We live in a general time of transformation, turbulence and uncertainty. The creative destruction at the heart of the capitalist world-system continues its march forward. In this regard, the political theorists Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri make a point in their text Multitude that's always stuck with me. They cautioned that as our (increasingly globalized) economy continues to morph and evolve, we can't get attached to the cultural forms and social relations that surrounded old modes of production. What does this mean? Well let's take industrial factory based manufacturing as an example. In North American manufacturing cities, many parts of the social life revolved around this mode of production. There were scores of pubs, eateries and other amenities around the factories and working class areas; there was a regular set time that people worked, and sporting events and other activities began after this work day. The weekend was a time to let loose, and folks had some pocket money to do so. But as manufacturing began to be sent overseas, or became unnecessary due to technology or the latest innovation, this production base began to dwindle and the attendant cultural forms it supported necessarily dwindled with it.
This could be the cause for great sorrow and lament, but Hardt and Negri urge us to resist this response. We must instead become resilient and creative, learning to roll with the new realities of production and economic life, always inventing rich new social forms as we evolve along with it (and within it). A lot of great things happened in these buildings that Bruce pays tribute to, and he could've written some kind of dirge, some kind of mournful goodbye in testament. But he didn't. Instead, he gave voice to the heroic sounds of social resilience. "Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you've got, bring on your wrecking ball". It struck me that this could be as important a sentiment as any in our current world moment. Some are saying that we're entering a time of whole system transition, a widespread transformation of the ways we're currently living. This transitional period is going to take a deep resevoir of social resilience, and when "hard times come, and hard time go", may you remember this song, turn it up loud, and defiantly and joyously tell the world- bring on your wrecking ball!!!