Fears of potentiality lost

And, just as quickly, come the moments of despair.  In just over two weeks, the fire seems to be dimming, the strength of the well-oiled, deeply-rooted narrative of the American “democratic” machine rearing its head to constrain resistance into the known and accepted categories.  The moment of unity, of united struggle, seems diminished.  Each pre-existing group – the Socialists, the Colorado People’s Action, Showing Up for Racial Justice – emboldened by the sudden increase in attendance at their regular meetings – seeks to position themselves as central to the resistance, while resting on their pre-established agendas.  The Community for Unity, positioning itself as the new “movement” to confront this new era – initially seemingly organically grown from the moment of rupture, when 5000 people came to the streets – responds to the outpouring of support and desire to engage and develop solutions, holds a “planning meeting” which reveals not an engaged place for new thinking and action, but the perpetuation of one activists vision.  The “planning” turns into the implementation of hidden power, through the formation committees around pre-established categories, asked to plan immediate, short-term “projects” – while the vision of the initiator who has been, in her own words, looking for “followers” to her vision, is left at the center.  While words such as “revolution” are thrown around as I have never experienced within American activist groups, the answers that follow are far from revolutionary – prepare for the mid-term elections, sign petitions asking for legal investigations, call Congressional officials, teach people how to challenge micro-aggressions, hold community potlucks, protest in the streets daily, or riot and demonstrate anger (without purpose, numbers or widespread clear support).  And, while each of these may have an essential place, the lack of a multi-faceted and coordinated picture which links these together into some new vision of broader change, is critically missing.

I think often of my Egyptian friends in these days.  Of the frustration, despair and hopelessness I heard from them 5 years after Tahrir Square. Of the ways that individual interests overtook, each vying for their position of power and following rather than joining for a communal interest in a vision of a more just establishment.  The depths of hidden power as each movement sets its agenda separate from the people; the hold of invisible power that limits people’s vision or ability to think beyond the given strategies – and the ways in which both of these play into the visible power of a new administration being normalized, even when the rupture has revealed the deep-seeded chasms of injustice which exist within our boundaries and which we extend into nearly every corner of the globe.

Side by side with my hope, sits this despair and fear.  Fear that we will not take this opportunity.  That the oppressed communities, too accustomed to this oppression, already see this as normalized and not as a point of awakening for change.  That the communities of privilege, outraged in spirit, will resume their place of privilege where they are able to box the rupturous knowledge back to the “other” and continue to exist in the place where their privilege shields them from experiencing this reality.

It is the early days, I know this.  I have not given up on the continued potential as actions full of bigotry and oppression begin to emerge.  I continue to seek others to collaborate with in this vision of creating participatory, revolutionary, multi-faceted strategies that may allow us to materialize the potential of the Event in this moment of rupture; to look at the picture in its entirety rather than piecemeal, to be willing to seek a new vision and level of resistance towards something new and greater, in a way that an .  But sometimes, I wish I didn’t see so much, didn’t understand so much, could return to the optimistic (and maybe shallow) vision of my 20s.

I do not wish to monopolize this page, and hope that others will join the conversation (or I will just stop posting).  But in these times, I am finding strength in writing through the experience and struggle.  I am finding strength in knowing that this community exists across the globe.  And  I hope to continue to turn to and rely on this community who also see, recognize and feel the depth of both the complexity of the world as it is and the vision of something else.

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Let the potentiality of the Event materialize: Finding direction after the U.S. Rupture of 11/9

11/9…..I have heard more than once that this is the U.S.’s next 9/11 – and one completely of our own making.  It has been two weeks full of tears, of anger, of knots in my stomach and rising nausea.  I was not shocked – I was sharing my fears of this potentiality with my global friends (hoping I was wrong) 6 months ago.  But the depth of pain of what this election represented and what it would unleash to justify bigotry, hatred and oppression, sent me into despair.  Until I realized, that a moment of Rupture and the potentiality which exists in the Event that I have been actively waiting to emerge, may have arrived.  And the power of potentiality that this brings, gave me the energy to get up and fight.

For some on the liberal left, it is this time of shock, this revelation that such a person could actually be elected.  To them, the crushing revelation was that these United States have never achieved that UNITED part; that racism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia – you name it – was on its way out.  It may still exist, sure, as liberals we know that, but surely it was the minority opinion.  And then, by common perception, these ills won the election.  A shock.

Now, sure, there is the issue of the popular vote; in that sense the neoliberal left did win.  Similarly, there is bound to be truth existing within the reports of voter suppression (such as the report that 300,000 mostly people of color were turned away in Wisconsin due to voter ID laws; certainly there are others).  There is validity in the fact that in actuality Trump only received votes from about 25% of the electorate (only 64% of the country voted after all.)  This is by no means a majority of this country’s peoples, nor is there not reason to suspect that our ‘representative’ democracy once again did not live up to its espoused ideals.  But still, even with these givens (and even more broadly, potentially conspiratorially ones stated in many circles), this community is left shocked, infuriated and stumbling to figure out how to place their shaken realities.

RUPTURE.  The screen is ripped.  The reality experienced by people of color, queers, immigrants so long whitewashed in the ‘liberal’ agenda can be washed over no more. Cracks are emerging in the infallibility of neoliberal capitalist model. Words such as oppression, racism, xenophobia and bigotry are used in the mainstream media (even though the tempering of the rising sentiment of anger has already begun); words such as  ‘revolution’ emerge in every gathering of protest.   The ‘shock’ is spilling over into the streets, into exploding attendance at community organizing meetings, non-violent trainings, the socialists meetings – all pre-existing groups used to minor attendance and marginalized recognition.  Many aren’t quite sure what it is they are standing for, the agenda is not set. But people are rising in a Truth; the  inexistent has been exposed, the invisible made visible.  The facade is ripped.  The rupture of 11/9.

On 10 November, growing from the single rant of a frustrated and hurting activist, somewhere between 3000-5000 people took to the streets of Denver, ultimately closing down and sitting in the middle of one of the central intersections of cross-city thoroughfares.  The chants represented the diversity and unity in uprising:  “Black Lives Matter!” “Her body, her choice!”  “Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here!” “Love trumps hate!”  The people of all backgrounds, causes and movements joining in a united uprising of the Truth that supersedes the knowable truth; the Truth that is the recognition of the ruptured narrative.  The Truth which is showing signs of rupture across the globe, the words and symbols stretching boundaries – “No-one is Illegal!”  The colorful fist I copied from a sign at Yarlswood, represented in the streets of Denver.  It is the uprising that relies on the Truth that is not clearly articulated, and yet clearly understood.  The uprising of Truth in rupture that creates the potentiality of the Event.

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Within the chants, within the uprising of Truth, my tears find ground in the potentiality of this Event.  I feel the difference from my years of seeking the power of the people strong enough to challenge the structures of oppression which have long been laid bear to me.  But this moment of rupture, even as, if, it culminates in the Event, is by no means a given. On the one hand, I feel the optimism and fire of the potential of the fight arriving, of the chance that this exploding rupture  may FINALLY lead to an Event which does not fade, but feeds into the seeds planted in Occupy, the Arab Spring, #blacklivesmatter.  On the other, I see the cracks where the Event becomes nothing more than a blip of anger in history.  The place where each cause seizes on the opportunity for its own growth rather than the collective fight, fizzling into fractioned elements that dissolve the potency of the moment of rupture.

I remain ultimately hopeful.  This moment of rupture,  by its very nature, emerges into an unorganized ground of the individual experiences of the multitudes.  The Truth of the ‘American psyche’ and the ‘American dream’ has been exposed not only to our country, but to the world.  The Now is a moment of historical significance; the Now can not tell where the future will lead.  But how we handle the Now can either be an opportunity of drastic shifting in MLK’s arc of justice; or it can amplify the strength of the Corporate, neoliberal structure if we fizzle to the capitalistic maintenance of the status quo in slight democratic reforms.

The Now; the potentiality.  Its overwhelming, its a moment to watch; but it is also a moment to act.  Because the result of the Event ultimately come down to each individual within it, doesn’t it?  Each of our actions at this moment will contribute to how history remembers this Event, which pathway its potentiality will take.  Recognizing the power of the moment within the Now must be first and foremost.  As someone situated in the middle of it, I feel the responsibility – and share the responsibility – with every person who sits in this moment.  WE will decide how this ends, where this potentiality materializes – or doesn’t.  It will take more than just one of us; it will take the cumulative effect of each and every one of us existing and with power within this moment.  I, for my part, will continue to look for my place at the center of taking action to contribute to the hope I have in the depth of my heart, stomach and soul, that we can make something of this painful moment of rupture that will bend the arc in a true vision towards justice.