The New Abolitionists of 2020…Dissolving Power – Troy Wiley
Civil War, Climate Crisis and the Abolition of Money
Look at our political landscape anywhere in the world right now and tell me if, as humanity, we’ve ever been more polarized than this? I will make the bold proclamation here that unless we radically change course, we are heading towards a global civil war, but this war will be fought over the climate crisis, money and the liberation of ALL of humanity. We don’t want to go down this path of fighting because it would be a battle that is too big to fight, too big to win, as I lay out in this essay. So we need a whole different approach, and for that there is a whole new group of “abolitionists” on the scene around the world with a solution that not only avoids a civil war, but is also the only solution that addresses and can solve all the problems of the world that we are fighting over.
Let me explain. Many people think that the civil war of 1865 in the United States was fought over slavery as the defining issue. Indeed it was, at least on the surface, but if we go deeper we can see that at its core it was really about money. There is a great article from a few years back entitled The New Abolitionism by Christopher Hayes. He explains how the money involved in dispossessing the slaveholders of their property (slaves) was such a staggeringly large issue with abolishing slavery. So it wasn’t just about convincing the slave owners of the immorality of slavery. The fear of approximately 400,000 slave owners was “that all the wealth stored in the limbs and wombs of their property” would be zeroed out, more or less overnight.
In the article Hayes said that in 1860 slaves accounted for about 16% of the total household assets, or wealth, in the entire country, which in today’s terms equates to about $10 trillion.
Will They Give Up the Oil Without a Fight?
Are you starting to see the economic consequences of abolishing slavery? Hayes points out how we were demanding that the slaveholders just give up all their wealth while getting nothing in return. So what does that have to do with climate change? It’s the same battle over wealth, but global in scale this time. Hayes cites climate writer and activist Bill McKibbon in saying,
“the staggering conclusion [is] that the work of the climate movement is to find a way to force the powers that be….to leave 80 percent of the carbon they have claims to in the ground. That stuff you own, that property you’re counting on and pricing into your stocks? You can’t have it.”
So how does this compare to the slaveholders situation in 1865? Hayes says that some financial analysts put the wealth of all the un-excavated carbon in the world at $20 trillion.
“The last time in American history that some powerful set of interests relinquished its claim on $10 trillion of wealth was in 1865 — and then only after four years and more than 600,000 lives lost in the bloodiest, most horrific war we’ve ever fought.”
So here’s what I’m seeing. The climate change battle is global, unlike the U.S. civil war. If we extrapolate the battle of climate change — and the underlying wealth dispossession that’s required — to the entire world, then we are talking about a potential global civil war over the ownership of fossil fuels involving millions of deaths?
When the Stakes are Higher, So is the Potential for Conflict
Hayes says, “There is no way around conflict with this much money on the line, no available solution that makes everyone happy. No use trying to persuade people otherwise.” So if this means we are heading towards a global civil war many factors bigger than in 1865 over fossil fuels, then what hope do we have? Before you despair, there are many reasons for hope on the horizon, but first we need to go one level deeper.
While the battle we have to fight with the energy companies is big enough — a $10–20 trillion battle — the stakes get even higher, because the battle isn’t just with the oil companies. If we look at every sector of our global socio-economic system…food, agriculture, pharmacy, banking, media, politics, etc…we have large, interconnected and life-threatening problems that need to be addressed. And all of those sectors are controlled by big, powerful and wealthy corporations.
Hang with me. It gets hopeful, but here’s the reality. We’ve already been talking about “Big Oil”, but we also have Big Food, Big Ag, Big Beef, Big Dairy, Big Pharma, Big Bankers, Big Electric, Big Media. The big industries control the world economy and are too big to fail. And big media controls the messages telling us that we just need to keep shopping and vote every four years.
The point is that it all desperately needs to change. We can’t fight bad money with good money, because there’s always more bad money than good money, because the bad money people do what the good guys never do in order to get the money. So we can’t win fighting them head on. It’s too big to fight on their terms — money terms. The fight alone would be a global civil war that, in itself, would destroy the planet and human civilization. It’s un-winnable, any way you slice it.
So we have to do it another way. As futurist and inventor, Buckminster Fuller said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” So what would be that new model?
Symptoms and Root Causes
We need to ask ourselves, what is the ultimate cause of climate change? What is the root cause of almost all of our problems? We need to see as plain as the nose on our face that it is our outdated model of monetary exchange, along with the social constructs of ownership and power, that is at the root of all of our society’s sicknesses.
So in Hayes’ article, he is describing “the new abolitionism” as the movement to end fossil fuels. That is a just cause, in and of itself, and it is a cause taken on by the current Extinction Rebellion protest movement. But unfortunately they are fighting symptoms, with climate change being a symptom of our growth-based monetary exchange system. Unless and until we go to the root cause we will never be able to successfully address the climate crisis. And we need to recognize that all our problems are connected to the same root cause.
The Bottom Line
We can’t fight the problems with money because money IS the problem. We can never win in the money game, because money is too powerful. We need to see that today’s epic battle is not just with fossil fuel companies, but also the elite powers and corporations controlling all sectors of our world. So the battle, in monetary terms, is incomprehensible. There’s got to be another way.
And it is time to acknowledge that there is no such thing as a healthy “triple bottom line” (people, planet, profit) of so-called conscious capitalism that is ever going to save us. The only true bottom line is that unless we have a collective revolution of the mind, a shift in our Zeitgeist, beyond profit and money, we are doomed as a species.
The Dissolution Solution — Dissolving Power from the Powers that Shouldn’t Be
So here’s the hopeful part…abolishing money is the new abolitionism of the 21st century. And isn’t it about time we stop fighting altogether? The “us vs. them” paradigm has been with us for many millennium and now it’s time to transcend it. It is time for a revolution of this magnitude. Band-aid solutions like monetary reform or regulations never work on a longer term.
Big ideas in the past were seen as crazy, like believing the world is round. And the people with those big ideas were seen as crazy, like those crazy cats Copernicus and Galileo who talked nonsense about the sun being the center of the universe, rather than the Earth. We need to bring about the Next Copernican Revolution, as we are on the precipice of an entire paradigm shift, or an evolutionary phase shift of humanity, where the rules of the old world don’t apply anymore.
There is a growing list of groups made up of crazy people around the world who have arrived at the same conclusions. These are ‘crazy’ smart individuals and organizations forming a global network, and who can see that for mankind to evolve and thrive, let alone survive, we need to abolish money itself. These are the new abolitionists of the twenty-first century. People around the world are now thinking about a radical future beyond money, and it can’t be stopped, or put back in the bottle. It’s an idea whose time has come. As our systems and institutions continue to break down, what once seemed radical simply becomes practical. Money and ownership and capitalism are not based upon immutable natural laws. They are outdated social constructs that we must evolve beyond. But we can’t do it by fighting.
“It’s easier for people to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism [and money]. When people say ‘you are a utopian’, sorry, the only true utopia for me is that things can go on indefinitely the way they are.” ~ Slavoj Žižek
Flowing with Evolution — Towards a Global Common Heritage
So you see, this is the way the river of change is flowing. Everything is moving towards a money-free world beyond the need for barter or trade. This has been called an open access economy or resource-based economy in which all the earth’s resources become the common heritage of everyone. People will have access to the things they need without the use of money, debt or barter. With robotics and automation we now have the resources and ability to provide for everyone on the planet.
If we can relinquish our fear and accept that we are entering a completely new paradigm, then we can relax our hold on certainty that will no doubt lead to great suffering. We will discover how easy it all could be to arrive at this beautiful new world our hearts know is possible.
***Here is a list of all the groups of crazy paradigm-shifters around the world working towards a trade-free, open access, resource-based economy beyond money that is our only chance. Let’s evolve and liberate all of humanity from the shackles of money that have been with us for far too long.
And this is how the WorldSummit Movement is beginning the transition.
Slide Deck: Three Pillars of Activism — What Comes Next?