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Sense of Struggle
Pattern number within this pattern set:104
Public Sphere Project (CPSR)
There are myriad forces in the world. Some of them are working to change it, to create an alternative future while some of them are working to preserve the status quo and to perpetuate injustice and privilege. Many of the forces that are the strongest are the ones that must be challenged: A casual response is inadequate: a sense of struggle is necessary to meet those challenges.
This pattern is applicable to any person or group that is working towards the solution of a seemingly intractable social or environmental problem.
Social change is not easy. Effecting change is long term and not trivial. The change that is needed may not occur until long after the deaths of the people who first seek it. A sense of struggle can bind together a group dedicated towards positive social change.
A sense of struggle emerges from the realization that the problem is very deep and the appreciation that there will be setbacks over the long-term. A sense of struggle lies midway between unwarranted optimism and helpless despair and cynicism.
A sense of struggle which is often necessary in social activism can change over time into something less desirable. Sometimes, a too grim sense of struggle can result in not acknowledging a genuine opportunity when it comes along. A sense of struggle unrelieved by humor, cameraderie, etc. can even give way to dogmaticism, paranoia or messianic thinking. Being flexible and open to new approaches and to new people who share your concerns is the best way to avoid these problems.
"If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without ploughing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the awful roar of its mighty waters. Power concedes nothing without a demand!"
We need to cultivate a sense of struggle and, at the same time, make it easier for those who do struggle.
Verbiage for pattern card:
Many of the strongest forces in the world must be challenged. A Sense of Struggle can unite a group striving for positive social change. A Sense of Struggle lies between optimism and despair. We need to cultivate a Sense of Struggle and, at the same time, make it easier for those who are involved in the struggle. According to Frederick Douglass, "If there is no struggle, there is no progress."
Information about introductory graphic:Gandhi, Salt March; Wikimedia Commons
MOVE YOUR WORK FORWARD
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You have accessed one of the 136 Patterns that can be used for positive social change. If you found this pattern useful, you'll probably find others.
Note that we don't tell you how to use the Patterns! You tailor them to fit your needs, your resources, your environment.
Each Pattern is part of the Liberating Voices Pattern Language, a collection of patterns. Each Pattern can be used individually or with others. The Pattern descriptions in the book are more extensive than the online ones here — or the physical cards (which are also available).
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