The working year in this and many other parts of the world is drawing to a close. And it does so amid an ongoing economic crisis, mass unemployment and the spectres of rival imperialisms and fundamentalist religion threatening.
At times like these the aphorism, “I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will” seems singularly appropriate. Because careful analysis and observation reveals a world in turmoil and seemingly bent on self destruction.
But it is a world where the overwhelming majority, the working and workless poor, the caring egalitarians and those who daily go hungry amid plenty, wish only to live productive and decent lives in peace. Let their will — our will — be done.
And it can be. No matter how difficult the situation, no matter how brutal the forces who oppress and exploit, we are many, they are few. Given the united will of the exploited and oppressed majority, not just change, but total transformation can be wrought.
It won’t be easy, but it can be done. And we can — and should — all play our part in ensuring the triumph of that democratic will to bring about peace and security for all. In South Africa, we are fortunate in having a Bill of Rights that provides an effective outline for the world we need. In essence, this Bill of Rights calls for every individual to have the right to do exactly as they please, provided that, in the exercise of that right, the rights of no-one else are impinged upon.
Exploitation and oppression of any kind would therefore be taboo. So a system based on competition and the anarchy of the market, a system that relies on exploitation and oppression would also be taboo.
With clarity of purpose the power — the will — of the exploited and oppressed majority, provides a way forward to a better life for all. It is an optimism that is not misplaced, ut should always be considered alongside the 1915 warning of Rosa Luxemburg that the failure of transformation would lead to barbarism.
That was then. Today it could just as easily lead to planetary annihilation. So let 2015 be the start of global drive to transform an economic and social system that is clearly well beyond its sell by date.