Dogmatic Activism

I've recently fallen back into the practice of reading over my morning cup of coffee, which has reminded me how powerful it is to awaken my world with new thoughts, different perspectives, and stories of human connection.

In this practice, I discovered the article below and found that it beautifully articulates some of the many challenges I've seen and heard shared by others in the social justice realm. Perhaps it may strike a cord with you as well...


A r t i c l e :  "Excommunicate Me from the Church of Social Justice" by Frances Lee

W h y   y o u   s h o u l d   r e a d   i t ?
Values-based action is never easy.

At Still Harbor, we orient our discourse and curriculums around a process of discernment that empowers us to translate our values into the decisions we make and the actions we take in our service work.

Where is our humility when examining the mistakes of others? Why do we position ourselves as morally superior to the un-woke? Who of us came into the world fully awake?
— Frances Lee

But as The Atlantic's recent article - "Are Campus Activists Too Dogmatic?" - points out, that can get tricky in our current culture of activism.

Which is why Lee challenges us to consider how our values not only inform our engagement with the communities we serve, but also how we engage with our peers and our adversaries.

W h e r e ' s   t h e   S p i r i t   i n   t h i s   a r t i c l e ?
Every nook and cranny.

As we aim to achieve justice, we need not use the same dynamics of power and supremacy that create injustice. 

What if we opened ourselves up to the reality that differences make us stronger, not weaker? Might that lead us to a new form of collective leadership?

In referencing Alicia Garza, one of the co-founders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, Lee writes:

If we are interested in building the mass movements needed to destroy mass oppression, our movements must include people not like us, people with whom we will never fully agree, and people with whom we have conflict. That’s a much higher calling than railing at people from a distance and labeling them as wrong.

(For more on collective leadership from the founders of BLM, check out our blog post "How do we lead together?")

How might you practice justice to achieve justice? 


What are your experiences with the dogma of activism? You can always share with me: lauren@stillharbor.org.  

In love,

Lauren