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Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year and Revolution

The New Year is the time to celebrate revolutions.

I finished my first draft of The Next Revolution (see previous blog) and sent it to some colleagues for review. My hope is to see it used to assist in the co-creation of more progressive revolutionaries.

In the meantime I am reading Ari Shavit's My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. What a magnificent, moving narrative for all the concepts that I was trying to explain! I can see using this book as a text and my draft simply as a guide in a seminar on building a Progressive Republic.

All the stages from resistance to revolution are present. The progressive as well as the absolutist forms, the humorous, onerous, and ironic aspects, the demonic as well as the liberating consequences of revolution are so vividly and feelingly presented. And the continuation of history as a story of the oppressed liberating themselves by becoming oppressors. And the search for transcendence, for peace through justice, that motivates the violence and injustice of war.

From the top of the Mount, the gods or God or anyone who reflects must laugh at us mortals. And reading this book and seeing its parallels with the founding and continuation and triumph of my own country, has me laughing and weeping at the same time.

The rugged pioneers, resisting oppression in Europe, who inhabited the land under the protection of the British Empire. They took land or bought it from existing residents who did not want it and made it flower by working it with great intelligence and industry. They created small communes where everyone pitched in as they were able and everyone enjoyed the fruits of all.

These communities grew and more land was acquired. At times they had to protect their communities from hostile indigenous residents; but in general many of the indigenous residents prospered by the early settlers' industry as well. The communities came together and created a democratic nation, independent of Great Britain, with a constitution that guaranteed human and civil rights. They welcomed immigrants and became a place of refuge for those who had been persecuted or victims of war in Europe and elsewhere.

They had to further defend themselves from attacks of hostile nations and by indigenous residents to protect their borders and expand them as under the call of Divine Destiny. They developed new industries, powerful weapons, large new cities, great universities and cultural centers, and a strong economy. They developed a nuclear option and spread their influence beyond their borders often giving military aid to factions in other countries who would support them or topple governments who were hostile to them. They developed a civil religion based on their sacred scriptures and the interpretation of their tradition with various ways in which to participate in that religion. A significant faction developed a fundamentalist, evangelical, and absolutist interpretation that made them emissaries of divine will.

There was "blow back" by people who considered themselves oppressed by these actions in the form of massive demonstrations and then terrorist actions in vital centers. Concentration camps were built and torture permitted for the sake of security and self-defense.

Has the revolution, which brought about inclusive, public space where people would shed their victim status and fear to act positively for the good of all, been betrayed? Yes. Can it be redeemed? Only through a miracle. But not from outside. Not from some superpower. Not from a separate, distinct, supernatural God. The miracle will only come through new beginnings starting with the newly and recently born who can break the seemingly inevitable habits of their elders. The superpower within them acting together with new assumptions, new interpretations, and above all forgiveness and hope. The Next Revolution.

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