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A Sustainable Revolution with Sophie Scott-Brown

Thursday March 14th
Doors & drinks 6.30pm; Talk starts 7pm

Taking part in an activist movement can be an education in freedom. Too often, however, tensions within movements overwhelm them before they can realise their potential. Many activists expect too much from a movement and are disappointed when it falls short. There are always tensions around what it takes to organise events and how these should connect to a central programme and to the movement's ultimate goals.

All this should be considered a valuable learning experience, and yet too often it's labelled as failure. When this is the case, activists become despondent, they drift, perhaps even swing the other way. How do we stop this?

Sophie Scott-Brown, intellectual historian and author of Colin Ward and the Art of Everyday Anarchy (2022), will argue that we need to democratise our ideas of revolution for democracy. Firstly, we should stop thinking in terms of a head-on collision with power - this only ever results in one tyrant taking over from another. Secondly, we should stop believing revolutions can be systematic - it will work in patches which will always ebb and flow. Thirdly, we must give up the notion that revolutions have a definite end - if they end, they fail. Finally, we need to accept that a democratic revolution will not agree with itself - real democracy, by definition, must argue itself into existence.

With this in mind, we can think more clearly about the kind of social education activism can give us. Drawing on the history of the Direct Action Committee (1949-1961), she will show how the committee came to see cultivating activists as its most important and transformative revolutionary act, and suggest which of its ideas have most relevance to social movements today.

Talk followed by one-pot vegan supper & discussion.

Kairos, 84 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 4TG

Doors open at 6.30pm for drinks. Storytelling starts at 7pm with a break for a one-pot vegan supper.

£8 members, £15 non-members. Food and drink complimentary.