On the uses of disorder

A realistic optimism?

Writing for the Nation's Reimagining Socialism forum and making an oblique nod towards the ongoing environmental crisis, Mike Davis concludes his short forum contribution by stating:

But if these are near-to-the-end times, when social change risks being "too late," as our new president repeatedly emphasized in a brilliant campaign speech that quoted Martin Luther King Jr. from 1967, then we must be as forthright about the need for disorder ("raise less corn and more hell") as were our populist and socialist ancestors.

From my point of view, this [effort to more hell and less corn] starts with the recognition that there are no realistic solutions to the current planetary crisis. None. A peaceful, just-in-time transition toward low-carbon, rationally regulated state capitalism is about as likely as a spontaneous connecting-the-dots of neighborhood anarchism across the world. Simply extrapolating from the present balance of forces, one most likely arrives at an equilibrium of triaged barbarism, founded on the extinction of the poorest part of humanity.

I believe that socialism/anarcho-communism — the rule of labor upon and for the earth — remains our only hope, but the necessary epistemological condition for serious strategic and programmatic debate on the left is a rising global temperature in the streets.

I find it difficult to disagree with Davis' position. If the moves made by the early Obama administration have made one thing plain to anyone with the eyes to see, the United States will stay with the neoliberal and imperial courses unless prodded by authentic protest from below or destroyed by the world it has led into being. That world is one that has given itself over to the massive resource use and abuse that has characterized each modern economy since the 1800s. And the future, more specifically, the future we are likely to have given our current situation, looks and probably will be a miserable one — a new Dark Ages or worse — if the world refuses to take the measures needed to mitigate the disaster.

What makes Davis' lament optimistic? He clearly believes a better future can be won through struggle.

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