IS APATHY THE PROBLEM?
by John Spritzler
The URL of this article for sharing it is https://www.pdrboston.org/is-apathy-the-problem
No. Apathy is not the problem. Here's why not.
There is at present relatively little large scale, publicly visible, and explicit resistance to the dictatorship of the rich (i.e., the Billionaire class or "plutocracy") and to the despicable things it does to Americans and people abroad. Some people say the explanation for this is apathy, meaning that ordinary Americans just don't care about these things. But that is not true. People HATE being treated like dirt by the rich routinely day in and day out in myriad ways, many of which are described here.
The fact (as clearly illustrated by this video) is that most ordinary Americans do care and, when asked what they think about the PDR button that says, "Let's remove the rich from power, have real not fake democracy, with no rich and no poor," they say it is a great idea. But they also almost always say, "But it is impossible."
Hopelessness--about the possibility of removing the rich from power and creating a genuinely equal and democratic society--is the reason people are not rising up in large numbers to act collectively to remove the rich from power. It's not that people don't care (that would be apathy); it's that people feel that the dictatorship of the rich is impossible to remove, that it is like a law of nature, like gravity, and that it is therefore pointless to try to end it or even to talk about ending it. People feel this way because they think that too few people want to change the world to make it a real possibility, and they think (not knowing about egalitarianism) that there is no better alternative to our capitalist system because communism and socialism are just as, if not more so, anti-democratic--with "some being more equal than others."
Hopelessness and apathy are very different, but they lead to the same kind of behavior. This is important to realize, because people can (as has happened often in history) change from feeling hopeless to feeling hopeful; whereas nothing will make an apathetic person, who just doesn't care, change.
Here's more evidence that the problem is hopelessness, not apathy. Most people, in their everyday lives, in the small corner of the world over which they do have some actual control, try to create relations with family members and friends and co-workers based on the values of equality and mutual aid and concern for one another. These are anti-capitalist values. What people do everyday in their personal lives thus constitutes an IMPLICITLY egalitarian revolutionary (but invisible) movement. Were it not for the existence of this implicitly anti-capitalist (i.e., rejecting the values of dog-eat-dog competition and inequality and domination of others for selfish gain, etc.) movement, the values of capitalism--the values of the dominant class that is ruthlessly aggressive and that tries to shape the entire society by its despicable values-- would by now have turned our society in every aspect and every corner into a nightmare of people stabbing each other in the back and making life a veritable hell.
But we see that this is not so!
What is the explanation?
What prevents our capitalist society from being as bad as it otherwise would be is this anti-capitalist force in society. This anti-capitalist force consists of the everyday acts of kindness and decency and concern for others as equals that people do in their little personal private corner of the world, acts that are seldom seen by the public.
The millions of ordinary people behaving this way in their everyday lives typically have no knowledge of the revolutionary significance of their acts or of the fact that they are part of a very large majority in resisting capitalism. The #1 task of American revolutionaries today (and similarly for revolutionaries in other nations) is to help these millions of Americans to see the anti-capitalist (egalitarian revolutionary) significance of their everyday acts, to see that they are part of a huge majority in wanting to shape ALL of society by the same egalitarian values with which they have been trying to shape their little corner of the world, and thereby to change from feeling hopeless to feeling hopeful that, by acting together to build new explicitly egalitarian revolutionary organizations, they can indeed change the world.
Let's Get Organized!
As I discuss here, we can build the egalitarian revolutionary movement because that's what most people would love to see happen.