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SOLNIT, Rebecca. "Reimagining Socialism"
Article published on 11 March 2009

by r-c.
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Barbara Ehrenreich and Bill Fletcher write mournfully that there was supposed to be a revolution—but there was and is a revolution, just not one that looks the way socialists and a lot of ’60s radicals imagined it. The Sandinista revolution thirty years ago may well have been the last of its kind. The revolutions that have mattered since have been less interested in seizing and becoming the state than circumventing it to go straight to becoming other people doing other things without state permission. The fifteen-year-old Zapatista revolution, which never sought state power and (though badgered constantly) was never defeated, is the revolution for our times, or really only the most dramatic of countless thousands involving Native Americans and Indian farmers and South African cooperatives and Argentinian workplaces and European utopian communities.

In the United States the most obvious realm in which this has transpired is food and farming. Organic, urban, community-assisted and guerrilla agriculture are still small parts of the picture, but effective ones—a revolt against what transnational corporate food and capitalism generally produce. This revolt is taking place in the vast open space of Detroit, in the inner-city farms of West Oakland, in the victory gardens and public-housing of Alemany Farm in San Francisco, in Growing Power in Milwaukee and many other places around the country. These are blows against alienation, poor health, hunger and other woes fought with shovels and seeds, not guns. At its best, tending one’s garden leads to tending one’s community and policy, and ultimately becomes a way of entering the public sphere rather than withdrawing from it.


arrow On web : This article appeared in the March 23, 2009 edition of The Nation. Read all

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