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What We Want for 2018: The Biggest Movement Leaders Envision the Changes Ahead


What We Want for 2018: The Biggest Movement Leaders Envision the Changes Ahead

Beverly Bell

From Alicia Garza to Annie Leonard, nine organizers share their hopes for the new year.


I really don’t like the headline about “Biggest Movement Leaders.” As good as these folks are, the headline implies a kind of hero worship/messianism that “they” (whoever they may be) will lead us out of the morass that life has become.

While leadership is a key in power-building and using power effectively, it is only one of many dynamic and necessary factors. (See the rise and demise of “Bernie.”)


SOLIDARITY 2018 :fire:


I’ll second that…

Regeneration International

Edible Forest Gardens

Worm Composting 101

Time lapse worms at work

the horizon is wide open - with a turning of attention


Exactly. My favorite slogan is: “Nothing about us without us!”

I find it troubling that most of the “leaders” described here are not even members of the workers and poor who they claim to be “leading”. In fact, many of them look disturbingly rich and bourgeois. You won’t find many women who look like Ms. Cook in the run-down mobile homes of the Navajo reservation.

But then again, “Yes” Magazine is a proverbial west-coast bourgeois liberal mag.

The Immokalee workers movement has especially been troubling that way. What they need is a union that they organize themselves - not informal deals between fast-food corporations and condescending white saviors that can be cancelled at any time with little consequence.


We don’t want to get them “neutralized”.

How about “no leader, all leaders”?



Greetings. Beverly Bell here. I agree with you about the title, which I was sadly surprised to see. There are no handful of “best” leaders - there are millions of leaders in struggles throughout the world. The folks represented here are all in the trenches, throwing their weight in to strengthen the collective, which of course is the only way we will thrive and grow to transform economic and political struggles. As for the comment about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, I suggest the earlier commentator learn more about their formation and strategies. They are a collective of farmworkers founded by a group of immigrants from Latin American revolutionary struggles, and are deeply subversive. Here’s to a rebellion-growing 2018.


Thanks for joining the discussion. If you’d care to, would you share your viewpoint on pursuing “subversive” policy via the Democratic Party.

There’s an argument going on here within the Common Dreams commenting community and the left in general, on whether to continue to place faith in the Democrats, or to abandon them to build their replacement, whatever that may be.

Your thoughts? Thanks.


I personally have zero faith in the Democratic Party, though I do appreciate that some radicals have chosen to get elected through that party in order to push Left agendas, and that others are trying to press elected officials for better policies. I don’t have the stomach for that, but my belief is: Let a thousand flowers bloom. People are working to make radical change at all levels, from all positions, all over the world. I stand with all whose agendas are to make profound structural overhaul, with integrity and without selling out anyone along the way, wherever they have planted themselves or however they work.

I realize I am not directly answering your question. I’ve been largely out of the US for much of the past two years, fighting the US government as it destroys democracy and oversees the plunder of indigenous peoples and lands in Honduras. Others in your community have much more insight on this topic.

For those above rightly critiquing the unfortunate “biggest movement leaders” title of the article (not vetted by me), you might be inspired to know that the fundamental organizing pillar and central slogan of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers is, “Everyone is a leader.” This follows the philosophy of the Guatemalan and Zapatista revolutions, and of the Haitian Peasant Movement of Papay, participants of which together founded the CIW.

Signing off with much appreciation for all that each of you does.


I really appreciate your post, I totally appreciate your work–the US track record in Central America is appalling, especially right now in the northern triangle.

In solidarity with the Sandinistas, I went to Nicaragua in the run up to the 1990 election, picked coffee for a month, went to huge rallies there, witnessed US “interference” firsthand, and came home to protest and answer questions for local media on the Chamorro win. It was a formative political experience for me.

As for the Democrats, my view is simple: That party is the place that progressive policies go to die.

Stay safe, stay strong in the belly of the beast!


Either, We the Poor People, are included, or We the People and the Planet are Through. Gone. Extinct. Forgotten. The “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival” begins Mother’s Day. Immovable. Unstoppable. Inevitable. Love. Respect. Peace. Family. No political parties need apply. Show up. Stand up.


You mention “wars” in your short intro, but it seems as though you couldn’t find one person who believed that ending the wars was a primary goal. Otherwise, these goals are laudable–just shocked by failing to notice the elephant in the room.