Embrace your inner misfit

I can’t imagine two people who have had a bigger impact on the struggles of the left than Tom Hayden and Naomi Klein. Would you be interested in knowing what motivated them to become activists? Or hear them have a conversation on topics like:

Something worth giving your life to

Making ripples

Blending journalism and activism

Online activism and street activism

Walking towards the fear

Embracing your inner misfit

Thanks to the work of This Brave Nation, that’s possible. Here’s the video of that conversation.

The video is about 25 minutes.

As a bonus track, I’ll just add that Brave New Foundation has teamed up with Cenk Uygur from The Young Turks to produce a weekly show called Meet the Bloggers (think blogger version of “Meet the Press”). Here is the first episode from last week featuring an interview with Ariana Huffington and a panel discussion including Liliana Segura, Baratunde Thurston, and Marcy Wheeler on whether or not Karl Rove should/will go to jail for contempt of Congress.


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  1. Blind Boys of Alabama sing “Shall Not Walk Alone.”

    • OPOL on July 27, 2008 at 18:01

    I’ve long admired Tom Hayden (got to meet him and have a brief conversation at YKOS 07)…and have a profound appreciation for Naomi Klein as well.

  2. When I was younger, I thought resisting entailed also looking like an obstacle…. thus my “punk” phase.

    But what I have learned not so much from direct political activism but the sort of resistance one engages in during every day life in order not to be forced to conform to things that I just don’t want to conform to is that is is more subversive to look relatively harmless.

    And middle aged and older women have a great potential to be radical because culturally once women cannot reproduce their worth as a commodity decreases. You can really turn that assumed invisibility on its head and just generally fuck with the system.

    And being cheerful when you resist is fun. Those on the right or neo-liberals expect one to get all angry and defensive so if you fail to or even worse agree with them (yes, I am a Godless communist ) it can be pretty enjoyable.

    I actually think even when engaging in what one considers serious work or activity it is prudent not to take onself too seriously in that process.

    • feline on July 27, 2008 at 18:40

    lucky to be alive right now – we have excellent mentors and role models with which to empower ourselves to more effectively integrate our own independent journalism and activism – if ever a time in history this is needed, it’s certainly now.  I’m glad to be here and to be a part of it.

    Thank you, NLinStPaul, for bringing this inspiration to embrace my inner misfit –  and to celebrate it.

  3. talking, two generations addressing the need for people to participate. Lots to absorb here. The main thing I liked was how they both addressed the societal fears that keep us wanting to fit in and be normal. That fear is alive and well, my son child of a hippie, is afraid to put out a lawn sign for Obama as it would make his neighbors feel he was a ‘lefty’ which he is. We have lost our traditions. Our fear has been misplaced. I’m going to read James Baldwin, I never have and he sounds like one smart guy.

    The net and writing helps with information and ideas but I wholeheartedly believe you need to take it out there to the streets. This does not mean for everyone demonstrations but all aspects are needed it gives the rest of the people courage.

    People poopoo Party politics and Obama’s ‘change’ but the grassroots movement he generated, at least the one I dealt with, were not Obamatons they came together because they saw that the only way to counteract what’s happening was to actually put their bodies out there. Thanks for the great post.    


  4. don’t know if it would interest you but I saw a great documentary yesterday on HBO called

    Hard Times at Douglas High and I thought about you.

    None of it was new in one sense but watching people struggle in less than ideal conditions in a school environment reminded me that we can do all the tinkering we want but we won’t even approach social and economic equality for all Americans until the problems in middle school and school are seriously addressed. It starts for people at a young age and even those who try to resist and break free of the negative aspects of their community while appreciating the positive ones and celebrating them seem to make it in spite of the system not as a result of it.

    • robodd on July 27, 2008 at 20:04

    that change is made.  It’s the story of life.  

    It’s the reaction to being misfit that is important.  Shall I conform to what is already there, or shall I attempt to find a truer meaning to that status?  That’s all.

    • Metta on July 29, 2008 at 02:41

    I need to absorb these wise words.  Very powerful and hopefully empowering!!

    I miss the passion.  I miss the interaction and I never thought I would say it but I miss singing the protest songs with other people.  I won’t say the internet is lonely really, but…I miss the connection.

    Blogging does absorb a portion of the outrage, I have no doubt.  Seattle was a real turning point in street protests and it hasn’t ever been the same.  Free speech zones and holding tanks, sheesh.  I don’t even particularly care about marching and chanting much but to have it nearly disappear isn’t so cool.  I glad there are still people out there doing it.  I need to get off my island more often or stand at the corner of 12th and Commercial with my brothers and sisters.  

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