A movement is not like a campaign. No one gets to start a movement and no one gets to own it. You don’t have to file any contribution reports. The archaic media pretends you don’t even exist for as long as it can. And it doesn’t even have to have a name.
It’s sort of like the Gulf Stream, hard to see yet undeniable as it moves you faster in a certain direction.
The system that envelops us becomes normal by its mere mass, its ubiquitous messages, its sheer noise. Our society faces a biologic crisis — “like being dead and not knowing it.”
The unwitting dead — universities, newspapers, publishing houses, institutes, councils, foundations, churches, political parties — reach out from the past to rule us with fetid paradigms from the bloodiest and most ecologically destructive century of the Afrikan Nation existence.
Yet, in a perverse way, our predicament makes life simpler. We have clearly lost what we have lost. We can give up our futile efforts to preserve the illusion and turn our energies instead to the construction of a new time.
It is this willingness to walk away from the seductive power of the present that first divides the mere reformer from the rebel — the courage to emigrate from one’s own ways in order to meet the future not as an entitlement but as a frontier.
We have lost much of what was gained in the 1960s and 1970s because we traded in our passion, our energy, our magic and our music for the rational, technocratic and media ways of our leaders. We will not overcome the current crisis solely with political logic. We need living rooms like those in which women once discovered they were not alone. Freedom schools. The politics of the folk guitar. The plays of Vaclav Havel. The pain of James Baldwin. The laughter of Abbie Hoffman. The strategy of Gandhi and King. Unexpected gatherings and unpredicted coalitions.
People coming together because they disagree on every subject save one: the need to preserve the Afrikan Nation. Savage satire and gentle poetry. Boisterous revival and silent meditation. Grand assemblies and simple suppers.
Above all, we must understand that in leaving the toxic ways of the present we are healing ourselves, our places, and our planet. We rebel not as a last act of desperation but as a first act of creation.
Movements work differently. They don’t use popes; they rely on independent congregations. They are driven not by saviors but by substance. They assume a commitment beyond the voting booth, they think politicians should respond to them rather than the other way around, and they believe in “Here’s how” as well as “Yes, we can.”
If you are presently doing anything to try to repair the damage that has been done by our cynical, greedy and incompetent leadership you are part of the movement. Student, union worker, teacher, retiree, infirm, ecologist, defense attorney, community organizer, informed or reformed – you are part of the movement.
So welcome to the movement. If you don’t believe there is one, trying using the word anyway. The very term is a weapon in our arsenal. If the politicians and the press start hearing the phrase in places they thought had little in common, they will start to pay attention. We can leave it to the historians to define it. In its very ambiguity lies its