At some point we will need a February Revolution.

Introduction

At this time much of what we can say about the future is lost in the confusion of the Nice Liberals with Big Egos. You remember this group: these are the people who are going to save the world, but without any reference to what actually saving the world would physically entail. And so, consequently, they're doing it to please themselves.

Climate change, for instance, is about the end-results of fossil fuel extraction; but the Nice Liberals cannot bring themselves to reason that if fossil fuels are extracted, as indeed they are, they will be burned -- and so their "solution" to climate change is to "reduce carbon emissions" without any sort of forcible reduction of carbon extractions. So it is assumed that if the government buys a bunch of solar panels from corporations manufacturing them on the cheap, the rest of the world will magically stop extracting fossil fuels. Meanwhile, summertime will just get worse every year.

Or, for instance, with police violence -- the Nice Liberals assume it can all be handled with diversity training, whereas the actual solution (de-policing communities) is ignored because it's unpopular with the police unions.

The ACA was a "solution" tailor-made for the Nice Liberals with Big Egos. It was with unshakeable optimism that its promoters told the world that it was totally okay to provide universal health coverage while leaving the insurance parasites in control over the whole process. It was heavily advertised on Daily Kos throughout Barack Obama's tenure in office. The Nice Liberals with Big Egos of today recognize its failures but continue to promote "universal health care" without mentioning that the problem is not that people don't receive health care but rather that medical bankruptcy is all too often the outcome of "universal health care."

What the Nice Liberals with Big Egos tell us, today, is that they (or, rather, the neoliberal social climbers they "reluctantly" endorse) are the only alternative to rule by those evil Republicans (who are also neoliberal social climbers). Now the Republicans, as Richard Wolff points out, are a crisis cult. Here the word "cult" deserves definition. A cult is a situation wherein large numbers of people are there to worship people and principles based on ideas that are patent absurdities. In the Republican case we are told that we must elect criminals because, you know, "criminals." My guess is that the Republicans disappear when the Nice Liberals with Big Egos can be taught to avoid standing at the front of the parade which would otherwise oppose Republicanism. Cults don't last long because of the absurdity of their premises -- they're maintained through brainwashing, which doesn't last forever.

The Current Situation

Today the Nice Liberals with Big Egos are in power, under the heading of "Biden is Not Enough but Better Than What Came Before." There's a piece in The New Republic titled "Joe Biden Isn't Close To Being a Historic President Yet" which might be behind a paywall. It's not important; the point of the article is to compare Biden to FDR, and FDR didn't have to deal with climate change, so comparing Biden to FDR is of no use. A big deal is being made of the fact that the Biden regime is behaving in a less neoliberal way than any of the neoliberal regimes Joe Biden has supported over his long political career. There is as of yet only a vague collective recognition of how bad things have gotten.

The fact of the matter is that nothing the Establishment is doing is up to the task at hand, and so at some point there will have to be a revolution. Now, the reigning definition of "revolution" here will have to be in terms of desire -- a revolution is when an entire society decides it wants something else. We will have to decide we don't want climate change suicide, or pandemic suicide, or war suicide, or any other form of suicide. And we'll have to decide we don't want "hey we're the big (D) and we endorse something slightly less than suicide but it's still suicide." And that will be the revolution.

What to Hope For

The idea came to me when reading a piece on Andreas Malm: "The Kaleidoscope of Catastrophe." I don't know how many of the readers here have perused the works of Andreas Malm. Malm is a really curious fellow -- brilliant in some ways, inappropriate in others, but not inappropriate in the usual, Nice Liberal with Big Ego, way. His most recent work Corona Climate Chronic Emergency is a must-read on the relationship between capitalism and the pandemic. What happens, as Malm explains in the book, is that capitalist exploitation (sure, wet markets, but also palm oil plantations) drives businesses into areas inhabited by bats, which are carriers of significant numbers of diseases. Eventually, as large animal habitats disappear, the diseases which were meant for them migrate into the infestation of human beings. This, Malm explains, is a chronic problem.

Andreas Malm's solution to what he describes as a steadily worsening state of affairs, however, appears as a sort of "ecological Leninism," and thus something for which there is no agency on Earth advocating it at present (as Kaleidoscope of Catastrophe explains). Malm's solution, therefore, is described as an October Revolution without a February Revolution. Malm, in short, wants some sort of government power to solve the climate and capitalism and disease problems without any sort of messy process wherein such a power could be established in the first place.

Which brings the discussion back to the February Revolution, the necessary prerequisite to anything better. What was the February Revolution? The February Revolution was a strictly Russian affair; we will need a global February Revolution, as our "leadership" today is a global cabal of the super-rich and their client politicians. It happened in 1917, during the First World War; it led to the abdication of the Czar and the creation of a caretaker government with not much legitimacy. The basic history of it is that the First World War destabilized Russia. At some point the German-Turkish blockade brought the Russian economy to ruin, the troops mutinied, the Czar abdicated, and the Czar's brother refused the role. Thus the Duma, the advisory group put into place after the failed revolution of 1905, created a new "Provisional Government" for Russia. This, then, is what the world should eventually hope for, a February Revolution in which the old order disappears to free people up to imagine a new order. Hopefully by that point we will have more good sense than the Russians had, and we won't create another October Revolution, in which a new dictatorship was imposed upon Russia once again.

For now, we wait, and we think and act in small-scale political groups. But, yeah, at some point, probably after the Nice Liberals with Big Egos are silenced by the sheer depravity of the spectacles to come, and after some sort of alternative organizations are created to consider what to do in the real future (and not the one imagined by Joe Biden), we will need a February Revolution.

Share
up
21 users have voted.

Comments

Shahryar's picture

the problems we face have easy answers but since the people in charge don't fix things it must be obvious that they have no intention of solving any problems.

I mean, they'd like to do away with gun violence and homelessness and inadequate health care but, faced with a choice, they can't mess around with rich peoples' money.

I get stuck when I try to visualize what steps we need to take to affect a February Revolution.

up
20 users have voted.
Cassiodorus's picture

@Shahryar There would have to be a social rupture more extreme than what we're seeing now.

up
12 users have voted.

"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

@Cassiodorus The Great Depression, and certainly it's effects in Germany come to mind.

up
6 users have voted.
Cassiodorus's picture

@BORG_US_BORG And Hitler was appointed by a bunch of elitist twits who had no interest in democracy and a nostalgia for the Prussian Kingdom.

Check out Volker Ullrich's two-part biography of Hitler, if you haven't done so already. Hitler's dictatorship was avoidable. Moreover, I don't think there's anyone in American politics today as smart, as single-minded, or as evil as Hitler was.

up
8 users have voted.

"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

@Cassiodorus
but balked at "smart"

up
7 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

@Cassiodorus Thank you for correcting the record. I was thinking the German situation was in the twenties, mostly due to reparations from WW1 (at least that was Public Education's story, if/when we got that far.)
Still both the Depression, and the German recession sure radicalized the populace.
At the time, FDR was in a way, the last stand against American socialism or communism.

up
6 users have voted.
The Liberal Moonbat's picture

Emission reductions are an insufficient answer (at least at any level that the Colossus Corporate would approve of), but it's not like it's not a legitimate step in the right direction.

That which is called "diversity training", however, is an active evil - it's not "insufficient", it's putting out a dying ember with gasoline and fresh wood.

I know it's your catch-term, but I've never cared for your "N.L.W.B.E." thing. In many cases of the people you're talking about, their egos are illusory and I would argue are actually not big enough (the cult of humility is the mentality of the sardine-school, the Nazi Party, Star Trek's Borg, and even high school sports: you are worthless as an individual, surrender yourself voluntarily to the devouring superorganism and then you will be strong and completely beyond accountability!), they're certainly not liberal (are these not the same people who've suddenly decided that the Bill of Rights and even the Enlightenment itself should be shitcanned?), and these days, they're not even nice.

Why not just call 'em "Bushocrats", like I do?

up
8 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

Cassiodorus's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat would be something that has never happened since, say, the Rio Summit of 1992, when the Powers That Be allegedly made climate change a priority.

The whole phenomenon of promoting "reducing carbon emissions" while letting carbon EXTRACTORS off of the hook is discussed in detail in an important article titled "Beyond Paris: Avoiding the Trap of Carbon Emissions." Here is the important quote from that article:

At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, a ‘silver bullet’ was found to tackle climate change: reducing CO2 emissions. Accordingly, the goal was to make cars and household appliances, power plants and entire industries more efficient. This ‘end of pipe’ approach (by which contaminants are removed at the end of a process) deflected political attention away from the causes of climate change and allowed policy makers to deal only with the symptoms in the form of emissions.

Secondly, a decision was made to express climate change in units of calculation known as ‘CO2 equivalents.’ CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide have very different qualities when it comes to their warming potential or the number of years they remain in the atmosphere. They also appear in specific natural surroundings, and interact with local ecosystems and economies in different ways. Expressing all of these different qualities and potential impacts in one standard number reduces a very complex problem to something that policy makers feel they can deal with through a single solution, policy, instrument and target.

A third wrong turn was to offset emissions from the burning of fossil fuels against those from biological processes involving land, plants and animals. Paddy fields and cows were turned into emissions sources, and tropical forests and bogs into emissions sinks. By the time of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, ‘more flexibility’ had become the watchword of the day, and trading in emissions certificates (or permits to pollute) the preferred policy option. But such trading has since been used by industrialized nations to dodge some of their own domestic CO2 reduction commitments in exchange for financial contributions to cuts beyond their borders. In this process, policy-makers were steered towards an even more carbon-centered worldview.

Oh, sure, if the world were to "reduce its carbon emissions," that might indicate something good, such as that the world were moving off of carbon-burning as a source of energy. But it's far more likely that "reductions in carbon emissions" are made to look some countries look good while "carbon emissions" are exported to other countries that don't care. All of this is done in a world controlled by global multinational corporations.

I stand by my premise.

up
10 users have voted.

"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

CS in AZ's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

I feel like a dummy every time I read one of these essays because I have no idea and cannot figure out who or what group is even being slammed. I’m guessing it’s the so-called “progressive democrats” (which I consider an oxymoron), but I don’t really know if that’s who is meant. They are certainly not “in power” so then I wonder if “NLWBE” just means the dem establishment? In which case why not just call them that? I dunno... but it would probably be easier to understand the points being made if this term were either abandoned or at least more clearly defined. IMO.

up
8 users have voted.
Cassiodorus's picture

@CS in AZ are the liberal FACE of the Democratic Party establishment. Sometimes they criticize the Democrats, but from a perspective that could never fathom giving up on the Democrats altogether and joining another non-Republican party.

They are the controlled opposition. Their big egos come from their loud proclamations that they can solve the world's problems while being the controlled opposition at the same time.

I'm not really slamming them. Mostly I pity them.

up
9 users have voted.

"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

CS in AZ's picture

@Cassiodorus

I'm honestly not trying to be obtuse, I swear. I appreciate you elaborating on what you mean. I've always assumed that you were trying to be amusingly condescending with the NLWBE thing, and everyone seems to know what you mean by that ... but your specific target eludes me. Does this mean the so-called progressives, like AOC and the rest of the "squad" and, say, Bernie Sanders? Someone like Elizabeth Warren?

If so, then I question to what degree these people are "in power" ... other than playing their part in the show, if that is what you are referring to. But I certainly agree that they are not going to bring about the necessary changes.

It's just my opinion as a reader -- freely given and worth every cent -- Smile that I find this term vague, confusing, and distracting from what I think is your intended core message.

But I think we probably agree that no one working with or within the democratic or republican political parties is going to do what is needed.

What exactly to do about that is always the question that leads to nowhere. Voting third party? Yeah, been there and done that. Revolution? Not going to happen in any good or voluntary way, same as it ever was. People being living animals want to live and survive and be safe in the moment as much as possible. That will always win over violent disintegration until there are literally no other choices anymore. And we are not there yet. For which I cannot help but feel grateful. Sigh.

up
6 users have voted.
The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@Cassiodorus The first name that comes to my mind after that is Paul Krugman; he would be but one example, of course, and hardly the premiere at the moment. I'm not sure why he comes to my mind, save that he's nice, and last time I checked, reluctant to do abandon the establishment (and as I alluded to before, those two traits together are becoming increasingly hard to find together). The Daily Show and its alumni and satellites also come to mind.

I actually do think that strengthens my objection to the "Big Egos" part, though; these people's egos have been drained, almost a la The Dark Crystal, and it's how they can both be "nice liberals" and still play apologist for the indefensible. The Big Ego (in fact, a "Super-Ego" in more ways than one) is not these people, but lurking/looming behind them, and it's not nice at all.

Ergo, I guess my objection to your term would be that it conflates and unifies individuals and entities that that ought not rightly be done with.

"Granfalloon" comes to mind; talk about a word we NEED right now. I don't understand why nobody's using it as is, come to think of it (especially since it made a memorable appearance in a fairly famous video game, so you'd think it would already be flying much higher on the Internet's radar).

up
4 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

Cassiodorus's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat last year --

Who are the nice liberals with big egos?

Pretty much anyone who said "Ya gotta vote for Biden because Chomsky said so" last year was one.

up
9 users have voted.

"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@Cassiodorus ...but okay, a recognizable caricature/syndrome is forming.

Why is, say, "Neville Chamberlain" not a better epithet?

It fits in many ways, come to think of it: As I understand, he was nice, he was mostly competent (a better PM in most ways than unstable extremist Churchill), but he came face to face with Evil and played enabler (partly because he was sane and normal, and hence hardly a man for all seasons), and that's what he's remembered for.

up
2 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

Cassiodorus's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat in diary after diary.

It's established.

up
0 users have voted.

"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

As far as I know that would be the single best thing to do to save our atmosphere.

And that is unlikely to happen.

Military driven profits rule this country.

The rich will gate themselves inside walls with air and water and energy all filtered and fine. Too bad for the rest of us.
No revolution is likely in our lifetimes. We are more likely to be too weak sick and hungry to prove much of a threat.

up
12 users have voted.

NYCVG

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@NYCVG Do we just let them do that to us?

Fuck that.

up
4 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

@NYCVG
especially those Boeing death traps.

up
1 user has voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

The world's 1%ers need to be definitively eliminated and defunct.

up
6 users have voted.

@Battle of Blair Mountain

up
2 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

nice liberals, which is a prerequisite to being a nice Liberal with a Big Ego. They do not exist except in media or in minds shaped by FB.

up
6 users have voted.

It's in the works, just too early yet. The problems are immense and the Nauseating Neoliberals have no solution, they just know how to play power games. The Climate Catastrophe is unsolvable by current incremental methods. We are adding 40 gT of CO2 to the atmosphere every year and have 1000 gT of excess CO2 to remove from the atmosphere and another 400 gT in the oceans. If all nations follow their Paris Climate Accord commitments we will see a 3.5 degree C temperature rise by 2100, which will be civilization ending. We could add to this: global stability (war), economic justice, social justice, resource scarcity and on and on. Capitalism is, of course, a total joke, incapable of directly solving civilizational problems. US style democracy is, again, a total joke, incapable of managing any society. All of this will come to a head very soon. People are beginning to recognize that we do not have the mechanisms for a successful outcome. These problems are all caused by the inability of human civilization to actually design itself to be self sustaining on planet Earth. To get to a solution we have to come to the conclusion that we are now part of a suicidal civilization, and everything has to be redesigned - economics, government, justice, work, transportation, etc. And we have to realize that we currently have no mechanism too get there. Then we can have revolution --- no we must have revolution.

up
10 users have voted.

Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.