The sense that one is able to exert influence on the course of events. Government departments such as the Environmental Protection Agency retain this word in their names in the same way that an apartment complex replacing a forest might be named “Shady Acres.”
Until November 1999, few anarchists knew anything about the World Trade Organization or the International Monetary Fund. Shortly after the historic protests at the WTO and IMF summits of 1999 and 2000, any punk or fellow traveler could expound on the wrongdoings of these institutions in greater detail than the average grad student. Feeling that one has some leverage upon something, even by proxy or association, makes one a great deal more interested in it.
Activists usually begin by trying to educate the public in order to build up to taking action. Perhaps they’ve got it backwards.
“All this gave Francois a new lease on life. He would shake me and say, ‘What a ball! Just think! What a celebration if after all this there is not a chance! They are just ghosts, the ones who think people fight to win! They fight because they like it.’”
–And There Was Light, Autobiography of Jacques Lusseyran, Blind Hero of the French Resistance