Today, the world is in great turmoil. Not only do we see war and destruction, but we also see growing poverty and hunger, the emergence of new slavery, the western intimidation of African countries and the ravaging of our ecosystem. Some have defined the modern world not in terms of technological advances but in terms of the growing gap between haves and have nots. This division of the world’s population is not simply economic but also social and political” i.e., a separation of world populations between those with basic human rights and those without.
In fact, it is probably more accurate to describe today’s world not as a division between haves and have nots but rather between haves and disposable people. Today’s disposable people are those who toil for pennies a day in sweatshops for global corporations, those who are kidnapped and trafficked in modern-day slavery, those suffering from poverty because of unwarranted sanction, those discriminated because of their color, race, gender and those without access to basic necessities such as fresh drinking water.
What can be done?
Historically, in times of crisis, some form of group activism involving students and activists has been a crucial force for social change. In the past, Students around the world have been at the forefront of movements to promote democracy and human rights. Such movements have toppled powerful dictatorships and military juntas. Such movements have ended wars. And such group activism has often served as the conscience for nations, reminding people in times of turmoil of the founding ideals of their countries and the aspirations of all people for justice, dignity, and equality. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the worldâ€™s most repressive government’s jail and often murder activists, close down organizations during times of crisis, and enforce strict guidelines about what can and cannot be discussed within the organization. Those in power understand the significance of such movements” often more so than the activists themselves.
In the spirit of our departed heroic activists like Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Saro-wiwa etc, Codewism emerged. Codewit movements expand its wings not because they are composed of militant and students members. But they draw their power through the formation of strategic alliances with other sectors of society facing oppression, such as workers, racial minorities, women, immigrants, the oppressed and peasants and other dispossessed peoples in the countryside. By joining in solidarity with others, Codewit movements gain the power necessary to transform society.
In order to form alliances with other sectors of society, Codewists must educate themselves and others about issues facing these sectors. Thus, Codewit activism is as much about educating and organizing as about engaging in actions such as participating in rallies and marches. Or more accurately, becoming an activist requires a new understanding about the relationship between educating, organizing, and acting. Unlike the traditional academic approach that separates knowing the world from interacting with it, activism requires rethinking the relationship between thinking and doing. Praxis is the term that captures this new understanding. Praxis connects knowing and doing, theory and practice.
Only in academia are knowing and doing regarded as separate things; in reality, knowing and doing are parts of the same process. In the course of everyday life, we are always simultaneously thinking and acting, and gaining wisdom and maturity is based on training ourselves to reflect constantly about our actions and to carry out actions based on an understanding of consequences and responsibilities. Becoming an activist helps each person become conscious of their role as an agent of historical and social change.
Thus, Codewit activism is about social change and transformation. But is the focus of activists only on changing the institutions of society? No, it is not! Changing society must be done in tandem with changing oneself. Otherwise, activists within their own movements and in the new social institutions they create will simply end up replicating the same relationships of oppression that they are fighting. Nor can we wait until later ” after the revolution, after the creation of new institutions, or after we have gotten into power” to address serious problems like racism, sexism, western bullism etc. that plague human relationships. These issues must be addressed as part of our ongoing struggles to change the world.
In other words, activism must be viewed as engaging in both social change and personal transformation simultaneously. We cannot change injustices in the world without also confronting and overcoming injustices in our own practices.
For Codewit activists in universities, personal transformation requires grappling with the question of privileges that they have as students. In all societies around the world, students who attend universities are a relatively privileged segment. After all, having the time and resources to acquire knowledge and to study and think critically about issues are, unfortunately, privileges in the world today. Privileged status brings a choice: how will a person use these privileges? Will the privileges be used to advance oneself economically and socially, even if it means ignoring oppression and destruction all around and perhaps even helping to perpetuate these conditions? Or will a person use privileges to confront and eliminate the conditions of oppression and destruction? Codewit activists are those who have seriously pondered these questions and have consciously decided to use their resources, time, and talents to confront social problems