Love and Social Change

“At the risk of sounding ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by feelings of love.” Che Guevera isn’t regarded as a mushy guy, and dropping his name into conversation carries implications that I don’t mind associated with me. But I believe in the sentiment of this quote, because I believe that at the middle of all this work towards changing the world lies a force that is immense and beautiful. This idea about love is not just cliche or a millenial meme – instead, its a reality that pervades and perserves without pause and with a type of urgency that’s neither anxious or tedious. 
In his 1970 book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Brazilian educator Paulo Freire explored different components of social change. Core to his vast theory was dialogue, the interaction of words between people. Freire believed dialogue was an essential force for change, and propositioned that “Dialogue cannot exist… in the absence of a profound love for the world and its people.” This quibbet can serve as a meaningful lesson for any educator, youth worker or parent who is committed to being an adult ally to young people. 
bell hooks continues this lesson in her book, Outlaw Culture – Resisting Representations.”The moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others.” Teaching young people about the power of love moves us against the oppressive forces of hate and anger that seem to teem from those who regard themselves as the most powerful activists today. 
Dr. King expanded on the basis of this idea as he spoke in 1967 in New York City. He explain that, “When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.” 
I want to let today serve as a reminder that we all need to be moving towards that ultimate reality, and we know that key is accessible. Let’s use it.
Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam F.C. Fletcher

I'm a speaker and writer who researches, writes and shares about youth, education, and history. Learn more about me at

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