GEORGE LAKEY – Thirty-five years after his death, the man who mentored Martin Luther King Jr. still has much to teach movements about harnessing the power of ‘people in motion.’
GEORGE LAKEY – Activists throughout history have put social movement work on hold for the electoral arena. Determining whether to do so is a matter of strategy and calling.
NICK ENGELFRIED – Simply teaching kids about the science of the climate crisis isnâ€™t enough. To prevent feelings of disempowerment, they need to see how they can make a meaningful impact.
EILEEN FLANAGAN – Indigenous water protectors and allies are effectively engaging all four roles of social change â€” just what’s needed to beat a company as powerful as Enbridge.
EILEEN FLANAGAN and GEORGE LAKEY – Two of the organizers who trained Americans to defend against a Trump-led coup explain how to minimize the threats to democracy going forward.
SASKIA HOSTETLER LIPPY MD – Increasingly my work in mental health brings me up against this fundamental moral and existential crisis. How can humanity go on in a world so in denial about the facts which confront us? Our tendency to compartmentalize bad things works against us in the most urgent of ways now.
EILEEN FLANAGAN – Choose Democracy â€” the whirlwind start-up that trained 10,000 people to prevent an election-related power grab â€” started with just three folks. Two had full-time jobs and small children. The other was 82 years old. Over the summer of 2020, Daniel Hunter, Jenny Marienau and George Lakey observed alarming signs that Donald Trump might not go quietly if defeated at the polls. As experienced trainers and organizers, they knew that preparation helped people to act powerfully. So they decided to prepare people to resist a potential coup based on nonviolent strategies that have worked in other countries.
GEORGE LAKEY – The point of claiming a stolen election is not to set the stage for a coup, but to add to the right’s list of grievances for building political power in the future.
GEORGE LAKEY – Weâ€™re making amazing progress mobilizing people to choose democracy. Large national progressive organizations are now quietly creating alliances to be able to move swiftly after the November election, even if some that are now going all-out to get out the vote.
GEORGE LAKEY – A knee-jerk protest wonâ€™t stop a Trump power grab. Itâ€™s going to take several clear, do-able strategies that together enable us to win.
GEORGE LAKEY – People trust a system that reliably supports security, solidarity and individual freedom to make major life choices. They learn that trust â€” or donâ€™t â€” through how well the system comes through for them. The contrast between Nordics and Americans these days reveals their contrasting systems.
GEORGE LAKEY – A big-city, mainstream editorial board is talking â€œsystem change.â€ We activists need to be able to answer such an invitation not with piecemeal policies, but with a system alternative â€” one that delivers what the pandemic has shown that we need.
GEORGE LAKEY – The trouble with pragmatism these days is that our country is becoming less predictable by the minute. What is going on among the 40 percent of the electorate that didnâ€™t bother to vote in 2016â€™s general election? How about the new voters whoâ€™ve become naturalized citizens in the meantime, or the many whoâ€™ve turned 18? How much will the Russians skew the results?
YOTAM MAROM and GEORGE LAKEY – A worried young organizer confronts a movement elder who believes that now â€” in the midst of deep crisis â€” is our best chance to make big progressive change.
GEORGE LAKEY – The growth of white supremacy and fascism has been noticeable in a number of countries lately, prompting the question: What can we learn from each other? Each country might find â€œbest practicesâ€ elsewhere that could be applied at home, in addition to learning from its own past successes.
GEORGE LAKEY – The cause of rising fascism is the economic elite and its wish to take more and more of the countryâ€™s wealth for itself. But, while touring the country the past couple years, Iâ€™ve seen an enormous amount of reactivity among progressives. Thatâ€™s the opposite of what works for making progressive change.
GEORGE LAKEY – The midterm election brings activists both good news and bad news, but one thing is certain: Reactivity lost.
GEORGE LAKEY – The hope for a movement of movements that can amass enough power to push the 1 percent out of dominance lies, I believe, in taking at least these steps. A series of nonviolent direct action campaigns that stay on the offensive can build vision-led movements that â€” finding themselves facing the same opponent â€” create a coalition and win. That is the shift that can make possible, at long last, a decisive win against racism
GEORGE LACKEY – We need to step up and use our strategy heads to think clearly enough to map out campaigns that win.
GEORGE LAKEY – Many assume that polarization is a barrier to making change. They observe more shouting and less listening, more drama and less reflection, and an escalation at the extremes. They note that mass media journalists have less time to cover the range of activist initiatives, which are therefore drowned out by the shouting. From coast to coast activists asked me: Does this condition leave us stuck? My answer included both good news and bad news. Most people wanted the latter first.
GEORGE LAKEY – Weâ€™ve had our first year of tweets and leaks from the White House, complete with reactions and outrage in the United States and abroad. The tsunami of words and feelings about Trump has dominated the media and is likely to continue. The question is: Will reactivity to Trump continue among activists, or are we ready to channel our passion into more focused movement-building for change?
CHRIS HEDGES – The encampments by Native Americans at Standing Rock, N.D., from April 2016 to February 2017 to block construction of the Dakota Access pipeline provided the template for future resistance movements. The action was nonviolent. It was sustained. It was highly organized. It was grounded in spiritual, intellectual and communal traditions. And it lit the conscience of the nation.
GEORGE LAKEY – I was among the 100,000 who marched in San Franciscoâ€™s Womenâ€™s March the day after Donald Trumpâ€™s inauguration. While enthusiasm for the struggle seemed high, an important question was looming: Whatâ€™s the strategic plan, as we head into the Trump era? Although thereâ€™s no simple answer, I offer this 10-point plan â€” fully open for discussion and debate.
GEORGE LAKEY – Does Japan have a security problem? Of course â€” to be a nation is to have a security problem. But real pragmatists ask for fresh alternatives to militarism.
GEORGE LAKEY: I just returned from a research trip to Norway where the people I interviewed often brought up the topic of our new President. The first was Kristin Clemet, the director of a conservative think tank. “This spring on a delegation to Washington I was struck again,” she said, “by how different the political spectrum is in Norway from your country. Here, Obama would be on the right wing.” I checked her view with others — academics, politicians, activists all over the Norwegian spectrum — and all but one agreed. In Norwegian terms, our President’s positions are very conservative.