I’m not any kind of idealist, and it’s impossible for me to bring myself to believe that any kind of real ‘revolution’ is coming to the United States any time soon. What we’ll be getting, if we can manage to achieve anything moving in a more positive direction, is deep reform. And yes, I realize the structures of capitalist power and the thought processes it engenders in our minds are the primary source of concern for us moving forward, and we’d be wise to topple them, or at least mutate them beyond recognition, but I just don’t really see that happening. Maybe you do. To that, I say, move full speed ahead and best of luck. Personally, though, any ‘revolutionary’ sentiment I’m seeing from whichever direction carries with it the same sicknesses I see in our current ‘mainstream’ sociopolitical paradigms: authoritarianism, tribalism, a preference for irrational thinking, fondness for easy conspiracy theories, cliquishness, and basic foolishness (exhibit ‘A’ – any “leftbook” group).
So where does that leave us? I believe there can be a balance, an understanding, between the impulse for revolution and the real-world, pragmatic drive for reform. Dare I say the “war” between the two is some kind of false dichotomy that we’ve fallen prey to. I mean, if the entire village is burning it’s of course essential that we move to extinguish the entire blaze, but is it really wise not to pour some water on a single spot simply because it doesn’t treat the entire problem? No, in my view. Let’s clear a safe spot from which we can rest, relax, regroup, and plan our next moves. To me, reformist causes are doing exactly that (to varying degrees of effectiveness, but I digress).
So yes, let’s ‘topple capitalism,’ whatever that even means. But let’s also, I don’t know, try to ensure that everyone in the United States can get treated when they’re sick without falling into catastrophic debt. Let’s make sure everyone has a safe place to stay, food to eat, and the medicine they need. In an era of billions wasted on unnecessary “defense” systems, this is not too much to strive for and it is a goal within reach.
A little bit of socialism and then a little bit more. Then a little bit more on top of that. Before you know it, a thriving social safety net is in place from which we can more comfortably battle for more. The capitalists are already extremely comfortable. They have the advantage. We need to fight first for a better position from which we can fight even harder. This is the game we’re playing. This is the game we must win.