Editorial Note: No Time for Despair

A lot has happened since the last issue of Socialist Forum was published. The conservative majority on the Supreme Court ended its most recent term with a flurry of decisions gift-wrapped for the most extreme elements of the Republican Party. There was, of course, the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which reversed Roe v. Wade and ended the constitutional right to an abortion. Beyond Dobbs, it issued decisions that attacked the foundations of the administrative state, expanded the right to carry firearms in public, and opened the door to more Christian prayer in public schools. This term was the culmination of a decades-long right-wing project to remake the courts in their image and marshal state power on behalf of their own reactionary vision of society.

These decisions came amid what has been a truly miserable summer for people around the world. Record-setting heat waves settled on much of North America, Europe, and Asia. Heat-related deaths have spiked; rivers have dried up in some places, and flooded in others. Despite this, summer 2022 is probably going to be one of the coolest summers for the rest of our lives, as the impact of climate change begins to take an increasingly destructive toll.

The climate crisis requires global cooperation, but that looks to be in short supply as well. Russia’s war in Ukraine just entered its sixth month, and the prospects for a just settlement in the near term appear to be rather dim. An ill-conceived visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan in early August ratcheted up tensions between China, Taiwan, and the US to potentially dangerous levels, and underscored the risks of another major war in East Asia.

Despite all this, democratic socialists cannot afford ourselves the luxury of despair. The only thing we can do is organize and fight, even when the situation appears grim. Unexpected moments of progress do happen. Shortly after the Dobbs decision, voters in Kansas resoundingly defeated a right-wing referendum to ban abortion in the state. After months of legislative wrangling, the Biden administration and the Democratic Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which, despite numerous flaws and exclusions, should cut US greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. It is not a bill the climate justice movement would have written on its own, but it would not have happened at all without many years of dogged movement organizing. There are millions of people who want to fight back against the Christian Right, fossil capital, and other merchants of despair. Let’s go and organize with them.

This issue of Socialist Forum tackles a wide array of issues, from the current state of DSA and the broader democratic socialist movement, to the fortunes of contemporary feminism, gun politics, and the question of personal choice under capitalism. As always, we invite readers to submit responses to any of these articles to our inbox: socialistforum [at] dsausa.org.