Posts Tagged ‘organizing’

Did she say “revolution”?

March 28, 2009

Naomi Klein speaks at the National Conference on Media Reform:

Now I want to return to another moment of profound crisis, after the market crash of 1929, that was the moment that created the new deal. Now it didn’t happen because FDR was a great guy. It happen because people in this country were so radicalized, so determined, so organized that he was able to sell the New Deal to the elites as a compromise because the alternative was Revolution.

Matt Taibbi writes about the 2009 financial crisis:

And all this happened at the end of eight straight years devoted to frantically chasing the shadow of a terrorist threat, eight years spent stopping every citizen at every airport to search every purse, bag, crotch and briefcase for juice boxes and explosive tubes of toothpaste. Yet in the end, our government had no mechanism for searching the balance sheets of companies that held life-or-death power over our society.

Then he says something interesting about democracy, education, and revolution as a two way street:

By creating an urgent crisis that can only be solved by those fluent in a language too complex for ordinary people to understand, the Wall Street crowd has turned the vast majority of Americans into non-participants in their own political future. There is a reason it used to be a crime in the Confederate states to teach a slave to read: Literacy is power. In the age of the CDS and CDO, most of us are financial illiterates. By making an already too-complex economy even more complex, Wall Street has used the crisis to effect a historic, revolutionary change in our political system — transforming a democracy into a two-tiered state, one with plugged-in financial bureaucrats above and clueless customers below.

“No fue fácil. Nos costó.”

February 18, 2009

John Gibler presented his work, Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt at SFU, Monday February 16, on his North American book tour. Howard Zinn has this to say about Gibler’s book:

Gibler shares the voices, stories, and communal dignity of the ordinary Mexicans who are putting their lives at risk by challenging corrupt power as they build social movements for basic rights, justice, and autonomy. An exciting first book by emerging young writer.

It was a pretty good multi-media presentation.  I came away with a couple new feelings/ideas.

One, came after seeing a documentary on the women’s takeover of the state television station. The way the women used the station, turned it into a twenty-one day conversation about their lives, was eye-opening. They showed the power of media to create and promote a connecting dialogue. It’s an inspiring idea.

The second moment of deep education came when Erika Del Carmen Fuchs responded to a comment in a small discussion on the possibilities of creating social change here in Vancouver. She made a distinction between the presentation and organizing, “What we are doing here is not organizing. I want to make it clear that this is not organizing.” In the moment, it was a powerful statement. The dialogue had turned to the difficulty of changing minds, getting messages out. The more-or-less-like-minded audience, was working this idea thoroughly. There was a strong pessimistic flavour to the conversation, and then Erika Del Carmen Fuchs stopped the conversation to make the distinction. For me, she turned what was a defeatist tone completely around. It was a reminder that making social change is hard. It doesn’t happen through consciousness alone, but through consciously organized action. The question then changes from “How do we get people to care about X?” to “What can we do to change X?” It’s easy to care, but organizing a change, that’s hard.  Erika Del Carmen Fuchs also pointed out that 10 years of organizing went into the Zapatista uprising. The reminder that it’s possible, that it’s not easy, and that it takes organization, real work that actually changes something, was inspiring.