The famous feminist activist Emma Goldman once said “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution” and though to the dedicated activist that may seem frivolous, there is wisdom in what she said. In the fight for economic, racial and sexual justice some activists can alienate those they wish to convince by giving in to excessive zeal and the righteous indignation that comes with fighting the good fight. Too serious. No humor. Total dedication. No time for joking or play.
While it may be understandable that this occurs, there is wisdom in tempering this overly serious, doctrinaire and sometimes self-righteous approach in order to create a welcoming and hospitable tent, inviting to the undecided and luring those committed to the status quo.
Creative resistance is the key to a durable, adaptable, enjoyable revolution. Not creativity just in dancing and celebrations but also in protest and tactics to resist brutality. The “wall of moms” and the “leaf-blower dads” of the Portland protests are recent examples of creative resistance. On Facebook we can find recommendations for how to resist with balloons of oil paint that obscure the face masks of attacking police and lists of items to bring for safety and fun. Though their use can bring a felony conviction it is ultimately harmless, effective and creative. And then there are the relief tents. Music. Puppets. Chants. Street theater. Creative resistance media. And plenty of dancing. As natural as it is, t will get tiring screaming at police and a playful performance will be more fun and likely more effective. Let’s dance our way through this revolution.