Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fighting for us all

Apologists for capitalism would have us all believe it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of a market society. They turn lies into truths.

Market fundamentalists and their army of supporters, in a political system hijacked by big money and corporations, cloak their interests in an appeal to “common sense,” doing everything possible to deny climate change, massive inequalities, the militarization of everyday life and the corruption of civic culture by a consumerist and celebrity-driven advertising machine. The financial elite, the 1 percent and the hedge fund sharks have become the highest-paid magicians in America. They perform social magic by making the structures and power relations of racism, inequality, homelessness, poverty and environmental degradation disappear. They employ deception by seizing upon a stripped-down language of choice, freedom, enterprise and self-reliance - all of which works to personalize responsibility, collapse social problems into private troubles and reconfigure the claims for social and economic justice on the part of workers, poor minorities of color, women and young people as a species of individual complaint. It substitutes shared responsibilities. It creates isolated individuals who live in gated communities. A legion of consumer citizens to engage in a survival-of-the fittest ritual in order to climb heartlessly up the ladder of capitalism, worried only about their personal safety, on one hand, and their stock portfolios on the other. .

The class struggle now becomes a live-for-oneself mentality, of a narrow and selfish responsibility only for oneself. When injustice become obscured by a explanations of individual failure they are no longer the objects of compassion, but of scorn and derision. It renders invisible poor people along with others marginalized by class and race. The Occupy movement and other social movements are challenging many of these anti-democratic and anti-intellectual forces. Ideas are not empty gestures. Ideas provide a crucial foundation for assessing our collective strengths. Ideas offer us the opportunity to think and act , to cross over into new lines of inquiry and take new positions, without standing still. Capitalist apologists do not work with ideas, but sound bites. They don’t engage in debates; they simply present unsubstantiated opinion.

The Occupy movement showed it is time to initiate a campaign in which reason can be reclaimed, truth defended and education connected to social change. There has never been a more important time in history to proclaim the importance of communal responsibility and to shift from a democracy of ill-informed consumers to a democracy of informed citizens. When the apologists of capitalism defend the privileged, isolated, removed and individualized interests of those who decry the social and communal responsibility as a pathology, then socialists must ensure their work and actions ensure power is democratized and our collective class values trump the elites private interests.

Greatly adapted and plagiarised from here

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