Act: Inspiration

The Beginning is Near: Final Remarks for the Class I Just Taught

June 10, 2020

We’ve had a long, sometimes difficult, always challenging journey this quarter.

Right now, we are experiencing a national crisis around racism in this country and the evils that come from it…

Black Lives Matter

Sunrise movement

It drives home the point that the levels of inequality in this society, and around the world, are not only intolerable for vast numbers of people – real, actually existing people like you and me – but also should be unacceptable to all human beings with a conscience and eyes to see.

But all of this appears to be largely invisible to the holders of economic and political power in this country – and this may be because they in fact bear responsibility for it.  There is no reason to expect this elite of the one percent – either in the United States, in Russia, in China, in Brazil, in the United Kingdom – all of which are ruled by racist, patriarchal demagogues – to do anything about it.  They have no plan worthy of the name, even if they did want to do something.  Their hands are tied by the systems of neo-liberal, capitalist globalization, which has no solution to economic inequality and decent, democratic political decision-making.

World in mask

Pixabay/Alexandra_KochPixabay licence. At Kosmos website

We’re in an ongoing pandemic which has taken over 113,000 lives in the United States and 400,000 across the world, and no one knows where or when it will end, and what will be lost and what will changed.  This too is a glaring indictment of the way we live and are ruled, of the contradictions between health systems built for profit-taking and economies built on the production and consumption of plastic junk and electronic toys rather than on providing care and the other basic necessities of life for all.

You are trapped in an educational institution which is not geared to address these problems, has failed to teach you how to connect the dots of all these crises, and not shown you alternatives to the systems in place.

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Meanwhile, pushed back to the margins of our awareness as a species is the climate crisis, where words are inadequate to express the existential threat, the clear trendline to extinction if we stick with business as usual.

If Cool Block is based on a theory of change called 2.0, what is social change 3.0 if not these systemic alternatives that we have started to learn about this quarter? What, indeed is social change infinity.0?  It looks to me more like revolution, like radical social transformation in the name of life, of all living creatures, and all vital systems.

word cloud

Made by students in John Foran’s class

Sometimes I call it intersectional ecosocialism…  Why does this obvious term not even exist yet, at least in the English language?  It would need another article to explain that.

We need better names, better movements, better visions if we are going to stand up in the face of problems this big.

We need to organize ourselves and join with others to have a chance for survival into the 2030 and 2040s.  We need to start wherever we are, and we need to keep going, with a clear sense of what is at stake, and an openness to change, to dreaming the new, to co-creating the better, and to living the miracle of the fact that we are alive at this moment, this crucial point in humanity’s story, to the full.

To the full.

How might we do this?

Eco Vista shows a path, and you are all invited to meet with us.   We will continue to look at big solutions over the summer.  We will build a carbon-neutral ecovillage based on meeting the needs of every member of the community, and having a damn good time while we do it.

This is a time for joyful, radical, action, for a joyful militancy.  Look for where that is happening, and join in.

We need a new kind of vehicle for the hopes of your generation, and for the sake of everyone alive on this planet right now.  And we need to remember and honor those who have fallen, those who have come before us, and each other.

The idea that moves me and informs what I see as a path is the joyful creation of a new kind of party

A message from the future film

Screen shot from “A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

We will try this in Eco Vista too, and you can be part of a local political campaign that will emerge over the summer and contest for local power in the fall.

Maybe it will teach us the next lessons we need to learn.

Because there are many lessons to learn, one for every day of the rest of our lives, and for that reason we should look at today, and tomorrow, and the day after as opportunities to learn, to grow, to find each other, and to make change.

Systemic change.  System change, not climate change.

I’m ready to go for it.  Please join us.  We are many.

Thank you.

John Foran

John Foran is a cosmic activist masquerading as a teacher in and around Eco Vista, California.

Tags: building resilient societies, system change