Open thread

Every now and then, someone posts something on the Facebook that captures the essence of so many truths. This is one of them.



The beginning of something

Random thought for an open thread: I feel like every few months and certainly at least once a year I hear from progressive activists talking about how we're at the beginning of something big, great, or world changing.

But I rarely hear people transition beyond that language, and I feel like that distances us from the great work that has come before. It also distances us from accountability, learning, and improving on or changing failed strategies. And it under-values the real successes we've achieved if all of the hard work to win a certain goal only counts as a start, especially if wins on orders of higher magnitudes never come.

This isn't in response to anything specific going on right now, but just a general observation that's been bouncing around in my head and finally came out in an open thread. I'd just like activists to acknowledge more often when we're in the middle of something built on past successes and failures, and to acknowledge and value when we're at the end of something too.

You might be responding to my

You might be responding to my comments about the need for Democratic leaders to be the "first of a new breed" instead of the last of a dinosaur. It's probably too broad a generalization, but for me personally, it involves the continuum between corporate interests and personal interests.

There's a lot of good stuff that has been done by those who have carried us forward so far. Favoring the special interests of businesses with corporate welfare and such is not one of them.

I think there is broad application

Whether it's looking at who won or lost in this election, whether it's looking at the Moral Monday movement in 2013/2014, the HKonJ/Forward together movement since 2006, the Obama coalition of 2008 & 2012, the Tea Party wave, the Coffee Party movement, and the Occupy movement in 2011 & 2012.

I specifically remember sitting in a circle with the other folks from the various committees of the Occupy movement back in 2011 in Durham and hearing folks talking about how we're at the start of something big. And hearing from folks as the Occupy Raleigh encampment closed up over a year later I believe long after many others around the state and country about how we we're at the start of something big.

And with that analysis being so stationary it makes me wonder how connected that work felt to what had come before, how responsible folks felt for failures of the movement, and how much folks really valued the success of the movement as it wrapped up if that was only meant to be the start. Although I think Rev. Barber has been especially good at linking Moral Mondays to the HKonJ/Forward Together work that came before.

On a related note this had me thinking about how we analyze the success of movements.

On this one year anniversary of the Moral Monday movement, I can’t help but think back on the first anniversary of Occupy Oakland, in particular, and Occupy Wall Street, in general. Both Moral Monday and Occupy directly challenged social class inequality and their ties to corporate America. Yet they are different – one survived and thrived and the other, well, had a boom and bust (though is not completely dead).

Is success lasting power? Is it changing policy? Is it changing who wins elections?

After all, we're at the beginning of something big.