Even the Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who served as the chief economist of the World Bank, writes that the “growing divide between the haves and the have-nots has left increasing numbers in the Third World in dire poverty, living on less than a dollar a day”. UNICEF has reported that over thirty thousand children die every day due to poverty. That is a Holocaust — almost eleven million children — every year. The only solution, in my view, is a world-wide revolution. It may not be likely but it is our only hope. In 1961, the Situationist International said that,
If it seems somewhat absurd to talk of revolution, this is obviously because the organized revolutionary movement has long since disappeared from the modern countries where the possibilities of a decisive social transformation are concentrated. But all the alternatives are even more absurd, since they imply accepting the existing order in one way or another.
Yet less than fifty years later there seem to be the beginnings of a new revolutionary movement in the most developed countries, including my own.
More than anywhere else, America is truly the place “where the possibilities of a decisive social transformation are concentrated.” That is why I am excited to be part of the new Students for a Democratic Society. We have thousands of members in hundreds of chapters, and we are not alone. All over the world informed and committed individuals are seeking to achieve direct democracy through direct action. Laid-off workers in Argentina have occupied factories and restarted production, to take only a single instance. We in the wealthy countries bear a great deal of the responsibility for the problems that we see in the world. We must try and help solve them. The same impulse to lend a helping hand which led me to the Mount now leads me into activist organizations such as SDS, with the hope that it is not already too late. The world is still a brutal place, torn apart by class oppression, racism, sexism, homophobia and horrific violence unleashed by countries such as ours. I believe it will take drastic social change to reverse the environmental degradation that we have caused the earth, and heal the wounds that we have caused each other. I also believe that we have to make it happen, and so I strongly encourage everybody to do what they can to make this a better world, where we and future generations would rather live.
Matthew Provonsha is a young author and activist living in Toledo, Ohio (USA). He has been published in the American magazine Skeptic, in the student-run University of Toledo philosophy journal Slash, and on the website of the radical newsletter CounterPunch. He volunteers locally with poor and homeless people and has demonstrated against the invasion and ongoing occupation of Iraq.