The world with which we on the left are confronted today is fraught with dangers and anxieties. The constant march of 40 years of neoliberalism has given way to the rising tides of white nationalism, ecofascism, and alienation. The beacons of the left that once lit the path to shore have grown dim and movements for popular liberation find themselves forced into lifeboats to escape the waves of reaction, while the rich and powerful slip away to their megayachts for their party at the end of the world.

PLR chose the theme of rising tides to highlight what we are truly up against. Our reality is a dire one. Will we be crushed underneath the crashing waves of climate disaster? Will the leviathan of fascism cast us against the rocks and send us to the depths? Will the sirens of reform lead us astray? The lighthouses that once shown so bright are now defunct, and no ship is coming to rescue us.

The effects of climate change are already here and ravaging our most vulnerable communities. Now, the incompetence of our political and economic system in adequately addressing the crisis of COVID-19 has intensified the disaster. Techno-fantasies will not save us; our only hope for salvation is organizing to provide direct aid in response to the global pandemic and climate collapse. Frontline communities fighting back against the plundering of the earth and reckless disregard for workers by massive corporations are the only viable solution. We protect us.

Fascists are already exploiting a decaying liberal order to push a monstrous vision of violence and genocide. It is not the neoliberal state that will save us. It is antifacist and antiracist resistance that can beat back white nationalism and dismantle these vile structures of exploitation and oppression. It is communities recognizing our collective duty to defend, protect, and uplift every single member that will turn back the fascist tide.

Capitalism seeks to snuff out any hope for a vision of something better. It gives us dreamless sleep and a waking nightmare of misery and suffering. But our collective histories and traditions have kept the flame of liberation alive, through the rain and wind, through the storms of right wing hegemony.

We hope that the works presented in this issue will help keep that flame alight in the hearts and minds of our community. And that these glimpses into a socialist future will inspire you to see yourself not as a lonely voice against an inevitable dystopia, but as part of a working class movement to save the planet and each other. For even being cast adrift in this ocean of reaction, solidarity with one another in our fight against oppression is the greatest weapon we have.

The voices of the marginalized and oppressed are our North Star. Even in this moment of despair, there is hope for a better world. It is easy to give into pessimism in the face of the forces we are up against. But it is our collective strength that will keep us afloat. And it is our collective struggle that will guide us home.

Love & Solidarity // The Piedmont Left Review Editorial Collective