Awakening the Movement of Movements by Rivera Sun

people power

Image by TCDavis via Flickr

by Rivera Sun
Writer, Dandelion Salad
March 10, 2016

As the crises we face intensify, so does the cry for the Movement of Movements to coalesce into one mass movement for change. But herein lies a seeming paradox: This revolution will not be organized under one umbrella – its diversity is part of its revolution. We are wandering in the woods, looking for the revolution of the Movement of Movements, not seeing the forest for the trees.

The “Movement of Movements” is a phrase used to describe the current profusion of social justice movements sweeping the national and global social-political landscape. Neither an umbrella nor a grand unification organization, it is rather a way of perceiving the threads of connection that link these social justice movements together. The phrase emphasizes the diversity and multiplicity of many groups, organizations, campaigns and individuals, suggesting that the dispersed and varied efforts have a shared thrust to the direction of change we are moving in. The Movement of Movements neither has nor needs a central leadership, coordinating committee, hierarchical command, singular figurehead or slogan. Its strength lies in its complexity, like the numerous ecosystems that create the living biosphere of planet Earth.

This is a breakthrough moment in human consciousness. The capacity to perceive the diverse, dispersed Movement of Movements emerges from a long series of social conditions. It arises from a generation of children taught elementary school ecology. It hinges on the introduction of the word ecosystem into popular vocabulary. It builds off decades of the development of complex and general systems theory that began to pick up steam in the 1970s. It is supported by the millions of Americans who have been studying Buddhist and Taoist philosophies rooted in impermanence and interconnection.

And just in time. Rather than people-power being mobilized like pawns on a chessboard, millions of human beings are co-creating reality together, often without recognizing what they are doing, self-organizing the tremendous thrust of social change required for humanity to make the next evolutionary leap past the looming threat of our extinction into a new epoch of existence.

Social justice activists, spiritual practitioners and scientists alike have long stated that “means are the ends in themaking” … and the way we work for change creates the world that is coming in the wake of the struggle. Within the Movement of Movements, the actions of diverse but interconnected groups create a swarming effect that can address the complex web of issues challenging humanity at this time.

Increasingly, the newsletters, posts and public statements of the movements are saying, “all our issues are connected, the problems arise together, and the solutions relate to one another.” The destructive problems humanity faces arise in an interlocked dynamic of greed, corruption, oligarchy, concentrated wealth, militarization, corporate control, ecological destruction, sexism, racism, violence, hatred and so on. Likewise, the vast and viable solutions to these problems are also interconnected. The means of transformation – our movements – are woven together in a “single garment of destiny,” as Dr. King wrote in Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”

This is the Movement of Movements, a horizontally connected, multi-nodal phenomenon arising across the national and global social-political-economic-environmental scene. Someday we will look back and celebrate it as the most remarkable self-organizing systems in the history of humankind. And, on a more sober note, if we are to survive our present folly long enough to look back, we will need the Movement of Movements to thrust humanity into a catalytic, evolutionary leap forward from our current state.

At present, the Movement of Movements is widespread, diverse and increasingly robust. However, it is largely unaware of itself as a mass movement working on dozens of fronts of the interlocked problems that we face.The multi-nodal movements need to become self-aware. Like Gaia, human consciousness and all awakenings,the Movement of Movements and all its millions of participants, thousands of organizers, hundreds of groups and institutions, need to open their eyes, look around (not just at the navel of their own cause) and recognize ourselves as part of this beautiful, awakening, self-organizing Movement of Movements.

We have been trained in lonely struggle by the same forces that are currently causing worldwide destruction. We were taught isolation, hierarchical control, competitive mindsets and atomization as part of the ongoing global indoctrination of humanity into capitalist-consumer, corporatized, militarized, colonized and conquered, ecocide. We must throw off the shackles of mental slavery, rejecting the concept that our movements are isolated and individualistic.

We stand at the brink of extinction and the only thing that can save us is us. We need an inner, outer and utter revolution. Such a massive shift can occur through the awakening of, and participation in, the emergent Movement of Movements.

Here are a few ways to make the shift:

● Celebrate others’ achievements; the success of one cause is the success of the whole.

● Support each others’ efforts through solidarity, encouragement, resources, media campaigns, etc.

● Take time to analyze the interconnections of the movements. Search for untapped strengths and sources of support. Identify pivot points of change and opportunities for other movements to help sway a critical element of your own movement.

● Talk with each other. Find out how your efforts overlap and look for opportunities for strategic collaboration.

The emergence of the Movement of Movements has arisen out of necessity. The crises shaped the formation of groups, organizations and movements. We are, as yet, mostly unconscious – the proverbial sleeping giant – but now it is time to awaken!

Rivera Sun is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection, Billionaire Buddha and Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars, the cohost of Occupy Radio, and the cofounder of the Love-In-Action Network. She is also the social media coordinator for Campaign Nonviolence and Pace e Bene. Sun attended the James Lawson Institute on Strategic Nonviolent Resistance in 2014 and her essays on social justice movements appear in Truthout, Popular Resistance and Dandelion Salad.

Copyright, Reprinted with permission., March 3, 2016

from the archives:

Chris Hedges: The Revolution Will Be Local

Bernie Sanders’ “Political Revolution” VS A Real Socialist Revolution by Danny Katch

Everyone Has to Practice Nonviolence. Now. by Rev. John Dear

Rivera Sun’s The Dandelion Insurrection reviewed by Guadamour

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  17. “It’s an old argument between vertical and horizontal structure (‘lateral v. hierarchical’, ‘individual’ v. ‘collective’, and a hundred other names) that assert the opposing forms of organization are mutually exclusive. They are not. Properly done, each designed to fulfill its mission in concert with other missions and their counterpart structures, they both have strengths and advantages that the other type does not. Rather than pitting the two against one another, we should be imagining ways of combining their greatest strengths and minimizing their greatest weaknesses to achieve the best results. That takes a lot more creativity than simply taking sides in the perpetual ‘either/or’ war that this article invites.

    “In the end, using both types of structuring is a position that offers many more advantages than simply preferring one or the other to dominate our methods of struggle. Indeed, even those “separate movements” that the article suggests we shouldn’t unify, have their own unified, vertical organizations which serve important, even essential purposes. Yes, there are plenty of examples that can be used to suggest one side or the other is obsolete or doesn’t work. But that is only to say that both types of structuring can done very badly. That still doesn’t make either of them exclusively good or bad.”

      • I completely agree. Ecstatic unity in diversity, pure lust as Mary Daly once framed it.

        Rivera calls it a multi-nodal breakthrough moment in human consciousness. So great thanks to her for such evocative poesy.

        Bioneer Paul Stamets links it to deep mycorrhizal intelligence. Hawken says blessed unrest. Some liken it to the landscape of the heart, as both instinctual and dynamic. Whichever way we conceive it, it is always about metaphors of relationship, metamorphosis, othering.

        When we embrace such genuine mindfulness, it begins to resonate with the cellular inevitability of a greater evolutionary will.

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