Marcos Perez’s, Postdoctoral Fellow in Sociology at Colby, talk On Being a Revolutionary was a wonderful way to end the series of lectures as it can speak to the many people at Colby who are activist or trying to be activist and/or care about making change.
During my four years at Colby people have protested, organized with other students, spoken out about their beliefs in different ways, all to bring about awareness and also social change. One example of this was when the Yik Yak fiasco occurred, in which a protest took place all over campus to bring awareness to what is happening to Black lives and people of color outside of our Colby bubble. People put tremendous effort into organizing this and thought about their risk but the cause proved to be more important to them, something Marco Perez spoke about in his talk. Another thing Marco Perez mentioned was the other side, “the enemy,” sure enough the anonymous people from Colby’s community responded in a not so surprisingly way, in discontent with the harmless protest. As Marco Perez mentions a revolution involves high risks and it takes a person or a group of people a lot of courage and preparation to assemble and enable revolutions. But this also brings up the question of what is the right way to protest is there a right way to protest? At the “closure” of the hectic, emotional week people were left wondering who’s voice was going to be heard, the protestors – the Colby students who are not comfortable on campus no matter what, or the underlying racist, sexist, etc.—people who are able to hide their face but share their ideas?
Professor Perez also discusses: Why be a revolutionary? What is it like? How are revolutions organized? He focused on the elements of revolutions, although much larger than that of what happens at Colby, for example with his example of the of the Soviet Union, he still shares important insight into revolutions. The message behind revolutions are that they are essential but imprecise and complicated, and hard to notice in the moment that it is happening. He also brings up good questions about the ability to start a revolution: is there human agency? what is the role of individuals in the outcome of revolutions? To connect this idea to the example above, professors and faculty stood up to speak on the issue and so did other students but nothing else was said, what more could and can be done at Colby, that could make it a revolution?
Finally, though I have applied Marco Peres’s talk to a small place like Colby he speaks of much more worldly perspectives on revolution: What (and where) is the best context for revolutionary change? In more or less developed societies? In urban or rural areas? In the global south or north? Third world countries with there unstable circumstances would be likely to have a revolution maybe also because they are at greater tipping point where their well being really would depend on revolution. All in all I really enjoyed this talk and the questions raised.