Saturday, July 23, 2016

The radical centre - a place to be?

From Rebecca Solnit's mighty Hope In The Dark. The quote relates to environmental activism, but could apply to any field of social change or anyone weary of simplistic left-right divisions.

It's also very much in keeping with a community organising approach.
'Arizona environmentalist-rancher Bill McDonald [...] may have been the one to coin the term "the radical centre", the space in which ranchers, environmentalists, and government agencies have been able to work together and see the preservation of rural livelihoods and the land itself as the same goal.'

'The radical center, as writer and New Mexico land manager William DeBuys defines it is "a departure from business as usual," is "not bigoted. By that I mean, to do this kind of work, you don't question where someone is from or what kind of hat he or she wears, you focus on where that person is willing to go and whether he or she is willing to work constructively on matters of mutual interest. 

Work in the Radical Centre also involves a commitment to using a diversity of tools. There is no one way of doing things. We need to have large toolboxes and lend and borrow tools freely. 

Work in the Radical Centre is experimental - it keeps developing new alternatives every step of the way. Nothing is ever so good that it can't stand a little revision and nothing is ever so impossible and broken down that a try at fixing it is out of the question."

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