Cynicism making a comeback. It’s still plug-ugly.

There’s a political journal that just started in England with the mantra “Your hope disgusts us” & counseling readers to “abandon hope.” That resonates with the inscription over the gate of Hell in Dante’s Inferno: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Not an auspicious inspiration for what is likely to be a brief tenure in journalism.

Cynicism is making a comeback because so many millions have fought for justice & seen their struggles apparently come to nought. Tyranny & human suffering increase around the world without any obvious solutions. So many people of good-will, especially those who are not activists, feel the only explanation is the irredeemable corruption of humanity & turn to despondence & cynicism. Even snide contempt.

Those who came of political age in the 1960s & 1970s were part of the gestalt of social transformation, inspired by possibilities after the horrors of WWII. Many activists around the world from that era carry that vision & continue as the backbone of social protest because we know what human beings are capable of in social struggle. We are unwilling to relinquish or cheapen the vision of a world without racism, war, misogyny, colonialism. An entire generation was changed–some of us forever–& became unwilling to settle for less than the best for the human race.

After so many decades in political struggle, which necessarily includes debate & conflict, we cannot be accused of naiveté for holding steadfast to a belief that working people are the agents of social change, not corrupt governments.

It’s very acceptable, especially against feminists but also in other social movements, to diss senior activists as all washed up & politically living in the past. In truth, young activists have a lot to learn from seniors. And vice-versa. And the most important thing to learn is to never give up the vision of a world based on human solidarity & the belief that working people can be the agents of social transformation. That’s why the seniors are still active.

Cynicism & abandoning hope will get you nowhere. Why go to hell before you die?

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