What Needs Changing (the Peace Movement)

Transcribed from a speech given at Military-Industrial Complex at 50 Conference by Jonathan Williams manager of communications and online organizing for Peace Action and co-founder of Civilian-Soldier Alliance:

Thanks to everyone for organizing this conference. I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you today.

How do we win? How do we get our demands met? We need power. But what is power? How do we get it?

Simply put, power is the ability to act; the ability to end the wars, the ability to convert our economy, the ability to change the world. But how do we get that kind of power?

A lot of my mentors have said there are two kinds of power in this world: there’s organized money and there’s organized people. Which one do you think I’m here to talk about?

So how do we organize people? We can’t get that organized money, but we have the other kind of power. We have the numbers. We have the majority of people on our side.

There’s a great quote that goes something like this: we have to stop thinking that we’re going win because (1) the majority of people are on our side, (2) the facts are on our side, or (3) because we’re morally right. Our opponents have none of these things, and they are consistently winning.

How are they winning then? It’s because they have power. So how do we get that kind of power?

In my organization, Civilian-Soldier Alliance, we talk a lot about leadership. In our work, leadership and relationships are what we think actually organizes people. That’s where you get people power.

So how do you become a leader for social change? None of us are born as social change organizers. We don’t pop out ready to change the world. That’s not how it works. It is a process of transformation. It’s a transformation of an individual to become a leader, and in turn, transforming lots of individuals transforms society. We call thistransformational organizing.

Read more here.

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