The Great and Powerful Grace Lee Boggs and the Gospel of Detroit

Grace_Lee_Boggs_600x400Guernica magazine published an amazing interview with 99-year-old Grace Lee Boggs of Detroit done by Michelle Chen. Bogg’s most recent book is The Next American Revolution. The book is accompanied by a biographical documentary film titled American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs.

Here’s an excerpt from Michelle Chen’s interview:

Guernica: Where do people draw the power that they need to seize in order to start this revolution?

Grace Lee Boggs: I think people look at revolution too much in terms of power. I think revolution has to be seen more anthropologically, in terms of transitions from one mode of life to another. We have to see today in light of the transition, say, from hunting and gathering to agriculture, and from agriculture to industry, and from industry to post-industry. We’re in an epoch transition.

Guernica: Do you feel that talking about power and conflict might take away from that, or distract people from that focus on long-term transition?

Grace Lee Boggs: It does. Because when you think of power, you think the state has power. When you look at it in terms of revolution, in terms of the state, you think of it in terms of Russia, the Soviet Union, and how those who struggled for power actually became victims of the state, prisoners of the state, and how that led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. We have to think of revolution much more in terms of transitions from one epoch to another. Talk about Paleolithic and Neolithic.

Guernica: Given the fact of increasing government intrusion into our lives, it seems like it would be difficult to ignore these power structures.

Grace Lee Boggs: Just think of Obama and think of how powerless he is. I think we have to understand that the nation-state became powerful in the wake of the French Revolution, whereas the nation-state has become powerless in light of globalization.

Read the whole interview.

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