Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another U.S. is Necessary

For several decades the global economy has been surging beyond the stage of industrial capitalism into an uncharted era of post-industrial capitalism. None of the world's economists or politicians know exactly what kind of system can replace the labor-intensive, industrial model of economic growth that defined global capitalism for centuries. The financial sector was promoted as the answer to the enigma but the recent economic collapse has driven that theory into a foxhole. The representative institutions of democratic government were designed to support the old economic growth model. Now the usually stable Western democracies are in a serious political crisis unable to respond to the complex social, ecological and demographic changes taking place. In the past, the rapid economic growth and easily available credit lines were enough to keep the majority of the U.S. and European consumer populations in stasis. This is increasingly not the case. Unfortunately, though the political crisis has created a re-emergence of the political far-right in the U.S., and Europe as people cling to traditional racial or religious hierarchies for social security.

All hope is not lost however. A vibrant global justice movement in the U.S. is vital toward dismantling the uneven development and ecological destruction of the third world. As the most technologically advanced and capitalized society major events in America affect the future of the human race and environment more than any other single global actor. The economic crisis, while crippling for most poor and working-class American families, presents a unique opportunity to envision a new economic, political, and environmental relationship with the third world and each other. The U.S. Social Forum in June of this year, will attempt to bring together thousands of activists, organizers, advocates and change agents determined to transform American society and our interactions with the rest of the planet. There are always contradictions within any mass movement but the progressive content of the Forum is a potential tidal wave of political change and cooperation as we mature fully into a post-industrial global economy. Detroit, an economically depressed city where the event will take place, is a prime example of the de-industrialization of the U.S. economy and failure of the government to respond.

There was an outpouring of support for Barack Obama's message of change unlike anything ever in my life time. His loosely defined campaign promises for change have not been carried through and the military and financial elites who were in control remain in control. However, the spirit and youthful energy of the campaign can be translated into something real and empowering for those of us hungering for another world. The U.S. Social Forum is the first opportunity we will have to make this vision manifest.

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