There is so much that could be written under such a title – several books worth, but I will keep this brief!
Standing up for the oppressed and more importantly helping them realise that they are empowered and therefore powerful is likely to get you sidelined, silenced, imprisoned, exiled or killed. Paolo Freire did exactly this in Brasil through an amazing education program and was indeed exiled. Jesus did it in 1st Century Palestine and he ended up crucified.
The powers are completely fearful of a multitude who begin to see that the status quo does not have to be maintained, who hear that their voice is important and just as valid as that of the powers and then begin to use their voices to call for something entirely different.
I am discovering that in the middle classes, we have enough power to believe that we are not really oppressed (which btw is not true, because we are slaves to a system in which we are either passive or complicit without meaning to be) and so we are actually pretty ok for things to stay much the way things are. An overwhelming passivity has gripped us and we have become numb to the news cycles that might previously have shaken us to something wholly more radical…..The powers do not really fear the middle classes, unless….unless a people movement begins that does not have the ego at the fore. For change to occur we need to be concerned with the need of others before ourselves…..and this takes a change of our hearts…..
But, the marginalised……if they really found and used their voice……if they refused to be silenced……if the middle classes refused to stay silent on their behalf…… If the oppressed threw off the shackles and realised they are princes and not slaves, as God calls them…..well, that would be exciting. Is it beyond our imaginations? Conversations springing up all over the place that could change the world?!