Much can be said about the American dream, especially in its relationship to the growth and prosperity of the middle class. The various benefits of the American dream appear to be characteristics of life within the middle class. This includes such things as the owning of one’s own home, paid vacation time, the ability to provide a college education for one’s children, and a secure health coverage and retirement. The strengthening of the middle class also has another side to these benefits, such as a bland generic culture and a disassociation from issues of social and economic justice for marginalized people. However, an underlying theme can be ascertained in the relationship between the middle class and the American dream that is not connected to the negative aspects of bourgeois life. Under all the benefits is a common trait of the ability to step outside of the economic structure and achieve a certain level of autonomy regardless of the exploitation or manipulation of global capitalism. In other words, the American dream can be independent from a strict middle class definition by being a general independence from various systems of power.
This independence has to be a political solution that is also a recognition of the value of revolution. By revolution, one does not mean violence in the streets, the storming of barricades, or the summary execution of former leaders. These are all effects of various historical revolutions, but they do not absolutely define a revolution. The working definition of revolution will be the complete change of the political, cultural, and economic order through the critique and disassembling of the existing structures of power, meaning, and production. Revolution makes use of the open space of sudden change to create new forms and alternatives to what existed before. The event as a sudden disruption of history is the clearest example of such a space where revolution can be put to work. But just as the event is a disruption of time, it is not really a disruption of space. In other words, the normal flow of things in relationships of cause and effect can be shaken, but the physical objects remain. For example, the normal processes of a society can be thrown into chaos by a terrorist attack or an assassination but the buildings, streets, and cars within a nation still exist. What is vital to remember is that these objects can then be put to new uses in the aftermath of an event. It is up to a revolutionary process to make positive uses of these objects, and a return of the political is needed for a successful revolution.
The return of the political must be seen as a reemergence of political practices that resemble what occured in stateless societies. These societies have existed in tribal premodern form, but have also existed in what has been called anarchistic organizations and collectives. The political in this sense has certain characteristics that is quite different from the political shown in nation-states and governments. The political as a minor composition of power is a horizontal system where there is relative equality and affinity between participants instead of hierachy and stratification. Participants are generally equal but also each participant is unique, and they exercise their freedom as a power to form structures that serve their needs. This is known as constituent power rather than the constituted power of those who hold positions of authority within the created structures such as governmental systems. The political arises in stateless societies, such as a tribe, in order to deal with situations where inequality forms and where one participant or group has a surplus of objects or information. The political is a temporary and immanent method of achieving social equilibrium, and when the problem is solved the political recedes into the background until there is another uneqal differential relationship. It is therefore a specific kind of tool that is independent from the nation-state and can exist outside of it.
Concepts such as freedom, justice, and equality become subjective standards that inherently serve human needs within this specific use of the political. Particular events also become the space for general change, where there is the opportunity to enact great things in the political process that occurs in the revolution. The political is the process within the space of the revolution and has gone through various stages of formation in history. There is first an opposition to the major composition of power, exemplified by structure and hierarchy that dominates individuals. Then an identity of collective resistance is created where a group comes together and are united by their individual opposition. This group goes through an organization of temporary local structures where their actions and ideas are properly coordinated, but these structures do not overpower their original revolutionary intentions. Once properly organized, there is the mobilization of these alternative actions and ideas that create the new world in the shell of the old world. The political is successful within the context of revolution when it can present these alternatives in a cohesive and self-sufficient way outside of the structure of the nation-state and its government.
Revolution is therefore not an automatic replacement of the existing government. It is a movement from self interest to the novelty of desire. Since self interest is always mediated by the existing structures of power and meaning, revolution allows an expression of desire that is not mediated by structures and is therefore completely new to what was expected before. The structures of power and meaning always attempt to appear as transcendent truth. The natural and eternal appearance of transcendence perpetuates the structures which strictly define what humans could want or need. Humans are given precluded choices where the conditions of the decision are always predetermined beforehand. Revolution is a transition from static precluded choices to a dynamic original choice, an original choice that is the method of determining all other choices that follow. The result is a dissipation of power, with a structural rupture that is not replaced by yet another oppressive structure.
Revolution requires the self-awareness of humans within structures. It is a movement from being in itself to being for itself. Instead of being inert objects made of matter, such as rocks and furniture, humans use their consciousness to understand themselves and the world. This also means a conscious awareness of structural relationships that surround and shape humans. These structures no longer are a ubiquitous transcendent category that appears as absolute truth, but rather is perceived as an apparent immanent totality that can be directly affected by human action. What results is the formation of new narratives as a method of understanding structures, as well as a position of human psychological and existential distance from these structural relationships that surround humans. This can be the origin of freedom that would then make use of the political process to build a new order.
The new order created by the political process in a revolution is also a creation of new types of social relationships. It is a movement from interobjective relationships to intersubjective relationships. The formation of conscious individuals and collectives make it possible to prevent any solutions to problems from becoming new structures of control. As the political process outside of governments deal with the inequality of differential relationships, the political process in the revolution can foster relationships of mutuality that avoid future structures. By maintaining this equilibrium in social relationships, one can see an emergence of authentic desire from individuals and collectives that is a positive method of creating social alternatives. The political in the revolution is an active and conscious effort to be free from structures of domination while creating new temporary structures that serve humanity. The Green Party, in its activities in both activism and electoral campaigns, can offer a political vision that is in the spirit of revolution while avoiding a return of the same structures of power that has plagued past revolutions. The new type of revolution needs a new type of political practice. This new political practice expressed through the Green Party can give humans the chance to be independent of structures of power, meaning, and production. In this way, the Green Party can reveal the inherent truth of the American dream.