The encampments we created showed on a small scale what a society not geared around making profits for the 1% could be like. Did we charge people for the food we served? Did we charge rent for tents? Did we make people pay for gloves, coats, and first aid? No! Everyone was fed, housed, and given clothes despite our limited means.
We didn’t use markets, we used common sense.
And we did it without creating bosses or rulers from our own ranks, without creating our own armies or engaging in police brutality of our own making.
Why not replicate that on a bigger scale?
Why not replace capitalism and markets with something a lot more efficient and humane: commonsense?
To overcome and replace capitalism, we have to 1) mobilize and organize tens of millions of people where they live and work and 2) create in those places institutions of direct democracy like General Assemblies that empower people to build a new social order that cracks the shell of the existing social order.
Imagine this happening in every workplace, school, hood, barrio, project, prison, community, and barrack across America and you get an idea of what it would look like to replace the rule of the 1% with the rule of the 99%. This radical extension of democracy would replace the circuses called elections held one day every four years to fool us into believing that Coke or Pepsi is a meaningful and healthy political choice. Instead, democracy would be something we’d live every day, and we’d have a say over all aspects of our lives: education policy, foreign policy, economic decisions, health care, you name it.
This vision has been socialism, communism, and anarchism. All three share the same goals but differ on how to get there and what exactly a post-capitalist, post-profit common sense society would look like.
Within each of these schools there is a lot of overlap with its “neighbor” – socialists and communists look to the working class as the key social force to overturning capitalism, but so do anarcho-communists and anarcho-syndicalists; both socialists and anarchists have created communal farms based on principles like solidarity, equality, economic democracy, and leaderlessness.
And there is a lot of disagreement within each school as well. No two anarchists agree 100% of the time and get three socialists into a room and you’re likely to see four groups form.
The important thing is NOT the label, word, or which “ism” we use as an imperfect but necessary shortcut to describe something complex and profound. The important thing is the content underneath the label, the substance.
The other important thing is what we do to get to a horizontal, ecologically sustainable world without the oppressive divides between 1% and 99%, between nations, classes, races, genders, sexual orientations, lifestyles, and ways of being. That world is possible, necessary, and unavoidable if we want to survive as a species on a planet resembling today’s Earth.
Either we finish capitalism, or capitalism finishes us.