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Friday, August 03, 2007


Howard Dean on activism

Howard Dean spoke today at the YearlyKos convention. No, I'm not there, but I happened to listen to part of his speech (more on that in a moment). He was speaking in the context of firing people up to work for the election of Democrats, which needless to say is not my idea of activism. Nevertheless, what he had to say, at least in the section I'm about to quote, applies to all of us who want to bring about change in this world (following the dictum of Karl Marx in the upper-right-hand corner of this blog). Dean was speaking about the civil rights struggle, and how many young people look upon it as a "moment in time":
"It was 13 years between the Montgomery bus boycott and signing the civil rights bill. 13 years. Not every day was a good day for Dr. King and his folks during those 13 years. There were a lot of times that he and his folks had to get up and dust themselves off and go out and do something else that was really tough. Not all of them survived that. And so what I say to all Americans, but particularly to young people, is that this is not a one-day or a one-election struggle. This is something that we have to do every single day for the rest of our lives."
Things can change quickly, but in almost all cases, when they do, it's because of a long period of preparatory buildup laying the ground for that "quick change." In evolutionary theory, it's called "punctuated equilibrium," but it applies to a lot more than evolution. Remember that the next time you're frustrated about how your efforts to upset the equilibrium (or the status quo, if you prefer) seem to be having no effect.

Back to how I stumbled on the video with this speech. Robert Greenwald (of Iraq for Sale and Wal•Mart - the High Cost of Low Price and Outfoxed fame) has a website on which videos are being posted. I can't quite figure out if it's like YouTube and that anyone can post on it, or just selected people, but there are a lot of interesting things there. It appears, for example, that almost every segment of every broadcast of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report are being posted there. Anyway, it looks like it might be worth knowing about so I'm passing on the info.

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