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Friday, August 3, 2012

Is revolution on the way? | George Lakey, Waging Nonviolence

Author, activist and college professor George Lakey has published a new book, Toward a Living Revolution: A five-stage framework for creating radical social change. 

He writes:
The role that climate change will play in creating a revolutionary situation is worth thinking about. The question isn’t whether masses of people are at this moment worried about climate change — they’re not. But what happens when people connect the dots about extreme weather, increased food prices and increased costs for public transportation? Are parents who have to choose between heating their houses and feeding their children going to believe that the country’s leadership is doing okay, while their children’s schooling is being flushed down the toilet and medical costs continue to inflate? ...
As activists, we dance with history, and there’s no telling just when history will increase the pace of the dance. Instead of trying to guess by looking at today’s level of activity, it makes more sense to increase our thoughtfulness as we prepare for tomorrow. We need to consider rigorously — that is, strategically — whether protesting one-off summits like the G8 actually prepares for revolution or, as I believe, is a waste of time that could be better used for building actual campaigns.
Lakey has been a leader in the field of nonviolent social change since the 1960s. Founder and executive director of Training for Change, he has worked in the United States with mineworkers, steelworkers and civil rights leaders, and, internationally, with South African anti-apartheid activists and Cambodian human rights organizers. His books include A Manual for Direct Action, Powerful Peacemaking: A Strategy for a Living Revolution, and Grassroots and Nonprofit Leadership: A Guide for Organizations in Changing Times. His teaching includes stints at Swarthmore College, the University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, and Temple University.

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This article is featured in today's (Aug. 3) Beyond Child's Play -- available at the Peace Now tab above and by free email subscription.

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