Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 8-19-2014


Social Justice and Community Engagement


For as long as capitalism has existed, people have struggled against it. However, despite the fact that anti-capitalist social movements have won important battles and at times created change, the global capitalist system remains largely intact, ever growing and expanding. How might waves of resistance help pave the way for a different economic and political system— one based upon the principles of accountability, equity, justice, and production for human need? This paper examines how anti-capitalist theories and writings, as well as a radically democratic social movement, can inform visions of a sustainable future that is productive, just, and built upon the needs and well-being of people: a future of socialism-from-below. After clarifying the political vision identified as socialism-from-below, I outline the contributions of two influential theorists in this tradition: Rosa Luxemburg and Alan Sears. I then apply their theories on the potential for social movements, and the characteristics of socialism-from-below, to the case of Occupy Wall Street. By applying the lessons learned through Occupy, future movements can meaningfully contribute to the long-term process of developing social movements with the capacity to resist capitalism in a more sustainable way.