Activism & ... Coming alive

IssueAugust 2015 - September 2015

What a lovely project! My head today is not responding. I’m about to talk to an estate agent about putting in an offer for our co-op to buy some land. My head space is definitely elsewhere! That quote [from the front of PN] is amazing. I’m a bit shy about things like this. If it was writing in an email....

- Woman

I’m not a vigorous activist, though I’ve been on a few marches. Except in the world of education, where I hope it has been transformative for a few people. Tell me the quotation again.

Having been brought up as largely... I was a mindless conservative at the age of 20. It was not until I found that working with children made me come alive. Beforehand, any work I’d done had not had that effect; it had just been drudgery.

I hope that a lot of what I’ve done in education has helped other people to ‘come alive’. It’s certainly helped a lot of children to come alive.

I’ve been part of a worldwide movement for the release of education from dominance by the sort of people I was when I was 20!

- Man

I can’t say anything about ‘activism and chocolate’, but ‘activism and coming alive’, yes!

I led a very sheltered life and was quite scared growing up. Even at university, I didn’t know how to do things, how to go to work or how to participate in things. I was considered pretty, but I was quite scared of the things that women were supposed to be involved in.

I’d been a rebellious child but there seemed to be no outlet for it. Then the women’s movement came along and it seemed to fit. It was a transforming experience. Also, I wanted to leave the class I’d been born into.

I think it’s important to put the case for activism as a way of life.

In the women’s movement, I saw older women who’d made that choice. They weren’t famous but they were alive, they were occupied. They weren’t paid, but they made friends, they were active. Sometimes, it was just running around with a bag of leaflets, but it was about being part of a world where things can be different.

- Woman

Coming alive, as in ‘alive or dead’?

Action is life. Reading books, theories, debates are important but a form of death. A book is dead words. Action is live presence, history-making, and leaves legacies through story-telling.

Playing on the streets. Tickling police officers and friends alike with feather dusters is transforming everyday patterns of relating to each other, therefore coming alive.

Tree-top sunrise, a house I made my own, speaking to a granny on the opposite tree, sharing hope.

- Man

Well, actually, it depends. I was active, time to time. Do you mean political activism?

What about personal change? If I consider social change impossible? I turned my attention to personal activism.

I used to be active. I became disappointed and left again. It is not becoming alive.

When I think about those years when I was politically active, I think I wasted my youth and my time. Now I am very against people who are very active politically, for social change, during their younger years.

I think people should think politically after the age of 50.

People should be banned by law from thinking politically until they’re 50!

Before 50, we don’t have an effective place in society. Especially the teenagers and university students, they don’t affect things. I was in those struggles 10–15 years in my country. It is ‘beating the waters’, that’s a Turkish phrase. It has no effect. It is changing nothing!

I know people who were tortured and in prison, now they are just fathers and another brick in society.

- Man

Topics: Activism