The article “What is needed in this moment” explores what I’ve been writing lately, that the capitalist system must be replaced. That we are being distracted in this election by which party wins, because either one will continue to operate within the capitalist system. I’ve often wondered why I was led to name this blog Quakers, social justice and revolution. It is becoming clearer what that revolution entails.
Rockhill argues that defining our struggle as liberalism versus fascism misdirects our focus and energies. What we are fighting is end-stage capitalism and both major parties are capitalist parties who will continue the agenda of the power elites no matter who wins. Believing the struggle is about Democrats versus Republicans pits people against each other, dividing and weakening us, which is exactly what serves the power structure’s interests.
We need to work outside their systems, not legitimize them. We need to find our areas of strength and the power holders’ weaknesses and use tactics that build our strengths as we weaken theirs. Throughout history, it is an organized and mobilized people that has won transformational changes. We hold power through our shear numbers. Remember how the Occupy Movement shook the power structure just nine years ago and how much social movements and our skills have grown since then.
President Trump, for all his horribleness, is a manifestation of who and what the United States has been since its founding. Populations that have experienced the ravages of colonization, racism, genocide, capitalism and imperialism know this. Now, as the US empire crumbles and the ruling class steals the last tidbits before it all falls down, more of us, especially the white working and middle classes, are getting a taste of this callous repression.
Hitler used the tactics of the “American Way of War,” as Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz describes in her book, “Indigenous Peoples History of the United States,” by destroying peoples homes and access to necessities such as food, dehumanizing and terrorizing people to drive them off their land and then locking up those who remained in concentration camps, called reservations in the US. Hitler failed where the US succeeded because the US colonizers did so over a longer time frame, in a less-populated land and without the intervention of other nations.
No matter what happens in the November election, capitalism that exploits people and the planet, systemic racism that perpetuates grave inequities and violence, and imperialism that harms people around the world will continue. To stop these, we need to mobilize now and into the years ahead with clear demands, solidarity and courage.
There is something for everyone to do, so find your place by offering your skills whether it is sharing information, mobilizing to take action or supporting those who are mobilizing with food, medical care, legal aid or security or using your creative skills to reach peoples hearts.WHAT IS NEEDED IN THIS MOMENT By Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance, October 18, 2020
“The planet is on fire, the viruses are on the march, hunger stalks the land, and yet, even in this mess, we – the vast majority of the people on the planet – have not given up on the possibility of a future. We hope for something better than this, a world beyond profit and privilege, a world beyond capitalism and imperialism, a world singing the song of humanity. Our hearts are bigger than their guns; our love and our struggle will overcome their greed and indifference.
Many seeds are being planted by our movements. We need to water them, to tend to them, to make sure that they bloom. We will build a future that cherishes life rather than profit, a future of fellowship amongst peoples rather than racist wars, a future in which social hierarchies are abolished, and in which we enjoy mutual dignity.
Only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. It is now dark enough.”Vijay Prashad
Check out the free Popular Resistance School to learn more about how social transformation occurs.
Here are some recommendations:
- Recognize this is a class war. As we enter an economic depression with millions more people becoming poor and losing their homes and a worsening pandemic, recognize that a government that cannot protect and provide for the basic needs of its people is a failed state. The wealthy class doesn’t care about the welfare of the majority. They feel secure knowing they will have the best health care if they become sick and they have the resources to move anywhere in the world.
- Build solidarity on the left. There is no organized left in the US at present. In this Chris Hedges interview with Slavenka Drakulić, they discuss that what happened in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s mirrors what is happening here. One of the factors that allowed war to break out was the failure to build an organized left to counter the right wing nationalists. All efforts should be made to build alliances between leftist organizations and find ways to work together. Don’t allow small differences to divide us.
- Build international solidarity. Many peoples around the world have been struggling against US imperialism for decades and building successful alternatives to capitalism. People in the United States have much to learn from them. The same tactics the US has employed against people in other countries – dismantling and privatizing essential services, economic warfare and violence – are being used against people in the US. We also share a common vision for a better world.
- Promote a common vision. In a time of multiple life-threatening crises, people can unite around a bold vision for that better world. If we look at the platforms of various social movements and left political parties, we find many commonalities such as respecting rights to health care, housing, education and jobs with a living wage, protecting the planet, putting people over profit, supporting self-determination and people’s right to have a say over what happens in their communities and opposing a foreign policy of death and destruction. This is not the time for weak demands. It is a bold agenda that will rally people to the cause. Here is a Peoples Agenda that came out of the Occupy Movement and has been honed since then. People are also designing new systems that value people and the planet such as this ecological economy starting to take hold in the Pacific Islands.
- Mobilize in ways that weaken the elites. Sometimes we need to march in the streets to show what we represent and that we have wide support. Sometimes we need to take actions that challenge and interfere with what the power structure is doing. There are many examples of this from individuals to groups of people exposing and blocking injustices. Our greatest power lies in collective actions such as boycotts, strikes and building alternatives that function outside the systems we are working to change. When enough of us take collective action, we have a power that is unstoppable.
- Support each other. We are facing difficult times. We need to support and protect each other to get through it. Build networks of mutual aid in your community and start creating what we need now such as solidarity gardens, housing takeovers, health care provision, including emotional care, support for working parents and more.
- Stay human. All people have the capacity to do good and to do harm. As we struggle and are faced with hateful, violent people, ground yourself in the values that you want to see in the world we are building. Don’t engage them. Don’t behave like them. Remain nonviolent, which includes your right to protect yourself, and steadfast in your convictions. Treat others with love and respect. This doesn’t mean giving opponents power over you, just recognizing we are all human and that hate and violence are a slippery slope.
- Don’t give up. We never know how close we are to victory. Our opponents will seem the most vicious the closer we get as they recognize they are losing power. Find ways to continue to struggle no matter what happens.