For the first time in generations, people are challenging the view that a free-market order – the system that dominates the globe today – is the destiny of all nations. The free market’s uncanny ability to enrich the elite, coupled with its inability to soften the sharp experiences of staggering poverty, has pushed inequality to the breaking point.
This new social upsurge isn’t coming from the traditional left (who often appears adrift in a world they no longer understand or that understands them) but rather from groups of people banding together to find new ways of doing things now that it is obvious that our predatory capitalism is not only unjust but also a failure.
As a result, we live at an important historical juncture – one where alternatives to the world’s neoliberal capitalism could emerge.
History shows that revolutions must have political movement and a socially compelling goal, with strategic and charismatic leadership that inspires majorities to challenge a perception of fundamental injustice and inequality.
For this to happen in the US it must be a mass movement with overwhelming middle class support from all sides of the political spectrum. There is no other way.
Today, throughout the world, peasants, workers, indigenous peoples, and students are galvanized into movements that are challenging state power rooted in global norms of neoliberalism.
Likewise in the U.S. there is another, very different kind of revolution underway: the lack of jobs has forced people back into self-employment– freeing them, often against their will, from the shackles of corporate slavery. (I’ve been self-employed since the last big recession, and have had the privilege of guiding several unemployeds in their transition to self-employeds.)
The current recession was largely caused by corporate looting and government incompetence(charitably put– some see it as collusion). Yet the challenges put before us by those who did not have our best interests at heart may well hold the seeds of liberation.