Writing about the creation and the continued abuse and neglect of the so-called underclass tends to nurture a deep sense of pessimism. When we consider the powerlessness of people before the advancement of Capitalism and the social, economic, and political structures that give it such power it is easy to despair. Our streets are strewn with the carnage left in the wake of an economic ideology driven by greed and the insatiable desire for profit at all costs. Homelessness, addiction, the breakdown of families and communities, and suicide among other things, while not solely caused by Capitalism, are greatly aggravated by the application of social and economic policies which benefit the wealthy at the cost of the vulnerable. One sad result of this is that our entire society has become clouded over by a pervading sense of hopelessness; people become despondent when they realise how little power they have over a world that does not have their best interests at heart.
Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.
Hopelessness is death! If we are to have any chance of overcoming the present darkness of a world dominated by the interests of the wealthy few then we must restore hope. This hope mustn’t be the false hope of fictional or alternative reality, but a solid hope in a reality that we can bring about. It must be a reality that is rooted in the importance of the person situated in familial and community networks of support where solidarity is the default mode of living. Capitalism functions at its best when the person has been isolated from family and community, and reduced to a perfectly atomised, self-centred and dehumanised consumer. Our resistance then has to be in the process of restoring the humanity of the dehumanised and those who have been crushed. From the lowest levels of society community has to be rebuilt and empowered for people to see what strength they have when they work together, focussed on the well-being of each person, for the benefit of the whole community. Hope arises from the experience of victory over oppression – no matter how small a victory that might be. Social resistance to the system is not possible with people who believe they are powerless. Power is the answer to hopelessness.