Melancholy for Radicals

The Diagnosis

The year 2020 has been one for the history books in countless ways. It’s also been a year where billions of humans have had to spend their lives on lockdown or sheltered in place due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. A pandemic that has brought the world to its knees. The virus has already claimed the lives of almost three hundred thousand people in the United States, with almost 16 million cases and counting. This is the worse public health crisis since the Spanish Flu Pandemic struck almost a century ago.

Thanks to the COVID pandemic and a failed government response at all levels. It has reeked devastation upon countless millions. There is a looming eviction crisis in the U.S. and a sharp increase in poverty for many of my fellow citizens. As people deal with the economic fallout due to the ongoing pandemic. A global hunger crisis is on the horizon, as well. Millions have lost their unemployment, and many have lost love ones. As the U.S. Government debates another possible stimulus package for people, many essential and healthcare workers combat the pandemic without enough hazardous pay, sick leave, and personal protective gear.

This year also brought an end to the People’s Campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders after ceding to future President Joe Biden in March 2020. A campaign that offered hope to millions and bought the scorn of the mainstream media, political Twitter blue checks, neo-cons, fascists, and moderate Democrats who all rallied that a possible Sanders win would spell the end of the United States as we know it. The hopes and dreams of many activists, working-class people, and young people from diverse backgrounds were crushed. Senator Sanders was far from perfect, but his campaign gave people hope that a government could work for everyone, not just the wealthiest among us.

In crushing a working-class people’s movement, the media joined forces with both political parties to discredit Senator Sanders and the millions who supported his progressive agenda. Even the former President Barack Obama claimed that demanding something besides platitudes and empty promises from your elected officials was a ‘purity test.’ Yes, because why should your tax dollars go to uplifting your communities and your fellow citizens. Those tax dollars are supposed to go to the military-industrial complex.

We saw the likes of Noam Chomsky and Angela Davis tell leftist and activist types that this time we need to really vote for the ‘two of lesser evils.’ All in the name of defeating the greatest evil (according to the brunch brigade) the world had ever seen in Donald J. Trump. I personally say of the modern presidents, Reagan, W. Bush, and Nixon, was far more sinister than the vicious idiots spearheading Trumpism. Voters on the left were told we would be able to ‘push Joe Biden left.’ A man who’s an almost fifty-year career in politics reeks of the ‘white moderate” MLK warned us of in the late 1960s. But at least Trump is no longer president, but to quote Good Ol’ Uncle Joe, “nothing will fundamentally change.”

The final and most insidious blow to activism in the United States came shortly after the 2020 election. We had an uprising in the name of #BlackLivesMatter in the wake of the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Protest and riots waged throughout the summer. And actions and organizing still continue to this day in the name of racial justice. But the powers that be, both liberal and conservative, have joined forces to yet again undermine a people’s movement.

Former President and the one who still longs for the ‘ethereal‘ bisexual who got away in college, Barack Obama claimed along with many moderate Democrats, that the campaign to #DefundthePolice lost Democrats seats in the House and Senate. Because slogans hurt more to the Democratic Party than actual black people getting killed for just existing. Since the DNC likes to put the blame of their failures on the GOP, non-voters, third-party voters, and even progressive DNC voters who, in their opinion, want too much too soon from their elected representatives. Because the DNC is infallible.

In reality, the Democrats only hurt themselves by having no real political platform other than ‘we’re not Trump, and Republicans = bad. It’s a low bar since the GOP is one of the most anti-human and environmental organizations on the planet. But that’s what the the DNC Corporate donors want. To maintain their outsized influence over the masses. Many of my fellow citizens and voters are more upset at rioters burning down a Wendy’s or Target than they are at police slaughtering black people left and right every day. Or the fact that climate change continues its onslaught when our tax dollars subsidizes the very fossil fuel industry destroying our planet.

Depression and Resistance

This year the left and those who support progressive policy changes like A Green New Deal, Medicare for All, free public college and trade school, universal childcare, and the elimination of student and medical debt have been the political punching bag of many. Despite many of those policies being common practice in nations across the planet.

Throughout the 2019-20 Democratic Primaries, ideas like the ones I just put forward were derided by pundits with questions like “How you’re gonna pay for that” or ‘We can afford such massive programs” or “That’s too radical for the United States.” While, in reality, these same media talking heads cheered on the uncheck War Machine when both parties come together to give those poor defense and weapons contractors almost a trillion-dollar defense budget. War always has bipartisanship support in Washington, D.C. All while, many service members receive food stamps. Because “war is a racket.”

I’ve personally been called a ‘Bernie Bro’ or having too much ‘righteous anger.’ Online liberals and conservatives joined forces to decry leftist as petulant children for not going with the status quo. Even as the status has given us massive wealth inequality, the rise of right-wing fascist, and a pandemic that continues to expose the United States pathetic excuse for a social safety net. Only those who are most comfortable can’t be outraged as millions slip into the despair of poverty and mental illness as COVID marches on. We see an incoming presidential administration promising to get things back to normal despite that normal being terrible for so many. Many that call themselves radicals, leftists, progressives, anarchists, communists, and socialists who find themselves in a feeling of hopelessness at the moment. Unfortunately, you’re are not alone, but there is a glimmer of hope amidst all this suffering.

Recovery and Revolution

Another world is still possible! We on the left just have to continue to fight for it. We also must realize that the role is the activists is to agitate and challenge. We need to leave the winning of hearts and minds to the politicians. While there’s much to fret about, just know that there are people across the globe fighting back. This year we saw Amazon warehouse employees, nurses, and service industry workers fighting to unionize and for safe working conditions during the pandemic. The George Floyd protests of this summer were one of the largest people’s movements in U.S. history.

India has seen the largest protest in history as peasants and farmers fight against austerity measures and unfair farming laws. In Bolivia, voters, after years of organizing and protest, have brought back in power their leftist government. Even after years of U.S. intervention. The nation of France has continued its Yellow Vest protests in the name of economic justice. Protest and uprisings in Lebanon continued, where people are calling for their social and economic rights, for accountability, an end to corruption, and the resignation of all political representatives. In Nigeria, the End SARS movement against police brutality has made international headlines.

Yes, there are reasons to be down, but our movement continues. We’ve come to the point where there is no one coming to save us all. No matter how much we might like AOC and the rest of the Squad. It’s up to us to fight back no matter which political party holds power in D.C. We need to speak our truth rather in real life or online. We also need to continue to organize. We need to strike and unionized our workplaces. We need more mutual aid programs to help our fellow citizens in need.
Finally, we need international solidarity in the fight against the global rise of fascism and neoliberalism. The climate crisis impacts all humans, which means we need to enlist people from across the globe, rural and urban centers, to this fight. We the people need to save ourselves. Remember the struggle continues, and hold your head up, my fellow radicals.

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