Saturday, October 08, 2011

Your clash of civilisations

Years ago a couple of big-name academics (Lewis and Huntington) wrote papers and books where they argued the post Cold War lines of conflict revolved around 'civilisations' and the states the comprise them. The Muslim world vs. the West featured large in their analysis. This was largely an extension of Cold War thinking that viewed the world in terms of US vs. Soviet power centres and spheres of influence.

This thesis informed and still informs much of the West's adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and drives much current foreign policy and strategic thought (at least insomuch as the latter exists).

This year shows us that a different clash of civilisations is actually driving the world. Two things have happened that reveal it.

The financial melt-down of 2008 is ongoing and worsening, revealing in black and white the disenfranchisement of what is now termed The 99%.

The Arab Spring, begun in Tunisia and sweeping the middle-east is the same conflict in a different context.

Around the world, the ruling classes, be they dictators or despots, nobles, private corporate capital and its political enablers, or some combination thereof, have succeeded in removing the hope of a secure future for billions of people. Sometimes it's with bullets, tanks and secret police; other times it's through privatisation and pollution. In all cases it means social, political, economic, and environmental destruction and decline.

This has in effect created two broad civilisations: The Haves and the The Have-nots. Yes the circumstances are different, but anyone who has travelled or regularly interacts with people from other cultures and regions of the world, quickly realises that we all laugh, cry, love, and bleed the same. We all feel the effects of power and oppression, no matter where we live. We know what injustice and unfairness look like in all their forms. Through the internet and global media, travel and immigration, we are aware of each other and share our stories.

Yes, there are large comparative differences between cohorts of the Have-nots. However, this is a temporal distinction. By many definitions those of us in the developed world are Haves, but we see ourselves moving closer to the more dire Have-nots through growing economic and environmental insecurity. We see little hope for ourselves, let alone for the poorest of the Earth.

Crucially, we see that it does not have to be this way. We understand the processes and structures that got us here and we can describe much better alternatives. We sense, acutely, what the Indian writer Arundhati Roy captured so perfectly:

"Another world is not only possible, she's on the way and, on a quiet day, if you listen very carefully you can hear her breathe."

This is our World. This is our Evolution. The momentum must not cease.

Occupy the Earth.


theo said...

Indeed, Boris.

CathiefromCanada said...

Brilliant post, Boris.

Gloria said...

Yes a good post.

The latest is. The First nations people were defeated in(no doubt a corrupt court. Harper does not have to consult with the People, on the environmental issues, of the Enbridge pipeline or the dirty oil tankers.

Also Harper was a neo-Nazi. he was a member of the Northern Foundation, Reform party, in 1989 They were instructed by the skin heads. There is a web site, Let Freedom Rain. Read it, and hold your nose as you do.