Let’s go back to 1999, 2000, 2001. 14 years ago. Was anybody talking like this? The only place you would have seen an article like this is literally in a Communist newsletter or something. Fringe stuff at best.
So you can take the question, “How did we get here?” two ways:
• How did we get to the point where people wanted to revolt?
• How did we get to the point where people openly talked about revolution?
And, moreover, how did we get there so quickly?
Feel free to answer either of those questions how you want.
I was in business school 1998-2000. My political consciousness was pretty unformed. I generally felt the system worked and was excited about the future with the Internet being new and exciting and all. I was a solid Liberal by 2003, however, what with the wars and the recession and seeing that things were not working out for the best. Then of course came the economic disaster of 2008.
So, I think the short answer is that we’re talking about revolution because things went to shit very, very quickly. The rich and corporations had gradually been gaining in wealth, but then that trend further accelerated and reached a tipping point where people became conscious of it. Meanwhile, our national politics has also very quickly devolved into total dysfunction, while the Hope and Change of Obama never materialized, leaving us even more cynical.
Are we going to have a revolution? I don’t think so. I think the military would side with the rich and powerful and put down anything that arose. I think America as we knew it is dead and the corporatocracy will reign supreme.
I lived in Japan for 8 years, and that country points at another possibility of “revolution”: people just totally giving up and retreating into their own worlds. In Japan, despite its wealth, 100% literacy rate, and low crime, has been in the economic shitter since the bubble burst in 1989. The birth rate has fallen so catastrophically that it is expected to lose 1/3 of its population by 2050. A significant percentage of young people called “freeters” don’t even bother looking for work and just live with their parents. It’s not active rebellion. It’s not social collapse. It’s long-term malaise and a loss of hope of anything changing or getting better. It basically shows where capitalism goes to die with a whimper when it doesn’t go out with a bang.
In the US, we have a new generation of young people who are basically being told, “Fuck you. No jobs or future for you. Enjoy your student debt.” Perhaps they will take the same route as Japan and decide it’s too expensive to have kids. Let’s just sit at home and play video games. Or perhaps they will get pissed and do something more.
In any case, I have no hope for the future of this country in its current vector.