The radical work of staying together

If we really want to create open, caring communities, then we have to create spaces (both online and IRL) where the learning process is welcome and valued. We have to celebrate the new possibilities that each new individual brings. In practical terms, this means making sure that community meetings are open to newcomers, and that quieter and introverted folks are given opportunities to speak. It means that terminology is explained when necessary, and it means not using academic jargon to sound impressive. –Kai Cheng Thom. "9 Ways We Can Make Social Justice Movements Less Elitist and More Accessible" in Everyday Feminism. 1. Welcome People Who Are Trying to Learn 2. Prioritize Physical and Economic Accessibility 3. Encourage Age Diversity 4. Make Room for Mistakes and Accountability 6. Realize the difference between Calling In vs. Calling Out. "Calling out is empowering because it allows oppressed individuals to respond and express valid emotions like rage and frustration. Calling in is useful because it allows folks who have done something oppressive to learn." 5. Value Intention and Action. 7. Counter Hierarchies 8. Value Everyone’s Contributions 9. Re-Center Love and Joy How to do the work many of us call 'Social Justice'? I noticed certain patterns that, in the name of justice and equity, get in the way of making authentic, strategic, and sustaining change. Below are ten counterproductive behaviors of Social Justice educators, all explored from the intersections of my privileged and oppressed lens.–Cody Charles. "Ten Counterproductive Behaviors of Social Justice Educators" in safeature.magicalandrevolutionary. 1. Shaming our allies instead of educating. 2. Lead with our oppressed identities – forgetting that we have immense privilege as well. 3. Create competition around being the best at Social Justice – using language as a way to exclude. 4. Leading with emotions instead of thinking and acting strategically. 5. Not acknowledging our self-work. 6. Caught in constant surprise that people do not know what we know. 7. Choosing not to challenge family members and elders. 8. Marginalizing the courage it takes to allow your reality to be dismantled. 9. Refusing to hold multiple truths. 10. Challenging others to heal, by erasing their pain. We denounce each other and burn bridges because we don’t know how to reconcile our social ideals with the fact that our loved ones don’t always live up to them. And so, 'there are no activist communities, only the desire for communities, or the convenient fiction of communities. A community is a material web that binds people together, for better and for worse, in interdependence… If it is easier to kick someone out than to go through a difficult series of conversations with them, it is not a community. Among the societies that had real communities, exile was the most extreme sanction possible, tantamount to killing them. On many levels, losing the community and all the relationships it involved was the same as dying. Let’s not kid ourselves: We don’t have communities. —Anonymous, Broken Teapot Zine. I feel all around me for an alternative to the politics of disposability, for a politics of indispensability instead. In a culture of indispensability, I cannot ignore someone when they tell me I felt hurt by them– they are precious to me, and I have to try to understand and respond accordingly. To become indispensable to one another, we must also be willing to be responsible for and accountable to one another. –Kai Cheng Thom. "8 Steps Toward Building Indispensability (Instead of Disposability) Culture" in Everyday Feminism. A sure-fire way to ensure one remains stuck in a place of shame about privilege is to wallow alone or simply spend time with those who do not much care to talk about privilege and oppression. Sure, distractions work for a while, but the guilt inevitably comes creeping back in. –Jamie Utt. "True Solidarity: Moving Past Privilege Guilt" in Everyday Feminism. I reached a point where I felt out of balance from all of the anger, the fighting, from a kind of hypermasculine way of being /and/ the hyperaggressive stance that I was compelled to take as an activist—from being against this and against that, and fighting this and fighting that. Intuitively, I realized that I needed an infusion of more feminine and spiritual and creative and healing energies to come back into balance. –Fania Davis I think our notions of what counts as radical have changed over time. Self-care and healing and attention to the body and the spiritual dimension —all of this is now a part of radical social justice struggles. That wasn’t the case before. And I think that now we’re thinking deeply about the connection between interior life and what happens in the social world. Even those who are fighting against state violence often incorporate impulses that are based on state violence in their relations with other people. / We can’t simply assume that somehow, magically, we’re going to create a new society in which there will be new human beings. No, we have to begin that process of creating the society we want to inhabit right now. –Angela Davis http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/9-ways-we-can-make-social-justice-movements-less-elitist-and-more-accessible/ 21.02.2016 http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/life-after-oil/the-radical-work-of-healing-fania-and-angela-davis-on-a-new-kind-of-civil-rights-activism-20160218 29.02.2016 http://studentaffairsfeature.com/ten-counterproductive-behaviors-of-social-justice-educators/ http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/11/indispensability-vs-disposability-culture/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialWarfare 27.11.2016