Over the past few months, around the world, we have seen how tyrants, no longer able to hide behind the empty rhetoric of “democracy” that includes neither enfranchisement nor representation, have fallen back on their only other option: brute violence. We are seeing precisely the same thing on our university campuses. University officials have become accustomed to the privilege of remaining unaccountable...and simply being able to ignore the demands of students, teachers, and workers.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up