Sunday, September 18, 2016

Demand the Impossible! (excerpt 3) | Bill Ayers

Demand the Impossible! (excerpt 3) | Bill Ayers:

Demand the Impossible! (excerpt 3)

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Bill Ayers -- Demand the Impossible!: A Radical Manifesto | Haymarket Books -

In our pursuit of a world powered by love and reaching toward joy and justice, imagination is our most formidable and unyielding ally—the people’s common asset, an endowment to each one and the indispensable weapon of the powerless. Yes, they control the massive military-industrial complex, the sophisticated surveillance systems, the prison cells, and the organized propaganda—and these are on constant display as if to remind us every minute that there is no hope of a world without the instruments of death and oppression—and we have only our minds, our desires, and our dreams—and each other And, yes, in a fixed war or a traditional conflict we are finished before we start. But it’s also true that there’s no power on earth stronger than the imagination unleashed and the collective human soul on fire. In irregular combat or a guerrilla struggle that pits our free imaginations against the stillborn and stunted imaginations of the war-makers and the mercenaries, we will win.

When we choose life, we leap into the whirlwind with courage and hope. Hope is a choice, after all, and confidence a politics—our collective antidote to cynicism and despair. It’s the capacity to notice or invent alternatives, and then to do something about it, to get busy in projects of repair. I have a T-shirt that reads: “Depressed? Maybe it’s political.”

The future is entirely unknown and unknowable; optimism, then, is simply idle dreaming, while pessimism is no more than a dreary turn of mind—they are twins, two sides of the same deterministic coin. Both optimists and pessimists delude themselves into thinking they know for sure what’s coming. They don’t; no one does. The day before Rosa Parks sat down on that bus, Jim Crow was immutable; the day after, the Third American Revolution was unstoppable. The day before John Brown’s assault on Harpers Ferry, the end of slavery was impossible; the day after, abolition was inevitable. The day before the Zapatistas declared a state of war against Mexico from its small base in Chiapas, the idea of a peasant and indigenous-led civil resistance was unthinkable; now it is a model for Demand the Impossible! (excerpt 3) | Bill Ayers:

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