A Twitter Star’s Hopeful Manifesto

Mychal Denzel Smith at Bookforum:

On the Other Side of Freedom is filled with short bursts of this kind of beauty. In service of what, though? In twelve chapters covering organizing, identity, activism, and more, Mckesson sets out to provide an “intellectual, pragmatic political framework for a new liberation movement.”But he doesn’t move much beyond poetic rhapsodizing about protest, which he romanticizes to the exclusion of most other aspects of resistance. Indeed, he’s outright dismissive of some. In the chapter “On Organizing,” he recounts his frustrations at a training session led by a national organizer, which wasn’t, he felt, useful to the situation in Ferguson. This could have been a great opportunity to describe new directions that activism might take, but his description of the meeting’s shortcomings are frustratingly vague. He is unhappy with the notion of the “top-down model in which an organizing body or institution confers knowledge, gives direction, grants permission.” The protesters, he points out, don’t need this kind of guidance—they already possess the skills necessary for effective activism. “The tactics that were effective in bringing about change in the sixties, seventies, and eighties are well known to all,” he explains. “And thus we needed new tactics for a new time.” And what are those new tactics? “To ignore the role of social media as difference-maker in organizing is perilous.”

more here.