David Watson went so far and then couldn’t go farther

David Watson’s post-Marxist analysis of What Happened is exemplary. But DW couldn’t bring himself to suggest What To Do.

From his 1994 essay “Catching Fish in Chaotic Waters” . . .


We are typically and frequently asked how we might practically get from here to there with the modern-primitive synthesis explored in the Fifth Estate. We all wonder how to bring about change; we’d like to find a fulcrum. But there isn’t any — and “what to do” can fall into an instrumentality reminiscent of Lenin, whose methodology didn’t help him predict the upheavals of 1917, and who, by the time he was done, described his sense of being at the control of a vehicle which did not obey his commands. Furthermore, we are standing at a vague moment not only along the continuum of modern capitalism, but at a crisis akin to the decline of ancient empires. If you have any humility at all, you don’t look around in the midst of the fall of Sumer and propose a program. We have to talk tenuously about how an unprecedented, megatechnic empire and its corresponding constellation of cultures might become a qualitatively different kind of society; how a grid might become an organic weave of diverse, egalitarian, communal societies; and how an atomized, mass human being might become a whole person embedded in a community. Trying to make sense of mass society, to practically respond, is as the Chinese say, like catching fish in chaotic waters.

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Yet here is his colleague John Clark dealing with that issue:


Many years ago, I suggested that Ursula Le Guin’s book Always Coming Home “stirs the deepest longings of our being.” However, I failed to grasp adequately the necessity of reading it in a way that allows our being to be “stirred” in the most practically crucial way, a way that releases our spirit of engaged social creativity. If we read it in such a spirit of communal poesis (radical creativity), we will not merely think about, or even celebrate, liberatory social forms, but also go on to create them — through affinity groups, base communities, ecovillages, and beyond.

A co-editor of Green Horizon Magazine, Steve has been a Green movement activist for almost thirty years.