Does Capitalism Blind Us to the Real Fight?
Does Capitalism Blind Us to the Real Fight?
Source: Flickr
By Paris Marx / medium.com

The campaigns to improve our lot under capitalism are endless. Once one form of oppression is dealt with, there’s always another left to tackle, but while engaging in that new fight, the former is bound to return because no progress is ever permanent under capitalism. Rights are won, and the next day they’re under attack. We put much of our energy into defence instead of offence. The fight against oppression is never-ending, but does that serve to focus our attention away from the larger fight; from the fight to overturn capitalism and the oppressive structures it perpetuates?

We seek to reverse inequality, reduce poverty, achieve equal rights for minority sexualities, races, genders, etc; but why must we fight so hard for basic human decency? Our minds are stuck in a frame of capitalist realism where instead of challenging the very core structures that create the problems against which we fight, we target their products individually; but until the structures that create this oppression are dealt with, the fight will never be over. Racism, sexism, and the class system will always return until the structures responsible for them are destroyed.

The totality of capitalist realism keeps our minds trapped in a frame where even the idea of challenging the capitalist system is unthinkable to the vast majority, who are overworked to the point where they’re too exhausted to imagine an alternative. We seek to fix the unfixable, to engage in an endless struggle for justice in a system where justice isn’t on offer. All the while, those in control of the system get to do what they please, and we have no power to stop them. We’re think we do, but we don’t.

They make us believe we live in free societies when only they have true freedom. They set up sham democracies to make us think elected representatives will represent the will of the masses. They propagandize about the importance of a “free” media when they own the outlets through which the masses are informed, and use them to frame the discussion by distorting facts to fit their narrative and excluding stories they don’t want people to hear. They claim property ownership to be the ultimate freedom, allowing themselves to buy up vast tracts of land, while the masses have to spend a lifetime in debt just to buy a home, requiring them to submit to the wage system for the entirety of their lives in order to pay it back.

Instead of placing the focus on the battles for rights and regulations that will eventually be overturned, the fight needs to be brought to the system as a whole. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the dominance of capitalism has blinded us to alternatives and made us accept the false notion that history, at least of ideological progression, has ended. But there’s hope that the grip of capitalism on our minds is slipping.

The recession of 2008–2009 hit the masses hard. It broke the illusion capitalism had been peddling, and the masses saw the system’s oppressive structures plainly for the first time in quite a long time. Some sought to ignore it, but many weren’t able to.

Hope can be found in the resurgence of utopianism in the post-recession era. Instead of accepting the mental prescriptions of capitalism, mainstream discussions are increasingly looking beyond the capitalist horizon to formulate alternative modes of social and economic organization. These new ideas aren’t simply an update of the ideologies of old, but something new that takes inspiration from modern developments and the mass desire for a better world.

Much needs to be done to open the minds of the masses to new possibilities beyond capitalism, and to redirect the energies of mass movements from remedial campaigns to political revolution, but after a long period where the pathway to such a goal was narrow, it has expanded in the post-recession era and must be seized if the oppressive structures of capitalism are to be finally overthrown.


Paris Marx is the author of A Music Industry for the 99% and Dystopia or Utopia?. He writes about the growing divide within the capitalist system, movements for alternative forms of economic organization, and ways of living that challenge traditional narratives.

3.8 ·
1
What's Next
Trending Today
Rap News Special Edition: Hillary Clinton Vs Donald Trump
7 min · 18,357 views today · Hello world. RAP NEWS is back for a special episode on the 2016 USA Election mayhem, feat. Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump + a touch of Jill Stein & Gary Johnson. This one's...
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 14,461 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 7,328 views today · 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 3-year-old to clean his room...
The Culture of Maximum Harm
Daniel Quinn · 6,416 views today · People have lived many different ways on this planet, but about ten thousand years ago there appeared one people who believed everyone in the world should live a single...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 6,404 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
Who Are You? Watching This Breathtaking Video Could Be the Moment You Change Your Life
2 min · 6,310 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
The International Criminal Court May Start Prosecuting People Who Commit Crimes Against the Environment
Tara Smith · 3,956 views today · The International Criminal Court is not known for prosecuting people responsible for huge oil slicks, chopping down protected rainforests or contaminating pristine land. But...
Humanity's Greatest Challenges Aren't Technical, They're Human
8 min · 3,937 views today · Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is incomplete as we commonly know it. Later in his life, Maslow wrote about a stage beyond self-actualization. Nichol Brandford explains how to...
Caitlin Moran's Posthumous Advice for Her Daughter
Caitlin Moran · 3,395 views today · My daughter is about to turn 13 and I’ve been smoking a lot recently, and so – in the wee small hours, when my lungs feel like there’s a small mouse inside them, scratching to...
The Journey From Syria (2016)
71 min · 2,841 views today · Reporter Matthew Cassel spent a year documenting the journey of Syrian jeweler Aboud Shalhoub as he travels from Turkey to Greece, and through Eastern Europe to the Netherlands...
The Left Deserves Better Than Jill Stein
Kate Aronoff · 2,699 views today · Stein’s Green Party run doesn’t offer a plan to win, or to build power. The Left is capable of so much more.
Prince Ea Just Put The School System on Trial and Found it Guilty of Killing Free Thought
6 min · 2,341 views today · Albert Einstien once said "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid". Today Prince...
The Little Engine That Couldn't: How We're Preparing Ourselves and Our Children for Extinction
Daniel Quinn · 2,198 views today · In a recent semi-documentary film called Garbage, a toxic waste disposal engineer was asked how we can stop engulfing the world in our poisons. His answer was, "We'd have to...
10 Shocking Facts About Society That We Absurdly Accept As Normal
Joe Martino · 1,982 views today · When you take a moment and look around at the world, things can appear pretty messed up. Take 5 or 10 minutes and watch the 6 o’clock news. Chances are, the entire time, all...
This Satirical Trump Vs. Bernie Debate Is Both Hilarious and Highly Disturbing
44 min · 1,663 views today · Comedians James Adomian (Bernie Sanders) and Anthony Atamanuik (Donald Trump) bring two of the most controversial candidates in history, head-to-head, or rather bald-to-toupee...
Debt, Inequality and the Logic of Financial Violence
David Graeber · 1,628 views today · Five years after Occupy, organizer and anthropologist David Graeber speaks to ROAR about the power of finance, the history of inequality and the legacy of the movement.
10 Photos That Show the Magnificent Light Shining on Standing Rock
Josue Rivas · 1,488 views today · Despite all the news of pipeline regulation, court appeals, and activist arrests, Native photographer Josue Rivas reminds us that it is actually a peaceful place.
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,247 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 1,082 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 914 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Does Capitalism Blind Us to the Real Fight?