First of all, I want to thank all of you for showing up on this International Worker’s Day.
There has been considerable thought on what we, the Central New Mexico Democratic Socialists of America, wanted to say today, but sometimes it helps to speak directly from the heart.
The 21st century began in chaos and the time we live in is one of tumultuous change and progress, some of it good and some of it bad. We are facing challenges that our forebears never thought were possible. We are facing challenges that few people ever thought of planning for.
We are a generation that came out of one of the worst economic collapses since the Great Depression of the 1930’s, caused by rampant capitalist greed. We are staring down the barrels of fascism, automation in manufacturing, and corporatism. Our rights to organize inside and outside our workplaces are increasingly being challenged. We are seeing a new wave of right-wing, white supremacist terrorism in our communities. Racists, bigots, and authoritarians no longer have to wear pointy white hoods, they wear red baseball caps.
The time for fear is over. We are standing up, straightening our backs, and fighting back. We are protesting and counter protesting. We are making our voices heard. We are still organizing, and we are doing it well. For the first time in decades, it is socially acceptable to publicly identify as a socialist, an anarchist, a communist, a leftist, or a progressive, and we have to take advantage of this opportunity if we want to build a better world.
The world is in turmoil, but in that chaos, we can shape a better society, we can bring order into the disorder, we can give people hope, we can forge a better world out of the ashes of the old. Our new direction is no longer to rehash old grievances, fight old fights, seek revenge on old enemies, but to take on the future with hope in our hearts, wisdom in our heads, and a will and a drive to do better for everyone.
Automation is a scary thing for many of us because it upends a supposed “natural order” of things. It challenges us to think differently about what we want direct our personal labor towards, it changes our plans for the future. We are not luddites, we understand that technological advancements are a natural thing but there is hope in this area, proposals for Universal Basic Incomes and Job Guarantees are seeing new light and new support. Furthermore, proposals for higher wages, better benefits, and Universal Health Care are also in the works for many communities and the nation.
However, it is one thing to have our bread but we as people in a modern world also need roses. We need happiness beyond the 9 to 5 office job. We need art, culture, and most of all we need meaning in our work. We want to chase our dreams, take big risks, and find satisfaction in the direction of our lives. For many of us, the new wave of activism has provided new meaning in life. We want to do more than increase company profits by percentage points for the rest of our lives.
In this new era, we can shift the emphasis from living to work to living for our passions. We can recapture the idea of being a “renaissance” person, someone who is endlessly passionate about a plethora of topics, ideas, hobbies, and projects.
In this new world we can build a democratic economy, one that values us instead of profits. Workers are more productive, happier, and more creative when they are not alienated from the products of their labor. The worker needs to be more attached to their labor and they need a say in what their workplace does to them, for them, and with them. We can build a better economy that truly serves our desires and passions and not our greed and pride.
Today, I ask you to join us and commit to building a better world, building a better, more democratic economy as an attempt at reaching not only for our bread but for our roses as well. Thank you all for your time and enjoy your evening.