Revisioning or Remembering? How do we begin again on a ruined planet?

I just read through two posts from opednews, and was struck by both the parallels and the contrasts between them.

I couldn’t agree more with Glen T. Martin’s assessment of what is missing from the essays of several deeply pessimistic analysts of the rapidly deteriorating global situation:

The Left Needs A Vision: A Response to Chris Hedges, Sheldon Wolin and Pepe Escobar


One of the results of these developments is that, in the U.S., we have democratic socialist thinkers and leaders like Chris Hedges and Sheldon S. Wolin who give us profound criticisms of the horrors of the union of the imperial state with corporate capitalism to create a bloody and merciless drive for global domination and exploitation in the service of the 1%. They are excellent political analysts. Yet these thinkers give us no credible vision of how it might really be different except that we need to “resist.” They offer little hope of triumph, for real transformative change in the face of the overwhelming power of “inverted totalitarianism” but only the belief that it is “right” to resist, even if it means our death and destruction (Hedges) [3].

Hedges may be fundamentally correct when he asserts: “But I can promise you that an open and sustained defiance of global capitalism and the merchants of death, along with the building of a socialist movement, is our only hope.” [4] And Wolin affirms that “the survival and flourishing of democracy depends, in the first instance, upon “the “people’s changing themselves, sloughing off their political passivity and, instead, acquiring some of the characteristics of a demos” [5]. Indeed, but perhaps not our “only hope” as I intend to show in this article.

Both of these thinkers speak almost exclusively about the United States–in a world of militarized sovereign nation-states with lightning-fast weapons of mass destruction. In such a world, democracy is impossible within any state because there is only chaos at the international level beyond the states: chaos and the threat of instant destruction unless one maintains a massive secret, ever-ready military. Democracy is clearly impossible within such pervasive state secrecy and necessity for immediate executive powers. However, people all around the global are becoming conscious that we are one world and one human family.

A.K. This long academic-sounding article goes on to detail the history of socialism and the Communist Manifesto to eventually let us know that what the author suggests is that we need to subscribe to the Earth Constitution as a “New Manifesto for Human Liberation” (a document finally completed in 1991 by the World Constitution and Parliament Association, which itself began in 1958).

As you might guess, this New Constitution is structurally typical left-brained, and long, and heavy, and detailed — and, frankly, I found myself veering away from whatever wisdom it might contain and into the arms of the second post from opednews, a review by Georgianne-Nienabe of Winona La Duke’s new book —

Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Indian Wars

The review begins:

Winona LaDuke’s latest book reads like a prayer. These are holy words — inspirational stories taken straight from the heart of indigenous communities throughout the world.The Winona LaDuke Chronicles: Stories From the Front Lines in the Battle for Environmental Justice is lyrical, instructional, and infused with wry humor when the weight of the message becomes unbearable. LaDuke provides a roadmap through tribal nations’ belief systems; offering a spiritual compass and invaluable insight into the relationship of prophesy to the realities of climate change, economic collapse, food scarcity and basic human rights. As it happens, prophesy does come true and redemption is possible despite this encyclopedia of environmental and spiritual insults.

Are we hell-bent on embracing environmental calamity or is atonement and redemption possible through the lessons offered by indigenous belief systems? How fascinating to learn that corn has a history, that seeds have a profound spiritual meaning, and that plants have a sacred relationship with humans. Provide the environment in which food will flourish and there will be no need for genetic crop engineering.

Duke is one of the great overlooked orators of our time, and she brings this prowess to every page.

A.K. Instead of being asked to subscribe to a new Earth Constitution, why aren’t we instead simply opening to the Native American way of understanding all our relations, including that with our Mother Earth?

Well, might it be because the very foundation of U.S. society is built on the genocide of these same native peoples? And that we simply can’t imagine apologizing to them? So instead of moving into right-brain communion with both their suffering and Earth’s suffering, we construct big tomes with our analytic left brains and tell ourselves to subscribe to them. I imagine that, to the extent that the Earth Constitution does echo Native American wisdom, that it is of immense value. But I ask: why not instead go straight to the source?

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