We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Saturday, April 9, 2016
Some Possible Programmatic Ideas
It seems that during presidential election years all the liberal-leftists are inspired by an approved liberal candidate (this election year it is Sen. Bernie Sanders) to formulate a new "radical" agenda which turns out to be a reform of the capitalist system to make it a kinder, gentler capitalism (an oxymoron). Such is the agenda in this piece and endorsed by many such people. (Yesterday I posted a European version of a reformist agenda.)
I've seen these come and go (after every election) every four years for the last 60 years. The capitalist ruling class love all the excitement they can muster regarding their well-managed elections. It helps to legitimate them by collecting and encouraging all the disillusioned people to participate in them.
I really don't like to sound cynical, and I'm really not. I just hate to see these quadrennial feasts of reformist illusions. I am thoroughly convinced by personal experience and history that capitalism cannot be reformed. (Read this post's commentary.) The best reforms in American history were accomplished during the FDR administration in the 1930s that promoted New Deal policies. This was after a devastating Wall Street crash and world-wide economic collapse, the emergence of many truly radical movements in the US, and only 16 years after the first workers' revolution in Russia that established the Soviet Union. US capitalists were shaking in their boots over the threat that the radical movements posed to their rule. Thus they--and not without vigorous dissent and an attempted coup--permitted F. Roosevelt to hold office and work his mild reformist policies into the fabric of government to reduce the pressure from these popular movements.
The only way to create social justice and to live sustainably with nature is to abolish the rule of capitalists and put an end to their system. They will never permit their system to be significantly reformed. Thus the construction of a serious movement to overthrow their rule must be undertaken everyday for at least the next decade to end this cancer that will destroy us all if we fail. As you can imagine, this effort will require a lot more than showing up on one day to vote for the latest Bernie Sanders in capitalist controlled elections.