Activist Grace Lee Boggs releases a new book

Feb 23, 2011 at 12:00 am

On Sunday afternoon, as a winter storm began dumping snow on Detroit, about 25 people sat in chairs gathered in a circle on the second floor of a home on Detroit's east side.

The home also serves as the base of operations for the Boggs Center to Nurture Community, a nonprofit founded in 1995 to honor James and Grace Lee Boggs. James, a radical auto plant worker, political activist and philosopher, first made his mark in 1963, when his book The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker's Notebook was published. He died in 1993.

His wife Grace, though, is thankfully still with us. At 95, she has been a part of all the major progressive movements of the 20th century — from civil rights to feminism.

The gathering on Sunday was held to celebrate the release of Grace's latest book, The Next Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century.

The co-author is Scott Kurashige, an associate professor at the University of Michigan. Our colleague, Larry Gabriel, will be talking about the book in an upcoming column. But News Hits wanted to make mention of Sunday's gathering.

As friends and supporters of the venerable Boggs munched on cheese and crackers and sipped hot tea, people in the Middle East and North Africa were rising up in revolt, and public employees and their supporters were continuing an ongoing protest in Madison, Wis., as they rallied to protect their rights to organize and bargain collectively.

For a long time now, Boggs has been talking about an unsustainable economic system. And for just as long, she has been talking about ways to address that.

Paramount to doing that are two things.

One, she says, is to realize that we aren't just victims here. It is important to realize that we share responsibility for having allowed the problems we face to have gotten to this point.

Even more important, though, is the need to recognize that the solution to these problems is not gong to come from the top down. It is up to us to set things right.

As she says, "We are the leaders we have been looking for."

To obtain a signed copy of the $22 book published by the University of California Press, see the Boggs Center website at