Where Does Change Come From?

Change happens at four levels:
  • Personal: critical self-reflection and education (reading books, taking classes, thinking about issues).
  • Interpersonal: face-to-face direct service work, volunteering, raising awareness, starting conversations with friends and family, etc.
  • Institutional: organizing to challenge oppressive or unjust systems; attacking the root cause of a problem rather than its symptoms.
  • Cultural: broad-based "hearts and minds" change.
This project works from a pretty basic philosophy.  Real, meaningful, lasting change comes from people working and struggling together to attack the root causes of problems.  That isn't to say that volunteering at the homeless shelter, voting once every two years, writing poems about the issues you care about or reading lots of books don't do anything-- it's just that none of those things can create real change if they are divorced from organizing.

The four points above are really an activist ecosystem-- this site focuses on #3, but we need all four (not necessarily in equal proportions in a given context) if we really care about making the world a better place.  That may seem pretty simple, but a whole lot of people get wholly caught up in one or another.  Some people are all about knowledge and being the perfect more-progressive-than-thou super genius; they know the issues inside and out, but they don't ever do anything about them.  Others are all for "smashing the state" or whatever, but never take the time to do the critical self-reflection that effective activists need.  As the old saying goes: "thought without action is a daydream; action without thought is a nightmare."

At the end of the day, understanding is not enough.  "Raising awareness" is not enough.  Winning some abstract debate about an issue is not enough.  Waiting for the previous generation to fade away is not enough.  If we want to create real progressive change, we're going to have to struggle for it.  We have to be smart.  We have to be proactive.  We have to be relentless.

That's all meaningless, however, if we don't know where or how to start.  This website is about streamlining the process, about turning liberal thinkers into progressive activists.

Any thoughts, alternate models or ideas?

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