Fracture, however, is not a sufficient prerequisite for social change. In the context of lives stretched thin by economic precarity, political instability can also be met with apathy. When you are working two jobs to make ends meet, it’s hard to find energy for political engagement or to discern a meaningful difference between candidates when government always seems to provide more of the same. One can argue that the prior hegemonic order was sustained less by widespread faith in its virtue than by widespread disengagement, a resignation that elites are all too happy to abet.
The future is uncertain. Will the disaffected find the collective agency, capacity and leverage to push in an emancipatory direction? Or will elite forces reconsolidate around an authoritarian-repressive social order? The latter is on full display in several countries, from Hungary to Brazil. In the context of the planetary havoc being wreaked by global capitalism, the stakes are not only high but existential. We need to orient to these fractures and contradictions. They are openings and avenues through which processes of radicalization potentially unfold. The emancipatory path requires dedication and struggle, and the terrain is uneven. And we on the Left are still finding our organizational and strategic footing. But the moment is auspicious for transformation.