195 Activism Series: Episode 2 – Is Radical Change Possible? (Answering Listener Questions)

We’re back with part 2 of our activism series, tackling the first of a few questions submitted by a thought-provoking listener (thanks Olivia!). This week, we discuss if radical change is possible or if we, as activists, should plan on NOT seeing radical change in our lives and keep our day jobs. Do we invest in the radical, or stick to a more certain path? Tune in to find out!

In This Episode

After laying the groundwork in last week’s episode, this week we feel ready to start tackling the intriguing questions posed to us by listener Olivia. For the first question, Olivia writes:

Q. As activists, do you believe we should act as though a drastic outcome (anarchy, socialism, etc.) is possible, or do we take dramatic action understanding that governments and corporations will only allow capitalism to be reformed to a certain extent, say, as a social democracy?

This question largely relates to issues of money and security. Do I spend a lot on activism, launching bolder and riskier initiates, counting on better social structures in the future to make up for the loss of savings? Or do I pursue a lucrative job that covers my needs and invest in retirement, all while pursuing my activism on the side, even if it means less opportunities?

I feel like this is a question that holds back a lot of activists, the hope for a better world but the fear to commit beyond a certain extent because we don’t actually know if a better world is truly possible.

We talk about if we think radical change is possible, what activists should do in pursuit of change, and more!

Joke in the Middle
What do you call a dinosaur that never gives up? (Thanks, Brianna!)

“I am a Vegan” Submission
I Am An African, Atheist, Asexual Vegan by Doreen Yomoah

Links and Information



  • It’s Olivia :D I really adored your episode. I felt like that “wave length” brain adjustment the entire time.

    I tried joining a radical movement in my school. Unfortunately, it was a rather bougie, white male club that wanted to talk politics, and my activist-oriented asian disabled non binary self didn’t feel any connection. Since then, I’ve ditched politics. I have my vision. Those guys might call it anarchy, and I do identify as an anarchist, but I just call my vision the better world. I see a place where there is no “work”: there are things to be done and people in the community that do them, for themselves and for others. No hierarchy that dictates who has to do what, at what time, for what cost, no exceptions. In my world, we don’t “labour”, we “play”: we invent and create and care so we can feel every emotion, so we can love and hate without fear of it costing our lives. I try to live that world in my life. I imagine myself burning up the miserable capitalist social contract I never agreed to sign. I don’t have the money to give meals but I can give the homeless fruit and granola bars I steal from the cafeteria. I can’t afford to see all the places I want to see but I go to any museum or park that calls my name in my city. I do random bullshit fun for and with my friends and family because their happiness is worth it to me and I want to practice caring for other people. I don’t have a “career path”. I have cultures that really fascinate me and I want to explore them. Maybe my anthropology degree with cover the travel expenses if I have a nice thesis pitch. Maybe it’ll only help me better understand the places I see. But I’m not going to limit the life I can live.

    In my classes I’ve learned a lot about societies and cultures, and humans’ innate desire to care for each other. We fundamentally value loving each other, and it hurts to be in competition. One of my professors actually said that culture, which normalizes relationships, has to be ingrained because to think of it would be exhausting. That’s why I think activists can feel burnout. We’re constantly thinking about this culture and the ways it can be improved. And that’s why other people don’t really want to think about alternatives. Because then they have to wake up to our cultural nightmare, that has long stopped fulfilling our physical and psychological needs. In one of my recent papers I argued that “generosity”, as we know it, is a total social contract. Because we live in a society that relies on exchange, we see “giving without expectations” (and let’s be real, there’s usually a bit of bragging and status expectations behind generosity, especially “philanthropy”) as some kind of weird exception. Generosity could be the NORM, exchanging and favours can easily be our way of sustenance, and PAYING could be seen as the weird thing that it is. I still bring up anarchist ideals in all my classes (my professors love it so it’s okay :D) and though some conservatives push back I’d like to think some people will start internalizing their own vision that diverts from the beaten path.

    I’m long done on reforming capitalism. Funny enough, when people ask me what I want, I tell them “I don’t make demands”. Because I don’t want the change to end. I want a world that cares so much about it’s people that it never ceases to adjust to their needs.

    I’m dying to hear the next episodes. Thank you again :)

    • Olivia, I love your vision for the future – I want to live there!

      I love what you wrote about culture and how so much our relating to each other must be ingrained. I never thought about it in that way before but it’s so obvious once you said it. And yes, I totally agree that’s why activists get burnout – we’re consciously thinking about this thing that is supposed to innate and self-functioning.

      YESSSSSS to generosity as a social construct!!! Being “generous” is just doing what you are able to help someone else – that absolutely should be the norm! I’m going to add that to my list of social constructs, like being “nice.”

      Well, I’m here with you, tearing up my capitalist social construct. Let it burn, baby!

      Thanks for the thought-provoking comments :)

  • Hello, I loved this episode!

    I wanted to say a quick thing about anarchism. It’s a very important distinction IMO. Anarchisms main theme isn’t about property. It’s about unjustified hierarchies. There is a huge difference between private, and personal property. Private is when someone grabs up land and charges people to live on it .Personal property is having a home to call your own that only people you allow in can come in. So under anarcho-communism, if you choose, you would have your own home . That’s personal property. So personal property is fine. Private property isn’t.

    Y’all should really have an anchist on the show to discuss theory, so we can all learn.

    Also it would be so cool if you talked about what Cherán Mexico did on the next episode. They rose up and kicked out all politicians, corporations, and cops and run things with a direct democracy “government” of the people.

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