What will we do today to take care of ourselves? What will we do today to change the world?In the first comments, Joy shared links to explain some of this:
Today, I will work through some negative feelings. I've been suppressing them, but then I read the first line of Amy Siskind's Weekly List this morning: "Generations from now will mark this week as the moment Americans realized we were losing our country as we have known it." It's probably healthy to go through all five stages of dying right now.
Today, I will walk away from despair toward determination and be part of the 3.5% of the population that is all it takes to sustain resistance to inhumane and oppressive policies.
(1) Amy Siskind's Weekly List is new to me. I see from the latest list (Week 84) why I'm feeling so overwhelmed by the news. Siskind compiled the first 52 weeks into a book (The List, published in March 2018):
(2) The 3.5% Joy mentioned comes from It may only take 3.5% of the population to topple a dictator — with civil resistance, an article by Erica Chenoweth in the Guardian.
Compiled in one volume for the first time, The List is a comprehensive accounting of Donald Trump's first year. Beginning with Trump's acceptance of white supremacists the week after the election and concluding a year to the day later, we watch as Trump and his regime chips away at the rights and protections of marginalized communities, of women, of us all, via Twitter storms, unchecked executive action, and shifting rules and standards. The List chronicles not only the scandals that made headlines but just as important, the myriad smaller but still consequential unprecedented acts that otherwise fall through cracks. It is this granular detail that makes this such a powerful and important book. For everyone hoping to #resistTrump, The List is a must-have guide to what we as a country have lost in the wake of Trump's election. #Thisisnotnormal
(3) And then Joy shared a book title: This Is an Uprising by Mark Engler and Paul Engler (2016).
Strategic nonviolent action has reasserted itself as a potent force in shaping public debate and forcing political change. Whether it is an explosive surge of protest calling for racial justice in the United States, a demand for democratic reform in Hong Kong or Mexico, a wave of uprisings against dictatorship in the Middle East, or a tent city on Wall Street that spreads throughout the country, when mass movements erupt onto our television screens, the media portrays them as being as spontaneous and unpredictable. In This is an Uprising, political analysts Mark and Paul Engler uncover the organization and well-planned strategies behind such outbursts of protest, examining core principles that have been used to spark and guide moments of transformative unrest.I can't read every book I want to read, but (having discovered that Amy Suskind's first 52 weekly lists have been published (in March 2018), I rushed to put it on reserve at my library. There are two in the system, and one is checked out. I'm first in line for the other copy, which happens to be my own library branch. Since it's labeled NEW, I'll be the first person to read that copy. In the meantime, I'll start reading her daily lists.
This is an Uprising traces the evolution of civil resistance, providing new insights into the contributions of early experimenters such as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., groundbreaking theorists such as Gene Sharp and Frances Fox Piven, and contemporary practitioners who have toppled repressive regimes in countries such as South Africa, Serbia, and Egypt. Drawing from discussions with activists now working to defend human rights, challenge corporate corruption, and combat climate change, the Englers show how people with few resources and little influence in conventional politics can nevertheless engineer momentous upheavals.
Although it continues to prove its importance in political life, the strategic use of nonviolent action is poorly understood. Nonviolence is usually studied as a philosophy or moral code, rather than as a method of political conflict, disruption, and escalation. This is an Uprising corrects this oversight. It argues that if we are always taken by surprise by dramatic outbreaks of revolt, and if we decline to incorporate them into our view of how societies progress, then we pass up the chance to fully grasp a critical phenomenon—and to harness its power to create lasting change.
Now I feel better! As I commented on Joy's Facebook post:
Thank you, Joy. I needed this right now, as I'm beginning to lose hope. I'll also work on that despair today, in part by blogging about it, using what you've shared here. I want to be among those toppling our dictator, so I've added Amy Siskind's Weekly List to my reading (I have a lot to read over the 84 weeks she's posted to date). My library has a new copy of her book of the first 52 Weekly Lists, so I put it on reserve. Just seeing something positive I can do today to get me out of this funk has already made me feel better.
Today, I will wear my RESIST tee-shirt.
And maybe tomorrow, as well.