The necessity of experimentation and the immanence of change today

A short piece on the uncertainty of the present and the need for experimentation and creativity.

When changes in society occur, their trajectory is generally hidden from us, and only emerge after significant time and distance from the initial changes. Only in retrospect are we able to reconstruct what has changed and what remains the same. This is speaking globally, as from our own perspectives of agents choosing our courses of action and attempting to adapt to shifting circumstances, we lack a bigger vantage point to pull apart the various perspectives that we find ourselves in from the emergent order recomposing and organizing new relationships.

Change likely already has occurred and the previous dominant order is reorganizing itself in light of the undermining of its methods and trajectory by world financial crisis, global protests, and emerging regional powers outside the traditional core. There are a number of efforts today to try and call how the chips are falling, and to proclaim new eras of various sorts (social democracy, trade unionism, fascism, hard left parliamentarianism, insurrection, etc). This is part of trying to cope with change, and in a way is positive. Understanding, while not sufficient, does shape our responses and actions, and being able to make sense of changes is a part of political action. Still, political speculation in the midst of a whirlwind is just that, and humbleness is a must.

Specific to our situation is the fact that the rules of established order itself may be changing. This doesn't mean any religious commitment to an immanent end of capitalism or the state, or some determinist belief in the impossibility of reform. Rather, it's an acknowledgement that how things have worked at least in the last 50 years is most likely over. Something similar may emerge, but the wind appears to blowing in unknown directions. There is no clear consensus amongst the ruling class and that is significant. That is after the crisis has, even if temporarily, quieted down a bit. Mostly we see the eroding of traditional political structures and activities without easily defined alternatives or replacements.

This situation makes experimentation ripe and necessary. Libertarian radicals can encourage its development both in words and deed. A period of experimentation would mean nurturing attempts to question, redefine, and critique the assumptions and models we have inherited, and place them in their own context. Likewise it is to propose, try out, and construct new ways of engaging in struggle and thinking based on making sense of our situation. It may be that we reach similar conclusions to historical political actors on a number of points. Still, attempts to crudely emulate different political moments is too common and gives clear examples of its inadequacy. The desire for orthodoxy, to hold the line of a particular model, and to do so based on radically distinct events from our own should not be tolerated at this point. Today necessitates a different mentality, and the stimulation of creativity, capacity, and the ability to make contributions to collectivities in political participants.

Posted By

May 29 2014 12:39


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