The message is simple yet powerful: we can’t get it done alone, but together we’re unbreakable. This is the basic lesson conveyed by every successful social change campaign in modern history. Of course, the dedication and vision of individuals does matter, and their examples reverberate through the years (think of Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Wangari Maathai, Mandela). Yet they were all part of larger movements that necessitated large-scale social action in concert. In other words, public assembly was required for social change.
When we look at the movements of recent years, the pattern holds and perhaps even more so. From Occupy and the Arab Spring to the nonviolent revolutions of Eastern Europe and Latin America, examples of people gathering en masse to change the conditions of their lives are palpable. Just reflect on the visual power of these iconic moments, and the spirit of commitment they demonstrate, to get a sense of how this looks in practice:
Now we find ourselves once again poised at a pivotal moment, worldwide and in the US in particular. How will 2017 look in terms of social change efforts? Will fear and apathy rule, or will there be a resurgence of public protests and community-based mobilizations? We’re betting on the latter, and are willing to hitch our wagon to the collective struggles of change agents versus the entrenched power of robber barons. As Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good [people] to do nothing.” We can surmise that the opposite is also true, namely that evil is toppled when good people get together to make change. Make it so…
Social Change (assembly required)!