Jun 25, 2010

Pieces of the Puzzle

In trying to puzzle through how to best use this moment in history the other day, I made the mistake of looking at it in isolation. I was wanting this one week to bring about some change, to have by itself a lasting impact on the course of history. A very normal, narrow form of activist arrogance (how many times throughout history have people said that THIS is the defining moment?)

An UTNE Reader Article brought me back to my senses. The struggles for reproductive rights or climate justice or any of the issues we're raising here have all been going on for years, decades, even centuries. This particular weekend - just one of two G8/G20 summits this year - is but one of many possible moments to mobilize people and send a message, or even to generate new ideas and energies.

We the collective architects of social change have to hold it in the perspective of the full history of the struggle. At this point in the timeline, what are the best strategies to advance the agenda; how do we take advantage of the prevailing energy and attention and agenda? And how do we accept a small step forward, or even slowing down a backward slide (as in the case of Harper's chipping away at hard-won abortion rights), as a significant step in the long journey?

It's important that I'm here. It's important that a large number of people are here sending a strong message, and building solidarity. But no more important than the three years I've served on the Oxfam board, or the 44 years that Oxfam Canada has been doing this work, or women's rights movements dating at least as far back as Dr. Emily Stowe in 1878, or...

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