PCDForum Campaign IV: Challenging the story that social order must be imposed either by a domineering government or by monopolistic global corporations (2002 to 2009).
The New Story: Although we humans we have a well demonstrated capacity for individualistic greed and violence, expression of those qualities in adults is a sign of psychopathology. It is the nature of the mature adult human to be caring, sharing, and non-violent and it is within our means to create deeply democratic caring, sharing, non-violent societies that provide a healthy, secure, and meaningful life for all in balance with Earth’s biosphere. The social and environmental devastation created by the dominator system make this an immediate imperative.
The Book: The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community (2006)
The Forum’s Role
Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, U.S. administration officials and neoconservative policy analysts spoke openly of American Empire, announced their intention to impose a Pax Americana on the world by military force. They equated dissent with terrorism, and provided political cover for governments around the world looking for an opportunity to roll-back civil liberties. Global civil society, which had mobilized around resistance to corporate-led economic globalization based on the analysis framed and popularized by the IFG and others, was caught off guard and distracted by U.S. government plans to launch military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
The U.S. response to 9/11 was a wake up call to the deeper reality that global corporate rule is an addition to, not a substitute for, the brute military force by which the privileged few have ruled for 5,000 years by fear and violence to maintain their monopoly control of society’s resources for their exclusive benefit. To move forward toward the realization of true democracy and self-organizing market economies, required a larger framework. The Forum responded with The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community to place corporate rule in its deeper historical context. It launched in May 2006 backed by an intensive speaking and media tour across the United States and Canada.
The Great Turning traces the 5,000 history of organizing human societies by hierarchies of domination grounded in violent chauvinisms of race, gender, religion, nationality, language, and class that kept the excluded divided one against the other. The result, as now, is always the same; fortune for the few and misery for the many. Increasingly destructive of children, family, community, and nature, the way of Empire is leading to environmental and social collapse. This framework ties together a great many issues about which people are deeply concerned—including corporations and military forces as two mutually reinforcing faces of imperial rules—but have lacked a framework to understand and address in a coherent way.
The Great Turning exposes the dynamics of a system that gives inordinate power to the few, in turn providing a powerful incentive for the ruling classes to expropriate ever more resources to defend their position of privilege. It further illuminates the simple, but elegant truth that we humans live by stories and are held captive to the ways of Empire by a cultural trance of our own creation maintained by stories that deny our capacities for compassion, cooperation, responsible self-direction, and self-organizing partnership. Changing the human future begins with changing our stories—in particular the stories that guide our efforts to find prosperity, security, and meaning.
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