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
Friday, January 1, 2016
Revolutionary Transgressions: an Interview With Margaret Randall
Dunbar-Ortiz interviews a very prominent woman activist of my generation who demonstrated the best qualities of activists in those heady days when we aspired to deep changes in the world according to revolutionary ideals. I am referring to a rejection of conventional thought which held obeisance to corporate hegemony and commercial culture, to act on behalf of inclusiveness and social justice rather than exclusiveness and the individualistic pursuit of wealth and advantage over others.
It was an uphill battle against a growing capitalist monster-empire that was intent upon smashing everywhere every expression of independent thought and deed that might interfere with their global agenda. Margaret Randall was one of those who fought so courageously against this monster and suffered for it. Yet, she survived and triumphed.
In this interview Dunbar-Ortiz describes another heroic woman, with whom she was acquainted, who fought for revolutionary ideals in Cuba, accomplished so much, but in the end took her own life in the process. Fighting for revolutionary ideals is a hazardous path to embark on, but it is living a very meaningful life because it is dedicated to the most fundamental truth: humans can only survive by caring for each other and their environment. All of these women--the interviewer Dunbar-Ortiz, Margaret Randall, and Haydée Santamaría of Cuba--have lived heroic lives by taking this revolutionary path.