Our Better Future (Two Five Zero 020)
from “Here’s What We’ll Do: The OBF book” Chapter 1: Our Better Future
People have worked, and worked hard, in thousands of different ways in thousands of different times to increase the chances of the future being better. The striking steel workers gunned down by Pinkerton goons were working for a better future. The women selling baked goods every day to support the Montgomery bus boycott were working for a better future. People dedicated to Black Lives Matter were on the street to work for a better future. People marching to stop Israel’s brutalization of Palestinians are working for a better future. ACT UP demonstrators who shut down the FDA in 1988 were working for a better future. The women force fed in jail for demanding women’s enfranchisement in 1917 were working for a better future.
Such work requires, and has always required, many different qualities and skills and efforts. Courage. Creativity. Organization. Dramaturgy. Childcare. Insistence. Love. Knowledge. Teamwork. And, oh, so many more …
We deserve a better future than the one that’s been organized for us. But as the life lesson would have it, it’s stone-cold easy to tell the difference between what we deserve and what we’re gonna get. Without significant intervention on our part our future is a foregone conclusion: We’re on our own.
Rebecca Solnit is one of my heroes, and she wrote a book called Hope in the Dark.* She writes, “Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal … To hope is to give yourself to the future — and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.”
To give yourself to the future. The premise of Our Better Future is that we will get something a lot closer to the future we deserve if we screw our hope in the dark to the sticking place, find as many ways to work as possible, and get to work.
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* “No writer has better understood the mix of fear and possibility, peril and exuberance that’s marked this new millennium.” — Bill McKibben. “Hope In The Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities” by Rebecca Solnit. If you’d prefer buying it to trying to find it in your library, try this link: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781608465767