Though we live enmeshed within capitalism, many people don’t know what it is or how it actually functions. We have to understand *why* it’s structurally impossible to reform, so that we can deal with the necessity—and assume our responsibility—not to fix it (because exploitation and oppression are built into it from the start) but to do away with it, and to figure out all that will entail. We may in fact be the last generation with the opportunity to do this.
Capitalism is a mode of production characterized by conversion of the natural world into surplus value (embodied in commodities), via the exploitation of labor. Under this system, one section of people monopolizes the means of production (which includes the means of subsistence), and the others are forced to sell their labor power to survive.