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There Is No One Right Way to Be an Activist

By Tim Hjersted / filmsforaction.org
Nov 16, 2016
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There Is No One Right Way to Be an Activist

There is no one right way to be an activist.
There is no one right way to change the world.
There is no one right philosophy of leftist politics.
There is no one right solution to the massive problems we're facing.

That list is just for us, because this toxic "one right way" meme is burrowed deep into the left subconscious as much as the "one right way" meme has burrowed into the rest of our culture, and those we call our enemies. The left's version is far less destructive than the way it manifests in the right, but it is there nonetheless, causing all sorts of suffering among ourselves, and scaring away many who might join our cause.

Very few people are aware that our entire culture is guided by this invisible cultural meme, but make no mistake - the idea that there is "one right way and my way is it" is perhaps the most deadly and toxic meme in our entire culture, and if we ever want to stop reproducing the systems of oppression we are fighting against, we must weed out this idea within ourselves.

Fortunately, once you see it, you can't unsee it, so let me give just a handful of examples.

In our, the dominant, culture (which began 10,000 years ago and grew to dominate the entire planet, save for the few indigenous societies which have managed to survive thousands of years of colonialism, assimilation, and destruction):

There is one right economic system.
There is one right religion.
There is one right country.
There is one right political party.
There is one right sexual orientation.
There is one superior gender.
There is one superior race.
There is one superior language. 
There is one superior form of civilization.

All of these are subsets of the one meta-meme to rule them all:

There is one right way to live, and our way is it.

No doubt we can trace the vast majority of death, colonialization, conquest, war, genocide, discrimination and suffering in the entire history of our culture (which began roughly 10,000 years ago) to this belief in the "one right way."

Capitalism, religious persecution, white supremacy, patriarchy - they are all symptoms of a dominating way of life that seeks to homogenize the great diversity of the world, creating a planet where one way of life reigns supreme.

Trump and the authoritarian right, in the coming years, will be doing their best to force their way onto the rest of the world. We must resist this homogenization, but while we are doing it, we must not also do this to each other, on a smaller scale.

The "one right way" meme is a killer, that much should be clear. If we strive to be more than the mirror reflection of those we are fighting against, let us agree to not bring the "one right way" meme into our own discussions, politics, and organizing.

The antidote to a toxic, deadly meme is a more compelling and truthful meme, which is rooted in the natural laws of the universe.

Daniel Quinn, to which I owe the inspiration for all of the above, said it best.

That alternative meme is this:

There is no one right way to live. There never has, and never will be.

There are thousands of ways to live that work well for its members, and there are many ways that don't work (we've been trying one that doesn't work for 10,000 years, which has almost brought our species to extinction in the blink of a geological eye).

Let's fight for a world where thousands of diverse ways of living and being can co-exist.

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Films For Action is a library for people who want to change the world.

 

Our mission is to provide citizens with the knowledge and perspectives essential to creating a more beautiful, just, sustainable, and democratic society.

Films For Action was founded in 2006 by a few friends in Lawrence, Kansas, after realizing how essential healthy media is to a healthy democracy.

Over the last 15 years, we've reviewed and curated over 1,000 free documentaries and 4,000 short films, plus over 150 pay-per-view documentaries, spanning 34 topics related to changing the world.

During this time we've been able to reach tens of millions of people - not by owning a TV network or spending truckloads of cash on advertising, but because millions of awesome people keep sharing 'films for action' with their friends on social media - in particular, our 850,000 supporters on Facebook and 70,000 site members. 

One of the coolest things is, thanks to our patrons, our library is ad-free and 100% supported by member donations, while 99% of our library is free to access and always will be. The pay-per-view films on our site, of course, help support the filmmakers, and 90-100% of the revenue for PPV films hosted by us goes to the filmmakers. 

To thank our $5/mo patrons, we partner with filmmakers and distributors to provide free access to a growing number of films that are normally pay-per-view. With just 20 highly curated films at the moment, it's basically a very, very tiny Netflix for world changers, but its main function is to support the library as a whole.

If you'd like to know more, want to help out, or you're a filmmaker looking to collaborate, feel free to get in touch!

Cheers,  Tim Hjersted