Magazine article New Internationalist

We : Reviving Social Hope

Magazine article New Internationalist

We : Reviving Social Hope

Article excerpt

We : Reviving Social Hope by Ronald Aronson (The University of Chicago Press, ISBN 9780226334660)

In this readable if rather academic attempt to excavate the roots of hope in society, Ronald Aronson is at pains to tease out exactly what we mean when we speak of hope. He carefully delineates hope from what is labelled 'progress', a form of social change, he argues, that often brings little in the way of advancement to the majority of those caught up in its wake. Thus, for instance, mechanical looms are progress, mass unemployment ensues, and the term 'Luddite' passes down to us as pejorative.

The author draws on an impressive range of sources, from Yevgeny Zamyatin, author of his book's namesake, to Jean-Paul Sartre and, most persuasively, the writer and activist Rebecca Solnit. Aronson builds his case for an understanding of hope built on solidarity and mass action, citing the grassroots movements of Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn, Podemos and Occupy as exemplars. …

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