The New Activism
Brief by Martha Quillen
Activism – December 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine
Let Nothing You Dismay
This year’s Headwaters Conference at Western State College was about action. But those who arrived expecting to hear from NAFTA protesters, Seattle marchers, or fervent activists — like the controversial Glenn Morris who once again made Denver’s Columbus Day celebrations memorable — were doomed to disappointment.
The Headwaters topic was: “Conflict to Consensus: Meeting Obstacles to Community Action,” and the emphasis was definitely on consensus.
Most of the speakers this year were planners and consultants, and conflict resolution was the primary theme. Dr. Laura McCall, who teaches history at Metropolitan State College, was the only spokesman to advocate any form of protests or demonstrations — and she labeled herself a “devil’s advocate.” After McCall’s presentation, several planners argued that protests don’t really work.
At Headwaters this year, compromise, negotiation, and understanding were lauded as “restorative responses” conducive to community action — and “harmony” was cited as the most essential goal.
Thus, one of the most “radical” suggestions made — which was reputed to be both effective and to produce remarkable results — was perfect for this season.
What was it?
To purchase food, goods, fuel, furniture, arts, crafts and entertainment produced locally was purported to yield profound benefits.
Of course, in this season of recession and war, one suspects that it may take some really profligate local spending to make a dynamic difference. But it’s worth a try. So we suggest that you really go for it: Shop till you drop, and then send your checks to Colorado Central, Box….
Or Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men
But there was also another show of activism in Central Colorado this autumn. In October, Colleen Kunkel, Carol Peeples, Virginia Nemmers, Jane McCall Whitmer, Louise Olsen-Marquez and Gwen Perschbacher of Salida collected signatures for a peace petition.
These volunteers decided to glean local support for a national peace protest that was recently publicized in The Nation, and as a result, one-hundred-and-ninety local citizens signed a “Pledge of Resistance” to recent U.S. war policies. The signatures were published in the Mountain Mail on October 25th.
Information on the national peace protest can be found at www.notinourname.net.
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