Amid Apocalyptic Cynicism, Let’s Embrace Radical Hope in the New Year

As I age, holidays, particularly the emergence and celebration of a new year, have become a time for both joy and remembrance. They are filled with memories that include both loss and new beginnings; the value of close friends and loved ones; the beauty of sharing and giving; and a hope that combines passion, justice and struggle.

The dawning of the new year is more than just a time to revisit old stories. It is also about birth and the emergence new possibilities, the weighting of mistakes, and a renewed sense fight against the haters, lies, and the horrible conditions that produce them. It is about a gentle, intimate kiss and touch that you share with the ones you love. These moments are about falling into the comforting abyssal of desire and becoming more aware of what it means for you to be vulnerable so that you can get out of the brutal economic system privatized prisons.

The new year is more than a talk about traditional aspirations in a time of apocalyptic cynicism and increasing violence. It is, in fact, an important moment that interrupts and challenges us to examine the horrors of a world falling into fascism. This will help us to imagine a future where justice, compassion and equality are all possible.

It is a resistance act to think about the new Year.

The new year is a time to reflect on what it means for history to be reclaimed as a place of struggle, resistance, and civic courage. This means that historical memory must be reclaimed as a place of learning and resistance. It also means that education must be central to politics. It means using both a language and discourse of hope. It also means that a mass movement should be built with international ties to the struggle for economic and social justice. The cry for justice, equality and freedom becomes more urgent and opens up new possibilities. It infuses the moment with the fire of awakefulness, longing for and hopefully producing new language to regain our sense of agency, consciousness and the courage not to look away. Hope expands our perception of the possible and allows us to recognize and acknowledge the imperfection of the present. The new year offers new meaning to the promise that there will be no suffering, inequality, or anti-democratic forces growing like dangerous weeds. The new year should give us the chance to rethink dignity, life, and humane equality as they unfold in full and always with others. The new year should be grounded in dreams that reject the view of the future as a continuation of present.

Let’s make 2022 a year to talk back, beat down the fascist currents sweeping across the United States and elsewhere. Let’s make it a time that brings together the fractured movements on the left in order to build a mass movement and political party that speaks with the people rather than against them.

These words of hope are spoken at a time when the United States, Canada, and the globe are in a difficult place. Civic courage and the social agreement are under attack. Artists, educators, public intellectuals and others downplay the connection between fascismsm and capitalism. The government has failed to tackle the COVID crisis. We are also confronted with a cultural landscape that is dominated by the empty ballast media. It lacks the courage and the will to address the increasing threat of authoritarianism as well as to name neoliberal capitalism or white supremacy the organizing principles of American politics. Today, disorder and manufactured ignorance have become commonplace. Too many Americans see freedom as a personal right, and neglect the fact that it is a matter for society. The false appeal to liberty is now disguised as civic illiteracy. Civic courage loses its ethical moorings if it fails to connect the collapse in conscience with the collapse in the welfare state. In a society where power, privatization, and greed have made it difficult to seek a better world, any notion of social responsibility and struggle for justice is either dismissed or viewed as weakness. Freedom has partially fallen into a moral blindness that leads from politics to disaster to apocalypse. The current historical moment is defined as chaos, uncertainty and fear. Too often, we are taught helplessness and then despair. A culture of sensationalism, consumerism, immediacy, and manufactured knowledge obscures the fact that political and moral passions can be substituted for sheer anger, rage, and truth to defend the social contract, civic culture and a culture of questioning and democratic itself.

There are strong examples of civic courage, such as the Black Lives Matter Movement and educators, health workers, union organizers, and others who fight social injustices and systemic racist while caring for the sick, disabled, and those who suffer from poverty, bigotry or hatred. These brave and inspiring agents of democracy offer a history of the past and a sense of the future that allows us to look forward to a new year filled with hope, moral witnessing, civic courage, and care for others.

Although it is true that the new Year comes at a moment when social fractures as well as economic divides fuel a tsunami fear, anger, falsehoods and conspiracy theories, and in some instances, a politics tethered to violence, we must have the courage to reject normalizing such events. As such, we cannot allow hope to become a pathology of cynicism or worse.

We lack a language that can fully grasp the social, political and economic crisis facing Americans in these times of rising authoritarianism. We need a language which views politics more broadly, connects the dots across diverse issues, and offers strategies to empower mass movements. We will have the opportunity to create a visionary language in the new year, which will allow us to rethink the possibilities for the future and offer the promise of a sustainable democracies. Values such as freedom, solidarity and equality need to “breathe” again, develop deeper roots, and renew an individual and collective sense of social responsibility and joint action. We need to get rid of harmful assumptions that turn freedom into a toxic idea of selfishness, hope into a crushing Cynicism, and politics into an indifference, cruelty, and corruption. The new year should encourage us to regain dignity, compassion, and justice. It should remind you to dream again, to envision the impossible, and to think and act differently.