Do we even have a right to be hopeful? With political and ecological fires raging all around, is it irresponsible to imagine a future world radically better than our own? A world of healed ecosystems? Of food sovereignty and equal access to land? A world where governments fear the people instead of the other way around?
These are questions that Naomi Klein and Nnimmo Bassey wrestled with when they conceived of a sequel to last year’s Emmy-nominated short, “A Message From the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” The first film, co-written by the congresswoman and illustrated by Molly Crabapple, was set in a can-do future: one in which bold, progressive politicians joined with grassroots movements to launch the “Decade of the Green New Deal,” battling poverty, injustice, and climate disruption all at the same time. The film touched a nerve and ended up being viewed more than 12 million times, convincing our little team of the need for more art that departs from well-worn apocalyptic scripts. Then Covid-19 hit.
And so the question: Is it ethical to expend energy dreaming of a another world when so many fires need extinguishing right now? Well, if we stop talking about what winning actually looks like, isn’t that the same as giving up? Besides, are we so sure big wins are impossible? The coronavirus has already ushered in changes few imagined or foretold this time last year. Entire high-carbon, high-consumption industries are on their knees: cruise ships, airlines, fashion. The Movement for Black Lives has redrawn the political map, and nurses are local heroes. If this isn’t the time to advance a vision of the world governed by radically more humane and inclusive values, when is?
Join globally-known activists, Naomi Klein and Nnimmo Bassey, as they show us the eight-minute sequel to Message from the Future, discuss the lessons we can learn from this extraordinary time and what a better and more hopeful future might look like. As Naomi says,
“A world with shuttered prisons, with far more land under Indigenous jurisdiction, with families fed by local farmers and housed in beautiful, green public housing, built to enhance community and break the barriers of isolation. A world where the resources currently spent on the sprawling infrastructures of coercion, containment, and violence are shifted to a vast infrastructure of care and repair”.