A Revolutionary Period

Grace LeeDay 36 of our Lenten Journey continues beyond “Beyond Vietnam.”  What now?  For our final dozen days, we will listen to voices calling us onwards, to live out the legacy of Dr. King.  

From the late Grace Lee Boggs (photo right, with husband Jimmy) in The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the 21st Century (2012)

…we need to see ourselves not as victims but as new men and women who, recognizing the sacredness in ourselves and in others, can view love and compassion, in the words of Martin Luther King, not as “some sentimental and weak response” but instead as “the key that unlocks the doors which leads to ultimate reality.”

…we are beginning to understand that the world is always being made and never finished; that activism can be the journey rather than the arrival; that struggle doesn’t always have to be confrontational but can take the form of reaching out to find common ground with the many ‘others’ in our society who are also seeking ways out from alienation, isolation, privatization and dehumanization by corporate globalization.

Rebellions break the threads that have been holding the system together. They shake up old values so that relations between individuals and groups within society are unlikely ever to be the same again.  But rebels see themselves and call on others to see them mainly as victims.  They do not see themselves as responsible for reorganizing society which is what the revolutionary social forces must do in a revolutionary period.

In other words, because rebellions do not go beyond protesting injustices, they increase the dependency rather than the self-determination of the oppressed.

Jimmy and I felt that our main responsibility as revolutionaries was to go beyond “protest politics,” beyond just increasing the anger and outrage of the oppressed, and concentrate instead on projecting and initiating struggles that involve people at the grassroots in assuming the responsibility for creating the new values, truths, infrastructures, and institutions that are necessary to build and govern a new society.

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