Campaigning… protesting… activism… trying to make a difference. Whatever we call it, when we set out to change the world, we often forget that we are part of the world.
We see the problem ‘over there’: in those other people and what they are doing, in those political and economic systems that are not working and need changing.
It is hard to see that we can be part of the problem, and that the problem is not just in those people or institutions we so earnestly think should change.
It is hard to see that we too have been shaped by the problems we want to fix, and so the problems run through us. The problems we want to fix have shaped our thinking, our responses and our actions.
We are entangled in the stories that our culture tells about heroes and saviours, and hard work, and the value of ‘doing’ over ‘being’. We are entangled in the oppressive effects of systems of power upon us, whether we have suffered from them or benefitted from them or both. We are entangled in the habits and ways of being that are normalised in a culture where truly feeling — our own pain, and that of human and nonhuman others — is numbed and discouraged.
Led by Anthea Lawson, Entangled Activism is about becoming more aware of our entanglements. This allows us to begin thinking about activism, and perhaps even doing activism, from a different place. We can begin to understand what we are doing, when we seek to change the world, in radically different ways.
Anthea’s book The Entangled Activist will be published by Perspectiva Press in 2021.