by Alex Fischer
Conducting one’s life to end exploitation and injustice is moral and dignified.
The twin threats of nuclear war and climate change forecast a bleak future. While we cannot know whether or not people and their societies can change things, thereby improving the conditions under which we and other beings live on Earth, great danger lies in not imagining change. I work to advocate and be ready for democratization and equality. I think the key to being hopeful is to keep a small flame lit, striving for dignity in the present, and having an outlook that has room for the impossible in the future. Nothing has ever been organized without having first been imagined. So we should not stop with thoughts of the bleakness of the future, but instead ask whether or not we want to be working to increasingly shape the future ourselves, actively participating for the benefit of everyone. We will find ways to orient ourselves towards sustainable and equal communities, ecosystems, and the earth, with the goal of ending exploitation. By participating in decision-making for society we can possibly attain the imaginable. Though it is easy to perceive a terrible future, especially with the advancing of the Doomsday Clock (a symbolic clock measuring the time at which hypothetical man-made global catastrophe will appear, and yes, as of 2007, it includes climate change) since Trump has been inaugurated, and the changing of the climate, I do sense a future ripe for change. There are no cold or hot wars against nations that identify themselves as socialist today. And support for socialism as a political strategy is only increasing in the U.S. In this sense, I do have a glimmer of hope for the future.
I continue in a long tradition of American politics that attempt to go beyond capitalism and to struggle for a better world. Conducting one’s life to end exploitation and injustice is moral and dignified. Socialist principles provide a guide. The short-list of these principles includes: expanding and intensifying democracy, ending exploitation, ending wars and taking steps to abolish militaries, healing the metabolic rift (a term Karl Marx coined in order to describe the increasing separation of humans from nature), abolishing nuclear weapons, and planning to meet basic human needs, not leaving it up to ‘the market’ to decide. I have no doubt in my mind that if change began to happen, it could happen fast. I would be part of the process that sees it through and ensures it stays. I will be ready for the revolution.
Voter participation has entered historic lows since the mid-2000s. In other words, Americans do not feel represented. This gives the sense that one candidate or one major policy change could act as a magic wand. Perhaps that wand was Bernie Sanders. By advocating for intense change the way he did, though it was not socialist or radical, it was more than palpable. It was relatively mouthwatering. America is long overdue for change, so why not imagine that we can grab it all at once? Isn’t that why Hillary Clinton lost voters, because she told us that we can’t have it all at once? The incrementalist approach exists. However, I would like to be a part of a revolutionary approach. Who wants a little at a time, when we can demand the transition to a future that offers what Americans truly want: free healthcare, free education, ending wars, abandoning fossil fuels, subsidizing renewable energy?
Unless we expand democracy and decision-making outside of the electoral process, into our day-to-day lives, American and global public opinion on the twin threats will not be transcribed into reality.
by Alex Fischer
Alex Fischer is a 2015 graduate of Moravian College. While at Moravian, he studied political science.
(Essays express the ideas of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Alliance.)