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Our Opponents’ Actions Show We’re Winning

When in the midst of mass social transformation, it is often hard to see progress until you have the benefit of looking back after success has been achieved. One way we measure success is by recognizing the growing popular movements across multiple fronts of struggle. Another way is by observing the actions of our opponents. Just as movements organize and develop strategy to build power, our opponents do the same to weaken popular power. Classic signs that a movement is getting closer to achieving victories are when our opponents try to co-opt the movement, mislead the movement...

Social Movements Have Stages, Plus Urgent Actions

This week, we introduce the third  class from the Popular Resistance School course called "How Social Transformation Occurs." You will find all the classes here. In this and the next class, we review the eight stages of successful social movements as outlined by the now-deceased activist, Bill Moyer, one of the first people to do a big picture analysis of social movements. He describes the features of each stage as well as the specific tasks and roles for activists in the Movement Action Plan and in the book he co-wrote, "Doing Democracy." This is based on his experiences and study in activism during the civil rights, anti-nuclear and other movements.

College Tuition: Destroying Lives And Ruining Economy

It’s easy to criticize the student debt crisis, and the small-ball solutions policymakers have offered up as band-aids. But if students want to organize around changing how we finance higher education in America to something more in their – and the country’s – interest, they should create two goals for themselves: a long-term vision for how things ought to look, and a realizable, tangible objective that can be achieved, even in today’s polarized political environment. I believe I have an answer on both counts. First of all, wrangling over student loans and interest rates and refinancing obscures the long-term vision – public colleges and universities should be free to attend. Or at least as close to free as possible. Though it may take time for the majority of the public to realize it, this idea is not far-fetched. The United States currently spends enough on grant aid, tax preferences and loan subsidies to cover the cost of tuition at every public college and university. Tuition is not the only expense, and more funding would be needed to make college free or near-free. But using existing resources – and moreover, returning them to pre-recession levels – gets us a lot of the way there.

Overcoming The Shock Doctrine

Lately, we’ve been talking about the techniques of manipulation used by the government and mass media, regarding the privatization of public education, and all public benefits. In these first months of legislature, the better part of this manipulation has been aimed at rendering us into a state of shock, after which, intimidated and paralyzed, we would not react against the losses of rights brutally imposed on us. The measures, announcements and declarations of the autonomic and central governments are meted out to us day by day, gradually, like a poisonous drip of constant anxiety. Relentlessly, the media – in some cases, better to say “propagandists” – continues their tireless preaching, like a disheartening echo of bad news from on high (from the council of ministers or the rating agencies). Naomi Klein explains in her book, “The Shock Doctrine”, how neo-liberalism, unable to convince people by means of argument (since these neo-liberal measures are essentially anti-people), has only been able to impose itself via coups d’etat, declarations of war, situations of catastrophic natural disaster, or other traumatic phenomena, leaving the public in the grip of anxiety and fear.
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