About

“Be the Change You Want to See in the World.”

Be Freedom.

Be Freedom is dedicated to movement activism and social transformation in the US. Are you active in the labor, environmental, womens, student, anti-war, or LGBQT movements? Is your local cooperative or community garden an important part of your life? Did Ferguson or Occupy light you up? Are you thinking about the big changes — about how to build a better movement for freedom, democracy and environmental sustainability?

We all need to think about the political and rhetorical strategies, organizing methods, mindsets and projects most likely to promote a broad and spirited movement. This blog aims to contribute to a discussion of how we move a little further down the long road of the American Revolution.

Be Freedom is aimed primarily at activists and organizers who already understand that their campaigns and projects are part of a broader movement for social transformation. If the history of the last 100 years has not convinced you of the need for fundamental change then this blog may not be for you.

This blog hopes to articulate strategic concepts that activists and organizers can translate into practice depending on their situation and capacities. We need a practical theory that can help us find ways to work the big changes while immersed in our day-to-day political struggles. Transformative activism requires both “eyes on the prize” and “feet on the ground.”

But, as long as you are engaged in a political practice, then I hope the arguments presented here will provide interest and advantage. Political practice might encompass all sorts of activities from community projects like coops or gardens to direct confrontation with the corporations that control our lives.

Talk is cheap. We are what we do.

While Be Freedom will focus on possible strategies, methods, and organizing principles; history and political or cultural analysis also matters, insofar as it applies to the development of a clearer strategic sense.

Strategic thinking may involve analysis of current conditions, or statements of desired goals but is primarily characterized by a proposed course of action. Strategic questions ask “how?” How do we create the transition between what is and what ought to be? An effective strategy proposes how existing consciousness, resources, and capacities can be marshaled to achieve a range of political ends. Strategy try to answer the hardest questions of all—what to do next and how to do it.

Effective organizations regularly use a strategic planning process. While there are several variations all include: an assessment of the various forces in play; yourself, allies and enemies; a short list of goals; the selection of tactics and demands; and most crucially — matching the tactics and tasks to the organizational resources already in hand. In the spirit of experimentation the results must be evaluated, criticized and the plan revised. If your intent is to enlarge your resources, the process is the same. We start from where we are. Comprehensive campaigns are good examples of strategic planning.

Since strategic planning is specific to each campaign, Be Freedom will focus on the general questions of strategy. I propose a preliminary discussion of the transition between “what is” and “what ought to be,” rather than choosing between visions, ideologies or issues.

We are overwhelmed by issues. We scurry from one crisis to the next but with little aim to our movement. Yes, there is value to a rapid response network but in the absence of a coherent strategy responding to hot button issues keeps us reactive and defensive. As the old saying goes, “the issue is not the issue.”

We also have our fair share of visions. A great deal of good work has gone into describing the better world we would like to see. While it is vitally important to have direction, we have little idea of how to make the transitions to the world we want.

American radicals also have a tradition of ideological debate and polemic. Many a long hour has been spent in heated argument: making fine points that have few real world correlates. The relationship between ideological struggle and movement building is anything but clear. Organizing and movement building happen primarily because of what people do: their skills, abilities, relationships and strategies. Ideas exist best in action.

By temporarily suspending the issues, visions and ideological concerns that so often preoccupy activists, we can explore more deeply the subject of political power and strategy. Because the problems of power effect us all, Be Freedom hopes that these resources will be of use to activists from various social movements from wide-ranging political perspectives.

Strategy is permanently provisional. Strategy is always a work in progress, a unending discussion open to revision based on practice and the changing political context. Strategic writing is generally short because it remains undeveloped and because so much of strategy is in the doing not the saying. And, because it is among the most challenging work before us. But the sad fact remains that much of labor and social activism is simply reactive or willfully avoids strategic work.

Be Freedom will address the basic outlines of strategy by discussing the Inside/Outside Strategy (IOS) as a candidate for the primary strategic context available to social movement activists.

It is also important to identify diversions and substitutes for strategy. We need to be much more conscious of the ways that American culture shapes movement activity and how some cultural tendencies divert us from achieving our immediate goals let alone our long term visions. Even more difficult is to identify those cultural characteristics and political traditions that provide valuable raw material for a transformative vision and strategy.

Strategy begins with existing conditions and existing consciousness. There is no other starting point. History and culture can be a prison or a platform, but have no doubt that the past exerts an inescapable gravity on our work, ideas and perceptions. Recognizing the power of historically conditioned cultural codes is an important if rarely taken path toward understanding our place in the world.

Our first step then will be toward working on the problems and possibilities of social movements in the United States.

John Adams observed, “The revolution was in the minds of the people” and as Bob Marley sang, “None but ourselves can free our own minds.” Harriet Tubman’s triumph was also her lament, “I freed thousands of slaves; I could have freed more if they knew they were slaves.”

Maybe we can dare to go where Audre Lorde leads us. “The true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situation…but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within each of us, and which knows only the oppressors tactics, the oppressors’ relationships.”

Our minds: the first, last and never-ending battlefield.

18 Responses to About

  1. Congratulations on your article in Counterpunch this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Richard Moser says:

      Thanks. If you like it please share it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The attached book may be of interest to you. There is an accompanying lecture series on You Tube at the ABC’s of Communism channel.

        Best wishes, Jason W. Smith, Ph.D. drjasonsmith@hotmail.com

        ________________________________

        Like

      • My comments don’t seem to show up. Anyway I want to invite you to check out No More 2 Party System

        Like

      • stew312856 says:

        I greatly enjoyed your article also. The answer to your question lies in this point. The most successful movements and moments of protest came from the idea of agreement on opposition to something rather than support for something. Abolitionists, anti-Vietnam, you name it. We need a broad-based anti-neoliberal movement. The issue of what to replace it with is obvious from the outset if it is a movement that embraces all peoples and abilities regardless of sex, age, orientation, gender, ability, nationality, etc.

        Like

      • amacd385 says:

        Well said, Richard.

        My comment to NYT Editorial Board’s “Trump’s Fickle Dipolmacy”:

        What’s going on here is not “Fickle Diplomacy”, but ‘Empires Mating’ — and it seems, if anything, a fickle ménage à trois.

        Three former nation-states; one never admitting it was an Empire, one the supposed ‘next to the last’ Evil Empire on earth, and one a long series of them with a Great Wall it paid for itself, are in the midst of a great (and secret) rutting commotion.

        All of these former nation-states — now posing as different forms of combined political/economic spheres; capitalist democracy, state oligarchy, and state capitalism respectively — have to figure out how to coexist, keep their impatient masses calm, and avoid total destruction of our fragile little planet, and have to safely procreate a NWO/NWEmpire among their respective ruling elites.

        Fortunately, the global ruling-elites network and get along quite well, but such a first in the world; ‘effectively-disguised’, ‘truly-global’, and ‘capitalist-fueled’ Empire has to be birthed with as little a slap as possible and kept happy without too much crying by the people.

        We, the powerless subject/citizens of this Brave New World have to hope that the progeny of this licentious coupling doesn’t come out; Orange-haired, looting, and violent.

        Obviously, it would be far preferable if ‘we the people of the world’ could vote on it, and have a say in a more cooperative product of a new born global ‘socialist democracy’, favorable to the people, instead of to the ruling-elites.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Richard Moser says:

        Empire mating! I love it!

        Like

    • elana levy says:

      another thank you for your article. it is sooo hard reading about so-called progressives who decided to vote for, can’t even write her name without wanting to list her deceptions and crimes, …. thank you. another jill stein advocate. elana l.

      Like

    • vera zazulik says:

      and again today, 6 February 2016.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Doug Leonard says:

    Need your email address to discuss a political strategy that may unseat the politicians that take big money without any constitutional amendment, assistance from congress or the supreme court or the msm, or huge outlays of money. Please advise by email, thanks.

    Like

  3. Great idea for a site! Just read & RTed your informative & wise piece in Counterpunch. Please read RepairRestoreSafeguard.org, a political-process reform amendment (with a few easier methods to address discrete issues like removing primaries from party control) to increase government accountability long-term. You’ll probably enjoy it, and I hope you’ll support it.

    CO people are great at watchful citizenship, but state-level reforms worry us: they give a greater sense of “something is being done” than is actually the case and may be being encouraged to redirect action from the federal level. State laws are always vulnerable to Congress’ or the state’s own repeal or amendment. Enforcement is also vulnerable at both levels. Now that reform has caught on nationwide we should take advantage of the moment to pass procedural reform at the Constitutional level!
    Thanks – I’m on Twitter @repairrestores1
    Keep up the good work!

    Like

    • Richard Moser says:

      Thanks for the great info. i will check out you site for sure. I largely agree with your
      . I was using the Colorado scene for evidence in a wider argument. But as I am sure you know we do not always get to choose our battles, although we should as much as possible.

      Like

  4. red slider says:

    Richard, much of interest. Our thanks. Question: how can we out here best contribute our experience, thoughts, strategies and other materials to your blog? Perhaps get the best of them up for posting/discussion? Maybe I missed a tab to submit materials or a page for doing that?

    My inquiry is also a strategic question. I note that online bilateral communications is one of the weakest provisions of revolutionary movements and our myriad organizations, generally devolving into top-down advice/information and bottom up calls for donations. I know the argument, “We can’t possibly handle the thousands of emails or reply to them individually.” To me, that excuse only demonstrates the need for imagining new ways of handling bilateral communications and solving the problems, not one of citing the difficulties as reason to accept the status quo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Richard Moser says:

      Red Slider, Thanks for your interest. i do publish guest bloggers on occasion. My goal however is to maintain my focus on political strategy, rhetorical strategy and organizing method. There are many places that do news analysis and as important as that is the movements weakness is not being up to date on the news but having a vision for how to move forward. On the other hand I am not very interested in the standard left polemical approach, which my experience tells me has failed. So I focus on “how” leaving the “what” to be discovered along the way. Your critique is a good one and we should consider a better to way to encourage multi-lateral discussion. My cop-out is the one you already know. Befreedom is a one-person show and I keep my hand in local organizing as well as a way of grounding myself so I am very busy. i do want to shift more toward the strategic work and writing over time so maybe be freedom could host a broader discussion. While I welcome submission at my email rchrdmoser@yahoo.com (1000 words or so and on the topics listed above) we should think about a clearing house for strategic thinking. That would be a huge contribution and it is what i had hoped my blog would contribute to. One of my articles just got republished in Revolution Chronicles. Do you know it. Its new to me. So by all means submit and lets think about how a “salon” can be created. B/T/W I could not find your page. Please send a link so I can see what you are up to.

      Like

  5. rnbeal says:

    Franz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth was one of the first works to characterize mental colonization.

    Liked by 1 person

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