You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2010.

Whenever I’ve come across buskers on the red or orange line, their music has eerily reflected my state of mind or emotion. Is it just coincedence? Projection? Either way, it’s kind of delightful. Fabulously, bittersweetly delightful.

Boston Massacre

We're not talking 1770 here.

One word: wow. Two more: totally awesome.

I was recently introduced to the wonder that is roller derby. New to the spectator stands, I wasn’t totally sure what to expect (since I’d been warned that it was nothing like Whip It), but let me tell you—it’s raucous, it’s exhilarating, it’s bad-ass. Thoroughly fun and riveting to watch.

I’ve never been a big sports fan—or a sports fan at all. But I am definitely now a fan of Boston Massacre, part of the Boston Derby Dames league. It’s a total experience. Clever derby names, loud music, and then the bouts themselves—so compelling to watch: the fast-paced intensity, the moves, the strategy, the blocking, the grace and toughness of the skaters. There are some really amazing players.

Bonus: dance party after the bouts in the red-carpeted Fez Room (yes, it’s really called the Fez Room; it’s the Shriner’s Auditorium).

Boston Massacre’s next bout: March 20. Try it; you’ll like it.

Pete Seeger Postcard

Know who “Old Pete” is? Then you know how happy this still makes me.

I’ve been horribly remiss in posting! There’s just so much awesome stuff to do and so many cool people to hang out with in Boston. But, I swear, I have at least 14 draft posts already started. In particular, I’ve been totally soaking up the convenient access to any number of compelling lectures—social justice, human rights, identity, women’s history, and more.

Bill Fletcher, Jr.

Bill Fletcher, Jr., advocates strategic collaboration for effective change.

A few weeks ago, I heard Bill Fletcher, Jr.—a dedicated labor, racial-justice, and international-solidarity activist—speak at an event put on by the Simmons Institute for Leadership and Change in collaboration with the Majority Agenda Project. Described in the introduction as “a clarion voice in the progressive movement for solidarity and movements working together,” he analyzed the current situation progressives find themselves in, pointed up the challenges, and put forth concrete suggestions for how to move forward.

First, he identified the triple crises of the current situation: (1) There’s an economic crisis, that’s not about mismanagement by certain institutions, but about the system of capitalism itself. (2) There’s an environmental crisis, marked by climate change and the pervasive degradation of our natural world. (3) There’s a crisis of state legitimacy, featuring a declining ability of the state to serve as an adequate force of distributing wealth.

Fletcher offered an analysis of not only the Obama administration but the progressive reaction to the Obama administration. In his view, the liberal disappointment with Obama is a function of magical, wishful thinking during the election and an unwillingness, in the midst of our excitement for change, to acknowledge his actual politics. Fletcher identifies the Obama administration as marked by corporate influence and representing the center-right, while also acknowledging that Obama offers hope and the possibility of a transformative political process. I think that it’s key that Fletcher believes that we must not fall prey to cynicism and the inaction that often goes with it. In the face of the right-wing populism that Fletcher outlined, it’s essential that we reenergize to make change at this critical time.

How do we do it? We strategically organize. Fletcher talked about what he called the “Tecumseh paradigm”—assuming a new identity in confederation with others in order to stave off invaders. In other words, different social movements need to look for overlap and band together strategically in order to move this country in a just direction. Here are some of the things that Fletcher put out there:

  • We need an anti-capitalist political party.
  • We need to learn how to talk about what we believe in a way that uses vision and narrative to greatest effect.
  • We need to talk through the truth of U.S. history, which many people don’t want to hear or accept, and articulate the collective struggle for justice.
  • We need to end our reluctance to criticize the Obama administration.
  • We need to pose these questions in person, not just on Facebook and e-mail (ummm, or on our blogs); effective organizing is made up of direct, individual personal encounters reinforced by electronic communications.
  • We need to identify what we want to change, how we want it to change, and demand that the change. (“Power concedes nothing without a demand.”)
  • We need to actively challenge the right (when they mobilize, we must also mobilize).
  • We need to actively mobilize right now.

To close, in the spirit of building effective social movements, I offer you this video inspiration a friend sent to me:

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