Not the opposite of courage. Not the opposite of hope for a better world. Not the opposite of practical solidarity with those suffering under brutal regimes.
The opposite of what then?
One opposite thing – the compulsion to act in silos, to keep our networks as tenuously linked as possible.
In the early 40s, if (or when) the Gestapo got you, and when (not if) they tortured you and when you told them everything you knew – every name, every identifying characteristic – then it mattered that you knew as little as possible. It was, indeed, a matter of life and death.
In the second decade of the following century, we may be heading for some new authoritarian regime, with PRISM etc as a mere precursor. I don’t know. And I don’t know if their network analysis algorithms already tell them everything they need to know about friendships, links and all the rest, enough to fill their helicopters taking you on a one-way trip out over the North Sea hundreds of times over. [Update – contact chaining.]
What I DO know is this – when we continue with shitty meetings that are designed for people to attend rather than participate, we are NOT helping to create ever thicker and denser networks of activists. We are NOT creating those loose links of acquaintance and affiliation that make a movement stronger.
How many more opportunities will we waste? All of them, I suspect.