"An optimist isn't necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the
dark of our time. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly
romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not
only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage,
kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will
determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our
capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places--and
there are so many--where people have behaved magnificently, this gives
us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this
spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in
however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian
future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live
now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is
bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory. -Howard Zinn
"There are limits to [what can be accomplished through] protest. We need a politics of liberation...Protest alone won't produce the kind of society that many of us dream about. It won't create the conditions of our liberation. In part because liberation requires a transformation of the culture, a transformation of the way we think, what we do, it requires deep connections to communities and developing new ways of thinking. Liberation cannot be seized of toppled, Nor is it driven by anger, frustration, or oppression. It's a struggle to change ourselves, and in the process to build what we might call 'the beloved community'. I know that sounds corny, but, 'The beloved community' in some ways is what we're trying to achieve...Capitalism, we know how destructive it is, but we have to really think about, Where do we go from here? What does the beloved community look like?
"In fact what's interesting about the film we saw at the beginning, it kind of set the stage...the part where the Zapatistas talk about how to create community, you know, how to re-arrange the land, and how to speak to one another, because in some ways, that's the most dangerous, revolutionary thing we can do, you know? I mean, battling the police is dangerous, but re-making ourselves... For many of us on the left, protest has become a way for us to connect, it becomes a cultural way of life..in some ways it's very very important, but we have to think about other ways to build solidarity. Protests are generally acts of self-defense. They're ephemeral coalitions, or united fronts, when people come together to stop some destructive acts of policies.
"Social movements on the other hand, are affirmative, collective struggles to build a new society -- hopefully -- and we can look at struggles of freed people to build democracy in the South during Reconstruction, we could look at the civil rights movement, the poor people's campaign, we could look at the feminist movement, perhaps social Unionist, there's all kinds of examples. And all these movements have tried to change the culture. They've created institutions [which are] anchored in communities, and challenged [existing] Power at the level of ideology. Most of these movements generated visions of a different society, visions that were produced by collectives, and shaped by struggle. And it should be remembered that some of the most radical social movements worked under conditions of duress that are worse than what we face today. [during Reconstruction and other examples] ..They built and sustained powerful, democratic institutions in their communities..they tried to create a community culture based on mutuality, based on respect and sharing...at heart was an ethos that said, "we're in this together, we will help each other survive"..the most important thing I want to emphasize here is that they tried to create the future in the present. They tried to create the future in the present...What I want to advocate tonight is that in addition to, not in place of, but in addition to the kind of protest that we're all going to be engaged in, we should follow the lead of..grassrootes organizations and begin to build the future in the present. We need to connect with local communities and help build institutions that allow us to remake ourselves, that create spaces that allow us to dream of a different future and enact those dreams.
"We need to live the future in the present.. we need revolution. Revolution is a word that we can't be afraid of. We need revolution -- the survival of much of the world depends on it. But what is revolution? It's not burning down buildings, or the violent seizure of the State or [even] filling Central Park with anti-Bush [demonstrators]..that's not revolution. It means developing a vision of a new world, and working to build it, and, wherever it's possible, to live it. To create our communities as liberated zones, and try to figure out how to become what we want to be. It means putting some of the old books aside and drawing on the wells of our collective imagination. An imagination fired by active participation in the very social movements in which we're involved...It means engaging with real people [not only] on the internet and demonstrations..It means self-transformation and community participation..
-Robin Kelly, Life After Capitalism. Transcribed
by EconomicDemocracy.org from an online talk [search in www.radio4all.net]
"The true criterion of the practical, therefore, is not whether the
latter can keep intact the wrong or foolish; rather, is it whether the
scheme has vitality enough to leave the stagnant waters of the old,
and build, as well as sustain, new life. In the light of this
conception, Anarchism is indeed practical. -Emma Goldman
"Strange is our situation here on earth. However, there is one thing
that we do know, we are here for the sake of others. Above all, for
those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends. And,
also, for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected
by a bond of sympathy." - Albert Einstein
"Our ignorance is not so vast as our failure to use what we know."
-M. King Hubbert
"If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world?
There's nothing to it.."
-Smoking Popes, "Pure Imagination".
"Strange is our situation here on earth. However, there is one thing that we do know, we are here for the sake of others. Above all, for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends. And, also, for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy." - Albert Einstein
"Our ignorance is not so vast as our failure to use what we know." -M. King Hubbert
"If you want to view paradise
"...to defend and conserve oneself as a human being in the fullest, truest sense, one must defend and conserve many others and much else. What would be the hope of being personally whole in a dis-membered society, or personally healthy in a land scalped, scraped, eroded, and poisoned, or personally free in a land entirely controlled by the government, or personally enlightened in an age illuminated only by TV?" Wendell Berry
"Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand. It is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy." - Wendell Berry
[Concerning peak oil, global warming and other fast approaching calamities] "Shouldn't some of us be making plans for that? And by 'plans' I don't just mean plans for personal survival, because I don't think that's likely to work. If you have a, say you built the perfect vegetable garden, and you have your solar panels and so on, well, if your neighbors are starving, and they have a shotgun, guess who's going to be eating out of your garden? So even if you get a shotgun, ok, you can defend it, well, you've got to sleep sometime, and so on, you can follow such scenarios yourself, in your own mind. So I'm not talking about individual survivalism..
"What I'm thinking of is some way, some community efforts to retain and preserve some of the benefits, some of the achievements of the last several centuries...So what I'm advocating in that last chapter of the book is the creation of communities of cooperation, mutual survival, and mutual aid. Communities that would be of service to the surrounding society, providing them with knowledge, with mechanisms and means for [techniques of] conflict resolution, with inspiration, with seeds for food production, practical skills, and so on. Communities of service, that would be supported by the surrounding population, because they would be providing these necessary survival skills and services. I think the time to start building those cooperative service communities is now -- before the crunch hits. There already are a number of these communities around the country and around the world, I've visited a number of them, and I admire unreservedly the people who are making the considerable effort to devote their lives to this task.
"Some of them call themselves EvoVillages. And the people there, have to be generalists, they have to know about food production and alternative home building [methods] and so on, but I have to say, that the people who I've met who are devoting themselves to this way of life are generally pretty optimistic and happy, because even though they realize the dire state that the world as a whole is in, at least they have the satisfaction of knowing that they're doing the best thing that they could possibly do to help what's best about us to survive for the next generations.." -Richard Heinberg (from interview; stream or download mp3)
"We want structures serving people, not people serving structures"
"Don't get caught up in the spectacle of opposition. Oppose the spectacle"
"the future will only contain what we put into it now" --1968 Paris Commune graffiti