George Lakey

George Lakey is Visiting Professor at Swarthmore College and a Quaker. He has led 1,500 workshops on five continents and led activist projects on local, national, and international levels. Among many other books and articles, he is author of “Strategizing for a Living Revolution” in David Solnit’s book Globalize Liberation (City Lights, 2004). His first arrest was for a civil rights sit-in and most recent was with Earth Quaker Action Team while protesting mountain top removal coal mining. E-mail: glakey1@swarthmore.edu

Articles by this author

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 12:18pm
A Revolution Comes in Stages — Occupy or Otherwise
All of us hold an idea about how progressive change might happen, whether or not we spell it out explicitly. For some it’s an elaboration of grassroots alternative-building, for others it starts with flooding legislators with advocacy. One way or another, we all have one.
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Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 12:10pm
People of Cyprus: Follow the Vikings!
When the banks of the Sweden, Norway and Iceland went out of control, the people refused to bail them out, and the economies of all three countries were the better for it.
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 2:30pm
I Pledge Allegiance... To Resist the Pipeline
One of the hardest things in the world is, if I may borrow a biblical phrase, to read the signs of the times.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 8:57am
How to Create a Multi-Level Movement for Climate Justice
The more we hear calls for the urgency of climate justice like that of Bill McKibben’s July Rolling Stone article , the more we confront a strategic dilemma: Where shall we put our energy, on the local or national level?
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Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 3:43pm
Did the Norwegians Have a Revolution?
For the better part of a century, some visionaries have been trying to break out of the dominant belief that there are only two means of forcing change: reform through elections and revolution through violence. The rigidity of that binary choice still strangles thinking today.
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 1:57pm
The Right to Self-Defense
We have a moral right to defend ourselves against violation; there’s no doubt in my mind about that. Persons and groups have boundaries for a reason, and integrity generally requires that we defend them. Gandhi said that this is an obligation that trumped his call to experiment with nonviolent action; if you can’t think of a way to defend yourself nonviolently, he said, use violence.
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012 - 1:26pm
Social Movements Can Find Strength from Unlikely Allies
Nearly all successful movements need to attract allies in order to win. The U.S. Occupy movement in its first few months attracted widespread sympathy and support in opinion polls; but the function of allies is to translate favorable opinion into active support.
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Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 12:34pm
The More Violence, the Less Revolution
In the discussion within the Occupy movement on whether violence is necessary for making change in the United States, the debate has so far conflated three of the movement’s possible goals. Are we talking about using violence to produce regime change? Or do we really mean “regime change with democratic institutions following the change”?
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 11:18am
Who’s Really Violent? Tips for Controlling the Narrative
Occupy Wall Street is similar to many movements in contending that its opponent—for Occupy, the 1 percent—is maintaining a system whose structural, systematic violence far exceeds any violence exhibited by the movement itself. For example, movements will say that class oppression or sexism or racism hurt people in the daily course of life, pointing to statistics like each percentage point of unemployment resulting in increased suicide, homicide and domestic abuse.
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Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 7:53am
How Swedes and Norwegians Broke the Power of the ‘1 Percent’
While many of us are working to ensure that the Occupy movement will have a lasting impact, it’s worthwhile to consider other countries where masses of people succeeded in nonviolently bringing about a high degree of democracy and economic justice. Sweden and Norway, for example, both experienced a major power shift in the 1930s after prolonged nonviolent struggle.
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