The Activist Top Ten for 2007
1) There is no purchasing the revolution or surfing to it online. While this might seem like a no-brainer to most, the tendency to reduce social change to individual action penetrates even the sharpest minds. So while we might be too cool for the (red) scam, we can still get caught up in the American Apparel branding. Which brings us to...

2) A lifetime of purity is worth a good ten minutes of coalition. What's it worth if you believe all the right things but can't work with anyone who doesn't? People getting shot at in Iraq don't care if you're working with democrats, nationalists, liberal reform groups, or radical communists if it stops the war. Jerry Falwell and the Chamber of Commerce may not agree on banking regulation and sermon subjects (or they might...), but they rule because united they stand, divided we fall. We don't need to drink together, but we have to let bygones be bygones and keep our eyes on the prize.

3) Even a vigil a day won't keep the system at bay. A moral argument may convince regular people to join us, but the empire isn't rhetorical. Politicians and the various institutions of war, from Exxon to the Ivy Leagues, don't give a whit about our moral arguments: they know their goal and they've made calculations to achieve it. Getting them to change their actions means getting them to change those calculations: politicians want to stay in office and corporations want to maintain profits. Threaten their primary needs and they won't just listen, they'll respond.

4) Accountability isn't optional. The worst sentence ever is "At least we're doing something." From meeting attendance to successful actions, the objective isn't to make ourselves feel better, but to grow and strengthen into a movement that can make the world better. Even the smartest ideas in the world have to survive the furnace of reality. If things are going well, they should be noted so we can repeat them; If they're going poorly, we have to trust ourselves enough to work out the kinks; we need to be honest with ourselves if we're going to have a chance. The point isn't to tear people down, but to always improve.

5) Education is nice, but there's no quiz at the end and no entrance exam. We don't need people who can quote Chomsky and know all the best lefty websites if they're too busy to do their share of organizing. This is a collective effort and nobody gets a free pass for catching all the radicaler-than-thou references. This also encourages the fence sitters who're considering getting involved but feel that they "don't know enough" yet.

6) Get in an affinity group. Encourage other people to get in affinity groups. Don't wait for an impending action. It's the fastest way to become more than the sum of our parts.

7) Community is critical. We're all going to feel defeated and none of us is an island. The system breeds misanthropy ("everyone else lets it continue this way cause they're sheep..."), but community is a stark reminder that there are actually a lot of people out there who're dreaming and working towards a better world.

8) Remember that we've won before: the biggest empires come crashing down, the hardest chains break, and the cruelest plantations burn. We've done it before, and with some hard work, we'll do it again.

9) No one has all the answers. Listen to our elders and learn from the teachers, but remember that the solutions haven't been figured out yet. It is really up to us. And last but not least...

10) Work and Hope. We can make it happen.

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