All around us lie the ruins—remnants of an old left and a bygone era of revolutionary aspirations.
Some of the decaying structures remain, to be sure, but everywhere the wreckage of the labor movement is now apparent: its traditional organizations lie in shambles, the smoldering debris strewn across the depoliticized landscape of our “post-ideological” societies, while its emancipatory ideals have long since given way to capitalist monstrosities—totalitarian and technocratic alike—that make a mockery of the movement’s origins in the great workers’ struggles of the nineteenth century.
Seemingly devoid of people or power, the ruins have become a testament to a world-historic and largely self-inflicted defeat.
Capital now rules these lands, and, like it or not, it is the desolation and debris we have inherited as our own. Amidst this rubble we must now discover the building blocks for a new kind of left and a radically democratic anti-capitalist politics, both to counter the relentless assault on our common future and to construct other possible worlds in the process.
Thankfully, events of recent years appear to hail a reawakening of revolutionary aspirations across the globe, accompanied by the resurgence of specters old and new. Powerful forces are stirring below the surface, lurking in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to strike and shake the world of capital to its very foundations. It is upon us to ensure that, by the time the next wave comes around, we are adequately prepared to rise to the challenge of our times.
ROAR was founded in 2010-‘11 with this sole purpose in mind: to reflect on the tide of popular revolt as it ebbed and flowed from Tahrir to Rojava and beyond. Now, as our movements mature and we look to new horizons, ROAR is about to embark on an exciting new adventure itself.
This free (digital-only) inaugural issue marks the launch of our new website and of ROAR’s transformation into a quarterly journal of the radical imagination. Packed with visionary perspectives from leading thinkers and influential activists alike, we believe the struggles and ideas discussed within these pages constitute some tentative theoretical and practical building blocks for the construction of a broad-based anti-capitalist movement for the twenty-first century.
In the winter, we will be releasing our first proper print issue—Revive la Commune!—to follow up on some of the themes discussed here. We warmly invite you to support this important activist publishing project by subscribing.
We are acutely aware that the construction of a new world is far more than an academic exercise. We do not harbor any illusions about the “Eternal Truths” of radical theory and we certainly do not aim to write any blueprints for a post-capitalist future.
We simply write to learn from each others’ struggles, to share our common dreams and aspirations, and to amplify our collective powers—so that one day we may be able to recount the story of our struggle to future generations:
Yes, we lived amidst the ruins.
Until we picked up the stones,
And we began to build.