Saturday, June 9, 2012

Resistance is the secret to joy

I've written about the "pots and pans" protest in Montreal. It started over tuition hikes and has expanded from there. The Quebec government is now listening. Even though it isn't over yet, essayist Terrence Heath says there are many lessons from the Maple Spring (great phrase!) the rest of the progressive movement can use.

* The protests renew the spirit of democracy and bring a fresh language to the issues. The Occupy Movement switched the discussion from "shared sacrifice" to "economic injustice."

* It doesn't happen overnight. Those tuition hikes have been in the works for a while and students worked to build the movement in that time. Progressives need to work on movement-building.

* Sustained resistance works. Though Occupy encampments may have been evicted, the movement is still alive and growing.

* Realize social conditions are not inevitable. Though the 1% is working towards hopelessness, we can change things. As Funkadelic said, "Free your mind… and your ass will follow." (This is actually the name of an album from 1970, though I agree with Heath that the phrase is appropriate).

* Remember the consequences of political paralysis. Chris Hedges of Truthdig wrote: "The longer we endure political paralysis, the longer the formal mechanisms of power fail to respond, the more the extremists on the left and the right—those who venerate violence and are intolerant of ideological deviations—will be empowered."

* Resistance is the secret to joy. This reminds me of my posts on Jesus as insurrectionist. The quotes Heath uses say, "it is not a movement of anger, of rage or of hate. It is a movement of love, of community and of hope." As Ethan Cox wrote:
We do not see ourselves reflected in our government. But we see ourselves, our concerns, our hope, our love and our aspirations, reflected in every smiling face we see on the street. For the first time in a long time we are having a real conversation about what kind of society we want. We’re having it with each other, every night when we meet in the streets. And slowly, but surely, we are realizing that we have the power to make our dreams a reality.
And that terrifies the 1%.

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