Movement building

“Power concedes nothing

without a demand.” Frederic Douglass

As well as figuring out how we can frame things in our own interests, we also need to be aware of how what we do fits into the bigger picture. If our aim is to make any important fundamental institutional change history will tell us the first thing to understand is, we can’t do it on our own. No matter how well we understand the situation, institutional change – that is changing the top layer of power, those who have all the money, the resources will not budge, unless there is a big enough mass movement strong enough to challenge them.

How this mass movement is created, or if we already have one, organised, is what our efforts should be put towards. We already have the capabilities and power to change things, but that power is dissipated and short circuited against a massive corporate owned propaganda system; a state education system that is more and more aligning itself to business needs rather than those of the pupils and students, a technologically aided global network of exploitation, environmental devastation and war. Not to mention a resistance and grass roots, wracked by identity politics, distraction and consumerism.

How do we recognise these things and understand them before we proceed, but not dwell on them to the extent that they debilitate us. To do so leads to cynicism which is by far the greatest enemy of movement building. And it needs to be remembered the poor who suffer the most in our society do not need lectured by the “educated” on the reasons for their circumstances, but rather, on how they can articulate the ideas and process that can help to change them.

Movement building is different from protesting, in as much as it is about vision, responsibility, shaping new ideas and improving on old ones. But coordinating these efforts and ideas into a movement powerful enough to challenge existing power structures. Structures that will not change unless they are forced to by a greater power, that of the masses -The organised masses.

The idea that professionals have a right to serve the public is thus of very recent origin. Their struggle to establish and legitimate this corporate right becomes one of our most oppressive threats
Ivan Illich