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Beyond 'TINA': Another World is Not Only Possible... It's necessary!

10 December 2001

"There Is No Alternative"?

These days Margaret Thatcher's infamous acronym, "TINA" seems to be on all official lips and to be heard echoing down all the mainstream public airways with hypnotic repetitiveness. TINA. TINA. TINA. We are being told "There Is No Alternative." Resistance is futile. No alternative to globalization. No alternative to the WTO, IMF & World Bank, to trade and profit trumping environmental protection and human rights, to the petroleum-plutonium economy.

No alternative to corporate rule, to merged media monopolies, to bought and rigged elections, to landmines and clusterbombs, to a terroristic war on terrorism, to an imperial presidency, to suspension of civil liberties, to racial profiling. No alternative to a zombie patriotism that precludes all dissent, to violent police attacks on non-violent demonstrators, to the criminalization of public assembly & protest.

No alternative to wiretapping & e-mail surveillance, to warrentless search and arrest without probable cause, to secret courts with no due process, to legalizing the torture of suspects, to authorizing political assassinations, to giving "no quarter" to surrendering combatants, to causing millions of refugees to starve. No alternative to "sanctioning" the deaths of 5000 Iraqi children per month, to violation of international law, to opposing a World Court while seeking to establish a worldwide police state. No alternative to the militarization and nuclearization of space. No alternative to a planetwide Pax Americana.

Without all these things, goes the TINA mantra, the world will descend even deeper into chaos, poverty, violence and ecological collapse. No alternative but that America must assume the imperial mantle thrust upon it by history (or more accurately, by the crimes against humanity of the likes of Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger) and ruthlessly exercise its power as the first - and very likely the last - global empire.

The Evolutionary Imperative

In fact all signs point, like a forest in the wind, to the likelihood that the very opposite is the case; that it is these very measures and policies and actions and institutions and ideological conceits that are relentlessly destroying humanity's options for a peaceful, secure, sustainable future on a healthy planet.

"Without vision," goes the Biblical maxim, "the people perish." Chronic adrenaline rushes are conducive to neither imaginative vision nor rational thought. In a climate of constant fear - induced, let us acknowledge, not only by actual terrorist acts, but also and most persistently by repeated government warnings of impending, but unspecified threats - in such a climate both vision and people perish. Its very difficult to think straight. Difficult to think outside the box provided by the daily media barrage of what is openly admitted to be propaganda - all for the sake of "security."

Homeplanet Security

But this is all Orwellian to the max. Because real security, common security, or what might be called "homeplanet " security - as contrasted with "homeland " security - most certainly consists in the reliable absence of fear and violence and in the dependable presence of uncontaminated food, water and air, of health care, human and labor rights, gender equality, housing, education, cultural and racial tolerance and diversity, just laws and informed democratic choice.

That's why it's now more important than ever for those of us who know better to stand up and say so. Vital for we who hold and nourish the knowledge and certainty - along with Eduardo Galeano and the organizers of the upcoming 2nd annual World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, where over 2000 organizations from 85 countries will meet next February - that "another world is possible." Urgent to point to the alternative, humanely and ecologically sustainable systems, processes and institutions that are already up and working at every level around the world. And essential to foster and insist upon their growth in our own households, communities and in all our spheres of action and influence. Current events must convince us that another world is not only possible, it's necessary.

It's time to assert the freedoms we have left; to exercise our remaining options. Its time to seize the present and take back the future. That's global citizenship. That's planetary patriotism. That's our main avenue to sustainability and survival. Otherwise, where the health of the planetary biosphere is concerned, it may be a case of remission impossible. The evolutionary victories represented by the abolution, suffragette, labor, civil rights, feminist, gay rights, landless peasant and other grassroots movements around the world show that, as Ruckus Society Director John Sellers puts it, "resistance is fertile." If we're committed to the fulfillment of our highest evolutionary potential, when you get right down to it, there is no alternative.

James Heddle.
(c) James Heddle.

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