30 December 2019

Rebecca Solnit surveys the protest movements of the 2010s, and comes away with hope for the next decade: “What lay underneath all this disillusionment was a readiness to question foundations that had been portrayed as fixed, inevitable, unquestionable — whether that foundation was gender norms, heterosexuality, patriarchy, white supremacy, the age of fossil fuels or capitalism. To see beyond what we had seen before, or to change the ‘we’ whose perceptions define the real, the important and the possible. … That capitalism is the best or only way to do things was, in the triumphalism after the collapse of the Soviet Union, affirmed again and again. That mood fell apart in the wake of episode after episode of corruption, destruction and failure — and the rise of a young generation ready to rethink the alternatives and, often, embrace versions of socialism. The nonviolent strategist George Lakey argues that polarisation brings clarity and a volatility that makes positive change more possible. We have the polarisation and the disillusionment, and with perspective about how we got here and when we won, we can claim the possibilities in the decade to come.”