Towards a Transformational Strategy

by N’Tanya Lee, Maria Poblet, Josh Warren-White, 
and Steve Williams on behalf of the LeftRoots 
Coordinating Committee

* “Protagonism” is a term that we fi rst came across in the work of Marta Harnecker who noted its usage among social movement activists throughout Latin America. We have adopted the use of the term within LeftRoots even though there is no direct translation in English because, like no other term we’ve come across, “protagonism” names an approach that has the potential to strengthen social movements inside the United States.
The concept builds from the literary term “protagonist” which refers to a character who takes ownership over her destiny and drives the narrative forward by taking action. In a similar vein, we understand protagonism to be the democratic engagement that builds our individual and collective capacities for transformative change and, in doing so, combats our fundamental alienation from the means of production, from the products of our labor, from each other, and from ourselves.