Posts Tagged ‘social movements’

Waves of Consciousness

March 1, 2009

Murray Bookchin on the 1960s. In The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy .

Almost intuitively, new values of sensuousness, new forms of communal lifestyle, change in dress, language, music, all borne on the wave of a deep sense of impending social change, infused a sizable section of an entire generation. We still do not know in what sense this wave began to ebb: whether as a historic retreat or as a transformation into a serious project for inner and social development.

Hunter S. Thompson. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream .

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

Letter to Felix Guattari on Social Practice. in Antonio Negri. The Politics of Subversion: A Manifesto for the Twenty-First Century . Translated by James Newell. 1989 Polity Press. Cambridge.

We have been defeated. The culture and the struggles of the sixties were defeated in the seventies. The eighties have witnessed the consolation of the victory of capitalism.

“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.