Sunday, February 05, 2006

Movements and Leadership


Here is a piece from the Information Clearing House

On this super day of diversion,

It's a good read.

I have edited it here slightly.

Revolutionary Movements and Leadership

By Charles Sullivan

As a writer, I get many responses to my articles across a wide spectrum of ideologies, from all over the world. This is one of the things that make writing interesting to me—engaging people and hearing their ideas about things that matter.

Almost invariably people ask me what they can do, or who is going to lead the next great social justice movement. What follows is my response to those inquiries. Bear in mind that it is hastily crafted and intended as a rough outline—a starting point.

I will leave it to others more capable than me to build upon the foundation I have laid; or if necessary to start anew.

As the result of our hurried lifestyle, we live in a relatively intellectually shallow culture that has been softened by the idea of instant gratification. When we are sick we take a pill with the expectation that it will quickly make our malady disappear. We rarely consider the underlying causes of illness and disease.

Our meals are rarely savored: they are prepared quickly and eaten in haste. Everything we do is predicated upon speed. This, I believe, has led to a kind of intellectual laziness that is prevalent among Americans, more than anywhere else in the world.

We want quick fixes, easy answers—instant gratification. We want someone to lead us and tell us what to do, in essence relieving us of the burden of personal responsibility we know is ours.

Let us come to understand, however, that the complex problems facing not only America, but also the world, have no simple or easy solutions. If solutions exist—not all problems can be solved by mortal minds—these issues will require deep thought and long and persistent effort on the part of many.

If we are serious about the business of revolution we must not only be committed to meaningful change, we must be in it for the long haul. Unfortunately, change often occurs at glacial speed, not at the velocity of light, as we might hope.

Even when change appears to happen very quickly, it only appears that way after a long hard struggle on the part of many to reach critical mass.

When critical mass is reached, and we rarely know exactly where we are in relation to it, then things happen quickly and dramatically. But it is a long and difficult process that leads up to critical mass.


Creative and visionary ways must be found to bring groups of people together in common causes that may appear to be unrelated, but which are in fact interrelated. I will leave that to minds more brilliant than my own, but I will participate.

Ours will be a movement that gives voice to the voiceless, wherever they are, whatever they do. Uniting thousands of smaller issues into a great river of revolutionary activism is the only thing that will set us free. Many of these movements already exist—we have only to join forces with them.

It is a monumental undertaking that will require relentless effort, self sacrifice, and commitment to the larger common cause. Uniting all of these disparate factions and moving them forward under a social justice umbrella, pushing forward in unison against our oppressors gives us enormous power that is virtually unstoppable.

It is a power that can remake civilization by working toward the common good, by looking out for each other.

It requires a different way of thinking than the one we are accustomed to.

This way of thinking and doing stresses cooperation over competition and exploitation.

We will be creating a global Commonwealth that tolerates and celebrates diversity. It will be based upon mutual respect and concern for the welfare of others.

This requires a new paradigm—that of the Commonwealth, which is really an old paradigm that has served humankind well for thousands of years. From this moment forth let us not work for private gain and individual wealth; let us work for the common good of everyone, everywhere.

Let us recognize that no one can be free until everyone is free.

Let those with technical expertise now come forward to organize global forums online so that we can share ideas, even as we set out to change our respective communities. Let us not only begin talking among ourselves; let us begin the work that we know must be done—work that we can do ourselves beginning this very moment.

Let us come together for peace, whatever name we give to it. Everything we do matters—the effect is cumulative.

This hope for remaking civilization in the image of the common people, rather than the money changers, must rise, like a Phoenix, out of the ashes of Capitalism.

That will be a glorious day.

Let us begin the Great Work."


"Too long have the workers of the world waited for some Moses to lead them out of bondage. I would not lead you out if I could; for if you could be lead out, you could be led back again. I would have you make up your minds there is nothing that you cannot do for yourselves." --Eugene Victor Debs - December 18, 1905


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are sounding more and more like an old revolutionary instead of a modern evolutionary.

11:01 AM  
Blogger oZ said...

Old revolutionaries are not to be discounted, but new realities are upon us, which require a completely different set of calls to action.

For example, Marx's value of labor dissolves in a reduced labor/ robotic future where labor itself must become an intelligent player, not a source of distraction.

In this future, programming and internet skills becomes the tools for the social and economic remaking of our world.

Most of our jobs today are rediculous sucking leeches on our resources and time.

An advanced society would measure its success by how high the unemployment rate is, not how low.

more on this later.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Step Back said...

I very much agree with the general sentiment that "capitalism" alone (meaning, the mindless drive for maximized profit, greed is good, bottom line= itself) cannot be the salvation for the new woes which the human race faces.

WE have switched over (tipped over) from a species that faces extinction due to under-population and competition from other species to one that faces extinction due to over-population and unbridled dominion over all other species (except the germs).

Capitalism cultivates the reptilian core of the human brain, as do some other religions, to emphasize that self-centered behavior is the ultimate good (i.e., serving the one God: "profit," to the exclusion of all other worships).

What is needed is a new culture that cultivates the limbic brain layer and forces an acknowledgement that we are not islands to ourselves and that "profit" is not a true accounting of how the pieces of the world add up into a sustainable whole.

Good post!

6:04 AM  

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