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An Interview with Peter Doig

Anne Elizabeth Moore is an internationally renowned journalist, author, and cultural critic whose work has been featured in The Guardian, The Believer, The Hairpin, and the Village Voice, among many other publications.

She is the author of the books Unmarketable and Threadbare: Clothes, Sex, & Trafficking, and she has edited several anthologies, most recently the critically acclaimed Best American Comics. 

Moore’s work is highly regarded for its insight into the power dynamics at play in our society, and her mission is to “help people understand how culture and economy interact.” 

In this exclusive interview, Moore shares her thoughts on a variety of topics, from the power of storytelling to the importance of understanding the nuances of social justice. 

Her words are inspiring, her stories are engaging, and her dedication to the cause of furthering social justice is a cause for celebration.

Reflections on Journalism and Storytelling

ET: You’ve said that all storytelling is journalism. What do you mean by that? AME: Human beings have been telling each other stories since before we could write them down. We created the written word so that we could preserve the stories that were important to us for generations. 

The press is much more recent — and much more industry-specific. By journalism, I mean the pursuit of telling other people’s stories for the sake of making them visible. Journalism is both a profession and an act of consciousness. 

It’s the pursuit of truth-telling — and truth-telling, like storytelling, is a way of connecting and understanding. 

Journalists are trained to report, research, and write on deadline, but they are also trained to contextualize their subject matter, to understand their stories on a greater level than just the story itself. 

While journalists are trained to connect the dots, most people don’t get that training. The more people understand how events are connected to one another — that gender and race and class are factors in every story — the more likely they are to interrupt cycles of injustice.

Perspectives on Social Justice

ET: You’ve written extensively about social justice — what is your definition of the term? How do you see social justice playing out in our society? 

How do you think we can create more social justice? AME: When I think of social justice, I think of a holistic understanding and upheaval of our current culture, which is characterized by and dependent upon inequity.

 Inequity is the state of having less than one deserves, and it’s the key word here. The only way to create social justice is to address the inequitable systems that create the imbalance we see right now. 

That’s why I think the concept of intersectionality is so crucial — it understands that all forms of oppression interconnect and rely on each other. 

The easiest way to understand this is to think about a table with legs. If you take out one leg, the table will wobble and fall over. Instead of focusing on just one issue — such as racial justice, for example — it’s crucial to understand how all forms of oppression are intertwined.

Experiences With Activism and Social Movements

ET: You’ve been involved in many social movements — what do you think are the most important social issues of our time? 

What are the biggest obstacles facing social movements today? How can people best support social justice initiatives? AME: I’ve been in and out of movements my entire adult life. 

It’s what I do: I participate in social movements — and I write about them, too. I think the most important issues are the ones that happen to be in the forefront of people’s minds. Right now, immigration is a huge issue. 

The Black Lives Matter movement is huge, as is the #MeToo movement. There are many, many issues that confront us constantly, so in the end, I think the best way to support social justice is to become as well-informed as possible, and then to act.

Reflections on Social Change and the Power of the People

ET: What do you think are the most important lessons we can learn from social movements of the past? What does social change look like from where you’re sitting? What does the future of social justice look like? AME: 

The most important lesson we can learn from movements of the past is that change happens when people organize themselves and create change for themselves, for their communities, and for their society as a whole. 

People have often thought that social change is dependent on one great man or woman — but the truth is, it’s the people who have power. It’s the people who create the change they want to see in the world. 

The future of social justice looks like a world where people are free to be themselves, where people are free to love whoever they want to love, where people can make a living wage, where people can go to school and get a good education, where people are not discriminated against because of who they are or how they were born. 

It looks like a world where we all have access to the things we need to survive and thrive — and where we can, in turn, share our abundance with the people who need it most.

Advice for People Who Want to Make a Difference

ET: You are very passionate about the power of the people, and you see this power in action every day. What advice do you have for people who want to make a difference but don’t know how to get started? 

How can people get plugged in and start making a difference in their communities and the world? AME: The internet is a wonderful place to get plugged in. You can start by listening — really listening — to the stories of people who are different from you. 

You can start by reading about their experiences and you can start by sharing your own stories, too. You can look at how your privilege came to be and how it works to your benefit every day. 

You can look at how the power dynamics in your life work. And you can think about how you can interrupt those dynamics to create change. You can think about how you can use your power to create change rather than perpetuate cycles of injustice.

Reflections on the Future of Social Justice

ET: What do you think the world will be like in ten years? What do you hope it will be like? AME: I hope that it will be a world where people are truly free. I hope that it will be a world where everyone has enough. 

I hope that it will be a world where people understand their interconnectedness. I hope that we will have collectively realized that we are all part of the same ecosystem and that we are all responsible for keeping it healthy.

Closing Thoughts

ET: What do you want readers to take away from your work? What’s the one thing you hope readers take away from this interview? AME: I want readers to understand how their own lives are connected to the lives of others.

 

I want readers to understand how culture and economy interact. I want readers to recognize their own privilege and understand how it came to be. I want readers to recognize their own inherent power and to use it for good. I want readers to understand the power of the people.

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