Hello! Did anyone else feel a little demolished by Detroit? Amazing but exhausting. But I underwent a transformation at the U.S. Social Forum (at first I thought it was just regular emotional meltdown, but now I’m reconceptualizing it as transformation in honor of the USSF), a result of not eating or sleeping enough, doing too much, and extending myself far beyond my limits. The nonstop intensity was punctuated by moments of deep awe and inspiration, and since coming home I’ve been thinking so much about care and healing and community-building and how important they are as tools for movements. I was confronted with some important truths about my body’s capacity, in a space where I also got to be amazed by incredible organizers and healers and workshops about trauma, somatics, healing justice, accessibility and disability justice, and building communities of support and care. Exposure to all that amazingness can change a person! I’m landing back home committed to prioritizing those things even more, both in my life and my organizing. And not in a lip service-y way – in a real way.
I’ve been having great conversations about the multiplicity of forms that capitalism (patriarchy/ableism/colonization…) takes in our lives - like how easy it is for many of us to push ourselves too hard, to value tangible productivity over art, creativity, emotions, healing trauma, building relationships. I was talking the other day with my wonderful friend Susan about shifting paradigms, building communities rooted in interdependence. She observed that as much as we all now talk about interdependence, most of us don’t fully experience that in our current society – we get to taste pieces of it that leave us with questions and ideas. A lot of our work right now is about turning those ideas into tools and building them into strategies, practicing living the way we want to live in the world we want to live in.
For now, in the interest of ideas, I want to share some links that have been inspiring me lately:
First, I’ve been very obsessed with the Storytelling and Organizing Project website – they have tons of amazing audio recordings about community interventions in interpersonal violence. So important.
And Tiny’s piece about POOR Magazine’s time in Detroit:
In the U.S. we are all conditioned on the capitalist notion of independence, which demands separation of families from their elders, children from their parents and youth from their cultures…Our work as mamaz and fathers and grandfathers and grandmothers isn’t honored or considered. Our abilities to grow our own food, build our own houses, or comfort our folks, practice our traditions, honor our ancestors, take care of our elders – these aren’t considered “legitimate” forms of labor or real forms of work.
Also this recent post on Bilerico about building intersectional queer movements:
…collectivizing our movement strategies to get to the root of these issues is going to require that we share power, resources and remain authentically and deeply invested in one another’s individual and collective liberation. A tall order indeed when movement organizations and leadership are tied to a corporate funding system designed exquisitely to keep us from engaging in the hard conversations and ally building across communities that would bring us in strategic concert with one another.
And I’ve been wanting to link to this piece by Mia for so long but I keep forgetting. Everything she writes is amazing: Interdependency (exerpts from several talks)
We believe and swallow ableist notions that people should be “independent,” that we would never want to have to have a nurse, or not be able to drive, or not be able to see, or hear. We believe that we should be able to do things on our own and push our selves (and the law) hard to ensure that we can. We believe ableist heteronormative ideas that families should function as independent little spheres. That I should just focus on MY family and make sure MY family is fed, clothed and provided for; that MY family inherits MY wealth; that families should not be dependent on the state or anyone else; that they should be “able-bodied,” essentially. We believe the ableist heteronormative racist classist myth that marriage, “independence” as sanctified through the state, is what we want because it allows us to be more “independent,” more “equal” to those who operate as if they are independent—That somehow, this makes us more “able.”