I just filled out this brief survey about activism for someone’s senior thesis, and I figured I’d post my response here.  Enjoy!

Hi there.
I got this survey through the “anarchist academics” listserve I’m on.  I actually wrote my undergrad thesis (sociology) on activism, too!  It was mostly focused on student activism and determining motivation.  I loved working on it — I wish you a grand journey in your exploration!> 1. How do you identify yourself as an activist? i.e. What “kind” of
> activist are you?
I’m a “lifestyle activist.”  I put my energy towards exploring possibilities and bringing them into reality in the world, in my life.  I live in an intentional community (commune) of 100 people where we grow our own food and sustain our lives through our collective work.  We’re constantly having to explore the challenge of how to work together and make decisions together without hierarchical power structures.  We’re effectively a “laboratory” for creating effective tools for communication and sharing.A large part of my activism is sharing this possibility with other people.  I travel to colleges and conferences to facilitate workshops and classes about life in community, and I write a periodic blog about my experience here.  When I talk about the reality of our lives here, I help open people to the idea that a very different world is possible.  And it’s not just that communal living is the way to go — if this is possible, this way of living that is so far beyond what most people think of as real, if THIS is possible, then so much else is possible too.

> 2. Do you think the world can change for the better? Please explain your
> answer in 100 words or less.

People make choices based on what they think they know and what they fear.  When people are aware of more possibility and give less power to their fears, they’ll make choices that will change the world “for the better”, because they’ll be actively engaged in intentionally creating the world they want.  This is a neverending process of change — we aren’t going to reach a perfect utopia where we have it all figured out and don’t need to change anything else, because that would become stagnant, passive, and unintentional (leading to the need for more change!).

> 3. What three books (title & author) have most influenced your worldview
> as an activist?

Living My Life, the autobiography of Emma Goldman
Days of War, Nights of Love (CrimeThInc)
Hope for the Flowers (Trina Paulus)

enjoy your work!