The celebration of MLK day hopefully reminded us that his dream of a better world involved not only racial justice but: "the masterfully cooperative venture of persons in which they realize the solidarity of the human family by assuming responsibility for one another."
Hardly the present dog eat dog reality which has many depressed souls interpreting a Mayan prophecy as a sign of the end of the world in 2012. But the ancients were probably foreseeing a beginning as well. They were not limited by the conjoined twins of western civilization – individualism and capitalism – and so tended to see life as cooperative and cyclical, with beginnings and endings that continued beyond personal experience.
Present conditions are so bleak they could be forecasting the end of civilization, especially from the dim view of either/or dualism. But a broader perspective might perceive a giant step forward for humanity by our casting off shackles of ignorance that have imprisoned us for generations and the liberation of age old demands for freedom through real democracy, as opposed to the sham we have inherited.
Minority controlled politics is facing its end as people become aware of the dangers to nature and the lies that set a majority against itself. A world dominated by financial minorities which amass personal wealth at the expense of billions of humans cannot continue. But it won’t stop because of legendary prophecy or contemporary dreams. Without democratic action it wont take place at all. And given the sorry state of our global condition it’s easy to see environmental destruction and humanity’s fraying bonds as signs of the end of life itself. That is what the 1% at the top puts into the minds of the 99% through its political and media servants: despair, defeatism and division among the majority that guarantees minority control of almost everything. We need the opposite and it’s likely the Mayan, as well as other ancient prophecies, are about visioning solidarity and success for humanity rather than division and failure, just as Martin Luther King.
The ravages of a perverse economy robbing the earth’s support system and an entire race to accumulate private profits for a small class is a problem calling for united material confrontation and not just faith in prophecy. But religious and social prophecy can help motivate that confrontation; it only impairs when controlled by shaman-agents of the 1% who manipulate parishioners into acting against their own interests.
In much of the world radical change is being violently resisted by minority dominators. Even without violent suppression, American elections in 2012 will accomplish nothing if the electorate continues accepting candidates bought and paid for by the 1% rulers. We may face the Mayan prophecy seen as an ending. But a series of democracy demanding uprisings are signs of a beginning. Not yet enough to bring national democratic change, but that will come, and globally as well, if people stress cooperation that promotes the common good , true equality, and an end to the bloody wars that bring profits for the few and murder, debt and poverty for the many.
The next American election promises to be the most expensive and possibly most useless in recent history. With the exception of Ron Paul, a host of status quo zealots are poised to replace the most hopeless excuse for an agent of change the nation has ever seen. Of course, if change is simply a matter of identity politics, the USA is the most radical nation in the world. Its ruling parties and corporations are composed of women, people of color, people of no color, gays, lesbians, every hyphenated American sub-group known to the market and practitioners and prosecutors of hate speech, dumb speech and suppressed speech. The 1% have hired an affirmative action team to simultaneously screw itself, a majority of Americans, and large sectors of the global community, in order to wear the shiniest economic chains in the history of political economic slavery. Democracy?
What passes for liberalism has provoked balkanized divisiveness which has conservative fakers appealing to groups and ideals it has neglected: American workers, social values, political economics and more. Thus we have survival-of-the-fittest individualism stronger than ever because political forces work to divide the nation into controllable minorities and in the process keep them from becoming the democratic majority. Our elections involve agents of the 1% calling themselves Americans against agents of the 1% calling themselves hyphenated Americans and whichever side wins, America loses.
But people now see alternatives to divisive ego-capitalism and the damaging aspects of class inequality. And that movement of minds is being transferred into a movement of bodies rising to demand the changes necessary for another kind of world to be born as the older one ends. And that old order threatens new bloodshed in Iran, Syria, Palestine, Venezuela, Bolivia and even Russia and China if the 1%, their agents and hired mercenaries have their way. The ancient Mayans could not have predicted the details of our plight and even MLK could not have foreseen what we face, but the threat to end all lives on the planet is real and has nothing to do with prophecy. If the people do not create another world, that old one could destroy us all. The spirit necessary to bring such change was articulated by Martin Luther King whose prophetic words inspired everyone demanding justice for black people in racist America, but they are even more important now to help end injustice, inequality and war for all of the human race. To close with his words, again:
"Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter — but beautiful — struggle for a new world."