An extraordinary process of change is about to explode this month on campuses and in communities across the United States. Thousands of Americans are coming together in dozens of locations to take on the question of what kind of system should replace capitalism. The process is called the Next System Teach-Ins.
Teach-ins to address the fundamental question of how to move beyond capitalism will be taking place on campuses as well as in community centers and correctional facilities -- most between Earth Day (April 22) and May Day (May 1), following kickoff events this month at the New School and the City University of New York (CUNY) system in New York City; and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The largest teach-in is planned for the University of California, Santa Barbara, between April 26 and 28. Major sessions from that campus will be live-streamed into classrooms, house parties and workplaces across the world.
What comes after capitalism is exactly what the left needs to be working on now.
The idea that capitalism as a system may be coming to an end, that something new must ultimately be created, is no longer restricted to groups on the political left. Survey after survey has found millions of Americans embracing ideas far different from business as usual. A January 2016 poll of likely Democratic caucusgoers, even in a state like Iowa, found that 43 percent described themselves as "socialist" -- a higher percentage than those who self-identified as "capitalist." Eighty-four percent of Democratic voters under the age of 30 voted for the self-described "democratic socialist" candidate Bernie Sanders, and one-third of all Sanders supporters have told pollsters they will vote for the Green Party's Jill Stein in the general election if Sanders is not the Democratic Party nominee.The problem the Left has with agreeing on anything. But this is the incubation stage. Divergent thinking before convergent.
Nor is the understanding that the current system is not the be-all and end-all of history restricted to progressives in general. Long before anti-capitalism found mass expression in the Sanders campaign, four years ago, in 2012, Klaus Schwab, chairman of the World Economic Forum -- the annual gathering of corporate and financial leaders in Davos, Switzerland -- declared: "Capitalism in its current form no longer fits the world around us."….
The discovery process begins with questioning and employs both creative and critical thinking.
But what kind of system might one day transcend the traditional 20th-century models of corporate capitalism on the one hand, and state socialism on the other? And what can those who insist that the next system produce democracy, justice, equality, ecological sustainability and a culture of community do to build understanding of the kind of political and economic system and society that we want and need?
What can we do to move forward in a positive way? How do we engage the question, both practically and theoretically? How do we move beyond abstract rhetoric? These questions at the heart of the teach-ins matter to all of us, but they are particularly urgent to those born after the 1960s.…
We've seen state socialism and know it's not a workable alternative. We've experienced corporate capitalism; it has proven itself inequitable, unstable and ultimately unsustainable. Over the coming decades, and especially when the next crash comes, will we be ready to offer a clear, workable and compelling vision of how to reorganize society?Truthout | OpEd
What Comes After Capitalism? Upcoming Teach-Ins Can Show a Way Forward
Gar Alperovitz, founding principal of the Democracy Collaborative and retired Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, College Park Department of Government and Politics, and Ben Manski, activist and founder of the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, and co-founder of Move to Amend, Wisconsin Wave, the 180/Movement for Democracy and Education, and United for Peace and Justice