53 Prospect Park W
Socialism, as a word, use to be a general turn-off in American conversations. However, 2019 has brought certain realities into clear focus: rapacious greed and increased ecological danger cannot be ignored. Moreover, social ineptitude and moral disregard for the general welfare of the people is plainly unacceptable by those in public office, in high or low status, in local or national leadership. Working Americans, particularly, are caught in a vortex of economic pressures carrying the weight of various levels of taxation, medical and other costs with little, if any, relief. Poverty is growing and deepening. The needs of the aged are often completely disregarded. These concerns are not just a urban issues. These problems affect every tier of American society, rural and urban. The only exceptions are to be found in the upper 20% which as a class controls about 90% of America’s wealth.
America is actually in competition with the so-called “Third-World.” America is no longer First World material and we did this to ourselves — or rather our legislative leaders did session after session, generation after generation. Instead of going forward, economically we have climbed our way back to the 1920s, the Guilded Age. Our laws, apparently, were not strong enough to prevent the avariciousness of capitalism which, in addition, to growing and segregating the wealth derived has ruthlessly destroyed and continues to destroy nature’s ecology here and in other parts of the world.
Maybe it is time for all of us to stop following blindly the capitalist model. It’s not going to change! “Today blind relentless economic growth structured into capitalism is destroying the ecological foundations of human society.” In earlier centuries, “socialist thought emphasized building up the productive forces in order to eliminate poverty.” What was wrong with that? Lifting poverty would, in fact, lift the entire social structure of our society and eliminate many of our persistent problems. In our current century, ecosocialism must balance issues and determine not how to produce more, but how to produce enough and distribute those yields to meet the basic needs of all of us within ecological limits.
Howie Hawkins is a retired Teamster from Syracuse, New York. He has been active in movements for civil rights, peace, unions, and the environment since the late 1960s when became committed to independent working-class politics for a democratic, socialist, and ecological society. He was a co-founder of the US Green Party in 1984. In 2010, he was the first US candidate to campaign for a Green New Deal when he ran his first of three campaigns for New York governor.