrall to its wavelength. That resonance is beginning to bounce off the dead-end wall of “constant growth” with confusing echoes. Earplugs and attention to community is much more productive. “Productive” being the operable word here.


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Monday morning, millions of Americans will start their cars, not wishing to be inconvenienced by public transportation, adding massive amounts of soot and oil particles into the air. Worsening the climate crisis. On the “inequality gap,” the US actually chose to create a poverty crisis. We know that not everyone can work (health, etc.), and that there aren’t jobs for all. The US shipped out a massive number of jobs since the 1980s, then ended actual welfare in the 1990s. When was the last time you heard a “bold progressive” call for restoring the basic human rights (per the UDHR) to food and shelter for our very poor? We don’t regard the poor to be legitimate human beings, much less equals.


“We don’t regard the poor to be legitimate human beings, much less equals.”

i’m really sorry that you harbor such awful feelings toward the poor. But they say that acknowledging your failings is an important first step toward changing. i wish you the best as you work to become a better person.


We can march in the streets, besiege the capitalist filth merchants, AND vote.

As in Spain, the Indignados who occupied the streets, then went on to form the Podemos party, which has already captured Madrid and Barcelona, and may win nationally.

If Spanish leftists can walk and chew gum, why not here?


Environmental NGOs in the USA have corporate backers and tend to be staffed with young people fresh from Academia usually unused to thinking outside of the system.


Yes, Jon, “'Nothing Less Than a Systemic Transformation of Our World from a Global Empire posing as US country of dead democracy into real global democracy”

First, foremost, and essentially the current world must be correctly ‘diagnosed’ as being a Disguised Global Crony-Capitalist EMPIRE, and then converted to a peoples’ real world of functioning democracies.

Like a hidden and undiagnosed cancer, Empire can not be understood, exposed, addressed, treated, and if necessary excised (non-violently) until the criminally deluded people (including especially the leftish, progressive-lite, alt media) starts to understand the real and deadly nature of this EMPIRE which is the proximate CAUSE of all our superficial ‘identity issues’, subordinate ‘symptom problems’, and our entire “ailing social order” ALL of which are universally and totally caused by the underLYING EMPIRE.

Pretty simple, eh?

As Zygmunt Bauman hauntingly puts it, “In the case of an ailing social order, the absence of an adequate diagnosis…is a crucial, perhaps decisive, part of the disease.”13

Berman, Morris (2011-02-07). Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire (p. 22). Norton. Kindle Edition.


Funny thing is that organizations such as ISIS don’t pay a lot of attention to gates and guard stations that are designed to protect high end communities from undesirable elements. These symptoms of endemic dissatisfaction will only grow as conditions get worse. A planet ruled by a psychopathicly indifferent plutocracy cannot succeed. The only hope to avoid a world wide reign of terror as the disenfranchised and desperate dying population will inflict is immediate global cooperation to run from the irresponsible carbon technology as fast as we can.


Correction: that should read “We can Buy you.”


Really, all one has to do is realize that politics is a result if a developed society and bad politics indicates corruption. Politics does not create society, society creates politics. That said, when political systems take the form of government then they also take responsibility for society and by extension to society. A non responsive political system is a parasite sucking the life from society and must be reformed either in dramatic ways such as armed revolution or in peaceful ways like the New Deal. It really isn’t up for discussion but will occur at what ever pace is forced or allowed.


You are correct that the elites are doomed, too. They just don’t want to think about that and hope they will continue to live their profligate lifestyles in their wealth bubbles.

ISIS is a bad example, though, of the rabble with pitchforks attacking the castle. Trained and armed in Jordan by the CIA, financed by the Saudis, they have never made attacks on the actual centers of power in the Levant, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The minute they would do that the new Toyota pickup trucks they get around in would be turned into smoking piles of rubble.


That isn’t an answer it is the problem


I can see your point about ISIS but I still believe it is valid because the leadership relies on the steamrolled society or lack thereof for the cannon fodder that keeps it going. Leadership must have followers to be relevant. While they likely are funded by religious extremists and use religion to control their chattel they are really just filling a power vacuum created by the incredible income disparity of the despotic theocracies of the region.