Politics, Power and Passion

The International Herald Tribune: December 2, 2011

It is easily argued that violent revolutions, war and repression bring about the most immediate, obvious change. But I think we need to look at what we mean by change.

Terror and violence can change a given political situation and keep the population in line. But these tactics simply change one dominant force for another. Methods of passion involve a deeper, more transformational process: inviting commitment, vision and long-term struggle. All these can bring about lasting change both in the individual and the community. Methods of passion model the world we want to create.

I have had my moments of rage where I think the powers that be will never end oppression or inequity voluntarily. But I do not trust these moments of violence within me. Passion is persuasive. Power is dominating. Passion is contagious and inspirational. Power is threatening and coercive. Passion moves people. Power controls them.

I think in these perilous times, a third way is emerging, a kind of escalated passion — a creative energy that comes from giving one’s heart and soul and imagination to the struggle. Not aggression but fierceness. Not hurting but confronting. Not violating but disrupting. This passion has all the ingredients of activism, but is charged with the wild creations of art.

Artivism – where edges are pushed, imagination is freed, and a new language emerges altogether.

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