September 29, 2022

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

New Era Convergence: Let’s envision the world we want, and how to get it

4 min read

The New Era Convergence is coming to Sky Camp August 21.

[00:00:05] Jason Schreiner: Imagine that we are riding on a vehicle—a ship, a train, something that is moving fast—straight into a terrible storm. The catch is that this thing we’re riding is accelerating and as its velocity increases, so does the severity of the storm increase. And so in turn, do the negative impacts that people on the ride experience increase.

[00:00:29] Now getting ever closer is a massive abyss obscured by the storm, but an abyss that this ride is careening towards. As bad as the storm is, going over the abyss would be much worse. It would spell doom for all of us on the ride.

[00:00:47] In such a terrible predicament, the obvious response would be a combination of slowing down and shifting direction. Or if possible, just getting off the ride.

[00:00:58] Yet imagine those at the controls have no intention of slowing down or shifting direction. They might bicker with each other about the exact speed or going a bit more left or right; might offer slightly different rules for how the rest of us are to ride; but fundamentally they are agreed and set on their course and needs. To hell with the storm or the looming abyss.

[00:01:22] So the predicament becomes more complex for the rest of us. At least three things are necessary, I think.

[00:01:29] We must: Deal with the fallout from the storm and keep ourselves fortified, somehow caring for each other, especially those people and beings and places most impacted.

[00:01:41] Second, we have to devise ways to attempt to lessen the grips of those who are at the controls. If we cannot wrest control from them, at least we can try to disrupt the operation of the ride to decrease its impacts and prevent the worst.

[00:01:59] And lastly, we have to get off this ride somehow and out of the storm, and this means constructing some other kind of vessel to carry us out, in a new direction.

[00:02:10] Now, let’s stop our imagination exercise and bring our focus to our actual world. We could use other images, but what I’ve depicted is one way to think of our current world situation and the options that we need to take, broadly speaking.

[00:02:26] The vehicle or ship or whatever have you in your mind is capitalist civilization accelerating out of control.

[00:02:34] The storm is the megacrisis this system has engendered. Think about escalating social divisions, psychic disorders, political discord, economic inequality, military conflicts, resource depletion, environmental degradation, climate destabilization— the list goes on.

[00:02:53] Those at the control will not change course. They might disagree on some finer points—neoliberals over here, neofascists over there—but they remain focused on maintaining wealth and power. And the statistics indicate that they’re making out like bandits while more and more people and other living beings and places suffer, to be sure.

[00:03:15] And that leaves the rest of us riding what has become, in truth, a shipwreck approaching multiple tipping points that could push us over an abyss into a world that is unlivable or at best highly inhospitable.

[00:03:30] John Q: The Convergence will bring creatives from throughout the Pacific Northwest to collaborate on alternatives.

[00:03:37] Jason Schreiner: We must cooperate to build new systems for a new world. That is, we can’t expect people to abandon the capitalist system if nothing is in place for them to meet their needs. We have to create viable means for meeting our needs in ways that empower each other and maintain Earth’s living systems.

[00:03:56] This means constructing a post-capitalist decolonial egalitarian just regenerative system. (Or system of systems.)

[00:04:04] We have many, many ideas and examples of alternatives, model projects, new ways of doing things. It’s time to leverage these, coordinate them, organize, and build them at scale. We are organizing the New Era Convergence to take up the task of putting these various endeavors into conversation, sharing lessons learned, assessing what is most needed and possible, discerning common goals and aspirations, identifying creative ways to collaborate and coordinate efforts, and building community and bonds of trust to forge a unified movement across multiple fronts.

[00:04:43] It’s a mouthful, but most significantly, think of it like this: We are gathering to envision the world we want, and how to get it—right here in our region. Lots of people are rising to meet the predicament at hand, in a variety of ways. How do we converge and build a movement commensurate to the challenge, a movement capable of deep transformation? This is what the New Era Convergence is about.

[00:05:10] I hope you will join us Aug. 21-24 and contribute your voice. Now is the opportune moment for action.

[00:05:18] John Q: That was Jason Schreiner for the New Era Convergence, which is being sponsored by Cooperation Eugene and the Prout Institute. For more, see their website.


Update (July 23, 2022): Official version released on Vimeo by New Era Convergence

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