Vice Magazine’s most recent issue on Power and Privilege includes what they call a “brief guide to making a better tomorrow.” It’s a piece that reads more like a jolt of caffeine when maybe what we really need is a hard look into our psyche. Given that this same issue addresses the robots coming for our jobs and the inevitable collapse of capitalism, the guide—a list of five simple platitudes—rings somewhat hollow.
Here at Lucenti, we aim to create conversations about “how to fight, how to organize, and how to overcome.” We try to “shine light” in a world where darkness “carries with it a fascist taint.” We strive to build a community of individuals with shared values to protect ourselves and our loved ones from rampant, unchecked capitalist imperialism. I fear we do not always have our desired impact.
It’s no easy task to build a mutual aid society such as ours. In today’s world, when even our allies struggle to find common ground, it may seem impossible. But when ecological collapse seems all but certain, what could be more important? We cannot survive the rising apocalypse alone. We need community to nurture and sustain us. We deserve more than simple platitudes to guide us.
The problem, Slavoj Žižek argues, is that it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. Scientists warn the UN that the environment can no longer absorb the so-called “externalities” of capitalist political economy. The leader of the “Free World™”—with his self-proclaimed “natural instinct for science”—dismisses the issue with little more than a narcissistic fart. When our only escape from the established order appears apocalyptic, we may as well prepare for apocalypse, right? But what does that even look like?
The apocalypse lies beyond an event horizon. We will never know what’s supposed to come after it. I suspect that’s why we resort to vague but hopeful platitudes in our desperate attempts to answer the question, “what is to be done?” In words that reflect what we’ve been writing here at Lucenti all along, Vice says, “Find what lights you up, and the people who reflect and grow that light, to the extent you can give your life, or at least part of it, to what you truly care about.” And while I agree, I think it’s time we start thinking about building a political program. The fight for the present will determine the path of the future, and the future is far from settled.