In our high school and college Men of Strength Clubs we invite members to think about strength as something built in a community, rather than held as an individual like a power over others. Power with not power over. We try to translate this to our work outside of the clubs – in community activist projects, in our group decision-making process, and in the form and content of our organization. However, as organizations have formalized into non-profits this translation becomes more difficult, some would argue impossible. Do non-profits operate in relation to social movements in the same way that the institutions of patriarchy relate to gender expressions – seeing them as objects to control, manage, limit? What vision of power do non-profits encourage?
INICTE! Women of Color Against Violence has released an anthology that asks these, and many other critical questions. In The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, Paul Kivel, in his contribution Social Service or Social Change?, explains:
In the non-profit industrial complex, accountability is directed toward the ruling class and its managers – toward foundations, donors, government officials, larger non-profits, research institutes, universities, and the media. These are all forms of top-down accountability. I am suggesting a bottom-up accountability guided by those on the frontlines of grassroots struggles for justice. In which direction does your accountability lie?
We live in conservative political times and in a contracting economy in which racial, gender-based, religious, and homophobic violence is widespread and accepted. You may be discouraged about the possibility of doing effective political work in this context. You may be fearful of losing your job and livelihood or lowering your standard of living if you take risks. These are real concerns. But this is also a time of increasing and extensive organizing for social justice. It is an opportunity for many of us to realign ourselves clearly with those organizing efforts and reclaim the original vision of an end to the violence and exploitation which brought us into this work. This is a vision of social justice and true equity, built from community leadership and collective power.
This book is important reading for anyone in the men’s anti-violence movement. Find out more, buy the book and check out the other INCITE! anthology, Color of Violence, at www.incite-national.org.
A first step toward the vision Paul Kivel lays out could be attending the march, “Creating a World Without Sexual Violence: National Day of Truthtelling,” taking place in Durham, N.C., on April 28th.
The organizations responsible for this day of action are Raleigh FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together), UBUNTU, Men Against Rape Culture, SpiritHouse, Southerners On New Ground, Independent Voices, Black Workers For Justice the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
Click here to see how to get involved in an exciting grassroots effort that's brought together a broad and diverse coalition of community activists.