Answering the question of how to get from A to B, capitalism to post-capitalism, is a task that we “audaciously” need to pursue now. This pamphlet is one among several others, intended to clarify our struggle 1) to bring down capitalism; and 2) to create a path toward eco-socialism. Those of us oppressed by capitalism engage in some peculiar forms of actions and inactions. In our actions, we take part in struggles to improve key problems generated by capitalism without confronting capitalism. In other words, our actions confront effects rather than causes. In addition to our contradictory actions, our inactions involve consent. We consent by not challenging or even trying to change our simple economic behaviors that perpetuate the capitalist economic system. As a result, we ordinary people continue to serve as the main financiers of the capitalist system. Why do oppressed people consent to their oppression? Repression usually is not enough, as Gramsci observed while imprisoned by Italian fascism. “Hegemonic” ideas explain and justify the oppressive circumstances of our lives. Rinky-dink revolution involves actions and inactions that are easy, safe, mundane, unglamorous, and feasible within every person’s life. The history of revolutions shows that the activists who bring them about number much fewer than countries’ entire populations. The estimate of 7 to 11 million people required to achieve revolutionary transformation in the United States comes from a simple calculation, which may be off, but probably not way off. “We” who struggle against capitalism have become much more diverse and numerous than the protagonists envisioned by Marx and Engels. “They” who fight to preserve capitalism make up a tiny minority of the world’s population. Revolutionary strategy requires clarifying what specific characteristics of capitalism are oppressive and have to go, as opposed to what characteristics of social and economic organization are not oppressive and can stay. What post-capitalist society looks like has become much clearer. Rinky-dink revolution includes withholding consent to processes that capitalism needs to maintain itself and grow, plus several creatively constructive and destructive efforts in which millions of people, but still a minority of the population, participate. Creative destructions do not take place by obtaining police permits for demonstrations, even huge ones, but rather by direct actions that actually slow down or stop the smooth functioning of capitalism. Other creative destructions of capitalism involve diverting our millions of investments and tax payments into the post-capitalist solidarity economy. Rinky-dink revolution is simple, safe, and available to anyone who has the gumption to change her or his way of life a little bit. We can realize the joy of stopping our consent to and unwitting support for a system that we know destroys our well-being and happiness. The surprise will come when we see that revolution doesn’t need to involve injury, death, or even much discomfort. It mainly requires that we stop doing a lot of things that we hate doing anyway.

Howard Waitzkin is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of New Mexico and practices internal medicine part-time in rural New Mexico and Illinois. For many years he has been active in struggles focusing on health in the United States and Latin America. He is coordinator, with the Working Group for Health Beyond Capitalism, of Health Care Under the Knife: Moving Beyond Capitalism for Our Health, Monthly Review Press, 2018.

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  • ISBN print: 78-1-988832-53-1
  • ISBN ebook: 978-1-988832-54-8
  • Publication date: November 2019
  • Page count: 90
  • Binding type: soft cover
  • Trim size: 5in x 7in
  • Language: English
  • Colour: B&W
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Author Howard Waitzkin

Howard Waitzkin is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of New Mexico and practices internal medicine part-time in rural New Mexico and Illinois. For many years he has been active in struggles focusing on health in the United States and Latin America. He is coordinator, with the Working Group for Health Beyond Capitalism, of Health Care Under the Knife: Moving Beyond Capitalism for Our Health, Monthly Review Press, 2018.