(Revolution begins in the heart.)
AN INTRODUCTION TO BAC’S THEORY OF CHANGE AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO ASK YOUR CAMPAIGN QUESTIONS.
WHAT: OPEN HOUSE FOR 99 ACTIVIST ANNUITY MEMBERS
WHERE: GLOBAL LIVE WEBCAST AND CONFERENCE CALL
WHEN: AUGUST 18 AT 10AM PST / 1PM EST / 6PM GMT+1
HOW TO REGISTER FOR BAC OPEN HOUSE:
[NOTE: The August 18 Open House was a great success. Thank you everyone who attended. If you'd like to sign up for the next BAC Open House, please follow these instructions]
- If you are not already an ACTIVIST ANNUITY member, join now in the widget below by entering your contribution amount in the Name a Fair Price box ($15 or more, suggested donation is $23 or more) and clicking Subscribe. You must be a member to participate in the open house.
- 12 hours before the open house, all ACTIVIST ANNUITY members will receive an email with instructions containing a phone number for US participants and a webcast website for non-US participants.
- Participate by calling the open house number or accessing the open house webcast. We can accommodate 99 guests. The open house will begin with a presentation on BAC’s theory of change followed by your questions.
Chuck Mertz: You’ve said, “For me, the main thing we need to see is activists abandoning a materialistic explanation of revolution—the idea that we need to put people in the streets—and starting to think about how to spread that kind of mood, how to make people see the world in fundamentally different ways. That’s about it. The future of activism is not about pressing our politicians through synchronized public spectacles.”
Do you believe that protest is far too geared toward having an impact on electoral democracy?
Micah White: I personally think that the next generation of social movements will be a hybrid between a social movement and a political party. It’ll be a kind of social movement that is able to win elections in multiple countries in order to carry out a unified global agenda. For example, the situation in Greece: imagine if SYRIZA didn’t just have the prime minister of Greece but also won elections in Germany and became the Chancellor of Germany and was able to negotiate with itself because it was a global social movement.
I think that electoral politics are still—that’s still a key battleground for social movements, and I think that social movements will probably be able to defeat traditional electoral parties. But at a deeper philosophical level of What Is Activism? and What is Protest? there is a kind of materialist secular conception that has dominated activism since Marxist historical materialism. And that materialist perspective says that the only forces that matter are the material forces.
Micah White: Well, one thing that we learned during the Arab Spring that was very important, is that revolutions are actually caused by a change in mood within a society. The Arab Spring, for example, was triggered by someone setting themselves on fire. And then more people started setting themselves on fire, basically in this demonstration of a sudden loss of fear. They were willing to sacrifice themselves to demonstrate the injustices in society.
And that fearlessness spread throughout the entire world.
Chuck Mertz: So my question is, how much is fear not just the enemy of activism and protest—but how much does it actually help activism and protest in getting people out on the streets? Is fear both an obstacle to activism as well as the fuel for activism?
Micah White: There’s one notion of activism which is that there is a ladder of engagement, and you need to lead people from the lowest, lamest levels of activism (like clicking links) to the highest levels of activism (like direct action). I think that approach is completely misguided. Instead it seems to me that what really triggers a revolutionary moment is that you ask people to do something that’s really scary.
For example with Occupy Wall Street, we said, “Hey, let’s camp in Wall Street. Let’s camp in the middle of lower Manhattan!” Which is actually a terrifying thing to do. I don’t know. Sleeping on the streets in an urban area is not something that most people are comfortable with. And so a lot of people—that gave them a little bit of butterflies in the belly, a little bit of fear. But when they saw other people doing it, all of a sudden they felt inspired. They lost their fear, and then it became a contagious kind of thing.