Friday, February 5, 2010

Creating Change: day 2 - Dallas: Empowering People of Faith - part 2

Outside the box...

Beth Zemsky LGBT activist since the 80's led us through some of the brutal realities of movement building, more specifically, Movement analysis. She made it clear that Organizing is not movement building, rather it rides the wave of movements.

Social movement, since WWII is under the master frame of "rights." This is the wave that we are riding. Unfortunately we jumped on a little late.

Picture this wave as a bell curve appropriately colored blue. It grew out of WWII, where "Colored" people served in segregated units and after help to free the survivors of the holocaust returned thinking what about us, This bell curve peaked from 1964 to 1968 with the assassinations of the MLK and JFK and legilation that brought the end of segregation. It then began to wane just as Stonewall occured.

The next master frame of the wave, colored red in the diagram, is "individualism, values and security." It started its rise in counterpoint to the peak of "rights." In the intersection of decline of one and rise of the next is marked by AIDS and the Reagan era. It was at this time, as the "rights" curve was passed by the "individualism" curve that LGBT pleas were successfully labeled as "special rights" and 9/11/2001 it reached a peak. The "individualism" curve has since been dominate. The good news is that it appears to have started it's decline. The bad news is that period of thes curves is about 80 years. This mean the curves will be in balance in 20 years and "rights" will dominate again in 40 years.

Specific movements within a given time period have ripples that grow from these waaves. We must continue to win the small victories that will keep the wave moving forward.

But who defines us? Who defines our love and how do they define it. Analysis of this cycle of movements should also inform us that in the down times, doing the same old thing will not only get us the same old results, it will get us less

If I accept this theory, and it does seem to be supported by events, this is the time to do new things, create new strategies and prepare for the climb ahead.

Beth Zemsky used a far side cartoon to support this idea. A dinosaur approaches a simply bait, box and stick with string trap. "Shhhhh, Zog, here comes one now..." is the caption. But the mighty hunters, about to pull the string are standing inside the box. It is the time to think outside the box.

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