I believe, as with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that “the arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
I believe–it is an absolute historical truth–that oppression breeds resistance, whether passive, actively non-violent, armed or terroristic.
And I believe, based upon my 52 years of life and 35 years of activism, that the vast majority of people in the world want to do the right thing, want to see a world of justice and peace, even if some of them are blinded by racism, religious bigotry, cultural chauvinism or other negative ideologies.
But I have to admit that I don’t believe that truly democratic, loving, progressive change is inevitable. I don’t believe that the serious problems and crises of our current world capitalist order will necessarily be resolved in a positive way.
Whether they are or are not is very much up to those of us on earth right now who recognize not just the depth of the problems we face but the depth of the personal transformations we need to undergo. We need to transform ourselves, renew ourselves, do what we have to do in order to have the strength and the political and organizational ability to bring about the revolutionary changes, in the very best sense of the term, which are required if humankind is to have a future worth living in and living for.
I’ve written about this before in my book, Future Hope: A Winning Strategy for a Just Society, and in many of my Future Hope columns over the past few years. It’s not exactly an original insight. It is an insight that has its most immediate roots in the women’s movement which grew out of the 1960’s civil rights movement. “The personal is political,” this movement preached. How we treat those we come into contact with on a daily basis says a great deal about the extent to which we have really internalized the attributes of love, justice, democracy and a striving after truth. And since organizations are made of up individual human beings who group themselves together and struggle to work together as effectively as possible, the extent to which large numbers of us function in a conscious way with those attributes “on our sleeve,” almost, will determine how effective we can truly be.
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As I write it’s September 10th, 2002. One year ago we were all going about our lives, unaware of the history-changing events about to take place the next day.
September 11, 2002 finds us in a very different political place than where we were in those days and weeks after 9/11/01. Back then the vast majority of Americans and much of the world were united in mourning and outrage over the deaths caused by Al Qaeda suicide hijackers. It seemed as if almost everyone in the country supported the Bush plans for endless war. Today, the country is divided right down the middle over the wisdom of the Bush Administration’s plans for the violent overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Leading Republicans have been out front in their opposition to this idea. Every Arab country opposes the idea, including the country, Kuwait, which Iraq invaded in 1990. With the exception of Ariel Sharon and Tony Blair, no other national leader is supportive of the unilateralism of Bush and Co.
Whether we can stop these dangerous madmen remains to be seen. We all need to do everything we can to speak out and organize against this incredibly destabilizing and destructive plan. We should do so strengthened by the knowledge that large numbers of our countrymen and women are with us or are at least harboring deep doubts. Our work for peace over the past year has borne fruit.
Whatever our success in preventing this invasion, we must keep at our vitally needed organizing work for positive social change. We must be examples with our lives of the new type of human being which must become the norm in this century if we are to stop and reverse global warming, solve the growing, worldwide crisis of lack of fresh water, end the threat of nuclear weapons and power no matter who is in control of them, turn the arms race around, and dramatically close the gap between the obscenely rich, tiny minority of wealthy and powerful corporatists and most of the rest of us.
The anniversary of 9-11 must be a time for us to dig deeper, to resolve that we will not stop our organizing, our acting, our speaking out until the day we die or until we have arrived at the new world that is possible, yes, that we have the material wealth and technological knowledge to create, absolutely, but which will only come about if we remain true to the best within us.