We Need A Cultural Revolution
That's right. I said it. Why do we need a cultural revolution in the United States? Despite being (supposedly) the most advanced, richest country on the planet, we still hold on to ham-fisted puritanical and capitalist attitudes with regards to human relationships (Especially romantic/sexual relationships, as clearly demonstrated by the recent circus put on by our reality TV government with the help of corporate media outlets).
After being subjected to constant exploitation and alienation from our labor, ourselves and each other for centuries, it's safe to say the time is ripe for such a revolution.
Some may say that FDR's New Deal was a revolution of sorts, but this is not the case. Despite allowing workers to have some say in the work place and the rise in living standards that followed, the measures were temporary at best. The prevailing puritanical and capitalist attitudes with regards to human interaction still remained. Class stratification, apartheid and imperialism still remain the order of the day.
Now, I know some are thinking "But what about the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts?" or, "What about Affirmative Action?" Put simply, all it did was give a few people of color a chance to participate in and legitimize our empire's continued plunder while their bretheren still got the shaft. We weren't the first to think of affirmative action, either. In fact, libertarian goddess Ayn Rand was a recipient of affirmative action herself under the bolshevik government.
One should also not forget Social Security and Medicare's apartheid origins. Farm hands and domestic workers (most of which were people of color) were excluded from receiving both until the 1980s despite the fact that they were paying into it.
The 1980s was also the decade the capitalists decided to roll back the token concessions given to workers. After all, the Soviet Union was near death after the US capitalists goaded them to intervene in revolutionary Afghanistan (We trained the Mujahideen to put down the revolutionary forces there, leading to said forces to petition the Soviets for aid), so effectively speaking, there was nothing to challenge capitalist hegemony, especially after Gorbachev and Yeltsin sold off the Communist International for a slice of cheap pizza.
The rollbacks have left us without a country, completely alienated in every sense. Everything has been reduced to little more than a transaction, a purchase (a libertarian's wet dream). A vote. A meager offering in the megachurch collection plate while the preacher tells the congregation everything is their fault. This is one of many reasons a genuine cultural revolution is needed.
What would this look like? All one would have to do is take a look at revolutionary China after Chiang Kai-shek and the American-backed nationalists were expelled and before that, they were dealing with an opium epidemic brought on by the British East India Company. Initially they had problems during the Great Leap Forward. They tried to work within a prevailing meritocratic attitude that had persisted for almost as long as China herself.
Suffice it to say, when the Chinese Communist Party initially took over, they saw everything they opposed in a different light. They peasantry they initially supported and who had supported them had been greatly ignored while urban areas saw vast improvement. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the area of education. There was an obsession with passing exam after exam. This usually led to positions as government officials if folks managed to make it to the college level.
Meanwhile, in rural areas, education was practically nonexistent, and because the peasants were largely illiterate, they had no way to fight for their own rights for the simple fact they knew not how. This led to many problems and tragedies, as the village leaders were still obsessed with pleasing superiors and the peasants were always taught to keep their head down. It also didn't help that many rural areas were dealing with massive drought and flood events which led to mass mobilization by the villagers in rural counties (It is also likely that this is where most western demographers get their massively exaggerated death figures).
The failures in the Great Leap Forward were what led to the Cultural Revolution. With said revolution came massive improvements in industrialization, farming, rural education and the like in an effort to abolish the class system that had been in place for so long.
That isn't to say Mao Zedong didn't face opposition in his own party. Deng Xiaoping had largely opposed Mao from the start, though he did go along with the policies of the Leap and the Cultural Revolution, if only for his own personal gain. After Mao died, Deng took over and rolled back the changes made during the Cultural Revolution, beginning with the improvements in rural education because according to China's Ronald Reagan, rural schools weren't "real schools". And so, with that, the restoration of capitalism in China began, with China and her people being worse off for it.
If we are to have a cultural revolution of our own, we can't repeat the failures of The New Deal or Great Society because they never went far enough to abolish the underlying cultural attitudes that led to the failures of both in the first place.