As a new year begins for those who live in the Common Era world, I have stepped back to ponder the flood of information that has flashed across my monitor these past twelve months. I have mentioned before that I constantly look for cracks within the media I see online. These cracks shed light on where things sit historically in the present moment, and allow me to gain possible choices for action in the future to bring about the changes in the world that I want to see.
With so much media coming at the average info junky, the cracks move and dodge frequently. I have to admit that we have entered a gray historical era these past few years. I used to feel that I could easily spot historical trends, but now I constantly ask, “What is going to happen next?” The follow-up question is “and will it make a difference in our precarious existence?”
For example, the Bush Administration unraveled in 2005. When Bush got “elected” the first time, I felt that he would eventually bungle and prove to the world that he would be one of the worst presidents in U.S. history. Now that 2005 blew his bungling wide open with more scandals to count (fake journalists, paid-off journalists, leaked CIA secrets, exposed corrupt lobbyists, inept FEMA management, etc.), I ask those two above questions for 2006. Where’s the word “impeachment” in any of this dialog and will it even make a difference? My little internal mouse wheel is spinning with anticipation.
A second theme that didn’t climax in 2005 is Latin America’s continued shift to the left and to socialist policies to estrange U.S.-backed international orgs and take back their moneymaking methods to fix their country. Venezuela and Brazil just paid of ALL of their IMF debt early and probably have no desire to mix with that org again. With Bolivia’s late-2005 election of coaca farmer Evo Morales, and with Mexico’s EZLN’s leaders on a national pre-election tour, the Americas continue to show their desire to break away from U.S. imperialist bindings and fix their own problems the way the citizens want them to. At some point in 2006, South America may reach a tipping point that could potentially spill over into the rest of the world. What happens next might really make a difference!
A third crack I followed in 2005 is a local fault. After years of being an unorganized organization that most members joined to get a 10% Rainbow Groceries discount, NoBAWC (Network of Bay Area Cooperatives) got its act together and published its first newsletter. NoBAWC hopes to restructure itself in 2006 to provide services on creating collectives and coops, and to become a leading model of the new U.S. cooperative movement. That’s right, after gaining inspiration from Venezuela’s government-backed coop movement, North America is trying to catch up via the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives. Long unorganized, the U.S. coop movement stands poised to redefine itself in 2006, maybe with regional reorganization taking the lead first.
Other cracks that I could write about and are worth mentioning in brief are: The Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the continued occupation of Iraq, the rise of community supported agriculture (CSA) , the late-2005 arrival of avian bird flu in Eastern Europe (Turkey), the continued disappointment of U.S. activism, and 2005’s crazy weather (currently, winter has hit parts of Asia that it normally doesn’t).
We’ll see what happens next on the faultlines of 2006.