“Listen, don’t preach.” page 482
In the introduction to this excellent guidebook, Solnit says he is a carpenter and that, “I have packed this book like a tool belt, with the most useful and practical tools: ideas and understandings of how to uproot the system causing our problems to build a better world.” He is also the brother of the eloquent writer & activist Rebecca Solnit; they credit and support each other in their work for global justice.
The book lives up to its introduction. There are essays by well known activists, like Walden Bello and Starhawk (see also Ellen Elster on www.bbcf.ca for a thoughtful feminist analysis.) This delightful book begins Section 1, What’s The Problem with a message from the U’wa of Colombia for us to love and respect Mother Earth entitled: The Money King is Only an Illusion. Surprises continue as this USA activist tries to present a truly global view.
Moving around the world from the collective to individuals, Section 2, How To Change Things brings us updates from the Zapatistas of Mexico to USA inner city activists and clear ‘how we did it’ reports. In Section 3, Ideas in Action, we learn about street theatre, USA farm workers, factory workers in Argentina, organizing anti racist resistance in Canada and overturning poll tax in the UK.
If I had to choose books for beginning activists and jaded older ones, I would certainly recommend this literary tool belt – it lives up to Solnit’s words, it is well-organized, many facets of social movements are explained, positive actions and results are laid out and there are great photos and illustrations.
Read it and then contemplate these words (page 483) from Subcommandante Marcos, “We are here and we are a mirror. Not reality, but merely its reflection. Not light, but merely a glimmer. Not a path, but merely a few steps. Not a guide, but merely one of the many routes which lead to tomorrow.”
I would delete the “merelys.” Each reflection, glimmer, step, path is important, including ours. We make the path by walking together and sharing light – this book does it well.