Activist Awakenings: Brian Escobar

From the May 2015 PNL #842

compiled by the PNL Editorial Committee

I have had strong opinions about politics since childhood. As a student and aspiring academic my political participation was limited to voting and studying towards a career conducting research to inform policy, particularly to stop the mass extinction underway.

While aware of the corruption in politics, I didn’t take it seriously enough to question how my goals were premised on the assumption that in a democracy policy represented an educated public informed by experts. I was noncommittal and open—aware of arguments for many sides but, as an academic, not feeling a pressure to determine for myself which was ultimately worth struggling for.

My understanding of capitalism and our policy-making process was naïve, which I realized as I struggled to come to terms with critiques of my ideas. Officials can easily ignore inconvenient research and expertise, and information and understanding is difficult to disseminate in our media. Personal difficulties and the social structure combine to render my dreams all but impossible in our current society. This leaves me little choice but to work towards changing the society, replacing capitalism with a better model, which I term democratic socialism.