American abolitionist Fredrick Douglass once said, “Power does not concede without demand.” The praxis for liberation concerns a question of how to make this demand. Traditional protest movements and efforts in electoral politics can strengthen a system that works in hierarchies with logic of control and domination. By challenging the center, we further acknowledge the legitimacy of this dominant perspective, putting those who strive for liberation into a constant power struggle. We either hold the center or are pushed to the margins. Revolution typically ends up simply replacing one head with another, with simple regime change that does not fundamentally challenge the underlying structures of power.
From this point, our work toward liberation requires evolution and not simply revolution against states or institutions. As Gandhi once said, each individual can simply choose to become “the change we wish to see in the world.” Thus, any effort toward liberation now requires active resistance to overcome the temptation to protest or fight against anything that we oppose or disagree with.
This is not a denial of power structures or becoming passive in the face of state terror and political oppression. It is a refusal to act in a manner that compromises our values and principles. It is to reject a system that creates both center and margin. Through working together with voluntary association and mutual aid, we chart our way toward a path of self-determination.
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