9. 24. 2022

Moments of Vast Possibility

Eman Abdelhadi

Jesslyn Best

Misha Falk

M.E. O’Brien

For the 
podcast of the ecosocialist collective Solidarity Winnipeg, an organization of which we’re both members, we (Misha Falk and Jesslyn Best) decided to interview M.E. O’Brien and Eman Abdelhadi about their new book Everything For Everyone: An Oral History of the New York Commune, 2052-2072. A work of speculative fiction, composed of imagined dialogues (“oral histories”) with a cast of characters who have played various roles in a period of global revolutionary upheaval in the middle of the 21st century, this unabashedly utopian novel addresses many of the same political issues that face us today. It offers us hope as we witness, with mounting dread, the barrage of anti-trans bills in the U.S.; rising transphobic rhetoric around the world; the emboldening of anti-choice authoritarians with the repeal of Roe v. Wade…

Everything For Everyone confronts the contradictions of world capitalism, ecological crisis, and inter-imperial warfare, and asks what moments of possibility might emerge from the wreckage. As activists, we often feel an obligation to focus on the material conditions of the here and now. In this light, fiction can sometimes seem suspicious; utopia, trivial. Yet reading O’Brien and Abdelhadi’s book was a deeply joyful experience – and joy is a feeling that activism must work at cultivating. Collapse, upheaval, and revolution open up possibilities for the world to be made differently; they allow us to speculate and experiment, to make mistakes and try again. While we’ve used the word “utopia” to describe the novel’s project, the world of Everything for Everyone is not a fixed system, but more of an open plane of possibility. Narrating their experiences of building a life amidst emerging communist social relations, the book’s characters show us ways of living together that seem not to be readily available in our own time – yet might be, if we learn how to unearth them.

Our interview with O’Brien and Abdelhadi has been edited for publication in Midnight Sun.

Jesslyn Best: 

Could you elaborate on where the idea of the novel came from, what the inspiration was behind some of the characters and the themes, and whether you were writing from your own lived experience?


M.E. O’Brien:

None of the characters are really closely based on my personal experiences. But I have spent a lot of time at direct action protests and trying to be involved in frontline militancy, particularly in my 20s, which was a long time ago. I recently wrote up an essay about protest camps and I realized that I could just focus on the ones that I had personally spent time at, and came up with more than a dozen, and I’m like, “Oh, okay. Yeah, I did these things back then.” 

And being a part of the handful of huge political mobilizations in my lifetime – most recently, the George Floyd rebellion, and before that, Occupy Wall Street, and going way back into thinking about some of the anti-war mobilizations in the early 2000s, anti-globalization protests in the late ’90s… It was very clear to me that some incredible things happen when people get together and power is in crisis, things are up for grabs, it doesn’t seem clear what’s going to happen. There were all these barricades in Seattle in ’99 and suddenly the police were isolated and scared and hiding, and we just had the run of the streets. It was such a moment of elation and possibility and openness. 

I’ve always been attentive to that when I interview people in oral histories: if people have encountered moments of vast possibility, and drawing on them in myself and thinking about accounts that I’ve read, how political mobilization has transformed people’s consciousness, their lives, their possibility of relationships. So, all of that is really woven in. There are certainly a lot of people I’ve encountered in New York that resemble, in one way or another, certain qualities of characters [in the book], but not in a clean and easy way.


Eman Abdelhadi:

This book was actually M.E.’s idea. She wrote a fictional oral history, based on [her work as] an oral historian with the New York City Trans Oral History Project. I do oral histories through my academic research, so we both had this background, and a shared set of political commitments. M.E. had the idea of writing this book and had written one fictional oral history that she had published in an online magazine, and then asked me if I wanted to do a whole novel. And of course I said yes immediately, because I am a sci-fi fan, largely because of being friends with M.E., who introduced me to sci-fi. I thought it was a fun idea. 

In terms of the characters, M.E. also ran a roleplaying game in 2016 right after the [US] elections, or maybe it was early 2017. It took place in the ’50s in New York, and we were fighting the fash, and part of her pitch to me for the book was that I could write up my character as one of the characters in the book. So the character whose name is Belquees Chowdhury was my character in the roleplaying game. And she talks a little bit about her time as a student in the CUNY system, which is where our game had taken place.


Misha Falk: 

In Everything for Everyone, there’s a number of key points when technology is talked about as playing an important role in facilitating life in the novel’s communes. I was especially interested in the availability and normalization of uterus transplant technology, for example, allowing the possibility of gestation for anyone who wants it. I was curious about this orientation towards technology, because my sense is that in recent years there’s been an attitude amongst a lot of the left that’s quite skeptical towards technology: pointing out the false promises of Elon Musk or whatnot, or critiquing technology for the way it gets incorporated into surveillance. It was really cool to have this emphasis on the utopian element of technology that, maybe, we on the left tend to resist or just not think about. So I was curious, why did you choose to highlight the importance of tech to the project of liberation, rather than, say, take this more skeptical approach that we often see?



I am neither tech-utopian or tech-optimistic nor anti-tech. I don’t think technologies play a very central role in the capacity of people to make social change. There’s a book I really love called The 2015 Baltimore Uprising: A Teen Epistolary and it’s just all the tweets teens sent to each other while they were rioting in Baltimore. And that’s it, that’s the entire book, and it’s absolutely amazing. It’s just one of the most magnificent things. 

But I’m on Twitter and that’s not usually what it’s used for. Technology doesn’t really play a central role in making the revolution possible or in making a decent society possible. It helps out a little bit here or there, it’s taken up as a tool here or there. But then once the revolution gets underway, once people start building new ways of life, they encounter all these technologies in the world, and they remake them. And they remake them according to new social relations that they’re embedded in. The US military destroys the Internet [in the novel], and people rebuild it as something quite different. They encounter old computational systems that are vast, that have [been] built up, but they relate to them very differently than they used to. Similarly, gender is dramatically broken up and broken open in this world, and it makes perfect sense that technologies would be adapted and used for that. 

I think technologies reflect a lot about the social relationships in which they’re produced. Those social relationships are both alienating and capitalist, but they’re also cooperative. Working people develop technologies by working together to try to figure out how to solve problems. In a freer society, the technologies would radically change and be remade. It would be a quite depressing world if we couldn’t talk to each other anymore.



I think, for me, it’s really important to underscore the ways that [in] the current moment…these tech giants and these tech billionaires have helped create the illusion that tech is the purview of elite institutions, and that it’s been made by and for capital. But in reality, if you trace the history of almost all of these major technological developments, they’ve been publicly funded, right? If we think about space technology, for example, right now we’re talking about the rich going to space. Space technology was funded by all of us, right? Space technology is absolutely a public good that has been funded by the public and right now capital is appropriating this collective good. 

So, I think in this world [of Everything For Everyone], all of these goods return to the people and we claim the legacy of human civilization. I think for me, also, as a person who’s lived in the so-called developing world and who has lived in contexts in which you can see how technology is so unevenly distributed across the world, I’m really skeptical of a left that sort of dismisses technological advancement, because it is incredibly easy to travel the world and see the immiseration that could be lifted by technological advancement. Especially in terms of medicine, thinking about people scorning the very medicines that others around the world are begging for – I find that infuriating, and I think it’s a tendency on the left that’s absolutely reactionary and regressive. So, for me, it’s very important for technology to be celebrated and to be reclaimed by its rightful owners, which is all of us.



I had noticed in a lot of the characters’ interviews there’s this huge emphasis on organizing, working together, communicating effectively with one another, sharing knowledge, and just really deeply caring for one another. I think some of the characters had talked about all of that social activity not being a political thing, like that is just what they did. I’m wondering if you could elaborate on why this was such a big message in the book. It felt like a big message to me, anyways, because sometimes I think we’re in this moment of time where it doesn’t feel like we’re collectively taking care of each other.



Well, as M.E. said earlier, she drew on her experiences from encampments and occupations. Certainly, for me, that was a big inspiration as well, to think about what I have seen people do in these moments of crisis, but also of solidarity and collective action. I think part of it is just practice. I mean, in some ways we have to come in contact with each other in these ways to figure out what works and what doesn’t. 

I think the tragedy of being on the left is that we’re constantly being defeated, and that’s because the forces of capital, the forces of the state are generally stronger than we are. We have a tendency to self-blame or to [fixate on] what went wrong. After Occupy, this was a big conversation on the left, you know, what went wrong? I think sometimes we get a little confused about who our actual enemies are. In the book, I see this a lot in M.E.’s chapters, [it’s made clear] that a lot of what [we’ve been] doing would work if we weren’t being actively destroyed by the police, the state, or just the needs for survival under capitalism. It’s also helpful to imagine those same processes but under different conditions.



I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of community… Marx talks about the real human community, the Gemeinwesen. It’s always an inchoate possibility in Marx, in his early writings, the human essence that links us that is only expressed during these rare glimpses in human history. I think it’s crucial, in trying to make sense of how hard it is to organize and think about our lives, to appreciate how much capital organizes us interdependently. We’re all immensely interdependent; we all depend on millions of other people for our survival every day, all of our work brings us into relation with all these people we know and don’t know. 

And at the same time, capital atomizes us, where our primary relationships with people are either very isolated in a nuclear household, or they’re friendships that are very precarious and fall apart all the time, or they’re market relationships through authoritarian work environments, or through market exchange with strangers. I don’t know the person who made my shirt, right? They live in Vietnam. I’ve never met them. This vast interdependence…that is profoundly lonely. That’s a multi-century phenomenon, bringing the whole world into interdependence with each other, and isolating everyone so that we just cobble together a handful of friends who move away to get jobs elsewhere, or end up in prison, or whatever happens, and then we have to cobble together other friends. It’s a really lonely life, [such] that the fantasy of the nuclear family and the couple is the only way we survive it; this idea that someday we’ll meet someone, and then we won’t be lonely. It’s such a nightmare world that we’ve made. 

I feel like at its essence, communism is the opportunity for people to come into relation with each other, to actually, for the first time in human history, build community. Build a global community that actually includes humanity, but also where our relationships are not impersonal market relationships, or relationships of institutional domination. When we have problems with each other on a social level, we can work it out, by encountering each other and figuring it out. And a lot of the revolutionary institutions we imagine –  the commune, and the forums, and the free assemblies – are all spaces for people to try to do that, to try to encounter community and think about what that means. 

The one place I feel like people do cobble together something like community, that touches on what I imagined it could be, is in movements, and collective action, and moments where people are really in rebellion with each other. Those are always very fleeting. Sometimes they become institutionalized into long-term labour unions, or socialist organizations, or whatever, all of which I’ve been a part of. That can inherently end up incorporating these very alienated elements that are part of how you reproduce yourself in capitalist society, how you survive as an institution in capitalist society. But during these moments of rebellion, when things are not sustainable at all, people encounter each other and it’s painful, and it’s scary, and it’s complicated, and it’s often harmful, but they encounter each other as people in a way that we never get an opportunity to do otherwise.



Thank you. That’s a really beautiful picture of the kind of communist future that your book imagines. Going in a bit of a different direction, I loved how at one point in the book there is an exchange between an interviewer and an interviewee where it’s talked about how at this time of the revolution – by the 2050s – something like 40 percent of people are identifying somewhere within the trans spectrum. I read that, and I was just delighted; there’s something so audacious and fun about that, but also, it does raise some real questions about how these changed relations that you were just describing will also remap the coordinates of gender and sexuality and people’s lived experience of their bodies in so many different ways, perhaps allowing people to have the freedom to explore and open new possibilities for ways of being. What do you imagine is the role, within this larger transformation, of opening up these possibilities for gendered and sexual embodiments?



I’m a huge believer that there’s a very intimate and profound relationship between trans people taking their own gender seriously and trying to think about the revolutionary imagination. A lot of trans people grow up in households and contexts that are very unsupportive, and very uninterested, and very gender-normative. The nuclear family structure is organized in many ways around gender socialization and gender identification. Then we set out in the world and we have a secret inside us. 

I mean, some people come out very early. I was not one of them. I came out immediately after I managed to get out of the Women’s Studies program in college. But [some] have this secret and have no idea if it will work out. [I had] no idea if I would ever date again, if I would ever have a job again, if anything would ever work out at all again, but had a sense that it would be a step in my happiness, a step in discovering who I was in the world. This was 20 years ago in my case, and following that truth in me […] cut across all these expectations that I had of my life. I thought I’d be a union organizer and transitioning at that time really excluded me from union organizing, in a way that [it] wouldn’t now, but it definitely did then. I had to rethink the terrain of what my life was. 

I think, in a similar way, we have a collective delusion of life working out if we keep following the paths we’re on, and part of what’s incredible about revolutionary moments is that you have no idea if it will work out. When people are in rebellion, they have no idea. It’s like a leap into the unknown, but it’s following a truth in us. That sense can be very strong, it can be a moral guide, that something else must be possible, something else must be better than what we have. The book is about the overcoming of the family, among other capitalist social institutions, so it made a lot of sense to me that in a freer commune structure, a lot more people would feel supported about experimenting with their gender and expressing gender in a rich complexity and diversity of ways.



You were talking a little bit about family structures changing, social relationships in the family really changing in the novel’s imagined future, and I agree that it does make sense that exploration of gender would happen in parallel with those changes. At one point in the book, you had this comparison of the cult to the commune, and there were some parallels there, but then obviously there were some really big differences. Could you speak to that comparison you were making?



I think the core argument behind the family abolition themes in the book is that we are more free if we separate our material well-being from our family structures. There’s a crazy statistic that you hear in mainstream sociology that you can predict, with 80 percent accuracy, people’s income range based on their parents’ income range. So essentially, in a society that pretends to be meritocratic, and pretends to be pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps, what we actually have is that your life outcomes are largely dependent on who you are born to, who parents you, who you’re related to. We see large amounts of inequality in terms of household structure. So single moms versus two-parent households, which two-parent households have money, etc. 

And so basically we’re imagining a society in which everybody is taken care of. Your housing doesn’t depend on who you love, who your siblings, parents, children are – whether you eat or not, whether you have clothes, whether you have shelter, whether you have a dignified existence – and that just totally opens up possibilities for the types of ways that people can love each other, and show up for each other. Whether that’s in a cohabitating scenario, or whether that’s, you know, from across the street, or eating meals together, or whatever. One of the things that I’ve been thinking about…[one of] the ways that the spectre of communism is produced is this idea that we’re all gonna have these cookie cutter lives [under communism], but really, we already live in cookie cutter lives and family forms now, under capitalism. What we’re imagining in the book is the sort of intense capaciousness of a world in which we don’t have those constraints. And so you have an intense diversity of family forms. Communities create what works for them.



I have a book coming out next spring from Pluto Press called Family Abolition: Capitalism and the Communizing of Care. Family abolition is something that interests me a lot. It’s been one of the main things I’ve been writing about for the last few years. Eman very succinctly summarized the ethical endeavor at the heart of family abolition politics: how could the conditions of social reproduction be universally available to people, and care be available to people in a wide variety of ways both within and beyond the family structure? In the novel we propose a sort of very specific form of this, of the commune as a residential facility. A commune may encompass a city block, a part of a neighborhood. And within the commune, people largely eat together, they largely figure out consumption together. Instead of getting your food at a box store or grocery store, the commune acquires the food and figures out how to cook it and distribute it, and then makes collective decisions, has healthcare facilities and other things built in. And then within that, people can move around, it’s not a big deal what apartment you live in, or what house you live in. 

And people can family together, as one of Eman’s characters said. You can put together three or four people to raise the child. And if it works out, great, and if it doesn’t, some of you could move next door and still be involved in the kid’s life. And if you’re familying together, then you might have an apartment slightly separated off but still come to join the commune for big meals. So [this family structure] doesn’t rely on a kind of top-down coordination or, really, mandated rules. The problems of family relationships can be worked out on the ground by the people in them. And if a family unit works really well, that’s great. And if it doesn’t, there are practices that people are always trying to develop to support [those in such circumstances]. 

One of the arguments of the book that’s more subtle is that as things start breaking down socially, the nuclear family unit becomes untenable. The nuclear family unit depends on stable access to wage labor, and stable access to commodity stores, and if these things start breaking down, as capitalism starts breaking down, nuclear families cannot survive. So what survives are all these different kinds of collective living arrangements, some exciting and radical, some really horrific and terrible. You alluded to the the Church Fathers of Staten Island, the far-right, ultra-homophobic, ultra-misogynistic, authoritarian fascist cult that takes over Staten Island [in the novel]. [S. Addams, the character who grew up in the cult] observes that it actually functions a little bit like a commune: everybody within the church is fed, everyone is housed, everyone eats together. These sorts of communitarian systems become necessary to survive as capitalism starts going into crisis. And the forces of radical life need to defeat these evil pseudo-communes. But nuclear families are no longer a meaningful economic unit in the context of 20 years of capitalist crisis. 

I think a lot of people are very drawn to communitarian life in different ways. I’m a Buddhist, I’m a part of a Buddhist religious community. It’s very compelling to think about moving there permanently at some point. I have been in cadre organizations where people make decisions about housing and work and other things in a way that’s semi-cooperative. I’ve lived in punk group houses at times. People join all sorts of cults in the world and in fiction. We kind of yearn for it on some level. And that’s not always bad. I mean, some of them are bad, some are less bad. But the most radical thing that distinguishes the commune from all these different kinds of cults that we have in our lives is that the commune is a part of a generalized overthrow of capitalism. As there’s a broader communist transition, sure, there [will still] probably be some right-wing cults surviving around the world, but they no longer have this sort of broader context, this broader sea of violence, that enables them – the state violence, the broader systems of racial and gender domination that help sustain evangelical far-right movements and ways of life. And so the commune really only becomes possible within communism.



I was really interested in Chapter Two, which focuses on the liberation of Palestine and the Levant. I was struck by the importance of memory in that chapter. Kawkab Hassan, the chapter’s interviewee, talks about how the Zionists are trying to repress not just the people, but also the memory that enables revolution and uprising, and keeps the possibility of liberation alive. I was making a connection here between memory and social reproduction, the ability of people to reproduce their existence by reproducing the memory and possibility of liberation through sharing history and also sharing visions of the future. I was wondering if you could speak here a little bit about that connection between memory – remembering history – and speculative imagining of the future.



A dear friend of mine stayed at my house in Chicago recently. And then they texted me and said, what is it about you Palestinians and your houses? You know that the house is just Palestine everywhere, right? Palestine on every wall, you know, so much zaatar, like more zaatar than we could possibly eat. And I think there has been this active cultivation of memory within the Palestinian community, and within the Palestinian struggle. It’s a practice, and it’s a ritual and it’s sort of this refusal to be erased, this refusal to go away, this sense that we’re gonna be here, and we will remember, and our kids will remember. And I think part of why the Palestinian struggle is so resonant with so many people outside of the Palestinian diaspora is because it captures so much of the violence of the era that we live in. It’s the intersection of settler colonialism, white supremacy, land theft, and capitalism writ large. So I think memory becomes a practice. What you’re capturing, and I hadn’t even really thought about it this way, is that memory also always entails a future, right? So, Palestinians always say to each other, “Next time we see each other, it will be in a liberated Palestine” – it’s like a goodbye. Or on occasions, at Eid, we’ll say “Next Eid, we’ll celebrate in liberated Palestine.” The intertwining of past and future has been such an important part of how Palestinians have survived in one of the world’s largest diasporas. 

For me, on a kind of personal note, writing this chapter, I just wept through it. I just wept and wept and wept. Personality-wise, I think [the character Hassan] is very different from me. I think of her as a very gruff person, and very taciturn, and I don’t think people would describe me that way. But I think of her as a version of a potential life, right? That felt good to write. And part of it is that she’s a burnout. She’s not burdened by the kind of immigrant impulse for achievement that the likes of me are, you know? She’s just like, “Fuck school. I was never good at it. I’m leaving.” And, you know, I kind of envy her that sort of attitude. When I was done writing this chapter, I was done for a while, I couldn’t write for a couple months because I thought, how could I possibly write something else? And M.E. and our wonderful editor were like, “Wait, there’s the whole rest of the novel to get through.”



One of the lines in the novel that really stood out for me was, “Geography, in a historical telling, is a charged question, one that we need to do a lot more thinking about.” That really got me thinking about understanding the connection between places and struggles. And I was thinking about reproductive rights and trans rights in the U.S. right now. And how circumstances maybe aren’t so different here in Canada. They are different, but they’re also not so far off. And so I’m wondering if you can talk a little bit about why the left should be engaged in all struggles, and why the struggle for reproductive rights and trans liberation – regardless of geography – is an important one for people on the left.



I think there’s an extremely toxic politics circulating on the left that sees a need to distinguish between identity politics and class politics. [It’s a reaction] against neoliberal identity politics, which are obviously super bad, and really a ruling-class scam. But imagining that the left is about appealing to a kind of normative white male working-class figure of your own imagination…and that if you cater to people’s bigotry, you can sort of unwittingly draw them into supporting socialism or Medicare For All…? Medicare For All in the US is a campaign [whose] most serious militants in the US are disabled people, but there’s a whole wing of Medicare For All people who really like to strip that away to figure out how to emphasize that it’s “universal,” by which they mean white…I think that that is so destructive. It completely misreads…how oppression works under capitalism. 

I don’t think everything is necessarily part of a grand functionalist conspiracy by capital. I think the anti-abortion movement in the U.S. is largely driven by misogynistic, right-wing Christians from across classes. And most capitalists are like, “Abortion, no abortion, whatever, it’s all the same.” Unless they happen to personally be right-wing wackos, which, of course, many of them are. Capital works to fragment our lives, to produce hierarchies. To [challenge] all these questions of basic social rights, none of which are guaranteed; they all require political struggle to have a basis of freedom. And the periodic waves of fascist attack on socially marginalized people are so built into the logic of capitalist crisis and capitalist society. And people are much more likely to fight very hard [over] issues that personally really impact them, and that are resonant around their bodies, and resonant around the immediate conditions of their lives. If it’s to be anything, the left needs to be a force that takes that very, very seriously. And that is trying to think about how to support all these different struggles and how to link them together.

When Roe vs. Wade was overturned, that day I went to a rally in New York. There were tens of thousands of people there. It was remarkable. And periodically someone would yell out, “Let’s march to Foley Square!” We were miles away from Foley Square. But several hundred people would pour out. And they would weave through traffic, blocking streets for miles, and [end] up at Foley Square. Then, once at Foley Square, we kept seeing other marches come in, each of 500, 1000, 2000 people, and all of them were led by teenage girls. All of the militancy I saw there was girls who were 12, 13, 14, 15 years old, and the intensity of the stakes of it for them was very, very real. 

Abortion is obviously a profound human right, a profound ethical necessity. It’s absolutely necessary [if we’re] to have sexual freedom at all, to have sex for pleasure at all, all these things that make it enormously important. But it’s also important for the ways that it speaks to [a] really profoundly personal, very important…basic sense of dignity and freedom in our own bodies. And any [version] of the left that thinks this is a secondary thing is ultimately one that’s going to end up getting sucked into some sort of alliance with fascism.



A number of times throughout the book, you mention communization theory, which is a left-wing political tendency often associated with the journal Endnotes. Communization theory sees communist social relations as emerging directly out of periods of popular uprising, rather than, say, through the mediation of a party taking control of state institutions and transforming them. What does the idea of communization have to offer or teach people on the left more broadly?



People ask if we’re anarchists, and I don’t identify at all as an anarchist. I mean, I did 20 years ago, but not now. But Eman has spoken repeatedly about how crucial it is in our book that the crisis of capital is congruent with the crisis of the nation state, that there cannot be socialist nations… And given that we take Indigenous sovereignty seriously, the overthrow of settler colonialism, the liberation of Palestine, our adamant rejection of the nation state as a progressive form is really central to the politics of the book, and Eman played a more central role in thinking that through than I did.

Nobody knows how the revolution is going to happen. We have no idea. There was a plausible path to socialism in the minds of lots of people during a specific historical period, and that passed. And now, you have to be really dogmatic and delusional and very narrow-minded to think you have a plausible route to socialism that you need to convince lots of people to buy into. 

Communization is not another idea to try to convince people, and hopefully this book is not that. This book is not a manual for how people should struggle. If anything, I just hope it encourages more people to write revolutionary science fiction novels that have all sorts of ideas and scenarios. There’s been a protracted crisis on the left for a long time, where there are very few cohering visions. I think, basically, police and prison abolition is one of the only cohering visions of the last several waves of struggles that really made any sense at all. And I think that crisis is not one we can easily overcome. We have to think a lot more about what makes it difficult to cohere a vision of a better future in the world today. Communization offers a lot of things that I like as a set of theories. I think it theorizes this crisis of the left in a really effective way. It’s very useful for sort of making sense of why a particular path to socialism made sense for 100 years to nearly everyone, but [that path] isn’t quite what Marx said, and it isn’t anything that makes sense to very many people now. 

One of [communization’s] claims is that capitalist social relations have a tendency to persist and reproduce themselves that’s really built into the logic of capitalist society. And that if you tried to put together a version of socialism that maintains the nation state, wage labor, authoritarian workplace dynamics, the private nuclear family, all of these capitalist social institutions, what you have is not socialism. It isn’t ethically socialism. It won’t lead to communism. It won’t undermine its capitalist foundations. In fact, it’d be a reproduction of capitalist society, a new way of subjecting people to the regime of impersonal market domination.

What the benefits were, or not, of what might be called state capitalism could be debated…but there’s no evidence that it was leading to communism. Some of the people who are really adamant that it was leading to communism are now arguing that China is leading to communism, one of the major capitalist superpowers in the world. It’s such a ludicrous way of thinking. But the path to communism is figuring out how to generalize communist social relations. And the starting point should be trying to think about what kind of relationships to people, between people, help open up to a communist society… This is a much better starting place for trying to think about what communism is than a party that is committed to ruling the state as somehow a representative of a working class, when the working class is actually permanently excluded from power. I hope that this book makes communization sound like a perfectly accessible and popular idea.

The cover of Everything For Everyone, displaying New York City's boroughs in different shapes of red-maroon-purple, white subway routes snaking atop them, against a light blue background with white text.

Eman Abdelhadi is an academic, activist, and artist based in Chicago, Illinois. Her research as faculty at the University of Chicago focuses on gender differences in the community trajectories of Muslim Americans. Abdelhadi has also spent many years organizing. She has been involved in the movement for Palestinian liberation, Black Lives Matter, counter-surveillance and abolitionism, and marxist feminist mobilization, as well as workplace struggles. She is currently co-coordinating the Muslim Alliance for Gender and Sexual Diversity, a national organization that provides support and builds community by and for queer Muslims. Abdelhadi maintains an active creative practice that includes performance art and essay- and poetry-writing. Her writing has appeared in Jacobin, Muftah, and other publications.

Jesslyn Best is a social worker and community organizer from Treaty One Territory. She is a member of Solidarity Winnipeg. 

Misha Falk is a writer and academic who organizes with Solidarity Winnipeg. Her essays and journalism have been published in OpenDemocracy, Xtra, This Magazine, and Upping the Anti, and her poetry has been published in CV2 and The Quilliad. You can find her on Twitter @baritonefemme

M.E. O’Brien writes and speaks on gender freedom and capitalism. Her second book, Family Abolition: Capitalism and the Communizing of Care, will be out from Pluto Press in June 2023. She co-edits two magazines: Pinko, on gay communism, and Parapraxis, on psychoanalytic theory and politics. Her work on family abolition has been translated into Chinese, German, Greek, French, Spanish, and Turkish. You can find her on twitter @genderhorizon.