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This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

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The exploration of viable alternatives brackets the question of their practical achievability under existing social conditions. Some have questioned the value of discussing theoretically viable alternatives if they are not strategically achievable. The response to such sceptics would be that there are so many uncertainties and contingencies about what lies ahead that we cannot possibly know now what the limits of achievable alternatives will be in future. Given this uncertainty, there are two reasons why it is important to have clear-headed understandings of the range of viable alternatives. First, developing such understandings now makes it more likely that, if future conditions expand the boundaries of what is possible, social forces committed to emancipatory change will be in a position to formulate practical strategies for implementing an alternative. Second, the actual limits of what is achievable depend in part on beliefs about what sorts of alternatives are viable. This is a crucial sociological point: social limits of possibility are not independent of beliefs about limits. [...] In the social case, however, beliefs about limits systematically affect what is possible. Developing compelling accounts of viable alternatives, therefore, is one component of the process through which these limits can themselves be changed.

It is no easy matter to make a credible argument that ‘another world is possible’. People are born into societies that are always already made, whose rules they learn and internalize as they grow up. People are preoccupied with the daily tasks of making a living, and coping with life’s pains and pleasures. The idea that the social world could be deliberately changed for the better in some fundamental way strikes them as far-fetched—both because it is hard to envisage some dramatically better yet workable alternative, and because it is hard to imagine successfully challenging the structures of power and privilege in order to create it. Thus even if one accepts the diagnosis and critique of existing institutions, the most natural response is probably a fatalistic sense that not much could be done to really change things.

i love this SO much

Compass Points: Towards a Socialist Alternative by Erik Olin Wright 3 years, 5 months ago