Stage inspirational events – as small as a memorial artwork to murdered Indigenous women or as large as the occupation of an entire street. Some people will attend that, or see it, who hadn’t seen it before. They will have never questioned their presumptions about their culture, country, or way of life.
All the time, there’s continued contact with these people you hadn’t ever engaged with before. You read books by environmentalists, maybe even some of the classics like Aldo Leopold. You get a flavour of the different approaches that people have developed over the years. In your own small way, you develop your approach.
But your old values aren’t compatible with that new approach. You can’t drive a car everywhere, or go through so much plastic waste. You have to at least figure out ways to lower your impact on the world. Lowering your electricity bills when you actually use less power is supposed to incentivize you to do that.
So you have to reject them. Look upon those values with disgust – even a sense of shame that you were ever so wasteful, that you thought so little of your ecology, the world around you. Fly away from that territory – anger is your fuel. Live in the better way that you want.
Be someone else’s encounter that helps transform their life. Do it as often as you can. Demonstrate the future you want.
Yes, I basically wrote the Gandhian model of activism in terms more like a marketing pitch. He played the principle to his audience – Now you let me play it to mine.
• • •
Reading Paul Patton’s early book about Gilles Deleuze, Deleuze and the Political, I come across the same model of how social revolution happens. Gandhi was explaining the idea to rural Indian peasants. I’m explaining it to a subscriber base of NGO workers in the international aid and peace sector.
He developed concepts. They were technical yet succinct. Clear andabstract. Uncertain and obscure. But very useful when you understand
what they're actually for.
I’m trans-literating how I understand Deleuze’s concept of becoming-x into a model of progressive social activism. It supplies a lot more complexity, detail, and even guidance for implementation than the simple statement of populist Gandhi ever could.
Yes, everyone knows the phrase, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” But people need more than just the title of the paper – part of my job is to turn this into an action plan. It works to help folks along, adding a few more steps. A little more detail.
So you think about a person deterritorializing their existence – departing from one way of life for another. You focus your moral beliefs around entirely different concepts, which requires you to kick the old concepts to the curb. That takes force, and the only moral force strong enough is anger and rage at yourself for what kind of person you’d been for so long.
Patton writes about this specifically in terms of the state. That’s what it takes to reject the morality that the institutions of your state enforce. Overcoming the codes of enforced universal conformity to fly away from them entirely.
That’s one place to take the ideas. I have no problem with that application of them. I’m just applying the ideas differently.