October 22, 2003


Evidence Of Things Unseen: The Rise of a New Movement (Tom Hayden, October 20, 2003, AlterNet)

There is rising a new movement in the world. It is bigger than the movement of the 1960s. Yet it is barely seen by the experts and analysts. They look only at the behavior of institutions and politicians, not the underlying forces that eventually burst into visibility.

The first strand of this new movement is the global opposition to the war in Iraq and to an American empire. [...]

The second strand is the global justice movement, which began with the Zapatistas on the day NAFTA took effect, then surfaced in Seattle in 1999. Those were called isolated events. Then came Genoa, Quebec City, Quito, Cancun, the world social forums in Porto Allegre. Far from isolated events, these were the historic battlegrounds of a new history being born.

Together these movements mount a challenge to an entire worldview. We are experiencing an enlargement of dignity, an enlargement of what we consider sacred and therefore off the table, not negotiable. The purported Masters of the Universe are becoming as obsolete as those who once claimed the divine right of kings. The earth and its people are not for sale; the environment is not just a storehouse of materials for utilitarian exploitation; and cultural identities can't be replaced as if they were commodities, whether the treasures of Babylon or the rainforests of the Amazon. This movement is saying that diversity will not be looted.

Why is this happening? No one really knows. Movements arise in mystery at the margins, eventually change the mainstream, are repressed or co-opted, and return to the oblivion we call official history.

One explanation is that the globalization of US military and economic power is globalizing an opposition. It's a dialectic and, as it swirls and intensifies it can even bring down George Bush.

Saddam is gone. We have new bilateral trade treaties with Chile and Singapore and more in process. The Japanese and Chinese are negotiating bilateral treaties too. The Kyoto treaty is dead. George W. Bush is headed for a landslide victory. Etc., etc., etc... If this is what we get from the "new movement", we're all for it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 22, 2003 9:01 AM

Instead of looking down our noses at the Europeans, we should be Europeanizing our approach to work, vacations and leisure time and for that matter, Canadianizing our approach to health care. How's that for a progressive platform longer vacations for all!

Paying no attention whatsoever to the current economic situations in Europe and the United States, Hayden proves he's still a child -- or at least has a child's view of economics -- at heart. He longs for a return to his youthful days of celebrity in the 1960s and early 1970s where the triumph of the left seemed inevitable and dweeby pseudo-anarchists never had to get a real job and could marry movie stars.

Posted by: John at October 22, 2003 9:31 AM

Leftists. Always looking for a repeat of the 60's.

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at October 22, 2003 10:15 AM

Another chronic pubescent yearning for utopia ... and the demise of capitalist free markets. They haven't been "repressed or co-opted"; they've just grown up for the most part. But there are always those terminal pubescents who hold on to their adolescent dreams.

Posted by: genecis at October 22, 2003 10:58 AM

I always wonder what the world would look like today if there was never a decade like the 60's....?

Posted by: BJW at October 22, 2003 11:54 AM

It might not be better right now, but we'd have avoided the 60s and 70s, which would have been a very good thing. In always wonder how much better those decades might have been if Dr. Spock had said: "Act like a freakin' adult and discipline your damn kids."

Posted by: oj at October 22, 2003 12:07 PM

The idiot doesn't realize he is in the master of the universe group.

Posted by: Sandy P. at October 22, 2003 12:42 PM

"Masters of the Universe" -- Hmm, just yesterday I heard somebody talking about "Skeletor" -- there must be something in the air!!

Posted by: Twn at October 22, 2003 4:34 PM

We have a cell of the movement in my county. I know all of 'em, and by a combined effort they couldn't manage a hotdog stand.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 22, 2003 6:35 PM

If Skeletor was running against He-man for president in the '04 election, would he be a Republican candidate or Democratic? I can't remember any of Skeletor's policies, 'take over the world', sure, but then what? Where is he on health reform? It's hard to get behind a one-issue canditate.

And He-man wasn't much better, all he was about was opposing Skeletor no matter what he did, so he's running on a purely obstructionist platform without any ideas of his own.

I guess all things being equal, people would vote for he-man because of his great upper body development and good teeth.

Posted by: Amos at October 22, 2003 9:55 PM

Amos, didn't they just elect him governor of California?

Posted by: John at October 22, 2003 11:42 PM

Poor Tom. First, Jane ditches him for that jerk television guy who dumps her. Now this.

Tom, baby we love you, but you have got to quit smoking that stuff. Its going to kill you if you don't.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 23, 2003 12:32 AM

At least Hayden could try to keep his metaphors straight - but he can't even do that.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 23, 2003 4:52 PM