Despair and hope converge in need for a “next system”aligned with social work’s vision

Today’s news coverage includes two riveting stories – a white-supremacist massacre of peaceful Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, and a worldwide (involving 100 countries) series of student strikes demanding immediate and urgent government action to combat growing climate disruption.

The first is, ultimately, a story of nihilistic despair – terrorist murderers perversely believe that violently acting out a scapegoating ideology somehow strikes a blow in defense of threatened Western civilization.  The second is a striking story of energized hope – clear-eyed young people rightly condemning the compromised and shortsighted inaction of their elders on the gravest existential crisis facing the human (and countless other) species.

In diametrically opposing ways – one negative in the extreme, the other bracingly positive – both stories point to the pressing need for another “system,” a new world grounded in social work’s vision and values: a world of reciprocity, compassionate solidarity, and mutual aid; a fundamentally egalitarian world, richest in social, and not monetary, capital; a sustainable world that celebrates and extols the best features of the human condition.


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