“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one,” is better known than the words to the “Internationale” but both speak to a universal longing. We’ve all dreamed big at one time, and We Own the Future—a new book edited by Kate Aronoff, Peter Dreier, and Michael Kazin — reminds us why, and why socialists not only dream but do.
With a resurgence of the democratic Left and new interest in socialist ideas, the writers featured in this anthology have dared to dream big again. Not just prison reform, but prison abolition. Not fair immigration laws, but open borders. Not subsidies for art that allow free museum nights once a week, but publicly funded art available to all. Not just paid parental leave, but 24-hour quality daycare for all. Not full employment at low-wage establishments, but guaranteed jobs for all at living wages and in safe conditions. Not predatory lenders, but peoples’ banks.
The list could go on. And it does. There are 21 essays here. [Full disclosure: I’ve worked with and edited many of the contributors.] This means that your study group could meet twice a month and finish in a year with time left over for the leisure Karl Marx promised in “The German Ideology.” (You can download the study guide from the DSA Fund website here.) And when you’re done, you’ll have thought about what it might mean to govern for the common good, to live in a non-capitalist system, and to argue productively with your co-habitants on our one and only fragile earth.
If all the authors were in one room, sparks would fly. They represent a spectrum across a broad Left dedicated to democracy. This part of the spectrum of U.S. politics, we might add, has been infinitesimal until recently. It’s still not as large, say, as the number of people who post pictures of their cats on Facebook (although there is overlapping membership). But it’s a vibrant band that’s growing larger every day. Share this book. Talk among yourselves. Love parts of it. Disagree with other parts. Shape your own ideas. And prepare to shape the future.
For a limited time, DSA members who subscribe to Dissent Magazine will receive a free copy of We Own the Future.
Receive 25% off bulk orders of We Own the Future here by entering coupon code DSA at checkout. Study guides for study groups available at fund.dsausa.org/resources