One needs a political movement because something has to change and what has to change is not individual. It's not something an individual can change without holding hands with someone else and then another person after that. And in the collectivity of person-to-person, each person cannot do everything, but every person can do something. That is why one has a political movement: because a political movement makes it possible for people to do the thing they can do in a context that gives the doing meaning; because people then can give as much as they can give of what they know, of what they think; because people can give materially. No one has to—or can—do everything. It is appalling that in the United States people believe that an individual must do everything—that if one cannot do everything one need not do anything.
One of the worst parts of being an Amerikan is that if something does not happen fast, it does not happen at all; if one cannot make an issue, an atrocity, a tragedy palpable to people in five minutes, or in a sixty-second sound byte, one cannot communicate with other people. Amerikans don't have, or refuse to have, a sense of history, which is necessary in having a sense of endurance, duration—a sense of how hard it is to make change, how long it takes, how incredible it is that one moved forward an eighth of an inch, because then one gets the boot and one is kicked way back to the place where one started, but not quite, because one knows something that one did not know before. Political activism brings knowledge.
Saturday, March 05, 2011
Noted: Andrea Dworkin
From "Pornography, prostitution, and a beautiful and tragic recent history", collected in Not For Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution and Pornography (2005), an anthology of essays by various authors, edited by Rebecca Wisnant and Christine Stark: