Anthea Lawson is a campaigner and author who has worked on campaigns to shut down tax havens, prevent banks from facilitating corruption and environmental devastation, and control the arms trade. At Global Witness, she launched a prize-winning campaign that changed the rules on secret company ownership and resulted in new laws in dozens of countries. She began her working life as a reporter at The Times newspaper. Her recent book The Entangled Activist is about why activists so often end up recreating the problems they are trying to fix, and how we might begin to look at the task of changing the world differently.
What If Activists Paid Attention to Their Own Development as Well as the Problems of the World?
Activism is a world which often, in spite of working to change the world, ends up recreating its patterns of dysfunction, rates of burnout, unhealthy working practices and power-over relationships. Might it be that we are stuck in patterns where we react against perceived injustice but never really recognise how we embody those same injustices, indeed how we also manifest them, unconsciously, in how we move through the world? Can we, as activists, find the tools to – as one of our guests today puts it – understand that transforming ourselves is inherently part of transforming the world?
So rarely do we stop and reflect on the extent to which, as activists, we are entangled in the very structures and systems we are trying to change, and that how we do things might be impacting what we do, or try to do. This fascinating conversation with two great thinkers on these questions is the first time an episode of this podcast has been filmed, so we hope you really enjoy it.
This session is created in collaboration with the From What if To What Next podcast.
Alastair McIntosh has been described by BBC TV as “one of the world’s leading environmental campaigners.” A pioneer of modern land reform in Scotland, he helped bring the Isle of Eigg into community ownership. On the Isle of Harris he negotiated withdrawal of the world’s biggest cement company (Lafarge) from a devastating “superquarry” plan. He then served, unpaid to avoid conflicts of interest, on the company’s Sustainability Stakeholders Panel for 10 years to help further corporate social and environmental responsibility. He guest lectures on nonviolence at military staff colleges including, for over two decades, on some of the UK Defence Academy’s most senior courses. His books include Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power and most recently, the brilliant Riders on the Storm . He is a Quaker with an interfaith outlook, focusing much of his work around spirituality. He is a founding trustee of the GalGael Trust which works with poverty, community and human potential, and an honorary professor in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Glasgow.
Rob Hopkins is co-founder of Transition Network and Transition Town Totnes, and author of several books, including ‚The Transition Handbook‘, ‚The Power of Just Doing Stuff‘ and most recently, ‚From What Is to What If: unleashing the power of imagination to create the future we want‘. He presents the ‚From What If to What Next‘ podcast, and does a lot of public speaking and writing. He is also a founder Director of the New Lion Brewery in Totnes, the UK’s first 100% community-owned brewery, and of Totnes Community Development Society. He holds a Phd from the University of Plymouth, as well as two honorary doctorates, from University of the West of England and from Namur in Belgium. His blog is robhopkins.net and in his spare time he gardens, draws and makes lino prints.