Sunday, 20 December 2009

Global Consciousness Glimpsed From a Distance

A lot of what's happening in Copenhagen and elsewhere at the moment reminds Manuscripts Don't Burn of H.G. Wells' "The Shape of Things to Come", when a clumsy, ad hoc, and largely self-interested bunch of airplane flyers kick and scream and gradually drag the world towards a single government. The government they create isn't necessarily any good, and is eventually superceded by something a darn sight better after a period of dissatisfaction and revolution, but it *started* there, as the first sign of a nascent global consciousness appeared.

Manuscripts Don't Burn gets a similar vibe out of Copenhagen, the financial collapse (accidental or engineered), the post-Cold War struggle for who defines the New World Order, and the shenanigans following the collapse of the Berlin Wall. At the moment the Old Guard and the military-industrial-financial complex are still desperately trying to call the shots, and hold most of the cards, but institutions and concepts are being born at the moment which are radically different from what's gone before. We don't doubt that the corporate fascists would *love* a global government on their terms, but the very fact that political and economic action on a global scale is even conceivable speaks volumes.

We're not dewy-eyed and messianic about this. Like most times of great change this is going to be chaotic, violent, and dangerous. But it's interesting at least to see something potentially positive peeking through the cracks. Manuscripts Don't Burn has no doubt at all that we WON'T get our shit together to stave off the worst effects of the climatic instability facing us (regardless of whether we're responsible or not, it's still happening), and millions will starve, be rendered homeless, and so on. But possibly Copenhagen will mark the start of regular summits where the chaotic, disunited rabble of the global community can get together for regular rows, coercion, and chest-thumping - and maybe muddle-headedly navigate us through the turbulence ahead. Cause for optimism? Individually, no. Collectively... well, that's up to us all.

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