... passed in October 2003; housing, harm reduction, pleasure activist, and
personal friend Keith Cylar, of Housing Works, passed in April of2004; Yippie ... I
spent hours and hours talking about and practicing activism with each of these
Author: Benjamin Shepard
Category: Social Science
As we play, we step away from stark reality to conjure up new possibilities for the present and our common future. Today, a new cohort of social activists are using it to create social change and reinvent democratic social relations. In contrast to work or routine, play must be free. To the extent that it is, it infuses a high-octane burst of innovation into any number of organizational practices and contexts, and invites social actors to participate in a low-threshold, highly democratic process of collaboration, based on pleasure and convivial social relations. Despite the contention that such activities are counterproductive, movements continue to put the right to party on the table as a part of a larger process of social change, as humor and pleasure disrupt monotony, while disarming systems of power. Through this book, Shepard explores notions of play as a social movement activity, considering some of the meanings, applications and history of the concept in relation to social movement groups ranging from Dada and Surrealism to Situationism, the Yippies to the Young Lords, ACT UP to the Global Justice, anti-gentrification, community and anti-war movements of recent years.