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Varied Voices, Varied DreamsMoving Forward

Dreams of a different world: towards ending violence and inequality

Moving Forward

Emma Goldman’s “a revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having” is quoted so often because it points to something very close to the heart of how we need to do our work. Resisting violence while insisting on its systemic nature, addressing its impacts, processing pain and providing space for others to do the same – it can be difficult to find the playfulness in all that.

But playfulness is exactly what we need, because if we want (in the words of Mahatma Gandhi) to “be the change we wish to see in the world,” then we have to consider what we want that world to look like. Probably we’ll want to include more than just the contracted forehead of endless analysis, the raised fist of defiance, and the weeping eyes of grief. Probably we’ll want to include other, more fun, body parts – ones that sing of possibility, optimism, peace and laughter.

Goldman also said that “the free expression of the hopes and aspirations of a people is the greatest and only safety in a sane society.” So we will enjoy our freedom to build such a society by playing as well as working: we will continue to bring giant puppets to demonstrations; we will continue to mock the face of power that thinks it’s untouchable; we will continue to put words and images and music together in ways that celebrate what is worth living for here and now, bringing the future closer with every delight we insist is ours.

Read more about maintaining hope while moving forward:

Critical Hope: Radical Citizenship in Reactionary Times (PDF file)
by Robert Jensen

Quotations on keeping peace and joy alive while doing hard work (PDF file)

Old Fat Naked Women for Peace, a wonderful musical video
by The Righteous Mothers, is a playful approach to activism: