Those who wish to play a meaningful role in influencing public policy or changing its institutional base must begin with honest inquiry, in community with others if it is to be effective. Whether one sees oneself as dedicated to reform or revolution, the first steps are education of oneself and others. There will be little hope for further progress unless the means to carry out these first steps are preserved and enhanced: networks of local organizations, media and publishers who do not bend to state and private power, and so on. These first steps interact: the organizations will not function without access to information and analysis, independent media and publishing will not survive without the participation and intellectual and financial contributions of popular organizations that grow and develop on the basis of shared concerns, optimally based in the community, workplace, or other points of social interaction. To the extent that such a basis exists, a range of possible actions become available: political pressure within the system, community organizing, civil disobedience, constructive efforts to create wholly new institutions such as worker-managed industry, and much else. As activity undertaken in such domains, including conventional political action, extends in scale, effectiveness, and popular engagement, it may well evoke state violence, one sign that it is becoming truly significant.
There are no magic answers, no miraculous methods to overcome the problems we face, just the familiar ones: honest search for understanding, education, organization, action that raises the cost of state violence for its perpetrators or that lays the basis for institutional change – and the kind of commitment that will persist despite the temptations of disillusionment, despite many failures and only limited successes, inspired by the hope of a brighter future.
– Noam Chomsky