“The Fierce Urgency of Now”

(Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)[i]

Our commitment at this time of continuing struggle against oppression and structural inequalities  

By Mind, Culture, and Activity Editorial Collective

As we move into 2021, and are likely to confront continuing unprecedented crises, turmoil, and struggles for justice around the globe, the editors of Mind, Culture, and Activity (MCA) share the following statement.This statement is motivated by an acknowledgement of the depth of the global crises we face, a realization that now is not the time for “business as usual,” and a commitment to radical changes required at all levels of our current practices, including on the editorial collective of MCA, and on affiliated forums such as XMCA and the Cultural Praxis website (https://culturalpraxis.net/). This realization is the fruit of our engagement with a larger community of scholars, including colleagues involved in the Re-generating CHAT[ii] collective, whose insights, work, and activism have inspired us.  

MCA stands in opposition to racial terror, systemic, state-sanctioned violence, and the devastations of economic imperialism. Although this journal and its affiliates were launched with a commitment to scholarship in the interests of social justice and equality, we want to reignite and regenerate this commitment with a strong focus on the need to fight against all forms of oppression including structural racism, classism, sexism, fascism, ableism, imperialism, and legacies of colonialism. Inspired by progressive social movements around the globe, such as Black Lives Matter, La Via Campesina, protests for democracy in Hong Kong, youth-led climate strikes, and teacher strikes, we acknowledge that scholarship and associated practices and discourse are not politically neutral, and that a generative movement forward is only possible with explicit attention to structural inequalities. This generative movement requires the participation of members and activists of historically oppressed groups. We hold ourselves accountable for redressing existing imbalances and injustices in our own disciplines and institutional practices. We are committed to advancing scholarship aligned with these struggles and goals, and to being proactive in supporting, learning from, and collaborating with scholars engaged in them. 

As the first order of the day, we acknowledge that our current collective of editors does not have enough diversity of expertise or experience to fulfill these commitments. We recognize that we have not yet contributed enough to dismantling the practices of privilege that mediate individual and collective development, and shape our journal and forums.  We have, therefore, adopted the following action items:

  1. We will create an editorial collective that is diverse in the ways that the current challenges we face, and our commitments, require, by engaging with scholars and activists participating in a wide range of social movements against oppression globally.
  2. We anticipate that the newly composed editorial collective will then develop and adopt positive principles that would counteract paternalizing, tokenizing, and other practices that make this diversity unsustainable.
  3. We will encourage papers and pieces that reflect and promote these commitments.

In a recent editorial (Ferholt et al., MCA 27(2), 2020), we announced the expansion of our MCA work through the Cultural Praxis website (CP) as a means to enhance the journal’s potential to effect the changes called for above. With the integral work of MCA and CP, we aim to engage an explicitly activist praxis of scholarship by curating and promoting work that seeks societal impact. CP and MCA will provide publishing platforms operating at a range of time scales, together allowing for both immediate publications about ongoing issues and peer reviewed articles, which take more time to publish. The site was also created with the explicit aim of developing more equitable communication and publishing practices not always rigorously promoted through the years, including on the discussion board connected to the journal, XMCA. Moreover, we strive to address this aim by diversifying and expanding established norms of scholarly writing/editing to foster dialogue between researchers from Global North/West and Global South/East, as well as to create spaces for communicating in other-than written forms and in other languages than in English.[iii]

Our hope is that we will be able to address all three of the above action items, without delay. We must better reckon with our own persistent inadequacies in challenging oppression. This statement affirms our pledge to use our knowledge and resources to advance the production of transformative, liberatory scholarship for social justice and against oppression around the globe.  

We would like to thank Mara Mahmood, Monica Lemos, Sophina Choudry, Arturo Cortez, and members of the Re-generating CHAT research network for their contributions to this statement.

In solidarity,

Mind, Culture, and Activity Editorial Collective

[i] See Beyond Vietnam: A time to Break Silence by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (April 4, 1967), and From Harlem to Hanoi: Dr. King and the Vietnam War by Sarah Seidman (January 10, 2018), Museum of the City of New York.

[ii]  See www.re-generatingchat.com

[iii]  This point was inspired by Bagga-Gupta, Sangeeta (2019). Reflections on peer review. SIG 25 Newsletter of European Association of Research on Learning and Instruction. Available at <https://earli.org/node/133>

One thought on ““The Fierce Urgency of Now”

  1. On 1 July 2019, the “democracy” protesters stormed the Hong Kong Legco and roughed up Chinese officials in a preview of the recent, less successful, attack on the US Capitol. So far, they have:

    a) Opposed the extradition of a Hong Kong man (Chan Tong-kai) who murdered his pregnant girlfriend (Poon Hiu-wing) in Taiwan. This is how the recent protests against the extradition bill really began.

    b) Targeted mainlanders in Hongkong with physical violence (especially poorer migrants from Fujian).

    c) Called on Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and Taiwan to “Liberate Hong Kong”.

    d) Allied themselves with racist and fascist movements from Ukraine 2014, openly flying their flags and accepting their material support.

    Not every fierce movement fights for freedom.

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