“We must be willing to make fundamental changes”
I have been running ragged lately. I work a full-time job that has a lot of surprise overtime. I have activist projects and now a partisan position as well. All of these things are different, but I view them as interrelated. We are facing a humanist crisis and have been for some time. I can’t mollify my anxiety with cool reason as it too compels me to do all I can, more than I should, to stay stable. If there ever was a time to throw oneself onto the gears, it is now.
Currently, our lives are being commodified and measured according to our respective abilities to produce labor as well as how monetarily validated that labor can be. We have been codifying classes based on their members’ ability as well as their appearance, beauty, whiteness, thinness, extroversion, charisma, and ability to maneuver gracefully within the social paradigm matrix (which is sometimes referred to as the Kyriarchy). This matrix was not set up by any one individual, and there is no unified managing body that enforces it. Rather, it is produced by market forces, law enforcement, the government, and social power figures and groups. These all affect each other and the bodies around them almost as if they were interstellar bodies swaying with gravity through the void.
To frame it in a metaphorical way, while the sun did not create the individual bodies of our solar system, its continued presence, its solar weather, its constants, and its epochs of change have both good and bad consequences for the various bodies around it. These bodies effect each other as well. The sun’s heat and light enables life on our planet. Jupiter’s gravity well protects Earth from foreign astral bodies, like asteroids, that could destroy that life. But this balance is tenuous. It is also, seemingly, singular. How many other solar systems have we found that have intelligent life? How many have even the potential for life on any poisonous, barren rock surrounding their novular stars?
The sun of our current situation is the combination of corporatism and exploitation. These forces push minority interests apart, pull bodies into unnecessary competition for controlled resources, and then irradiate anyone left out on the open surface. Anyone working a below-living-wage job, where they are paid above the minimum wage but below the level needed to maintain a stable, safe, and healthy place for their family, is feeling the strain of steep capitalism. However, they continue to work extraordinary hours due to the fear of homelessness. Meanwhile, those who are homeless struggle to find work while they are forced into unsanitary conditions with nowhere to sleep, rest, or even shower. Often getting cut off from needed services, homeless people are cruelly punished should they stray from sobriety or Christianity. The fewer alternatives people have, the more desperate they become.
We need to hold true to the progressive ideals of social progress, scientific advancement, and economic development. We must also be willing to make fundamental changes and create new ways of pursuing those objectives. This is Radical Progressivism. Traditional methods of social work revolve around helping those who need social services navigate the labyrinth of legal, social, charitable, and private organizations and entities. Many organizations provide temporary sustenance and housing while maintaining strict codes that are designed to manipulate people. All of this takes a lot of effort, and while it does help some, many are still left out in the cold.
There is also the urgency of global warming and drastic climate change. It will be here within 100 years if not even sooner. There will be eight feet of sea-level change which will mean millions of dollars in damage or construction. Not only will there be local displacement, but, understanding that our bioregion will be one of the least effected, many of those displaced from far away will be refugees heading here. We have declared Olympia a sanctuary city, but what will happen to the refugees of Californian desertification? Will they have sanctuary here? Currently, homelessness and survival are both criminalized while the majority interests in local lawmaker decisions seem held up by New Left capitalism. Gentrification and new condos are favored. The wealthy know a smart investment, and they are seeking to put a strong hold in before it fills up with the displaced poor.
We need change, big, radical change, and we need it to support even the least of us. A lot more of the tired and poor are coming. These huddled masses yearning to breathe free, clean air, the wretched refuse of a teeming American shore, more homeless, more tempest-tossed are coming to our state, our city, and many will come with nothing but what they could fit in their car, boat, or backpacks. Many of us long-term residents in this city, will be displaced by construction to prevent climate change damage or by the effects of climate change itself.
We need heroes who can think dynamically, come up with effective and fair solutions, and do what must be done to ensure a better tomorrow. Our humanity is being put to the test now. We have crossed the threshold into climate change. What we do today and each day thereafter will make or break our future.
Boudicca Walsh is a local progressive activist and writer.