Take the next step....
As I have been spending all my days and nights with Bella, the online conversations about how to address the rising tide of White Supremacy, anti-Semitism, and Fascism; and what to think about Anti-Fascists, Antifa, and the Black Bloc, have continued to grow. Thousands of words, hundreds of thousands of words. In all those words, this comment on a blog post speaks eloquently to me of possibility of truthfulness, humility, and kind-heartedness. I offer it now, along with my thanks for the response to yesterday's blip.
I wonder, what would our tactics look like if we were able to be really deeply vulnerable and say in our organizing, “We don’t know if this is going to work. We don’t know if it’s going to make things worse or better. We don’t know if people are going to get seriously hurt. We are really fucking scared and we want to do something, so we’re doing the thing that we most believe has a chance of making a difference, but we really don’t know how it’s going to turn out.”
I wonder also what our tactics would look like if we could be vulnerable and honest about our feelings. Be able to say in our organizing meetings whatever is going on, whether that’s “I don’t want to show up at the rally because I’m scared, I want to lie on the couch and eat Doritos and watch Netflix,” “I want to seriously kick some neo-Nazi ass and torch police cars,” or anything else that is in the swirling mix of our messy, beautiful human selves that is, at least in part, driving our choices about what we will and won’t do. There is so much hardened posturing that often seems to happen in the name of arguing about “what works”, whether we’re trying to prove we’re bad-ass by being on the leading edge of a physical confrontation, or by insisting on a tactic that doesn’t involve physical altercations. I’m not sure if in the end it’s really about “truth” of what works, but more about what makes us feel good.
Truthfully, I don’t know what it will take to end white supremacy or anti-Jewish hatred. I do a lot of different things, and I don’t know if any of them work. For some years I didn’t do any activism because I was pretty sure that what I was doing was making things worse, not better. Now I’m pretty convinced that doing nothing is the worst and that it’s better to do something and learn from it than do nothing; but I still grapple with the uncertainty of not knowing if what I’m doing is skillful. All I know how to do at this point is show up where and when I can, be accountable and responsible for my mistakes, and try to learn and do better next time. Beyond that…no idea.