Saving Puntledge: Will You Speak?


FEELING MUZZLED? The school’s extended community are the ones with direct experience of how well Puntledge operates. They are the local experts, site not administrators, and they need to be heard. The Town Hall on Tuesday, March 8th at 6:30 p.m. at Puntledge is the opportunity to tell your story and let the Trustees hear that Puntledge works, it is fine, just leave it alone! We are not powerless, but we must exercise our power.

Here’s a bit of inspiration about ‘speaking truth to power’:

“Our stories must articulate an alternative and more compelling vision. We must be foreshadowing the compelling outcomes of the stories we tell. The visions articulated by progressives are too often steeped in the “sky’s falling” metaphor. Problem is, the sky’s still up there and people are tired of hearing that from us. People don’t want to think problems are insolvable. Society’s fear of a vacuum often leads us to choose familiar evils over unknowns. It is up to us to provide the vision that makes the unknown alternatives real. The good news is we know there are solutions that work — not only technical solutions like anti-pollution scrubbers in smokestacks, but policy solutions like getting money out of politics, and systemic solutions like building grassroots movements for real democracy.

It is not enough for our side just to criticize, people need to have tangible opportunities to engage not only their minds, but also their hearts and their hands in building alternatives. It isn’t enough to tear down the world, we must offer up what we would build in its place. Don’t stop there, though! In order to win the Battle of the Story we must also understand and challenge the power holder’s stories. The first step in re-taking control of the narrative is to diligently compare our story with the one we are battling. There are critical lessons inherent in this exercise.

Truth to Power: Frequently, when we stop to really look, we find that the power holders have framed their story using the same sympathetic characters as change agents. Attacks on welfare are presented as benefiting working mothers. We are told corporate tax cuts are undertaken on behalf of the unemployed. Giant agribusiness firms use family farmers in their TV ads. The timber industry uses public concern about forest fires as an excuse to clear cut our national forests. After the World Trade Organization talks collapsed in Seattle, the Economist magazine didn’t put a sulking millionaire on the cover — they featured a starving child and claimed the protests would hurt the world’s poor. Time and time again, power holders employ Orwellian logic by hijacking the real people who are sympathetic characters. There is a big difference between appropriating someone’s story and actually magnifying their voice. That’s why ultimately progressives can win the Battle of the Story. Everyday thousands of grassroots activists are fighting the Battle of the Story in their own communities as they work to build a more democratic, just and ecologically sane society from the ground up. With all of our compelling stories, sensational conflicts and infectious memes, community advocates will ultimately out do the multi-million dollar PR campaigns and crack the media monopolies. Because the truth — at least when well told — is stronger than lies.”