New Year's Resolutions: Top 5 For Every Progressive Activist

Now that we’ve all survived the so-called 2012 apocalypse (although the Mayans never actually predicted that at all, and this mistake was exploited by people wanting to make a profit), it is time for us to look forward to the new year and see what aspects of our lives we can improve.

Some people want to save money, others want to lose weight, but what resolutions should progressives make? Here is a list of suggestions I have for progressives who want to make some resolutions for the New Year:

1) Listen.

It may sound simple, but part of identifying as a progressive is being ready to listen to the voices of oppressed people to understand their perspectives.

2) Hold yourself accountable.

It may not be easy to be told that your behavior is problematic, but when you’re socialized to hold beliefs that oppress people, it is hard to escape those ideas and behaviors. Allow yourself to take responsibility for your actions and apologize for problematic behavior.

3) Question.

When listening to or watching the news, it is hard to discern what stories are true and which stories are falsified or incomplete. Most, if not all, news sources have special interests and motivations, so seek out information and question why these sources present their information in a certain way. Apply this resolution to your friends, fellow activists, and other media forms as well. If a movie you watch has racist elements, point it out. If your friend makes a problematic statement, let them know. Part of maintaining a system of oppression includes reinforcing oppressive behavior, so calling out such actions should be a priority for progressives.

4) Find an outlet for your thoughts.

Finding a creative or social outlet for your thoughts is not just important for activism, but also helps with your mental health. Whether you’re a wordsmith, an artist, a musician, or have any other talent, incorporate your progressive values into your work so you can educate while you entertain.

5) Take action.

Getting caught up in theory and rhetoric can be nice, but it is crucial to put your words to action and organize. Simply talking about social justice can feel comfortable, so escaping from your comfort zone is necessary to produce material social change. Find organizations in your community that address issues you care about and seek them out. It may not be easy, but seeing how the work you’ve done affects your community is worthwhile.

There are plenty of resolutions progressives should make for the New Year, but these five should provide you all a base for being a progressive in 2013. Now get to work!