Approximately 50 people attended the event Another Politics on Monday, Nov. 10 at the Lane Community College Longhouse. Chris Dixon, author, activist and self proclaimed anarchist, drawing from dozens of interviews with radical organizers across the U.S. and Canada, distilled hard earned lessons for building effective, visionary social movements and presented his vision for shared politics.
Dixon described activists as abolitionists, anarchists, anti-authoritarians, anti-capitalists, autonomists, radicals and those who avoid political labels entirely. He believes that if society works together, ordinary people have the potential to remake movements, people’s lives and ultimately, the world.
“We are currently in a time of tremendous crisis and possibility,” Dixon said. Recently, he noted, the world has seen a sustained global economic slump that has caused much suffering, especially for the poor and most marginalized. He spoke of how ecosystems are in danger, evidenced by superstorms to melting polar ice caps.
Dixon believes that the massive expansion of policing, prisons, militarized borders and detention facilities have targeted working-class people of color and migrants. “Those sharing their politics come from many different circumstances,” Dixon said. He related that some people have direct experience with poverty, while others live a life of privilege. “Most of us experience some of each,” he said.
Dixon’s goal is a convergence of activists working together. He believes in the power of the people to fight for justice and dignity and to shape history in the process. He described a rich democratic vision of ordinary people being able to directly participate in the decisions that affect relationships, homes, communities, workplaces, schools and elsewhere.
Dixon calls himself a de-professionalized academic who speaks for all.
His anticipated outcomes can teach us three lessons:
1. How to treat one another. Society teaches us negative behavior that allows us to treat each other badly. He related how we must come together to learn positive behavior such as openness, generosity, and honesty.
2. Dixon spoke of taking an experimental approach since radical movements are laboratories of resistance. He said, “we should ask ourselves, ‘What happened? How could we be more successful?’”
3. We should link up “against and beyond” to resist and protest, and finally, to dismantle and build.
Dr. Timothy Ingalsbee, teacher of sociology at Lane, knows Dixon through his book. “In a world rife with crisis and conflicts and fears of impending apocalypse, Dixon’s interviews and analyzes organizers and activists working on the leading edge of the environmental and social justice movements and offers an inspiring glimpse of “Another Politics” that is striving for a peaceful, sustainable, just, and egalitarian world,” he said.
According to Dixon, we must think of our goals, about how we move people, and to behave differently. “Try to bring some respect and generosity,” he said.