Politically active while respecting no blame.(Flickr CC image: Mary Sober)

No Blame

March 3, 2010 | 2 Comments

Category: Activism

Marcia and I have been working within the social change community since just before the second Iraq war started.  As a political activist, you can find that politics can become your life at several levels.  Because our kids are now all out of the house and mostly out of college, time formerly unavailable to be social is now often time spent with people we meet in the social change movement.  The kids were leaving the nest as we became involved in political protest, which has resulted in a proliferation of friends that also protest.

Many of the Left activists we know move in social circles comprised of other Left activists.  A result of the integration of political activism and friendship networks is an interesting nondifferentiation among actions taken in support of friends, actions taken to impress friends, actions taken because that is what your friends are doing and actions taken because we feel compelled to do so politically.  In other words, the line between friendship and politics becomes blurred.

Whereas I find many of my friends and political associates focused intensely on the larger politics of what they are involved in, my focus is often following through with what I committed to doing, engaging in an action or intervention I find interesting or just doing something because it is with people I know and like.  My work is not driven by emotion.  The politics that are most interesting to me are those that make clear how the Left operates, how the Left responds to events, how the Left seeks to achieve its goals and how working together can achieve those goals.  This is all in the context of relationships I’ve formed with activists across the country.

For me, friendships, relationships and my involvement with social and political change are pretty much the same thing.  It’s all art.  I am part of a process that involves my response to community requests in combination with what emerges from my imagination.

There is a deeper level that this dynamic operates within.  I carry with me a belief that each of us unconsciously plays a part in a larger societal and biological dynamic.  There is no difference between biology and society.  The decisions each of us makes individually is part of a decision we make socially and biologically.  Experiencing the personal, the social and the biological as one integrated whole, I find that the political feels far less “personal” than it evidently does to many of my friends.  What I mean is that I rarely feel personally affronted by the words and behaviors of men and women on the world stage.  I observe men and women making decisions, decisions that they perceive to be in their own best interest, but which nevertheless are decisions informed by a larger personal/social/biological context.  Each plays his or her part.  Rarely do the players show signs of awareness that the decisions they make are not only their own.

The frame of reference that I carry with me when I theorize about human and biological evolution accompanies me when I’m involved in political and social change.  It has at its foundation an artist’s point of view.  I am propelled to write, imagine and behave in particular ways related to what spontaneously emerges from a place within or beneath me that is definitely not my conscious mind.  I theorize and construct political change tools based upon these emerging inclinations.

What I am aware of is what attracts me.  Some things feel fun and I engage in them.  Some people feel attractive and I engage with them.  I let myself be led through love, friendship, work, theory and political activism, aware that I am following along behind where my personal/social/biological path leads me.

I am a political activist that usually feels no blame.  Aware that I am led, I understand we all are led.  Each plays his or her part.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 at 8:36 am and is filed under Activism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
2 Comments so far

  1. Mary Sober on March 23, 2010 10:37 am

    I created this image and it is posted on my Flickr account (http://www.flickr.com/photos/calypso/40229058/). I am happy that you liked it well enough to use it in your blog. I would appreciate it if you would correct the attribution. Thanks.

  2. Andrew on March 23, 2010 10:52 am

    Hi Mary,

    Attribution corrected. Thank you!


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