Many people realize that there is something wrong with our society, whether they are concerned with social injustice or ecological destruction, but many forces prevent us from making change. If everyone woke up tomorrow and decided to do whatever it took to change this system, it would change. Unfortunately, many of us are also plugged into the system in a way that makes challenging it uncomfortable and risky, so we find safe ways to express our discontent without posing an actual threat to the status quo.
The colonialist shadow is a feature of the civilized psyche in which we unconsciously perpetuate a system that we consciously disavow. Horizontal aggression, hypocrisy, political withdrawal, and spiritual escapism are all features of the colonialist shadow at work in our activist circles. Recognizing this pattern and doing our personal work to understand and address it directly can help prevent it from sabotaging our efforts.
It is important to recognize that if change was easy, we would have done it already. Exposing our individual and collective blocks to recovery may be a critical part of our success. To launch a cultural change on a mass scale, we will need to unpack and dissolve these obstacles publicly so that the power of a determined movement can be unleashed.
While many forms of altruism divide us up into helpers and helpees, radical action gets to the 'root' of systemic problems by creating solutions that target the underlying structures that set up those distinctions in the first place.
All at once.
Many organized efforts are focused on one particular issue, such as social justice or sustainability, but really creative actions integrate multiple domains and levels of impact by recognizing the inseparability of the problems we face.
It's just us.
Although some people have exceptional talents and resources at their disposal to effect social change, civic participation is not relegated to unique individuals. Whatever your current station in life, you have a crucial role to play that no one else can.
Rewiring a bankrupt system may meet with resistance, both from within and without, and so we must be prepared to overcome those obstacles. Collective actions have the capacity to bend and even break systems of power.