One very powerful ways that communities mobilize is by choosing to not participate in powerful systems that are hurting them. This is what happens when workers hold a strike, when people remove their children from schools and teach them at home, or when they provide help to each other rather than asking the state to help them. Canadian activist and social worker Eric Shragge talks about these sorts of actions as being “oppositional,” meaning that they oppose existing power structures rather than working with them, and are often focused around the economic and social development of the community. One name that researchers give some of these practices is “pre-figuration,” meaning acting the way we would like to live in a better future and behaving as if that better future were already here.

In this video, Riham Assef talks about a very special time when her community in Palestine engaged in prefiguration, during the first Intifada.

Video Transcript

In your e-Portfolio, answer the following questions:

  • Can you think of an example when people in your community built an alternative system or chose to stop participating in a system that was not good for them? How did it work? What did they achieve
  • What are some things that you believe should exist in a better, improved future? How might you ‘pre-figure’ them in your work?