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Things have never been spinning so decisively out of control. Not once in the history of humanity, nor even in that of life in general. Extreme weather is no longer an abnormality; the fish are disappearing from the oceans; the threat of nuclear holocaust is back. Poverty ensnares us as much as ever, whilst the bodies pile up at the borders. To say this order is choking us is nowadays more than a metaphor: in most cities, you can no longer even breathe the air. Which is to say, in short, that the very atmosphere of the existent has become toxic. Within the confines of the system, there’s nowhere left to go. But that isn’t to say such confines are impenetrable – not in the slightest. A million roots of inquiry, each one as unique as you could imagine, begin to converge on exactly the same conclusion: the need for revolution has never been so pressing.
Perhaps it’s a little predictable to point out the hopelessness of this world – almost everyone knows. What’s more remarkable is that, even in spite of it, normality somehow finds the strength to grind on. The defendants of the existent hold dear to their claim that, for all its obvious flaws, liberal democracy remains the least bad form of human community currently available. Which is such a meagre justification, and yet it tends to work. Even avowed rebels, so convinced they’re outrunning this sacred assumption, merely reintroduce it in another form – the latest leftist political party, or even some grim fascist resurgence. And how successful have we revolutionaries been in demonstrating which worlds lie beyond all this? Such is the basic tension blocking our advance: even though the need for revolution has never been so clear, our idea of what one would even look like has rarely seemed so distant.
How do we ring in the system’s death knell a little sooner, whilst there’s still so much to fight for? How do we jump ship and live our lives outside this increasingly uninhabitable mess? Indeed, how do we unlearn the myths of this order of misery altogether, and really begin living in the first place?
Of course, it isn’t like these questions are being asked for the first time. All too often, though, calls for change are met with echoes from a distant century, as if mere resurrections of once dominant methods – be they Marxist or anarcho-syndicalist – are even close to applicable nowadays. No longer can we talk about oppression mainly in terms of some tectonic clash between two economic classes, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Nor can we be too sure of limiting the scope of revolutionary struggle to human liberation, dismissing out of hand the plight of other animals, not to mention the planet we call home altogether. At such a decisive historical juncture, it’s necessary to call everything into question: the times cry out for new visions, new strategies. Ones with a fighting chance of forging beyond the current impasse.
We don’t need any more reminders that this civilisation is heading for the abyss. What we seriously need is to ask is what we’re going to do about it. There’s a great deal of potential to the current social context, one in which the status quo forfeits its title as the most realistic option. But mere potential isn’t enough. Mainstream politics can hardly be expected to collapse under its own weight, except into something more monstrous than what we already know. Only in combination with concrete, accessible means of deserting it all do new forms of life begin to take shape.
This one goes out to the revolutionaries, wherever they’re to be found.