Brilliant 1991 book about sterility of left culture and what to do instead…

We’ve all been there (or been it) – the tinpot little dictator who wants to enforce the One True Way of Thinking about issue x or y or z, and the dictator’s followers and enablers enthusiastically enforcing that OTWOT in order to a) prove their reliability and b) suppress any doubts they may have c) cement their place in the pecking order without which they would be totally lost. And if you don’t do what you’re told, don’t think what you’re supposed to think, there’s trouble… [See also pluralistic ignorance etc etc]

I could go on and on (and have elsewhere) about this, and the damage it does to recruitment and retention in social movement organisations. But instead, in the highlighted bits of the two pages from the brilliant book by Barbara Epstein called Political Protest and Cultural Revolution: Nonviolent Direct Action in the 1970s and 1980s , I want instead to focus on how some people were able to take an existing ritual that offered comfort but was [rightly] critiqued as not-fit-for-purpose, repurpose and expand it and so overcome what could have been a dispiriting and demoralising event (erstwhile colleagues, for whatever reasons, leaving a group) and make it instead an affirmation. That, my friends, is some serious next-level skills…

This period is also dealt nicely with in fiction, or rather, in a novel made up entirely of sonnets, called The Golden Gate, by Vikram Seth….

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