The radical left in this country loves to blame everyone on the conservative right and liberal left for anything and everything. We are of course radical, which means we pursue the root of issues. However, pursuing the root and taking action have an enormous chasm between them.
Many radicals on the left like to point out the differences between how liberals see the world versus how we do. It’s basically a reform lens for liberals versus a resistance lens for radicals. Liberals want to keep the overall systems in place while adjusting and tweaking them for more inclusive and just outcomes while radicals want to resist or dismantle these systems or replace them. In other words, liberals want to reset the table whereas radicals want to tip the table over.
The theory is, if there’s no table then no one will be left out. Liberals also emphasize personal, individual action as important whereas radicals generally believe that this type of action is fruitless unless organized into mass movements. I am a card-carrying member of the radical left.
The flaw within the radical left is ignoring our own psychology concerning outcomes surrounding personal action. I’m not talking about the kind of action that liberals consider important. For example, a liberal may say that recycling is important but a radical may say that creating and using things that last and don’t breakdown is more important. It’s a difference that can best be explained in short term versus long term actions.
A liberal may point out that we currently have recyclable goods so why not recycle them? Unfortunately they rarely consider putting systemic pressure on companies that continue to make recyclable goods. Instead they recycle and feel they’re doing their part without ever really investigating the recycling process.
They want the system to continue because at the end of the day recycling and planned obsolescence helps keep the economy (which supports our consumptive lives) rolling. Besides, the radical left hasn’t exactly changed anything because our numbers are too small and because on some levels, we believe in the status quo as well.
I have plenty of people in my life who claim to be radical in thought but are not even close in behavior. If one is radical and pursuing the root of what ails us we need look no further than the industrial global economy and our personal inability to move towards its exit. In short, our world economy destroys, exploits, oppresses and violates the lives of every living thing and we believe we can dismantle or resist it, or both, by remaining completely within it. It is a massive hierarchical zombie that devours life.
This is where the personal psychology of the radical left falls short. We can’t personally take steps towards the door because we have convinced ourselves that personal action is something liberals believe makes sufficient change. So we ignore our own inability to see the benefits of radical personal change.
In order to build mass movements of change and resistance we must look beyond the means which incarcerate us. Instead what we constantly do is play the same financial game as those we hope to challenge. In essence, we live the same lives and adhere to the same rules of engagement. In order to break free from such a vicious cycle we must first personally feel and experience what we often require from those we are trying to influence to move into our movements. We must move towards the exit of the dominant industrial culture.
This is where the rubber meets the road. If our goal is to confront and ultimately destroy globalism and the economy that is pushing all species (including our own) towards near term extinction then we must initiate that process in our individual lives – if our aim is to ease suffering. Waiting for others to join a movement is a waste of precious time. It’s not about what may or may not happen but rather what’s happening right now within you.
Once you can let go of the expectations of others and detach from the obligations that have infected your mind, then and only then are you able to move to a place of acceptance. Acceptance of the fact that there is no solving the industrial model that controls and destroys lives. There is only navigating within it and finding a place to be at peace and act.
Letting go of the idea that others will join you or follow your lead is the only way to psychologically come to a place where one can let go of the expectations we place upon them. They will either move towards the exit of this culture or they won’t. If you personally can’t do it how can you expect others to do the same? So what does moving towards the exit look like on a personal and collective level?
Until we can pull the plug on our contributions to our own demise, nothing will change. Financially supporting the very institutions that imprison us on every level is our monkey trap. We see the fruit through the small hole in the box so we reach in and grab it. The only problem is we can’t pull the fruit out because the hole is too small. So we hang onto it hoping something will change. We can either let go of hope and accept the truth of the situation we are in or we can remain trapped by our fear of letting go.
Paying taxes to fund a police force and military that will ultimately be used against our resistance to tyranny must cease if we want anything to change. One can still file taxes but place themselves in a financial position (see voluntary poverty) where they pay little to nothing towards empire.
The two headed monster of the modern American fascist state is the Federal Government and the corporate financial institutions that serve as the Feds’ partners. Another part of our self-imposed shackles is our self-imposed obligation to remain indebted to these institutions who are in collusion with the other head of the monster. We remain trapped by the story we tell ourselves about ourselves concerning our obligations and responsibilities.
Remaining obligated and responsible towards institutions that exist to keep us incarcerated in our own story is pure genius. We feel guilty or ashamed for defaulting to criminals. Our obligation is to protect one another from power hungry psychopaths. Our responsibility is to personally change our lens so that our ability to join or even begin movements improves. If you can’t let go of your debt to what’s killing us all then nothing in your psychology will change.
If you haven’t picked up the vibe by now, the whole key to bringing our jailers to their collective knees is to bring the economy to a halt. When I visited the Nazi Concentration Camp in Dachau, Germany, the sign above the entrance to the camp translated as, Work Sets You Free. Our form of fascism is much more clever. We don’t need to be forced into train cars and brought to a camp to work or die. We voluntarily go to a job for decades and die a much slower death. Except we think it’s a privilege. Stop killing yourself for fascists. Start finding alternatives outside the current economic system. Move towards the exit.
Personal psychological liberation is the key to any movement. It allows one to accept what is and drop our expectations. My wife and I are the only people I know who have taken the actions I mentioned above. Others have taken similar steps depending on their financial circumstances. We are psychologically liberated. We have no expectations that anyone will follow suit. We have found acceptance of our global predicament within the posture of the industrial global economy.
It is a place of liberation and serenity. If we can’t remove the psychological lens that traps the right and the liberal left within the confines of globalism then calling ourselves radical is just a name. Pursuing the root requires a different view. Take a look.
Photo Credit: Getty Images