The Electrician's Navy-Beans

In his autobiography, Leon Trotsky tells the story of meeting an old electrician and Narodnik named Ivan Andreyevich Mukhin. As Trotsky tells it, Mukhin used navy beans to give a lesson in revolution. As you're sorting out your feelings about Trotsky and the Russian Revolution, consider this learning activity.

Second thoughts.

Second Thoughts.
Write a one sentence position you feel strongly about, a principle.
Then, write a "second thought" on the same subject. It should be a thought that you feel is valid to some extent.
Then, question that second thought, and so on until you have gone back and forth ten times.
At the end, repeat the initial sentence.
This activity should reveal the complexity of seemingly settled positions, making the writer think about her views.


  • I don't cross picket lines.

What is ... ?

Another surrealist game from Alastair Brotchie. This one involves the random creation of definitions.

What is...?

Each player writes a question on this pattern: "What is ----?" (e.g., "What is solidarity?")

The players each fold down their papers so the questions are concealed and pass their papers to the next player who writes a definition on this pattern: "It is ----" (e.g., "It is a scream in the night." or "It is the final resting place of our dreams.")