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I Scream Social
“The Scream” | “I was walking along the road with two Friends / the Sun was setting – The Sky turned a bloody red / And I felt a whiff of Melancholy – I stood / Still, deathly tired – over the blue-black / Fjord and City hung Blood and Tongues of Fire / My Friends walked on – I remained behind / – shivering with Anxiety – I felt the great Scream in Nature – EM”
By Jay Taber
April 6, 2013
Reading the news from the World Social Forum held recently in Tunisia, I was reminded of kindergarden soccer teams, where the entire group of kids runs after the ball from one end of the field to the other. No positioning, no strategy, just endless exhaustive pursuit.
In world social circles, where NGOs discuss and debate the latest political ball to be chased, the one thing that isn’t discussed is how to actually change corrupt governments into good governments. They make pronouncements and publish plans about what latest evil they will oppose, but no one talks about actually organizing political movements to redistribute or seize power from those they oppose. While this might be a safe position to take, it is not revolutionary. Revolutionary is when you can mount a real challenge to established power, not when you merely make pious pronouncements.
As I noted in my editorial Fighting Intelligently, liberating social change can only happen when we democratize our institutions and governments, and that means working on the inside as well as outside. While advocacy is good, it is not enough. Until NGOs and civil society realize this, all their efforts and gatherings accomplish is to widen the sense of despair and bewilderment when so-called revolutions are betrayed. While these international gatherings have some educational benefits, if they don’t lead to political organizing that actually changes government policies and corporate conduct, they are arguably a waste of time.
[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, an author, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as the administrative director of Public Good Project.]