Revolution. When the People are fed up, they rebel. My friend Peggy and I visited Paris in June 2014. The opulence of Versailles is breath-taking and sickening. We stood on the ground of the Palace of Versailles and imaged the angry mobs running up the boulevard to capture the King.
As we stood, gaping at the gold trim on the palace, we realized in Louis XIV’s day, the gold was real. Most like a gold veneer. We wondered how many indigenous people (mostly in Mexico, Central and South America) died to decorate the palace in gold? I published a series of posts about what I learned in Paris. Paris Lessons: Versailles, the Ultimate McMansion
Survival of the Richest
I started reading the book, Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires by Douglas Rushkoff. Mr. Rushkoff, a professor of media theory and digital economics at Queens/CUNY begins the book by recounting the talk he had with five of the the world’s richest tech billionaires and their plans to escape, (in their words), The Event.
The Event being the societal collapse resulting from economic, political, and environmental disasters that they believe is surely coming. I hope society is not waiting for the tech billionaires to save us, because they have no good ideas how to save themselves. Like French aristocrats before the revolution, they fear the angry mob.
I first published a much shorter version of this post back in December 2014, after I returned from France. But reading Survival of the Richest reminded me of my time there.
Plutocrat Warns Other Plutocrats – Nine Years and Counting
A plutocrat is a person who derives power from their wealth. And in this county that worships wealth and celebrity, rich people wield the power. Nick Hanauer, plutocrat, spoke truth to power about nine years ago, and do you see any change? I sure don’t. For decades the folks on the bottom of the economic ladder, say when the middle class figure out what has been done to them, watch out!
Nick Hanauer, Venture capitalist and extremely rich man, who warns us we are close to pitchforks and revolution. This TED Talk was released way back in 2014, around the time I went to Paris, France. And it seems, nothing much has changed.
Plan B is the Best We’ve Got
But I don’t like doom and gloom. My first thought is always, “How do I get out of this?” I don’t despair because we human beings have been around a long time. We have survived calamity before, we will survive again.
I’ve been also reading advice from people who survive dictatorships, China’s “Great Leap Forward”, the former Soviet Bloc, and various flavours of oppression everywhere. Their advice over and over again is to build community, help each other, grow your food, barter, and create a loving cooperative community, underground if you must.
For when the big society ceases to exist, people will need a soft place to land. And a thriving culture of mutual aid, homegrown food, barter, and traditional skills give the failed society refugees a soft place to land. They just have to learn the ropes and fit in.
Doug George Kaentiio, Akwesasne Mohawk, has shared these words in indigenous newspapers and online.
“How will humans survive? The Iroquois are assured that they will endure by making use of the resources around them. Their ancient skills will come back into use from locating fresh water to the use of natural medicines. Seeds must be preserved and food stored in root cellars. Fossil fuels will not be available but other forms of transportation will be used. Of necessity, a new economy will be created based upon a barter system.” on Indianz.com
As the late Yogi Berra said, “It’s like deja vu all over again.” French Revolution, plutocrat rule, and a gapping divide between the rich and everyone else. But I write this post not for dismay and anguish, but to give folks hope and a way to survive. Plan B, folks, Plan B.