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Hello everyone, and welcome 2009 Class of YP4-- you've almost made it through your first day of the Summit!
Today I stumbled upon a quote by Gandhi that I think everyone should keep in mind while participating in the 2009 Summit, and in all honesty, for the REST OF YOUR LIVES (no pressure.)! Whether you're organizing on your campus, in you community, or abroad, your organizing can find some root in Gandhi's 7 Social Sins:
1. Wealth without Work
2. Pleasure without Conscience
3. Science without Humanity
4. Knowledge without Character
5. Politics without Principle
6. Commerce without Morality
7. Worship without Sacrifice
What do these things mean for you? Think about how their meanings change when putting them into a social or economic context. Think about what they mean for minorities and other oppressed groups.
For me, the first thing I see when I read the sins is the intentional EXPLOITATION, or the systematic disadvantaging of people based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and other arbitrary characteristics. I see a hierarchy based along the lines of class-- the rich who indulge in materialism, spending huge amounts of money on frivolous things while their brothers and sisters across the globe suffer from joblessness and die from disease, war, and starvation (1 and 2). I see people who are well educated in the field of theory, yet never put their theory into practice in order to create the much needed change in their communities (4). I see a society that puts the economic needs of the few above the basic creature needs (5 and 6) such as food, water, shelter, education, etc.). I see a nation, no make it a world, that has lost touch with the human element of life and living. I see a world that cares more about accumulating personal wealth than treating its poor and vulnerable populations with dignity and respect. I see trade agreements that rake in immense profits for the few while the workers who produced their goods go to sleep hungry at night. I see a world that refuses to invest fully into education for all children so that future social and economic disparities are further widened, keeping the rich, rich and the poor, poor.
But that’s just me brothers and sisters….
What do you see?
Just keep in mind-- after you leave the Summit to go back and fight the good fight, whever you are, be the change you wish to see in the world (another thanks to Gandhi). Organize strategicallyand effectively, always keeping in mind the fact that you are working with human beings that deseve to be treated with dignity and respect. Be concious of any unearned privileges you may have so that they do not limit the kind of work you can do or the success that you achieve. Greet the world with sincerity, love, and compassion. I know your hearts are good my fellows. I can't wait to see the great things that will come into this world because of you.