Steve Williams

Beyond Capitalism

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At the end of the talk, the speaker urges everyone to join in a movement against aging.

You, like most of the people at the rally, would probably think that the speaker is crazy. Even though the evidence is solid and the case is compelling, you would think that waging a campaign to end aging is ridiculous because it can’t be ended. Given all of the other important and changeable issues in the world, my guess is that you—like me—would probably walk away without committing your time and energy to a campaign that seems as useless as boycotting gravity.

But in so many ways, people see our campaigns like a campaign against aging. Due to the ideological campaign waged by the right-wing over the last thirty years, many folks in our communities believe that poverty, greed, exploitation and capitalism are inevitable. Too many of us have the zombie voices of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in our ears telling us that there is no alternative, that there is no other way to organize society.

Organizing Upgrade’s new Beyond Capitalism channel grows from the belief that in order to break through that level of pessimism, the movement must begin a process where millions of people articulate a clear and grounded vision—or multiple visions—of what it would look like if we could radically transform society.

We’ve all done exercises where we’re asked to dream about what we’d like the world to be like. Those exercises often produce lists of things of things that we’d like, but it seems to be little more than fantasy. Any vision that will give energy to a growing movement will must be rooted in a clear understanding of how it is possible to achieve it.

A vision provides more than a sense of destination; it can give direction to the day-to-day decisions that we make—for both how we organize and what we decide to fight for.

This channel will serve as a town hall for organizers and activists from across the country and around the globe to share, discuss and debate. Our movements have to go beyond “fighting the good fight.” We need to put forward clear and compelling ideas of what the world, society, community, and workplaces might look like after capitalism.

The articles, speeches and videos on this channel will come from different political trends and historical experiences, but all of them will grapple with the same set of questions:

  • What are the values that we want society to promote and nurture?
  • What are the political and economic institutions that can actually promote those values?
  • How might current efforts like worker co-ops, community gardens, and time banks act as the building blocks of a post-capitalist economy?
  • What will be the role of the state and civil society in a post-capitalist world?
  • In what ways might the logic of a post-capitalist economy differ from the logic of capitalist imperialism?
  • How can a post-capitalist economy in the U.S. exist without relying on the exploitation of the nations and peoples in the Third World?
  • Given the current state of U.S. imperialism and the state of our movements, what are the transitional stages and demands that we can struggle for today to lead us towards a radical transformation of the economy and of society?

One thing that the current crisis has made clear is that capitalism is failing. If we are able to cultivate a bold and audacious vision of what might replace it, we stand a better chance to bury the capitalist system once and for all. From Venezuela to South Africa, Cuba to Palestine, Cleveland to the Basque region of Spain, organizers and activists are fixing their sights on a new vision. We want to get in the mix, and we hope that you’ll join us.

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