Andrew Belonsky

The Conservation of Activist Mass...

Filed By Andrew Belonsky | July 23, 2010 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics
Tags: Adam Bink, Julia Rosen, marriage equality, Michael Crawford, Netroots Nation, News, politics

Few things are certain when it comes to gay activism: 5.jpgpolls can be misleading, the right can be shrewd and what seems like a sure thing can crumble without a moment's notice. For example, remember when Proposition 8 seemed like a conservative pipe dream, a ploy or publicity stunt? Then the Mormon Church got involved and -- well, we all know how that turned out.

No one progressive effort looks like another- not when you get into the logistics of it all, because activism's all about adaptability.

Adaptability -- that word kept repeating itself in my head during the Netroots panel discussion "Marriage Equality: Building a Movement Online." The panel, which included Open Left's Adam Bink, Freedom to Marry's Michael Crawford and Julia Rosen from the Courage Campaign, among others, focused on the different ways and means activists used during the marriage fights in Maine, California, Iowa and elsewhere.

Though that panel concerned marriage specifically, it provided insight for activism in general. Progressive battles are all about context. What works in Maine may not be appropriate for Iowa. Activism, then, must not be so rigid that when the winds of change blow, the movement breaks. Activism must be malleable: ready to shift gears with each new development.

Like matter itself, activist energy cannot -- or rather, should not -- be destroyed. It must be changed and shaped with each situation. If we use the same tactics, we'll never keep up with our ideological opponents who are constantly developing new ways to keep us down. It's absolutely essential that LGBT and progressive movements do the same.


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"Like matter itself, activist energy cannot -- or rather, should not -- be destroyed. It must be changed and shaped with each situation."

It shouldn't be wasted, either.

Did the Panel remind the audience that it is 2010, not 1964? Maybe encourage some new ideas, tactics, or strategies?

We can become a lot more effective if we let go of the past and explore new ideas. The world has changed, we should, too.

Yeah, lets explore new ideas and do exactly what PFLAG has been doing since 1972 and suggest it repeatedly as if it's a totally new strategy.

PFLAG is a great organization. They have 200,000 members. The LGBT Community is up to 20 million people.

I know you still want to March around and complain or do some "crazy shenanigans," but the only way to actually win is to change minds. We're not doing that and just because you are aware of PFLAG - and their 200,000 members - it doesn't mean we are.

Your comments show how difficult it is to get people to be objective and provide some rationale for tactics, methods and strategies. Maybe after the mid-terms, when it will feel like 1994 all over again, you'll try to be a little more objective about our Movement.