“If I can’t dance, I don’t want your revolution.”
That’s a quote falsely attributed to feminist-anarchist-eternal bad ass Emma Goldman. Here’s what she really said: “I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things.”
That’s what I saw tonight at the opening ceremony for the Allied Media Conference, nominally a conference on alternative media and social justice, actually much more: a conclave of new ideas more radical than TED, a utopian dreamspace of equality, acceptance, and radical humanism, a meeting point of the people creating the culture of the 21st century.
The opening ceremony tonight ended fittingly with participants dancing onstage (see photo): all ethnicities, all genders, all ages, all bodies, in ecstatic loving union: the whole made greater by the sums of its parts, each part made greater by the whole.
It’s at moments like this that I think we can win, that change is possible. Because the powers that be, the powers of oppression, express no such joy. The suited uniform of the corporate mogul or politician is a mark of conformity, of negating the self. It’s a faustian bargain for power, but requires self-repression and twisting of the spirit.
What the Allied Media Conference stands for is the whole person, deserving of love as we are for whatever we are. The current global system of cut-throat competition and self-loathing both seeded and soothed by consumer culture doesn’t hold a candle to this ethos. Another world is possible, and there will be dancing.