Hope in the Dark

Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities

Rebecca Solnit 2004
Grounds for Hope
"Your opponents would love you to believe that it's hopeless"
"Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away."
"It’s important to say what hope is not: it is not the belief that everything was, is, or will be fine. The evidence is all around us of tremendous suffering and tremendous destruction. The hope I’m interested in is about broad perspectives with specific possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we act."
"Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, early on described the movement’s mission as to “Provide hope and inspiration for collective action to build collective power to achieve collective transformation, rooted in grief and rage but pointed towards vision and dreams.” It’s a statement that acknowledges that grief and hope can coexist."
"Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes—you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others."
"It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand."
"Uprisings and revolutions are often considered to be spontaneous, but less visible long-term organizing and groundwork—or underground work—often laid the foundation."
"Making an injury visible and public is often the first step in remedying it, and political change often follows culture, as what was long tolerated is seen to be intolerable, or what was overlooked becomes obvious. Which means that every conflict is in part a battle over the story we tell, or who tells and who is heard."
"Activists often speak as though the solutions we need have not yet been launched or invented, as though we are starting from scratch, when often the real goal is to amplify the power and reach of existing alternatives. What we dream of is already present in the world."
What we dream of is already present in the world
"The century of testimony I drew from for my 2009 book A Paradise Built in Hell suggested how much we want lives of meaningful engagement, of membership in civil society, and how much societal effort goes into withering us away from these fullest, most powerful selves."
"The status quo would like you to believe it is immutable, inevitable, and invulnerable"
"I can rescue someone, and that’s work so meaningful and important I will risk my life and defy the authorities to do it."
"Memory of joy and liberation can become a navigational tool, an identity, a gift."
"Together we are very powerful, and we have a seldom-told, seldom-remembered history of victories and transformations that can give us confidence that yes, we can change the world because we have many times before."
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1 - Looking Into Darkness
"again and again, far stranger things happen than the end of the world."
We can't always know what effect our action may ultimately have. "The woman from WSP told of how foolish and futile she felt standing in the rain one morning protesting at the Kennedy White House. Years later she heard Dr. Benjamin Spock—who had become one of the most high-profile activists on the issue—say that the turning point for him was spotting a small group of women standing in the rain, protesting at the White House. If they were so passionately committed, he thought, he should give the issue more consideration himself."
"it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal."
2 - When We Lost
What do we get out of despair? Why do we turn to it? The comfort of certainty?
The future is being invented in South America
South America is important because it was a continent full of dictators, that are now being overthrown and replaced with more democratic forms of government.
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