We live in a world that is dominated by economic interests, a world that is cloaked in democratic clothes but where choice is robbed from its people by hiding the question. What does it mean to be free? If we look around, we can see many different interpretations, but I would echo Viktor Frankl when he said that ‘everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms-to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way’.
It is a terrible thing to live your life and find out near its end that you lived based on someone else’s idea of how you should live, and the chance to find your own way was denied to you. Yet that is a danger that confronts our young people, that their lives might be full of regret for lost opportunities, so having the chance to live and choose without oppression is tremendously important. Grassroots activism in the cause of non-hierarchical possibilities is fundamental in providing that freedom.
Voluntary activism that is effective and focused is difficult, as is creating and maintaining momentum. However, there are many people who care deeply, and wish to bring about changes to the conventional school system, who want there to be the legal possibility to choose something different from ‘banking education’, to quote Freire, and who are happy to work towards common goals.
There are differences between people involved in this wider movement, without a doubt, but what bonds us to each other is the belief in the need for change. As Audre Lorde said, ‘we have been taught either to ignore our differences, or to view them as causes for separation and suspicion rather than as forces for change. Without community there is no liberation, only the most vulnerable and temporary armistice between an individual and her oppression.’
By communicating, getting together and spending time together in the spirit of true community, we can provide a platform for other, as of yet unknown, synergies to take place, and connect people who are seeking answers to questions that perhaps have not even formulated yet, but could be sought out together.