Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, had agreed to submit his body and fame to a form of torture. The body bit would involve being chained to a feeding chair while doctors inserted more than a metre of rubber tubing up his nose, down his throat and into his stomach. His fame would hopefully draw attention to that fact that this is happening daily to 45 hunger strikers in Guantánamo Bay.
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