The Next American Revolution

I am especially grateful for our continuing book discussions at KI (Kheprw Institute) this month because the book we will be discussing (tomorrow) is The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century by Grace Lee Boggs, Scott Kurashige.   At the end of this are several links to posts that talk about these book discussions, and how they have been the main way North Meadow Friends have begun to be engaged with KI, and why they are so important.

This book has helped me put the recent election in perspective.  In many ways it doesn’t really matter who won the election, because the political system has finally, completely failed, and the next revolution has already begun.  There will certainly be plenty of awful things coming from the current government and the military industrial complex, most of which would be coming no matter which particular individuals are in the government.  The Trump administration will just make this unravel more quickly and painfully.

The following paragraphs from the book explain this very clearly, and are the reason I have been led to join the KI community, because we are engaged in this revolution now.

The next American Revolution, at this stage in our history, is not principally about jobs or health insurance or making it possible for more people to realize the American Dream of upward mobility. It is about acknowledging that we Americans have enjoyed middle-class comforts at the expense of other peoples all over the world. It is about living the kind of lives that will not only slow down global warming but also end the galloping inequality both inside this country and between the Global North and the Global South. It is about creating a new American Dream whose goal is a higher Humanity instead of the higher standard of living dependent on Empire. It is about practicing a new, more active, global, and participatory concept of citizenship. It is about becoming the change we wish to see in the world.

The courage, commitment, and strategies required for this kind of revolution are very different from those required to storm the Winter Palace or the White House. Instead of viewing the U.S. people as masses to be mobilized in increasingly aggressive struggles for higher wages, better jobs, or guaranteed health care, we must have the courage to challenge ourselves to engage in activities that build a new and better world by improving the physical, psychological, political, and spiritual health of ourselves, our families, our communities, our cities, our world, and our planet.

This means that it is not enough to organize mobilizations that call on Congress and the president to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must also challenge the American people to examine why 9/11 happened and why so many people around the world understand, even though they do not support the terrorists, that they were driven to these acts by frustration and anger at the U.S. role in the world, such as supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestine and dictatorships in the Middle East and treating whole countries, the peoples of the world, and Nature only as resources enabling us to maintain our middle-class way of life.

We have to help the American people find the moral strength to recognize that—although no amount of money can compensate for the countless deaths and indescribable suffering that our criminal invasion and occupation have caused the Iraqi people—we, the American people, have a responsibility to make the material sacrifices that will enable them to begin rebuilding their infrastructure. We have to help the American people grow their souls enough to recognize that because we have been consuming 25 percent of the planet’s fossil fuels even though we are less than 5 percent of the world’s population, we are the ones who must take the first big steps to reduce greenhouse emissions. We are the ones who must begin to live more simply so that others can simply live.

Moreover, we urgently need to begin creating ways to live more frugally and more cooperatively NOW because with times getting harder, we can easily slip into scapegoating “the other” and goose-stepping behind a nationalist leader, as the good Germans did in the 1930s.

More about KI book discussions:

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