Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Living by the Clock of the World: Grace Lee Boggs’ Call for Visionary Organizing By: Matthew Birkhold Date Published: April 17, 2012

"...Grace Lee Boggs recently told .. activists should turn our backs on protest organizing because it “leads you more and more to defensive operations” and “Do visionary organizing” because it “gives you the opportunity to encourage the creative capacity in people and it’s very fulfilling.” ... ...we need to understand ... historical perspective ...also need to understand how visionary organizing differs from protest organizing...the way history develops means that ideas that were progressive or even revolutionary in one era, can become mental roadblocks to progress in another era. ... Rebellion, Revolution & the Clock of the World ...the present is the culmination of thousands of years of human responses to structural conditions. These responses include consent to state policies, rebellion against them, and revolutions. In the development of human history, ...rebellions were important because, contrary to consent, they represented moments when oppressed people stood up to assert their humanity by protesting what society has done to them. .. They do not yet see themselves responsible for reorganizing society, which is what revolutionary social forces must do.” ... ...revolutions create new societies because they begin with “projecting the notion of a more human human being” whose development has been limited by structural conditions. Revolutions ...create societies more conducive to human development. A revolution is not for the purpose of resolving past injustice. ... ...Grace and James asked, “What time is it on the clock of the world?” They answered by visualizing 3,000 years of human history on a clock where every minute represented fifty years and argued that the age of revolutions was only four or five minutes old. Scientific revolutionary thinking, as represented by Marx and Engels, was just wo minutes old, and the epoch of global revolution represented by the anticolonial struggles of the 1950s-60s was a mere thirty seconds old. In 1974, the US Civil Rights Movement began merely 15 seconds ago..."
Wonderful read. Thank you. It makes me rethink the question: How much is "enough"? Capitalism breeds insecurity for everyone, even the wealthiest of the wealthy, so greed and confusion ensue in a fruitless effort to quench a bottomless pit of fear for survival. It doesn't matter that someone has twenty mansions -there is no security in this system. So how do any of us truly understand that whatever "comfort" we try to buy it won't work? There is no "back door" to get out of class oppression. As long as anyone is targeted everyone is vulnerable. We probably all have to shift our mind set to a search for having the largest, most human life possible. Not look for "formulas" for what we should "sacrifice". For those currently in poverty (either by global or US standards) "enough" might mean "more". For the middle/owning class it will mean "less". For those of us who have any class privilege it is key to uproot our own fears of survival and honestly take on our own confusions. It is helpful to remember that for the poor, survival has often depended on helping each other and on building relationships - they know this. We have a lot to learn from this group. As someone who was raised poor I remember well the feeling as a child that it must be okay with society that my family was on the edge. How do we make it concretely clear to people that we see what is going on and it is NOT okay with us. Not just ask them to "live simply" or to "sacrifice" or tell them they are "privileged" compared to the rest of the world. We have to acknowledge the terror of living so close to that edge. It would be useful to notice that all of us tried to navigate this ruthless system with the tools we were raised with. Now, we have a chance to challenge it with fresh thinking and a fierce refusal to participate blindly. And not fall into the trap of unawarely buying into the ethos of this brutal system by an intention to target any human with destruction. This system is already on a juggernaut towards it's own self-destruction. We can guide it's demise as best we can. We each get to take seriously our "responsibility for reorganizing society" so that we can finally try to be a "more human human being".