recently.. via this letter to Snowden:
parts of letter below.. do click image above for entire letter:
Our lack of privacy, their monstrous privacy—even their invasion of our privacy must, by law, remain classified—is what you made visible. The agony of a monster with nowhere to stand—you are accused of spying on the spies, of invading the privacy of their invasion of privacy—is a truly curious thing. And it is changing the world. Europe and South America are in an uproar, and attempts to contain you and your damage are putting out fire with gasoline.
Those who demonize you show, as David Bromwich pointed out in a fine essay in the London Review of Books, their submission to the power you exposed.
“This country is worth dying for,” you said in explanation of your great risks. You were trained as a soldier, but a soldier’s courage with a thinker’s independence of mind is a dangerous thing; a hero is a dangerous thing. That’s why the US military has made the Guardian, the British newspaper that has done the key reporting on your leaks, off limits to our soldiers overseas. Whoever made that cynical censorship decision understands that those soldiers may be defending a set of interests at odds with this country and its Constitution, and they need to be kept in the dark about that. The dark from which you emerged.
There is no one as dangerous as he or she who has nothing to lose.
Sometimes one person changes the world. This should make most of us hopeful and some of them fearful, because what I am also saying is that we now live in a world of us and them, a binary world. It’s not the old world of capitalism versus communism, but of the big versus the little, of oligarchy versus democracy, of hierarchies versus swarms, of corporations versus public interest and civil society.
We know our fate is common and that we live it out together and change it together, only together.
Someday you may be regarded as a Mandela of sorts for the information age, or perhaps a John Brown, someone who refused to fit in, to bow down, to make a system work that shouldn’t work, that should explode. And perhaps we’re watching it explode.
The match is sacrificed to start the fire. So maybe, Edward Snowden, you’re a sacrifice. In the process, you’ve lit a bonfire out of their secrecy and spying, a call to action.
I fear for you, but your gift gives us hope and your courage, an example. Our loyalty should be to our ideals, because they are a threat to the secret system you’ve exposed, because we have to choose between the two. Right now you embody that threat, just as you embody those ideals. For which I am grateful, for which everyone who is not embedded in that system should be grateful.
In a conversation with filmmaker Astra Taylor for BOMB magazine, Solnit summarized the radical theme of A Paradise Built in Hell:
What happens in disasters demonstrates everything an anarchist ever wanted to believe about the triumph of civil society and the failure of institutional authority.
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/brainpicker/status/598308620653219840
on occupy quote – compassion is our currency (heard during Alexa‘s talk at ouishare conf on radical love:
we’re breaking up – via Maria:
dec 2015 – via Maria – hope in the dark:
The grounds for hope are in the shadows, in the people who are inventing the world while no one looks, who themselves don’t know yet whether they will have any effect, in the people you have not yet heard of who will be the next Cesar Chavez, the next Noam Chomsky, the next Cindy Sheehan, or become something you cannot yet imagine. In this epic struggle between light and dark, it’s the dark side — that of the anonymous, the unseen, the officially powerless, the visionaries and subversives in the shadows — that we must hope for. For those onstage, we can just hope the curtain comes down soon and the next act is better, that it comes more directly from the populist shadows.
field guide to getting lost – via Maria
The things we want are transformative, and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation. Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration — how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory, about becoming someone else?
to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery. – walter benjamin
The word “lost” comes from the Old Norse los, meaning the disbanding of an army, and this origin suggests soldiers falling out of formation to go home, a truce with the wide world. I worry now that many people never disband their armies, never go beyond what they know. Advertising, alarmist news, technology, incessant busyness, and the design of public and private space conspire to make it so.
Never to get lost is not to live
Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing
“When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes.” buff.ly/1VcahX0
via Maria – hope in the dark 2:
Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes — you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others.
Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists.
Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting. It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not, in fact, know them afterward either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone.
Ideas at first considered outrageous or ridiculous or extreme gradually become what people think they’ve always believed. How the transformation happened is rarely remembered, in part because it’s compromising: it recalls the mainstream when the mainstream was, say, rabidly homophobic or racist in a way it no longer is; and it recalls that power comes from the shadows and the margins, that our hope is in the dark around the edges, not the limelight of center stage. Our hope and often our power.
Change is rarely straightforward… Sometimes it’s as complex as chaos theory and as slow as evolution. Even things that seem to happen suddenly arise from deep roots in the past or from long-dormant seeds.
“naïve cynicism… bleeds the sense of possibility and maybe the sense of responsibility out of people” twitter.com/ThylacineRepor…
we conduct our conversations like wars, and the heavy artillery of grim confidence is the weapon many reach for.
When Occupy Wall Street began five years ago, the movement was mocked, dismissed, and willfully misunderstood before it was hastily pronounced dead. Its obituary has been written dozens of times over the years by people who’d prefer that the rabble who blur the lines between the homeless and the merely furious not have a political role to play.
But the fruits of OWS are too many to count.
The inability to assess what OWS accomplished comes in part from the assumption that historical events either produce straightforward, quantifiable, immediate results, or they fail to matter.
This is how epochal change often begins, with efforts that fail in their direct aims but succeed in shifting the conversation and opening space for further action.
I’m interested in the people who love the world more, and in what they have to tell us, which varies from day to day, subject to subject.
‘Hope is an embrace of the unknown’: Rebecca Solnit on living in dark times https://t.co/OctdqfPzvW
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/alnoorladha/status/755185643844689922
Hope doesn’t mean denying these realities. It means facing them and addressing them by remembering what else the 21st century has brought, including the movements, heroes and shifts in consciousness that address these things now.
Hope locates itself in the premises that ..
we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act.
…an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists
Ideas at first considered outrageous or ridiculous or extreme gradually become what people think they’ve always believed.
Most of us would say, if asked, that we live in a capitalist society, but vast amounts of how we live our everyday lives – our interactions with and commitments to family lives, friendships, avocations, membership in social, spiritual and political organisations – are in essence noncapitalist or even anticapitalist, made up of things we do for free, out of love and on principle.
What we dream of is already present in the world.
This century of testimony suggested how much we want lives of meaningful engagement, of membership in civil society, and how much societal effort goes into keeping us away from these fullest, most powerful selves. But people return to those selves, those ways of self-organising, as if by instinct when the situation demands it. Thus a disaster is a lot like a revolution when it comes to disruption and improvisation, to new roles and an unnerving or exhilarating sense that now anything is possible.
One of the essential aspects of depression is the sense that you will always be mired in this misery, that nothing can or will change. There’s a public equivalent to private depression, a sense that the nation or the society rather than the individual is stuck. Things don’t always change for the better, but they change, and we can play a role in that change if we act.
We don’t know what is going to happen, or how, or when, and that very uncertainty is the space of hope
In these moments of rupture, people find themselves members of a “we” that did not until then exist,
when we wake up, …. the superpower whose nonviolent means are sometimes, for a shining moment, more powerful than violence, more powerful than regimes and armies.
added hope page while reading hope in dark
people return to those selves, those ways of self-organizing, as if by instinct when the situation demands it
recognize the radical possibilities that can be built on an alternative view of human nature..
science of people.. we have no idea
amnesia leads to despair in many ways…. when you don’t know how much things have changed, you don’t see that they are changing or that they can change..
why depression/suicide .. so seductive.. no-way/only-way out
where hope comes in, and memory, the collective memory we call history…
if there is one thing we can draw from where we are now and where we were then, it is that the unimaginable is ordinary, that the way forward is almost never a straight line you can glance down but a convoluted path of surprises, gifts, and afflictions you prepare for by accepting your blind spots as well as your intuitions..
people in official institutions devoutly believe they hold the power that matters, though the power we grant them can often be taken back
everything in the mainstream media suggests that popular resistance is ridiculous, pointless, or criminal, unless it is far away, was long ago, or, ideally, both. these are the forces that prefer the giant remain asleep.
ch 1 – looking into darkness
virginia woolf – 1915.. 6 mos into ww1: the future is dark, which is on the whole, the best thing the future can be..
again and again, far stranger things happen than the end of the world..
we adjust to changes w/o measuring them; we forget how much he culture changed
we need to hope for the realization of our own dreams, but also to recognize a world that will remain wilder than our imaginations..
power to the imagination.. demand the impossible
they didn’t push hard enough or stay long enough to collect the famous peace dividend, and so there was none. it’s always too soon to go home. and it’s always too soon to calculate effect…
the woman from wsp told of how foolish and futile she felt standing in the rain one morning protesting at the kennedy white house. years later she heard dr ben spock who had become one of the most high profile activists on issue say that the turning point for him was spotting a small groups of women standing in the rain, …
all that these transformation have in common is that they begin in the imagination, in hope. to hope is to gamble. it’s to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty is better than gloom and safety. to hope is dangerous, and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk..
to live is to risk
to live is to risk
no fear in love
hope calls for action; action is impossible w/o hope
to hope is to give yourself to the future, and that commitment to the future makes the present inhabitable.
anything could happen, and whether we act or not has everything to do with it
i want to start over, with an imagination adequate to the possibilities and the strangeness and the dangers on this earth in this moment…
ch 2 – when we lost
we felt clearly the pain of the circumstances to which we had grown numb..
stories trap us, stories free us, we live and die by stories, but hearing people have the Conversation is hearing them tell themselves a story they believe is being told to them.
hope is the story of uncertainty, of coming to terms with the risk involved in not knowing what comes next, which is more demanding than despair and in a way, more frightening. and immeasurably more rewarding.
we should recall every day how right Carlos Quijano was when he said that sins against hope are the only sins beyond forgiveness and redemption
system that empowers people at the grass roots to build their own future…. in aug 2004.. venezuelans again voted a landslide victory to the target of an unsuccessful us-backed coup in 2002, left win populist president hugo chavez
s america was neoliberalism’ great lab, and now it’s the site of the greatest refolts against that pernicious economic doctrine… … corp globalization .. commodification of everything..
we know how the slide into tyranny and fear takes place, how people fall into a nightmare, but how do they wake up from it, how does the slow climb back into freedom and confidence transpire..?
let’s try this: a nother way… to wake/free 7 bn
arundhati roy: ‘for many of us who feel estranged from mainstream politics, there are rare, ephemeral moments of celebration’… and there is far more to politics than the mainstream of elections and govts, more in the margins where hope is most at home
havel: ‘… either we have hope w/in us or we don’t; it is a dimension of the soul; it’s not essentially dependent on some particular observation of the world or estimate of the situation…. an orientation of the spirit/heart.. it transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons… ..not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for earl success, but, rather , an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.
sometimes it’s the most unlikely people who rise up and take power… the people who have an intimate sense of what’s at stake..
quiet enough to hear
waiting until everything looks feasible is too long to wait.
the old certainties are crumbling fast, but danger and possibility are sisters..
ch 3 – what we won
being right is small comfort when people are dying and living horribly, as are both the iraqis in their ravaged land and the poor kids who constitute our occupying army..
written back then.. but day i’m reading it – nov 10 2016 –
U.S. military announces that civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria are more than double previous estimate https://t.co/r0B0oeK6Xe
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/QueenNoor/status/796749042214703105
ch 4 – false hope and easy despair
authentic hope requires clarity – seeing the troubles in this world – and imagination, seeing what might lie beyond these situations that are perhaps not inevitable and immutable..
hopefulness is risky, since it is after all a form of trust, trust in the unknown and the possible, even in discontinuity. to be hopeful is to take on a different persona, one that risks disappointment, betrayal, ..
before a disease can be treated, it must be diagnosed. and you do not need to know the prescription before you diagnose a disease….bad news can be a gift/step toward hope, as long as that news can be let go when time comes..have to be able to see farther.. look elsewhere..
true – to gift/step…. and also true – to look elsewhere…. that we need to quit just diagnosing.. ie: costello screen/service law
on puritan ness.. belief that no one should have joy or abundance until everyone does, a belief that’s austere at one end, in the deprivation it endorses, and fantastical in the other, since it waits a universal utopia..
agree.. for past.. but for today.. i believe.. we have the means to leap.. and so we have the means for the dance to finally dance.. but has to be all of us.. for (blank)’s sake…
ch 5 – a history of shadows
the limelights there (onstage) are so bright tat they blind you to he shadowy spaces around you, make it hard to meet the gaze of the other people in the seats, to see the way out of the audience, into the aisles, backstage, outside, in the dark, where other powers are at work.
the idea behind representative democracy is that the audience is supposed to choose the actors, and the actors are quite literally supposed to speak for us…
no longer need this (rep democracy ness).. today.. we can all act/speak/listen/choose… everyday..
you can see the baffled, upset faces of the actors on stage when the streets become a stage or the unofficial appear among them to disrupt the planned program
change that counts in revolution takes place first in the imagination
this means, of course, that the most foundational change of all, the one from which all else issues, is hardest to track..
the revolution that counts is the one that takes place in the imagination.. revolution doesn’t necessarily look like revolution… belief can be more effective than violence.. violence is the power of the state; imagination and nonviolence the power of civil society…
using – civil – scares/unsettles me
and suddenly, almost with the swiftness of thought – whose transformation has in fact set the whole process in motion – the old regime, a moment ago so impressive, vanishes like a mirage..
on the exponential potential.. for a leap.. for (blank)’s sake…
part of the story is about the imagination and determination of a few key figures.. but part of it is about a change of heart whereby enough people came to believe that…
it was arguments, sermons, editorials, pamphlets, conversations that *changed the mind of the public: stories
*and perhaps why we’re not there yet – to global equity… begs we model a nother way rather than preach about it.. or train it.. or talk it up.. et al…
it is in these neglected places that radical power lies…
the routes to the center are seldom discussed or even explored, in part because so much attention is focused on the central stage…
what lies ahead seems unlikely; when it becomes the past, it seems inevitable..
the won’t thank a bunch of radical professors or scruffy anticapitalist street activists who were being tear-gassed for arguing the point prematurely..
which is to say, stories migrate secretly. the assumption that whatever we now believe is just common sense, or what we always knew, is a way to save face. it’s also a way to forget the power of a story and of a storyteller, the power in the margins, and the potential for change…
their amnesia is necessary to their sense of legitimacy in a society they would rather not acknowledge is in constant change..
this book is a history of the shadows, of the darkness in which hope lies..
thinking of Jason Fried‘s rework – that most gets done in the shadows
ch 6 – the millennium arrives: nov 9 1989
born summer berlin wall built
people have always been good at imagining the end of the world, which is much easier to picture than the strange sidelong paths of change in a world w/o end.
in 62.. students for a democratic society, the key org for the student movement in the us was founded and the environmental movement began to matter int he public imagination and public discourse
60s – most pervasive about all the ensuing changes is a loss of faith in authority
people found end of world easier to envision than the impending changes in everyday roles, thoughts, practices .. perhaps we should not have adjusted to it so easily. it would be better if we were astonished every day.
rev of everyday life ness.. keeps us awake/alive/real
people armed with nothing more than desire or hope brought down the wall
by acting as if they were free, the people of eastern europe became free
imagine if 7 bn do this.. mech simple/deep/open enough for all..perhaps it would be legit enough.. last long enough
havel – playwright… before became president of postcommunist czech
that both the civil rights movement and rock and roll came out of the african american south to change the world suggests a startling, resistant richness under all that poverty and oppression and evokes, yet again, the strange workings of history..
off stage ness
A Sanders-Warren ticket would have won this election. And left us a more peaceful nation. bit.ly/2eOOq9s
perhaps answers our soul’s crave.. lies in .. being off stage…
ch 7 – the millennium arrives: jan 1 1994
they were nothing so simple as socialists, and they did not posit the old vision … they affirmed women’s full and equal rights, refusing to be the revolution that sacrifices or postpones one kind of justice for another…. they did not attempt to export their revolution but invited others to find their own local version of it…. for the rest of us, the zapatistas came as a surprise and as a demonstration that overnight the most marginal, overlooked place can become the center of the world.
what we need.. what we’re missing .. is that mindset.. for 7 bn.. all at once.. we need to leap.. to a nother way.. together.. or we’ll keep missing the sync of us.. dancing..
ch 8 – the millennium arrives: nov 30 1999
ch 9 – the millennium arrives: setp 11 2001
it was not just the possibility of a war but he sense of the relation between self and world that changed, at least for americans.
to live entirely for oneself in private is a huge luxury, a luxury countless aspects of this society encourage, but like a diet of pure foie gras it clogs and narrows the arteries of the heart.
….but *most of us crave more deeply something with more grit, more substance..
*all of us.. no..?
deep enough .. for all of us
after 89 quake in san fran… the day after.. i walked around town to see people i cared about, and the world was local and immediate.. not just because the bay bridge was damaged and there were practical reasons to stay home, but because the long0term perspective from which so much dissatisfaction and desire comes was shaken too: life, meaning, value were close to home, in the present…. connected to death, to fear, to the unknown… we could feel strongly, and that is itself something hard to find in the anesthetizing distractions of this society..
after 9 11.. in brooklyn that week, a friend reported, ‘nobody went to work and everybody talked to strangers.’ what makes people heroic and what makes them feel members of a community.. i hope that one thing to come out of the end of american invulnerability would be a stronger sense of what disaster abroad…. mean and feel like…
though oil politics had much to do w what happened, we were not asked to give up driving or vehicles that gulp huge amounts of fuel; we were asked to go shopping and to spy on our neighbors..
everything to suppress… possibility of the moment… for nothing is more dangerous to them than that sense of citizenship, fearlessness, and communion with the world that is distinct from the blind patriotism driven by fear..
in fact 9 11 was largely an excuse to carry out existing agendas of imperial expansion and domestic repression.. i wish 9 11 had not happened, but i wish the reaction that hovered on the brink of being born had..
ch 10 – the millennium arrives: feb 15 2003
march -11-30 million.. first to reach all 7 continents.. against a war (iraq) that had yet to begin.. to refuse to endorse the revenge being exacted for that crime (9 11).. for those who credulously believed that iraq was somehow linked to al-qaeda…
nyt: 9 11 moment of communion born out of atrocity, but this one was born out of insurgency and outraged idealism.. it (2003 march) bore witness to a usually unspoken desire for something other than ordinary private life, of something more risky, more involved, more idealistic..
that dream did not last…
the millions marching on feb 15 represented something that is not yet fully realized, an extraordinary potential waiting, waiting for some catalyst to bring it into full flower.
yes.. that.. what we already have in each heart.. let’s unleash that..
a new imagination of politics and change is already here, and i want to try to pare away what obscures it..
ch 11 – changing the imagination of change
activism is not a journey to the corner store, it is a plunge into the unkown..
a game of checkers ends. the weather never does. that’s why you can’t save anything. saving is the wrong word, one invoked over and over again, for almost every cause…
life is never so tidy and final. only death is.
i wonder what would happen sometimes if victory was imagined not just as the elimination of evil but the establishment of good..
we are not who we were not very long ago… (ie: changing understanding of nature..)
ch 12 – on the indirectness of direct action
writing is lonely, it’s an intimate talk with the dead, with the unborn, with the absent, with strangers, with the readers who may never once to be and who even if they read you will do so weeks, years, decades later. an essay, a book, is one statement in a long conversation you could call culture or history; you are answering something or questioning something that may have fallen silent long ago, and the response to your words may come long after you’re gone and never reach your ears, if anyone hears you in the first place..
this is a model for how indirect effect can be.. how delayed, how invisible;
alex query – on someone will write it.. time writing as waste.. compared to living..
so .. cheers to hosting-life-bits ness
ch 13 – the angel of alternate history
.. nothing to see, and nothing is what victory often looks like
ch 14 – viagra for caribou
ch 15 – getting the hell out of paradise
perfection is a stick with which to beat the possible…
perhaps a deep sense of loss is contingent upon the belief in perfection
the premise is that once perfection has arrived change is no longer necessary. this idea of perfection is also why people believe in saving, in going home, an din activism as crisis response rather than everyday practice..
don’t mistake a lightbulb for the moon, and don’t believe that the moon is useless unless we land on it…. flag and golf clubs thirty-something years ago.. the moon is profound except when we land on it..
paradise is not he place in which you arrive but the journey toward it… paradise in all accounts is passive, is sedative, and if you read carefully, soulless
out of all that conviction, all that passion, one thing stood out for me: gopal dayaneni, one of the key organizers for the antiwar actions, was asked by the daily newspaper why he was getting arrested. ‘i have a soul,’ he replied..
activism, in this model, is not only a toolbox to change things but a home in which to take up residence and live according to your beliefs, even if it’s a temp and local place, this paradise of participating, this vale where souls get made..
that rts didn’t outlive its moment was also a kind of victory, a recognition that time had moved on and the focus was elsewhere..
ch 16 – across the great divide
ch 17 – after ideology, or alterations in time
cornel west came up w idea of jazz freedom fighter and defined jazz “not so much as a term for a musical art form but for a mode of being in the world, and improvisational mode of protean, fluid and flexible disposition toward reality suspicious of ‘either/or’ viewpoints.”
that similar journeys beyond binary logic and rigid ideology should be happening in such different arenas suggests that when we talk about a movement we are not talking about a specific population or a specific agenda but a zeitgeist, a change in the air.
or perhaps we should not talk about a movement, or movements, but about movement: to apprehend these wild changes is as though to see many, many groups of people get up and move around from the positions they sat in so long…
.. to reject the static utopia in favor of the improvisational journey
john jordan: our movements are trying to create a politics that challenges all the certainties of traditional leftist politics, *not by replacing them with new ones, but by dissolving any notion that we have answers, plans or strategies that are watertight or universal. in fact our strategies must be more like water itself, undermining everything that is fixed, hard and rigid with fluidity, constant movement and evolution…
*like charters replacing 500 policies with 500 policies..
we are trying to build a politics of process, where the only certainly is doing what feels right at the right time and in the right place – a politics that doesn’t wait (interesting how wait and hope are the same words in spanish) but acts in the moment..
alphonso lingus: we really have to free the notion of liberation and revolution from the idea of permanently setting up some other kind of society..
rev of everyday life..
on the need to let go – but with some safety
david: the notion of capturing position of power, either through elections or insurrection, misses the point that the aim of revolution is to fundamentally change the relations of power..
david: it is an arena in which the old distinctions between reform and revolution no longer seem relevant, simply because the question of who controls the state is not the focus of attention
revolution… not so much to go on and create the world as to live in that time of creation….. enactments of daily life…. each to participate in inventing the world..
the question then is not so much how to create the world as how to keep alive that moment of creation.. a world who’s hopefulness lies in its unfinishedness.. its openness to improvisation and participation…
ch 18 – the global local, or alteration in place
the answer to most either/or questions is both; the best response to a paradox is to embrace both sides instead of cutting off on e or the other for the sake of coherence. the question is about negotiating a viable relationship between the local and the global
define global justice movement of our time – a global movement in defense of the local
it was about belonging to a place not as a birthright but as an act of conscious engagement. in some ways bioregionalism prefigures the anti-ideologicalism of the present in that it was about adapting rather than imposing, and it s emphasis on the local meant that it wasn’t preaching a a gospel that could be exported w/o alteration. imposition is about consolidation of power; the local i’m interested in is about dispersing it..
jim dodge claims anarchy as an essential element of bioregionalism, ‘ the conviction that we as a community, or a tight, small-scale federation of communities, can mind our own business, and can make decisions regarding our individual/communal lives and gladly accept responsibilities/consequences of those decision.’.. this brings us back to he activism of the past 20 yrs.. or more, since contemporary anarchist organizing draws upon the decentralized models of the anarchists of the spanish civil war for its affinity groups, the more or less autonomous associations of five to fifteen people that constitute the basic unit of direct action
in other words, they were, or rather we are, anarchists, and this mode of organizing comes most directly out of the antinuclear movement of the 1980s, where direct democracy was established through affinity groups and spokescouncils using consensus decision-making processes (a spokescouncil is a meeting to which member affinity groups have each sent a spokesperson
yet.. again.. even deeper.. now have means to disengage from (or at least go ginorm small.. approach limit of zero/infinity).. consensus..
you can have an identity embedded in local circumstance and a role in the global dialogue, an interest in networks of connection and a loss of faith in the reality of clear-cut borders..
so this globalization of communication and of ideas can be the antithesis of the homogenization and consolidation brought by the spread of chains and braids and corps… arundhati roy: ‘the dismantling of the big – big bombs, big dams, big ideologies, big contradiction, big heroes, big mistakes. perhaps it will be the century of the small’
the ginorm small
the best way to resist a monolithic institutions or corp is not with a monolithic movement but with multiplicity itself..
the ginorm small
ch 19 – a dream three times the size of texas
dunbar-ortiz: ‘it is exactly what give you hope when you see this happen 0 when you see how hungry people are for the truth
ideas have been at least as important as law in the shift of status of indigenous americans, for even the legal gains seem to be built on a foundation of change d imagination and rewritten history.
way deeper than that.. no..?
why laws.. they should be ongoingly unfinished.. and much much less/simpler.. ie: make.. oh so much irrelevant with.. your own song ness
columbus day became a n occasion to rethink the past, and rethinking the past opened the way to a different future..
nonindigenous americans often embraced two contradictory not-so-true stories before that change.. one was that native americans had all been wiped out…we had the end of the trail, the last of the mohicans, a vanishing race, a dying nation, a doomed people, stories that might condemn the past but lest us off the hook for unfinished conflicts…. in the other key story, there never had been any native americans.. continent had been pristine, untouched, virgin wilderness… a story particularly dear to environmentalists who saw nature as a nonhuman realm….
what bridges the space between that hope and that realization..
relegated to history’s graveyard, they have, as have the zapatistas, inspired the birth of another future. ‘another world is possible’ has become a rallying cry, and in some ways this is their world, the other future drawn from another past recovered despite everything..
ch 20 – doubt
climate change is killing far more people than terrorism
‘the future is dark, which is on the whole, the best thing the future can be, i think’ said virginia woolf in the midst of the first world war, a war in which millions of young men died horribly.. they died, but not everything did. woolf committed suicide during the next war, but before that she created a body of work of extraordinary beauty and power, power put to use by women to liberate themselves in the years after woolf was gone, beauty still setting minds on fire.
Chris Bright: the basic structure of the status quo always looks so unalterable. but it’s not..
hope.. to expect to be astonished, to expect that we don’t know. and this is grounds to act..
ch 21 – journey to the center of the world
ch – looking backward – he extraordinary achievement of ordinary people – 2009
admin.. claimed we should fear mythical iraqi ‘weapons of mass destruction’ .. rarely did they mention that we had, in fact, been bombing iraq w/o interruption since 1991..
after 9 11, it could all have been different… if so.. wouldn’t have been children imprisoned.. unmanned drones slaughtering wedding parties… soldiers returning w e-3 limbs missing….trillions of dollars… taken to support war
ch – everything’s coming together while everything falls apart (2014)
“The grounds for hope are in the shadows, in the people who are inventing the world while no one looks.” Solnit 2020 brainpickings.org/2015/12/30/reb
more hope – mar 2017
Snowden – who was of course Skyping in from Moscow – said that without Ellsberg’s example he would not have done what he did to expose the extent to which the NSA was spying on millions of ordinary people. It was an extraordinary declaration. It meant that the consequences of Ellsberg’s release of the top-secret Pentagon Papers in 1971 were not limited to the impact on a presidency and a war in the 1970s. The consequences were not limited to people alive at that moment. His act was to have an impact on people decades later – Snowden was born 12 years after Ellsberg risked his future for the sake of his principles. Actions often ripple far beyond their immediate objective, and remembering this is reason to live by principle and act in hope that what you do matters, even when results are unlikely to be immediate or obvious.
The most important effects are often the most indirect.[..]Hope is a belief that what we do might matter, an understanding that the future is not yet written. It’s informed, astute open-mindedness about what can happen and what role we may play in it. ..not assuming you know what will happen when the future is unwritten, and part of what happens is up to us.[..]An old woman said at the outset of Occupy Wall Street “we’re fighting for a society in which everyone is important”, the most beautifully concise summary of what a compassionately radical, deeply democratic movement might aim to do. Occupy Wall Street was mocked and described as chaotic and ineffectual in its first weeks, and then when it spread nationwide and beyond, as failing or failed, by pundits who had simple metrics of what success should look like[..]Occupy persists, but you have to learn to recognize the myriad forms in which it does so, none of which look much like Occupy Wall Street as a crowd in a square in lower Manhattan.[..]Michel Foucault: “People know what they do; frequently they know why they do what they do; but what they don’t know is what what they do does.”….You do what you can do; you do your best; what what you do does is not up to you.[..]brought the Quaker practice of *consensus decision-making to the new group: “The idea was to ensure that no one’s voice was silenced, that there was no division between leaders and followers.”..while non-violence training, doing actions in small groups, and agreeing to a set of non-violence guidelines were not new, it was new to blend them in combination with a commitment to consensus decision-making and a non-hierarchical structure.”
What we call democracy is often a majority rule that leaves the minority, even 49.9% of the people – or more if it’s a three-way vote – out in the cold. Consensus leaves no one out
abolish highschool (2015) – ht carol black
The wild kids impressed me because, unlike the timorous high achievers I’d often been grouped with at the mainstream school, they seemed fearless and free, skeptical about the systems around them.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens, responsible for some 4,600 deaths per year. Federal studies report that for every suicide there are at least a hundred attempts — nearly half a million a year. Eight percent of high school students have attempted to kill themselves, and 16 percent have considered trying. That’s a lot of people crying out for something to change.
I once heard Helena Norberg-Hodge, an economic analyst and linguist who studies the impact of globalization on nonindustrialized societies, say that generational segregation was one of the worst kinds of segregation in the United States.
High school in America is too often a place where one learns to conform or take punishment — and conformity is itself a kind of punishment, one that can flatten out your soul or estrange you from it.
*Or it could mean something yet unimagined. I’ve learned from doctors that you don’t have to have a cure before you make a diagnosis. Talk of abolishing high school is just my way of wondering whether so many teenagers have to suffer so much. How much of that suffering is built into a system that is, however ubiquitous, not inevitable? “Every time I drive past a high school, I can feel the oppression. I can feel all those trapped souls who just want to be outside,” a woman recalling her own experience wrote to me recently. “I always say aloud, ‘You poor souls.’
when the hero is the problem: https://lithub.com/rebecca-solnit-when-the-hero-is-the-problem/
We are not very good at telling stories about a hundred people doing things or considering that the qualities that matter in saving a valley or changing the world are mostly not physical courage and violent clashes but the *ability to coordinate and inspire and connect with lots of other people and create stories about what could be and how we get there.
we keep thinking we have to come together first about an idea.. or to discuss an idea.. or what to do..
what we need most is to listen to each heart and facil that connection.. ie: augmenting interconnectedness.. the connections that are already there.. invisible et al.. till we listen deep enough
Lone hero narratives push one figure into the public eye, but they push everyone else back into private life, or at least passive life.
To concentrate on Ginsburg is to suggest that one transcendently exceptional individual at the apex of power is who matters.
maybe we need a thousand acts of kindness and connection, rather than deus ex machina drugs to mute the pain of their absence.
That’s another part of our rugged individualism and hero culture, the idea that all problems are personal and they’re all soluble by personal responsibility—or medication that helps you accept what you cannot change, when it can be changed but not by you personally.
I was thinking about all this when I was thinking about Sweden’s Greta Thunberg, a truly remarkable young woman, someone who has catalyzed climate action across the world. But the focus on her may obscure that many remarkable young people before her have stood up and spoken passionately about climate change.
We don’t have enough art to make us see and prize these human murmurations even when they are all around us, even when they are doing the most important work on earth.
has to be all of us.. everyday