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Talking About a Revolution


Talking About a Revolution

Jim Naureckas

It’s long been clear that if we want to avoid catastrophic climate disruption on a scale that threatens human civilization, we need to leave vast amounts of fossil fuels in the ground. Environmental writer Bill McKibben pointed out the math in a crucial 2012 article for Rolling Stone: To avoid disaster, 80 percent of the carbon already discovered by private and state-owned energy companies has to be left alone—to be treated as useless rock, not precious resources.


Jim Naureckas is right–but how do we get people to read FAIR and watch Democracy Now, and turn to Common Dreams, or Pro Publica, instead of People? Or the news rags owned by Murdoch, etc? The Progressive, The Nation, almost all independent and progressive media is in need of sound financing, so they can do their job–investigating and reporting on these vital, life-changing matters, giving us some tools,
to act like citizens. And the ‘revolution’ word is right, too–but he outlines how difficult it will be, to wrest power from fossil fuel, health insurance, big media and their stock-owners? More questions than answers…And yet, it must happen, for the survival of humans and health of the planet.


We have full-body metastasis–from brain to baby toe. How does one get rid of that extent of cancer?


I won’t repeat what you wrote though I wanted to say the same things. It has come down to the time when just informing the progressive public and telling it like it is as all good progressive pundits and websites try to do but that now the need is not to keep preaching only to the converted but to shine a light in the right wing darkness. What we need is to make the climate deniers face the facts of science before it is too late. It doesn’t really help if you alone know the ship is sinking if when it finally does sink that it takes you and them down with it!


Yes, I agree with you—here we are, the converted (to reality and citizenry) agreeing with each other! Best to you, K


And to you. The days of resistance will go on because they must. Those who have eyes to see had best open the eyes of others who as yet remain asleep!

I’m with you that speaking truth to power is not the same thing as speaking the truth only among ourselves!



A very big and appreciative BRAVO to Jim Naureckas for this distillation of where we stand…and who our criminal enemies are, that must be destroyed if we are to survive!


Naurekas is absolutely right. Big props to Common Dreams for posting his call. This is realism.

Here’s what i had just posted in today’s Monsanto comment thread:

People of the world:

We need to END the rule of the political economy by investor-owned, limited-liability, “corporate persons.”

We need to ABOLISH the investor-owned, limited-liability, “corporate person.”

It’s way beyond “the most evil corporation in the world” Monsanto.

To allow the Earth, and humanity, to live and to continue to evolve, we must END the evil system that is destroying both.

We need to impose a political economy that prioritizes ecology, and humanity, above “ownership” and private profit and the accumulation of “wealth.” The Earth, and humanity, are far greater wealth than any such “corporate person” can ever be made to understand.


Revolutions need organizing, and organizing needs information. We need a revolution, and the place to begin is with the media.

Good luck with that. I’m not optimistic.


Why are laws made by politicians so often the opposite of what the majority wants?


The progressive public could make a good start by bothering to vote. My guess though is that this revolution will transpire like those before it. Make no mistake, I’m not promoting a violent revolution until all hope has been lost but I’m also not so naive as to assume there is going to be a paradigm change in humanity where people realize in time what must be done to stave off disaster.

The political system has been captured by the corporations and the time for change is short. How does anyone know when the Rubicon has been crossed and it is time to act by whatever means necessary? I don’t know but I suspect the time is coming if not already passed.


Your thoughts are of a classical nature. A linear equation of human behavior in response to a set amount of stimuli results in a reaction. I actually don’t think it will be all that tidy.

It is comforting to some to think that people will rise up in a Revolution like they have in the past including America’s past. I wonder if such will be the fate of those in a catastrophic climate chaos planet. Even revolutions take some form of structure. I think a haphazard melange of disparate and possibly leaderless mobs might be more the norm in some areas. Looking at the present day chaos of armed groups fighting amongst themselves in Africa makes me think that situation born of necessity and famine will be more likely as the climate chaos causes refugees by the millions to be on the move.



The fact is that who we are as a society is decided for us by the media. If the media doesn’t cover it, then for most people it doesn’t actually exist. The only real way that people in this country communicate with each other (except locally) is by reading or viewing how other people in other parts of the country feel about an issue. Then we respond and the media covers and shares our responses. They also control not what is said as much as they control how much is heard.

If the media disappeared in a day, the country would be silent about everything. That is the ‘voice of the people’ has been taken over and turned into the ‘voice of Corporate Oligarchy’.


Knowledge is power, and ignorance the currency with which it is purchased by the powerful


I don’t really think the author has got it right, on a number of counts.

First, good information is widely available on the Internet.

Second, or perhaps this should be first, the real problem is a poorly educated electorate -

It’s funny the threads one picks up reading books - that are unexpected, i.e., not the main subject of the book.

Let me give you two examples, and then I’ll post a news story from the United Kingdom’s “The Guardian”, from today’s news.

In the book “Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn”, the author Daniel Gordis repeatedly brings up the Jewish/Hebrew belief in education, and in his history he adequately demonstrates the high priority that the Jewish faith and the Zionist Israel put on education systems of the most modern type. In fact, it is part and parcel of Judaic belief systems, and has produced, arguably, a disproportionate number of Nobel Laureates from Israel in recent history. But the belief in education goes way back, thousands of years.

In another book, “Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist”, the Ph.D. of this Jesuit, his journal publications on the asteroid Vesta and the meteorites derived from them, his position as curator of one of the largest meteorite collections in the world, etc…, you get the gist - gives this man impeccable credentials in the field of science, and his Jesuit conversion late in life gives him a unique perspective from the religious point of view.

And he concludes that the Judeo-Christian mindset has always been open and far-reaching, in fact supporting the arguments of Daniel Gordis as to the highest regard for education and learning.

I won’t attempt to summarize either book, or go further than to suggest reading both if interested.

Because my main point is this - in North America we are functionally ignorant of science, and do not value education highly - despite the rhetoric.

This is why climate science and scientists in general can be so easily dismissed by large segments of the voting public, and now by the President of the United States and his underlings.

Betsy Devos will soon be dismantling what educational system is left under the guise of vouchers for efficiency.

This points to what is of primary importance in America - the bottom line - and money to the rich.

The problem is not the media - it is the audience.

Here is that link - really scary !


The most immediate problem at the moment is the Facebook newsfeed because this is what millions of people are relying on for their news. There seems to be at least two major problems. The worst problem is fake news. There are no human beings involved to decide if a news story or real or not. What you see is determined by an algorithm. The other problem is that Facebook is a feel good site with “likes” dominating. This means feel good stories are likely to get preference over much more upsetting stories. The fake news in particular has the potential to undermine democracy. This has not escaped people who are trying to undermine democracy as we saw during the last election. If anything this problem will likely get worse if people continue to rely on Facebook for their main source of news and those trying to undermine democracy with fake news get even better at it.


When it comes to science the problem is the audience, because it doesn’t trust the media. In the US I think most people realize that if the want to know about science from the media they have to rely on public television There have been many excellent shows on various areas of science on public television. Not only has climate science been covered in depth but also subjects like cosmology and string theory. It’s there for anyone to see. But many people just want to be entertained so they don’t bother watching.


I understand your reasoning to believe that an “educated public” is important, but there are examples that prove the reverse. In the apartheid State of Israel, Israelis are ranked as the most educated peole in the world with a higher percentage of university graduates than in any other country in the world. Yet Israelis are stuck in a prejudicial mindset that bases everything on an archaic model of ‘race’ that the Nazis adored so much.
On the other end of the spectrum you had the poorest and least educated country in the world, Russia, that first embraced a truly revolutionary system by completely waging all out war against the ruling classes. And that Eastern European revolution preceded another revolution just 15 years later in the most educated and advanced country in the world in 1933, that instead opted for a right wind, undemocratic, fascist regime over a compassionate, sharing democracy which would value humanity over the ancestral roots of an individual or group.
Contrasting this with contemporary American society, the average American who reads the New York Times each morning, watches CNN before going to bed and who listens to Rush Limbaugh on the way to work driving her or his car, feels that they are in fact ‘very well informed’ and much more politically astute than the “average American”. In fact they are correct in believing that they are getting educated, however flawed that education is. What they’re missing is balanced arguments from both sides which would exercise their critical thinking skills and convince them quickly that the world’s issues are really complex problems involving a wide range of issues and interconnected consequences for any change in course.
I believe Jim Neureckas’ message is spot on in that it focuses on simple realities that will tax our critical thinking skills if we apply a variety of personal and shared experiences to the authors proposed model or theory that unhinged corporate power will undermine social progress at every turn. It does not require a PH.D in philosophy or history to realize that the system is inherently unfair and that nothing short of a revolution is going to change that. Therefore I feel that a sudden enlightenment would be far more advantageous to bringing down the status quo than having more degreed people out there and this is where the problem lies. The media can only be counted on to reinforce the status quo rather than to undermine it. Our source of enlightenment must therefore emerge from an entity completely devoid of any corporate involvement; a rare beast in contemporary society.


It took the article awhile to get there-the last paragraph–but yes the media needs to provide a real discourse of what is happening in the world----such as the US role in Yemen or Venezuela—if people don’t understand the role of the US how can people make decisions about what the US should be doing. I have yet to see any real comprehensive reporting on the situation in Venezuela—a country that has the worlds largest oil reserves and their food stores are empty-----sounds like a very interesting story to me----I will bet most people don’t know that the US is the biggest arms dealer in the world???I didn’t know until a few weeks ago Jimmy Dore said that Russia spends about $50B on their military budget. And what does North Korea spend???These are the big world threats???And a real world threat Monsanto and what they do to the food we eat everyday???Is this headline news???Is there any real discourse about what this company is doing???Are we all just human guinea pigs for this evil corporation???

I think most people know what is going on-----most people don’t want to deal with what’s going on—Its too much for the head. Just think of the real history of the US----The US has one bloody history. And I really hate the word capitalism or socialism----I really like the understanding of debt based economies that enslave people--------and really to get to the heart of the matter we live in an insane-dis-functional world—and the real door out of this mess is to think of the COMMONS.


Interesting, Space_cadet - very interesting !

But what constitutes a well educated individual ?

Perhaps I dwelled too much on science - or gave that impression anyway.

But I think what I was wrestling with, and did not explain at all, really, was the ‘belief’ in something - in particular the belief in both physics and metaphysics, if I can put it that way - in science and religion, if you will - or in science and philosophy, conducted in an open atmosphere of mutual respect and discovery.

Difficult to get across what I am trying to say - that’s OK - it focuses my mind.

It can’t be all about money.

It can’t be all about technology.

It has to include metaphysics - to be well educated.

I just read a fine article in the July-August 2017 issue of “American Scientist”, “Questioning Copernican Mediocrity”, by astrophysicist Howard A. Smith.

Ostensibly, the article features our new understanding of our place in the universe in light of the new discoveries of extra-solar planetary systems etc…

But in the final analysis, the author, in my opinion, is asking the age old question - Why are we here, and to what purpose - is there even a purpose - and if not - how can that make sense ?

In fact, these are the age old questions which all religions attempt to address, some, perhaps, better than others, or at least, the differences are manifest in observable ways - say, the disproportionate Nobel Prizes to Israeli citizens…

Isn’t the astrophysicist “reading the Good Book, seven hours every day”, just like Tevia in “Fidler on the Roof”, with a modern flavor ?

I think the audience I spoke of is uneducated in many more senses than just science - we are lost, in effect, in a world of money and entertainment - without a valid center.

Here is a favorite quote to illustrate the points I have been laboriously trying to convey:


"One night when I had tasted bitterness I went out on to the hill. Dark heather checked my feet.

… Overhead, obscurity unveiled a star. One tremulous arrow of light, projected how many thousands of years ago, now stung my nerves with vision, and my heart with fear. For in such a universe as this what significance could there be in our fortuitous, our frail, our evanescent community?

But now irrationally I was seized with a strange worship, not, surely of the star, that mere furnace which mere distance falsely sanctified, but of something other, which the dire contrast of the star and us signified to the heart. Yet what, what could thus be signified? Intellect, peering beyond the star, discovered no Star Maker, but only darkness; no Love, no Power even, but only Nothing. And yet the heart praised.

… I sat down on the heather. Overhead obscurity was now in full retreat. In its rear the freed population of the sky sprang out of hiding, star by star.

… I perceived that I was on a little round grain of rock and metal, filmed with water and with air, whirling in sunlight and darkness. And on the skin of that little grain all the swarms of men, generation by generation, had lived in labour and blindness, with intermittent joy and intermittent lucidity of spirit. And all their history, with its folk-wanderings, its empires, its philosophies, its proud sciences, its social revolutions, its increasing hunger for community, was but a flicker in one day of the lives of the stars.

If one could know whether among that glittering host there were here and there other spirit-inhabited grains of rock and metal, whether man’s blundering search for wisdom and for love was a sole and insignificant tremor, or part of a universal movement!"

“Star Maker”, Olaf Stapledon, 1937.