In 2004 an organisation called WeAreWhatWeDo.Org published a book on how to change the world for a fiver. At the heart of this philosophy is the concept of the “Parlour General, Field Deserter” so beautifully encapsulated by Marge Piercy (Happy Birthday Marge)
The Parlour General is also called a slacktivist. Slacktivism is defined as: the practice of supporting a political or social cause by means such as social media or online petitions, characterized as involving very little effort or commitment.
The Slactivist is the person who constantly forwards touchy feely motivational posts on social media, wears the French Flag and sticks “Je Suis Charlie” on their profile, tags posts with #MeToo or #IBelieveHer but never actually gets off their backside to do anything about these causes.
So today figure out the cause that is most important to you and ask “What can I do?” Not on social media. What can you actually do? The answer today is nothing because you are in lockdown, but prepare for the day you can get out. Then act.
To Be Of Use; by Marge Piercy
The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.