While the USA has always been a warrior culture, built on a foundation of conquest and exploitation, that's only been part of the picture. Movements of liberation and the expansion of the mantle of humanity have always been a part of the picture as well, but today they seem less so than I can remember. Why?
When you sit down to enjoy the Super Bowl, enjoy a healthy side of irony with your wings. In much of Europe, soccer embraces a rapacious form of capitalism that would make Mitt Romney blush, whereas in the U.S., the NFL eschews the blue and white heat of high finance for a philosophy that is tinged with more than a touch of red.
On a trip to Cuba recently, it was clear to me that change is in the air. It wasn't just that President Obama and Raúl Castro had agreed to see if relations could be normalized, nor was it an admission that communism had failed. Rather, it seems to be an understanding that some form of capitalism is sorely needed to breathe life into the Cuban economy.
The key to breaking the climate and energy policy logjam in Washington, D.C., Naomi Klein contends in This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, is the building of a powerful social movement. Citizens can then put leaders into office who are willing to take decisive action to protect the climate.
In Poland in the late 1980s, Polish sociologist Jadwiga Staniszkis began writing about "political capitalists." These were colloquially known as "red capitalists" -- technocrats and enterprise managers who were technically part of the Communist system but had already begun to function like capitalists.