Real change requires both intelligence and negotiation from the inside, as well as pushing, pushing and more pushing from the outside. I think each of us has to choose based on an honest (that gets easier with age and/or meditation) assessment of where our talents and temperament will thrive the best, where we will be the most effective as who we really are.
But once you’re in either place, you have to commit yourself, at least long enough to see what’s possible. And you can’t complain about the things you don’t have because you’re not in the other role. So, all those elected officials can’t be moaning about how the radical organizations in their community don’t understand them, or don’t give them enough credit, or don’t get how hard it is to make “real change.” It’s our job to push you past those excuses, even if they’re grounded in reality.
And those who chose the outside can’t worry about how we don’t get mainstream recognition, or mainstream money, or mainstream friends. We’re an opposition movement for a reason. This student had the impression that all of our Civil Rights leaders had been assassinated, and I had to say, not everybody died. Being on the outside can be punishing, but many activists manage it for entire lifetimes. And going inside doesn’t always protect you from harm.
Do it from your own angle (I like the racial justice one) and support other peoples’ angles too (the gay, the poor, the female). If you can’t get to your statehouse, I’m sure City Hall will do.
Image credit: pehab via blog.mkf.org