Daring to Dream
The dream becomes vision only when hope is invested in an agency capable of transformation. The political problem remains the search for that agency and the possibility of hope; and only if we find it will we see our dreams come true.
-- RUTH LEVITAS, THE CONCEPT OF UTOPIA (200)
Utopia rose, again, from the ashes of obscurity in the decades after World War II. Filled with hope after the defeat of fascism, aware of the weakening chains of imperialist power, yearning for better lives in a world of peace, and experienced in collective action, people around the globe began to give real shape to their collective dreams. Movements for national liberation expanded, labor renewed its prewar militancy, people of color who fought for freedom abroad returned to demand it at home, women who discovered their power in the public sphere of work and service took hard looks at the old world of domestic tranquillity, and gradually young people began to assert their own views in the brave new world around them.
This militancy, however, ran directly into the inability of the new social order to fulfill these dangerous desires: Corporations thrived and new economic and military alliances were forged; imperial armies attacked anti-colonial movements and domestic police smashed militant demonstrations; managerial deals were brokered with labor; gradualist reforms and physical violence deflected the agitation for racial liberation; a modicum of welfare trickled down to the dispossessed; social work, therapy, and Valium were applied to the discontent; and a postwar and post-Depression economic paradise was offered, in one form or another, to everyone.
Especially in the United States, where the new center of power took hold, a culture of consumption and patriotism reached deeply into the daily lives of the en