KEY COMPONENTS OF SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL MOVEMENTS

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"For me, the most important lesson
[of the Freedom Movement] is that by respecting the fact that fellow activists could passionately disagree over strategy and tactics—yet remain allies—they strengthened SNCC and the Movement as a whole."
From Bruce Hartford's article in the current issue of Urban Habitat.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

feminists are funny now?

 from Washington Post article
In March, Kristen Schaal even performed Republican policy as stand-up on “The Daily Show”: “What’s the difference between a fertilized egg, a corporation and a woman? One of them isn’t considered a person in Oklahoma.” .....
Fighting funny may not be inherently more effective than fighting mad, but it does help correct abiding misapprehensions about feminism as a cheerless vortex: anti-male, anti-sex, anti-porn, anti-fun. In 2012, the anti-everything platform was occupied not by feminist agitators but the GOP politicians they were battling.
Bruce Hartford would argue that funny IS INHERENTLY more effective than mad in Audacity & Humor — Tactics of Nonviolence

They did what?!

This is relevant to Bruce Hartford's essay on Humor and Audacity -- Tactics of Nonviolence

 From the NY TIMES article by Ellen Barry
In response to Putin's crackdown on dissent during his swearing in, twelve prominent Russian authors decided to "determine whether it was possible to spend an afternoon walking en masse from one city park to another 'without being blocked, beaten, poisoned with gas, detained, arrested or at least subjected to stupid molestations with questions.'"

Last Sunday, the 12 authors left Pushkin Square and were joined, eventually, by 10,000 people, all wearing white ribbons as a symbol of opposition to Putin's government.  They arrived at the statue of Aleksandr S. Griboyedov (playwright) without being molested by the police.

The protesters have occupied a Moscow park with much singing and festivities.  "On Thursday, the police detained eight young women in pig costumes.  A cow appeared over the weekend, evidently to protest Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization."

Olga Romanova, a longtime opposition activist, said she had given up trying to explain the situation in letters to her husband, who is in prison. “I started to write, ‘There’s a wedding taking place here right now, and now a cow has come,’ ” Ms. Romanova said. “Then I understood that I have to cross it all out because he’ll think that I’ve gone crazy with grief or something is happening with me. How will they explain to Putin? There was a wedding. A cow came. How will they explain that?”
......
Irina Yasina, one of the action’s organizers, said events like the one on Sunday confronted the government with a new and vexing dilemma because, as she put it, “writers are moral people, and the demand for morality is huge.”
“Moral people came out, and they don’t know what to do with this,” Ms. Yasina said. “They know what to do with Udaltsov — force against force. They know what to do with Navalny — force against force. They don’t know what to do with civic protest. They won’t be able to come up with anything. It’s impossible.”

Sunday, May 13, 2012

student activism conferences

In 1960, after 50+ (mostly HBCU) campuses erupted in sit-ins, Ella Baker and Martin Luther King Jr invited the student leaders of these sit ins to come to Baker's Alma Mater (Shaw University) for a weekend conference.  This conference resulted in the formation of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee).

On May 6th and 12th, two student conferences took place.

May 6th, in a coop in the Mission, CCSF, UC and SFSU students met in panels and workshops and over lunch to talk about how to build a movement: addressing key components such as

o    identifying the problem
o    effective communication
o    doing your homework (research)
o    personal relationship and community building,
o    building an infrastructure,
o    development of local leadership,
o    creating coalitions,
o    strategic use of the arts,
o    strategic use of nonviolent direct resistance,
o    learning how to deal with the contradictions within the movement,
o    and being in the right historical moment.

On May 12th at the CCSF Mission Campus, CCSF and CC Santa Monica students organized a conference in which they explored why and how to build a student union among CA community Colleges.

9:30 - 10:30  panel on privatization of education
10:30 -12:30  two sets of workshops (3 each hour) (lessons from SNCC; Disruption of Technology; the Student movement in Chile; Defending adult education)
12:30 - 1:30 lunch
1:30 - 1:30 panel on the Student Success Act
2:30 - 3:30   interview, via Skype, of student leader in Quebec
3:30 - 5 pm  General Assembly ending with a tap dance routine (Tax the Rich) to the tune of Putting on the Ritz.

Next Saturday in Santa Monica, the conversation about how to form a student union will continue.