Sunday, December 4, 2016

Two Victories for Collective Action

The whole idea of citizenry might be under attack, but it won’t be all bad news, as we found out late today. Voters in Italy rejected by a decisive margin a mess-up of a constitution rewrite. Around the same time, the U.S. government announced that it had screwed up when deciding to allow an oil pipeline to pass through a lake that supplied drinking water to a community. Both victories came at enormous cost. In Italy, most of the country turned out to vote down the government’s power grab. Millions of people across the United States, even including the MTV television network, participated in one way or another in the stand at Standing Rock. The involvement of so many people could make the decision at Standing Rock a turning point, as some have suggested, but future victories will have to have to fought for with just as much vigor and perhaps over a longer period of time.

While that is going on, even bigger victories, I believe, will result from individual action, “wizardry” as I have called it. In an era when collective action is not enough by itself, we must remember to look for the possibility of individual action that changes not only ourselves but the world around us. The cumulative effect of individual successes day after day could eventually overtake the effects of collective action, but there are a great many things we all have to do for that to happen.