The climate crisis is another unique condition that requires the commitment of Generation Z to socialism. Like DSA Ecosocialist Working Group explains: “The liberation of people and the planet is necessarily linked and dependent on the dismantling of our capitalist production process of exploitation and the overhaul of society to serve the needs of the people and the planet, not profit. No other crisis in our history has posed such an existential threat and such a moral obligation for radical change in our economic and political systems. Human survival will depend on the revolution.
Jonathan Jackson Jr., the nephew of black revolutionary George Jackson, postulates that “when it finally becomes more attractive for someone to fight, and perhaps die, than to live in survival mode, revolution begins to become a possibility”. In the face of the climate crisis, we need to understand that the “mode of survival” in advanced capitalism is more than just supporting a system of labor exploitation – it means supporting the results of this system; one that demands not only the exploitation of labor, but the endless exploitation of the Earth’s natural resources.
We will have to survive floods, heat waves, forest fires and air pollution; watch our houses sink under water; the collapse of food supply chains; and the power grids that are failing. The working class will suffer while the rich will be able to move at higher altitudes and build safe houses. The organization will not be driven solely by a desire to improve our quality of life, but by a drive to save the human race.
Generation Z has already demonstrated our ability to organize and mobilize: it was young black activists who led the Black Lives Matter protests, and young allies who participated and made it likely. the largest movement in US history. Young voters are showing up in record numbers and, in 2020, propelled Joe Biden to victory in the main swing states. Our digital literacy provides us with a unique platform to organize, disseminate information and share our convictions. Social media exposes us to new ideas that oppose our current belief systems, induce change and push us towards ideological clarity.
Thanks to the work of the young organizers of BIPOC, we also understand that the struggles to end white supremacy and capitalism are closely linked. Black Lives Matter movement focuses on dismantling racial capitalism demonstrates the political relevance of this framework. A Morning Consult 2020 survey found that 68% of Generation Z said the Black Lives Matter movement “had a major impact on their worldview” (a percentage that jumped 21 points from April to June 2020), and the vast majority of Gen Z took at least one action for racial justice at the height of protests. Centering the liberation of blacks in our movement for socialism is a moral imperative that will also allow us to involve young people politically radicalized by Black Lives Matter and to counter the neoliberal co-optation of the organization of racial justice.
The tools to build interracial and intergenerational workers’ power are there. If we, the generation whose souls have not yet been crushed by capitalism, choose to use these tools, we can turn the tide in favor of socialism – the only system that will guarantee us a liveable planet and a life free from fear. economic exploitation, crushing debt, and racial castes.
As a member of the DSA, I got involved in electoral work, direct action, advocacy for housing justice, and organizing in solidarity with the labor movement, Palestine and abolitionist groups. My comrades of all ages have mentored me and empowered me to run as Boston delegate to the National Convention this year. I am excited to be a voting delegate, but I wish there were more teens by my side, not because we will magically transform the DSA as an organization, but because our voices matter in the socialist movement and that there are limitless possibilities to get involved.