Don’t let America invade itself
There’s a joke I’ve heard many times in Leftist spaces that goes like this: The U.S. is the only country where Socialism could succeed because it’s the only country the U.S. can’t invade.
What we’re witnessing right now, and will likely be center-stage in the 2020 election, is what’s left of America attempting to invade itself. I, like many others, fear that it’s not long before this becomes far more than rhetorical.
It’s time for every person in this country to understand that neoliberal capitalism is over. Inequality in America is obscene, artificial scarcity is devastating lives, our climate is erupting in fires and floods and freezes, our economy tumbled into ashes a decade ago and it’s only a matter of time before it does so again. Let’s not kid ourselves that anyone is going to bail out the sinking ship this time.
The future of America is not about Capitalism versus Socialism. Late Capitalism has become the late Capitalism. It’s dead as a doornail. No deal, however new or green, is going to bring it back to life. Clinging to a retro-80’s-Stranger-Things-fuelled-Reaganomics-Capitalist-Glory-Days fantasy will not bring it back to life. Capitalism is dead.
Outside of some economists, I’ve hardly heard anyone vehemently defend Capitalism who actually understands what they’re defending. Socialism, in and of itself, has never been about State control of anything. If it were, Libertarian- and Anarcho-Socialism would not exist (and both do). The difference between Capitalism and Socialism is that the former is an economic system in which owners (such as investors) control enterprises; the latter is an economic system in which workers control enterprises. That is it.
Sure, there have been good things brought about by Capitalism, but that way of structuring an economy and a society — it’s dead now. Resting in pieces. We have the choice between Fascism and Socialism. Those who cling to resuscitating Capitalism will only breathe life into Fascism.
Capitalist structures of ownership have invariably led to profit-over-people and grow-or-die economics that are killing our people and planet. Worker-ownership leads to shared control over resources and decision-making and power embedded within communities dealing with the issues of their own lives. It is not always perfect, but it is a less destructive, not to mention more moral, system than any alternative we have.
The alternative we have is Fascism.
Will we shift economic and political power to working people, or will the interests of the owner class align themselves with heavily militarized police and obliterate dissent and anyone deemed second-class? Will we embrace refugees, especially as climate catastrophes escalate, or will we build more concentration camps?
When the camps are full, and the enforcement agency as injudicious and sadistic as it is, we all know where this goes. We all know Never Again is now. Some don’t want to admit it. Some want to see it happen again. Deep down, I believe we all know. The dog whistles are dying down and outright racist aggression has stepped in to take their place. The pieces are in position, and we don’t have long to stop it. Fascism is making a come-back, and it’s coming back strong. Is that what you want?
The thing is, Fascism won’t survive either. Eventually, there will be no one left to imprison, deport or execute, the people will rise with the tides, a bloody hospice period will be entered, and Fascism too will die. A new, more equitable economic and political system is coming, if we get there before climate change gets us. The question is really only: how painful do you want the transition to be?
Worker control over enterprises: that’s all Socialism means. Throw in universal healthcare, free college tuition, welcoming and assisting refugees, higher minimum wages, environmental protections, energy transition, restructuring a broken and racist justice system, and elevating the struggles and experiences of oppressed peoples across the identity spectrum, and you get the modern American Left.
You do not need to become a diehard Marxist or a Communist or an Anarchist. You do not need to declare yourself #antifa to be opposed to Fascism (though antifascist is all antifa means, and it isn’t a noun; it’s an adjective). All you need to do is use whatever tools you have available to build something better, and use them now. Your time, your energy, your money, and your votes — put them into building real alternatives. There are a million different actions you can take to make this transition smoother. New systems are being trialed and built all around you. Become aware of them. Support them. Build your own.*
But for all our sakes, do it quickly.
Turn off the 24-hour news cycle and listen to the broader pattern. This is not business as usual. It will never be business as usual again. Get over it. The middle ground has evaporated. The water’s rising. The hungry are knocking. The choice is before us: build a higher wall, or build a longer table?
Even if you pick the wall, that fortress will one day crumble. The question is really: how many bodies do you want buried underneath it?
Socialism or Fascism. This should not be a difficult decision.
*If you don’t know about any alternative systems for economic organizing, food distribution, energy distribution, decision-making, or justice, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to point you to some resources.