Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
Jan. 28, 2014
Thesis: We cannot be effective activists if we work alone. We cannot be truly radical without cultivating love and compassion for our fellow humans (and non-humans). We cannot be a revolutionary if we expect oppressed communities to bear the burden of enlightening us. We cannot help inspire drastic social change without embracing self-education.
Yeah, I know. Activism is often like high school. Cliques, drama, egos, petty squabbles evolving into deep chasms. It’s so damn tempting to write off all those so-called comrades who don’t share your epic vision or your one-of-a-kind discipline or your... whatever. You’ll start the damn revolution all alone. Who needs them, right?
You need them. We all need “them.” For so, so, so many reasons. For example: it’s collective efforts that create the checks and balances. Unless we work as a team, we might aim our rage and anger at the wrong targets. Without a community around you, it’s easy to slide into misanthropy (a common trap for animal rights activists). Without face-to-face comradeship, privilege can and will remain dangerously unchecked.
As activists, we learn in many ways but perhaps the most powerful catalyst occurs during group interactions. This is where we check and shape each other, how we create shared visions and values in order to move forward together. But remember: It’s not the responsibility of the oppressed and marginalized communities to educate the privileged.
“This is an old and primary tool of all oppressors to keep the oppressed occupied with the master’s concerns,” writes Audre Lorde. “This is a diversion of energies and a tragic repetition of racist patriarchal thought.”
The onus is on each and every one of us to commit to a lifetime of self-education and thus, radical evolution. Activism is not a product, but a process. We don’t graduate and get a degree. We don’t ever “finish” our training. True activists remain a perpetual work-in-progress.
The planet doesn’t need perfection. It needs commitment. Mother Earth doesn’t need loners. She needs teammates. We must break the cycle of isolation and meet face-to-face. We must also remain aware of our allies who -- for financial, health-related, or other reasons -- cannot always adapt to plans and schedules. Cultivate sensitivity and solidarity for all who wish to join the struggle. We can and must celebrate our differences without assigning privilege to them.
“In a world of possibility for us all,” adds Lorde, “our personal visions help lay the groundwork for political action.”
We are on the brink of economic, social, and environmental collapse. What an extraordinary time to be alive. How lucky are we? We've been trusted with the most vital mission of all time: survival.
This is the best time ever to be working towards collective liberation. Let’s join together to make sure it’s not the last.
Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recentlyOccupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.
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Collective Efforts + Self-Education = Social Change by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://worldnewstrust.com/collective-efforts-self-education-social-change-mickey-z.