Every form of injustice is based on some lie or error. Research is therefore the concrete political activity that disrupts the base of all injustice.
Think about it: every single form of human activity and its implications for social justice can be improved by better understanding of various questions. But you only have so much time in one life, so you cannot read everything, you can’t study everything, and you certainly can’t observe everything personally. This is where research comes in, standing on the shoulders of giants to achieve much more social change than you ever would’ve been able to on your own. Research is resistance, plain and simple.
A lot of social justice activists make fun of intellectuals for too much reading and writing — deriding the important work of researching as mere “armchair theorizing.” You should be out in the world organizing and fighting for change, not just studying it from the comfort of your home. We could not disagree more. First of all, this is shameless ableism because some people are not able to move freely around the world (physically), so for many people activities such as research are the very front lines of the struggle. Second, how do you know what exactly you should be doing in the world, if it does not stand the test of rigorous intellectual scrutiny? Without serious intellectual work, it is possible that all “activist organizing” may end up doing all of the wrong things, perhaps even making everyone more oppressed. How would we be able to know this if we did not engage in serious, patient, detached, studious, long-term reflection, reading, and research? Research is radical, it is revolutionary.
Now, today, the role of patient intellectual work could not be more clear. It is never been more important to stress the necessity of good education, and to spread the knowledge necessary for collective social justice. Reading is revolutionary, research is resistance. It is an absolute obligation for all of us to do everything we can to discover and share the truth. If we don’t and we will be complicit, what is bad now may be replaced by something even worse. Power to the people!