Remembering the Revolution: Grace Lee Boggs

Grace Lee Boggs is as consequential at 92 as most activists and writers at 50 or 60. Good work has energized her with a refreshingly clear vision of America. Interviewed on Democracy Now (I recommend taking time to listen to her perspective from a half century of social activitism) Boggs describes the revolution begun with the 1960’s civil rights movement; the speech by Jimmy Carter that called upon us to look at ourselves and which created the counterrevolution demonstrated by the Reagan years, then 9-11 and the Bush Presidency.

“Human relations matter more than economic growth,” Boggs sites as the revolution, first brought to light in the civil rights movement, then extended to women, and then into the environmental movement.”

She believes that racism is still a profoundly strong fact of America’s psyche, responding to the recent attacks on the Obama administration, Obama’s denial that it is racially derived, and the comments of Jimmy Carter that racisim against Obama is strong and abominable.

Boggs is voicing something I have felt missing in the last twenty years: that dialogue begun in the 60’s that addressed the most important ideas of democracy and that were lost in a wave of economic bottom-line thinking with Reagan and which as we see through the next three administrations did NOT result in economic security for this country.

She feels the Obama administration has missed where we are as a nation, that he and his Harvard-trained staff, are unaware of what is happening – she described as “linear thinking.”

Boggs has written a new introduction to the The American Revolution written by her late husband James Boggs. I just ordered it.  Another good source  exploring true democratic movements under the media’s radar but none the less vibrant, is Democracy’s Edge by Frances Moore Lappe.

Are any of you wishing for clarity of purpose among American citizen’s, and leadership that recognizes the imperatives of the time: as Boggs points out, this is about downsizing our expectations and realizing our previous wealth was dependent on impoverishing the rest of the world. 9-11 was the resounding message that the rest of the world is no longer going to tolerate that. This is a time of having less and accepting that as not only okay, but a way into a better future.

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