You matter. What you do matters. If there is one lesson we can learn from the history of social change it’s that there is no power greater than the power of people like you & me committed to the principals of justice, freedom & democracy. Thread 1/23
Like superheroes knocked unconscious in a coma for years, awakening, we have to relearn how to use our superpowers. Some days our anger boils over into fits of rage. Other days hopelessness consumes us & we check-out from the unbearable pain of injustice against humanity. 2/23
But, until we relearn how to wield all our superpowers until we become who we were meant to be until we have reached our full potential, all our anger, all our hopelessness, & everything we have ever hoped for will be always be just outside our reach. 3/23
Luckily, fellow superhero, prior to being knocked unconscious, we had left volumes upon volumes of historical records of our greatest victories. Perhaps the secrets to our superpowers can be found in these vast archives? Come with me into the secret vault & let’s find out. 4/23
As we walk down the halls of our lair, we pass shelves with names like bell hooks, Howard Zinn, Frederick Douglass, Chomsky, Ida B. Wells, Marta Russell, Vandana Shiva, Bookchin, Michael Albert, Paulo Freire, Edward Said, Eduardo Galeano, Barbara Ehrenreich & many, others. 5/23
For now, we continue all the way to the end of the last hallway, to a walk-in safe marked ‘Highly Confidential’. After a few wrong attempts, we recall the password. We pull a random manuscript off a random shelf: Pentagon Papers. 6/23
As we start skimming, we start remembering. Wait, we stopped a war? We ended the Vietnam War? We look through chapters describing why those in power decided to end the war. Testimony after testimony there is talk about the war costing too much. Costing too much? How so? 7/23
Looking closer, we see by “costs” they weren’t talking about the financial cost of the war. They didn’t care about what it cost to taxpayers. By "costs", they were not even talking about the human cost of war. 8/23
They didn’t care about the loss of life or the physiological or psychological horrors of war, that never EVER entered their thought process. Neither the lives of Americans nor lives in Indochina EVER entered their equation. 9/23
When they talked about ending the war, the “cost” they talked about was the social cost: general strikes, shutting down business-as-usual started taking a toll on their pocketbooks. But even more, the ultimate cost was the very real threat of social dissolution & uprising. 10/23
What ended the war was the culmination of civil disobedience & movement building that presented an ultimatum to those in power: either end the damn war or we will end the entire system that allows you to be in a position to make wars & then we will end the war ourselves. 11/23
We sit quietly for a moment. Both utterly disgusted by the lack of moral conscience of our so-called leaders, but also in awe of our lost superpowers: nonviolent civil disobedience, strikes, movement building, etc. In tears, our lost memories start flooding in. 12/23
We put the book down & pick another: May Day. 8-hour work-day, 2-day weekends, humane working conditions, minimum wage… all won through tireless nonviolent civil disobedience, strikes & movement building. Raising the costs of injustice & oppression, until decency is won. 13/23
Next manuscript: Seneca Falls. Women fighting to be treated with equity & respect. The right to vote won through shutting it ALL down. Everything. Refuse to allow business-as-usual until we are treated with fairness. Raise the costs of oppression until our rights are won. 14/23
We continue reading manuscript after manuscript: ending slavery, ending Jim Crow, Stonewall victory after victory one pattern emerges above all others: We win when we raise the social costs of oppression until the point where those in power have no choice but to concede. 15/23
Whether the threat of imminent revolution (ending Vietnam War) or the threat of going bankrupt (labor winning 8-hour workday, decent wages, etc.) We win when we exercise our power through nonviolent civil disobedience, mobilizing & movement building. 16/23
For those of us who want to see our society move in a fairer, more just, democratic & humane direction, here is the hard truth:

There are no shortcuts. There are no silver bullets. There are no elite heroes who will save us. 17/23
We have to be the agents of change. We have to relearn how to wield our true power & be superheroes again.

It’s on us. 18/23
Electoral politics are important. Many of us are working within the electoral system to make positive changes. That's important work and needs to continue. BUT... 19/23
As progressives, the more we are right about how progressive our favorite candidate is, the more wrong we are to not focus on movement building. Why?... 20/23
Because the more progressive our favorite candidate is, the more the establishment will throw the full weight of their power in stopping our candidate from making any meaningful change. Power concedes nothing. NOTHING. 21/23
If history teaches us anything, it’s that the way to make real systematic progressive change is through building political pressure, nonviolent civil disobedience & movement-building to the point where we raise the costs of injustice & oppression to where change is forced. 22/23
That’s how we win, fellow superheroes. That’s how we win. Reclaim your superpowers. Get involved. Get active. Organize. Mobilize.

Be the moral force for change. Be the superhero you were meant to be. 23/23
You can follow @ArashKolahi.
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