Monday, September 17, 2018

As Capitalism Collapses, Let’s Work To Build A New World


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In between the times where I’m engaging with the exhausting political fights and arguments of our current era, I like to think of these facts:

-Humanity now has the resources and the technology to give every person on Earth a safe and comfortable life. It’s a lie that the world’s hunger is due to overpopulation, and automation has made it possible to completely eliminate poverty since the 19th century. Even the neoliberal World Bank agrees with this view of global poverty.
-A permanent end to war is possible. The causes of war-which are imperialism and the military industrial complex-are not essential parts of society, and they can be eliminated if we work towards it. Wars of aggression are already illegal under U.N. rules, and war still exists only because we’ve failed to enforce those rules.
-Human civilization can coexist with the natural world if it chooses to. It’s possible for society to completely run on renewable energy. And a simple technological switch, like building homes out of hemp, would drastically reduce dependence on natural resources.
-Knowledge and creativity have never been this abundant or easy to access. There are over 4.1 billion people with internet access, and this unprecedented network of information-sharing has already made it much easier to hold power accountable, to spread knowledge, and for artists and thinkers to have exposure. The only thing stopping us from fully utilizing this tool is the propaganda and censorship that’s imposed by the people in power.
All of these goals, in fact, haven’t been realized for that same reason: the oligarchs who run the world are doing all they can to keep humanity on the path to destruction.
Yet all the time, I see evidence that a different world is emerging. The actions that we take have ripple effects, and people’s activism efforts, past and present, are improving the situation in unexpected ways. The Standing Rock protests have created an international anti-pipeline movement that’s having impact. Worker strikes and membership for socialist groups are increasing, mainly because of the work that people have put in towards building a workers’ movement. It’s easy to act like there’s no way to improve things, but any positive work that you do will have meaningful consequences that add up.
Now think of this within the context of the collapse that the old systems are undergoing. When the next global economic crash happens-and the gargantuan market and debt bubbles tell us that a crash is coming-it will likely be worse than the one from 2008. The hardships that it creates will add to the pain from the other crises that are going on, like climate change, expanding war, and the increasing violence and social repression from America’s police state.
We’re already seeing these crises converge with Hurricane Florence; South Carolina prisons haven’t been evacuated for the storm, and many people
haven’t evacuated because they’re too poor to leave their homes. Human life and the ecosystem are being destroyed on bigger and bigger scales as capitalism reaches its conclusion.
But if we can get people to react to this crisis by taking action, I think that our social movements will gain a lot of momentum. Maybe so much momentum that the power of the corporate state will be overwhelmed, like happened to the French monarchy, czarist Russia, the British empire in India, and so many other power establishments throughout history.
So even as the situation becomes more dire, recognize that we’re at a point where dramatic change is possible, and take advantage of that by doing everything possible to enact change. Given what I’ve mentioned above, human history will enter an amazing new period if we succeed.