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Solutionaries are today’s revolutionaries

Grace Lee Boggs shirtBy Grace Lee Jones
Special to the Michigan Citizen

Seventy years ago, when I joined the radical movement, the paradigm or generally accepted concept of revolution came from the 1917 revolution in Russia.   Being a revolutionary meant preparing yourself and your organization to seize state power.

During the 20th century, the very idea of becoming a revolutionary lost its appeal because that paradigm of revolution had been discredited by the increasing bureaucratization of the Soviet state, and no one had re-imagined what it means to be a revolutionary.

The first time I heard the word “solutionary” was a few years ago on a ride from Detroit to Chicago. Barbaraof New Work New Culture was driving and carrying on a lively conversation with Myrtle from Feedom Freedom Growers (who was in the back seat) about the way women and especially mothers multitask, solving one problem after another, every minute of every day. I was in the passenger seat, listening, when I heard one of them say: “Women are solutionaries.” And suddenly, I recognized everything Detroiters were doing to survive in our devastated and de-industrialized city was not only making the next American revolution, but changing the paradigm of revolution.

“Everyday Revolutions: Horizontalism and Autonomy in Argentina,” by Marina A. Sitrin is an excellent introduction to this new paradigm in which the revolution is about the changes we make in our personal everyday lives. The blurbs on the back cover of the book are by some of my favorite political authors: Rebecca Soling, Michael Hardt, Silvia Federici.  The book even includes this long quote from me:

“This is what true revolutions are about.  They are about redefining our relationships with one another, to the Earth and to the world; about creating a new society in the places and spaces left vacant by the disintegration of the old, about hope, not despair; about saying yes to life and no to war; about finding the courage to love and care for the peoples of the world as we love and care for our own families. (Dr. Martin Luther) King’s revolutionary vision is about each of us becoming the change we want to see in the world.”

The students at the new Boggs School at 4141 Mitchell are solutionaries. BCNCL has just created a new solutionaries T-shirt. We have also just published a new pamphlet titled  Revolution in the 21st Century.

Both the shirt and the pamphlet are available for purchase at

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