Activism and Patience

In an article for CounterPunch, activist Mickey Z. writes about the need for activists to exercise some patience with revolutionary practices, while maintaining a sense of urgency about change. As he puts it, activism is both marathon and sprint.


The revolutionary process involves the nuts and bolts of daily, even hourly resistance — hard work like reaching out to those who’ve been heavily conditioned by mainstream culture. This can be an agonizingly slow, inch-by-inch effort — but it’s crucial. The revolutionary process also involves broadening our scope and making wider and wider connections — aiming for holistic perspectives and thus, holistic justice across lines of privilege. This is abstract work but no less arduous.

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Having recognised that patience is hard work, he then suggests five strategies to accelerate the pace of change:

1. Recognise the emergency

2. Create solidarity

3. Discover new tools

4. Smash hierarchy

5. Shift gears

Relevance to SFW: changing the way in which communities and individuals co-produce knowledge for uncertain times will be a marathon for some and sprints for others.

"Activism requires a collective blend of sprinters and marathoners" (Mickey Z)

Research can also be revolutionary and involve activism and patience, marathons and sprints - as we are reminded by Siobhan O'Dwyer in her lovely post Artisanal Academia blog

"Politics is the slow boring of hard boards." - Max Weber, a marathoner.