RIP mandela, a FB rant

06Dec13

Nelson-Mandela-Freedom

I was having some feelings this morning  that turned into the longest Facebook post I’ve ever written but I guess some feelings require many paragraphs to explain, here they are.

Thinking about Mandela, empathy, a revolution in human relationships, queer economics, functional interdependent communities, last night’s incredible/inspiring JFREJ Meyer Awards, how communities age and grow over time, and what it means to speak the truth and see beyond the present and work collectively towards making that real. 

Last night Jenny Romaine talked about how we are in an age of radical transformation and I’m trying to unpack why I immediately thought YES. FASTER. NOW. HOW CAN I HELP. It’s raining and I am surrounded by scribbled ideas and diagrams on yellowed paper and tomorrow I have to facilitate a conversation about one radical community’s future, interconnected with this greater web of communities of queers and other questioners. Trying to figure out what ideas of my own to bring to the table.

Big picture thinking. Back to Mandela. Strength, persistence, bravery. Or maybe just doing the things that made the most sense at the time. Seeing clearly forward.

There are visions I have about who we are and what we are meant to become…. last night I saw empires falling in my mind. The us/them/1% bullshit finally crumbling, or maybe just abandoned. I think *so much* about how to acknowledge better systems that we are already developing, embrace them wholeheartedly, be loyal to them, do better. Systems of care, values of health, food systems, different forms of capital/exchanges/a queer economy, why don’t we have our own university yet? I mean, seriously? Why do we bother working in dysfunctional institutions? How can we reduce our collective dependence on a system of financial capital that is parsed out by others and leaves us squeezed and tired? I am tired of the needs that only money can resolve, tired of that chase, tired of watching my friends struggle, tired of flitting in and out of brokeness, tired of worrying about health insurance, tired of watching dear ones do work they hate because they need the money, or the insurance, or the whatever. We can do better. We HAVE to.

What would it be like if we made a collective commitment to radical transformation, as interconnected allied communities? Doing things better, being accountable to each other and the earth, generating a new system of interdependence? I think of Mandela again, who died at 95 after a lifetime of work. I am 37 now. I could have 50 or 60 good years ahead of me, or 20, or none. What if we collectively started thinking together long-term, looking far beyond now to a time where the world might actually function in a way that is supportive of people’s human needs? That is not driven by building up arsenals of weapons to destroy “enemies”, but by empathy? Could we make a 20 year work plan? Or a 50 year plan? Could we come up with a process that was porous enough to allow for check-ins, fluctuation, evolution, revolution?

Can we commit to seeing the best in each other, and ourselves? Could we even imagine aligning ourselves in a larger shared movement? How would we remain accountable over time?

I am asking all these questions to myself, fighting back my internal producer-brain that is already imagining collective visioning sessions of activists and artists, a second summit of stories, a month-long collective artist retreat that takes those ideas and stories and physically tranifests them, just so we can play with it and see what comes up when we try to make it “real” and maybe build a temporary sanctuary for ourselves in the process. I am sure there are activist circles that have been doing this kind of work already, armed with different kinds of information, and woops maybe I’d be more informed if I hadn’t been going through a personal crisis during Occupy Wall Street and all of that. Or could find time to get myself to JFREJ campaign meetings. There are so many roles in a movement, though, and I don’t discount the work I’ve been doing, but — sometimes I am so anxious for MORE INFORMATION ALREADY because my mind is so eager to race towards the future to fix all the things that are so broken now. I want to feel more connected to that work.

Patience. Slow process. Rinku Sen talked last night at the Meyer Awards about embracing failure, expecting it as an activist, persevering and thinking creatively regardless. Easier said than done, but inspirational regardless. I wonder if it’s time to let go of my own failures of the past, and start moving towards making some new mistakes to learn from.

Anyway this has entirely inadvertantly turned into the longest FB post I’ll ever write and thank you if you’ve made it through. Something about this rain and Mandela and finishing the editing process for my photo show next week — which has given me a sense of creative closure on that project, thank goodness — is moving all these forces in me and who knows what will come next.

love. and radical transformation to you this morning.

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One Response to “RIP mandela, a FB rant”

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