Review of Potential History: Unlearning Imperalism: https://www.patreon.com/posts/review-potential-33080982
Review of Our History is Our Future: https://www.patreon.com/posts/33497407
Communal Care: Responsibility: https://www.patreon.com/posts/31988422
Short Essay on Collective Solidarity
Today I’m going to write a bit about how we live locally with one another, and how that impacts our present, future, past, and the world at large. It’s a big topic, so this is just some starter thoughts.
There’s a term called Minority Stress used in studies, which may help others. (I’m gonna use the definition in a book recommended by a pastor friend, Transforming: The Bible and Lives of Transgender Christians — though this post is unrelated to Christianity):
“Minority stress describes the friction that occurs between a person who holds a marginalized identity and the hostile environment in which they live. Transgender people live with a continuous expectation of rejection, and many experience an endless underlying current of fear because of the threat of physical or emotional violence. This constant stress can lead to depression, anxiety, substance-abuse disorders, and suicidal thoughts and actions. A study coordinated by the Williams Institute and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention found direct evidence of minority stress when they discovered that suicide rates among transgender and gender nonconforming adults jumped from the base 41 percent to 59 percent among those who were harassed at work, 61 percent among those harassed by law-enforcement officers, and 78 percent among those who experienced physical or sexual violence.”
The intersection of multiple minority stresses can also increase the above, such as those who are at the intersection of gender, race, immigration, etc.
Now add multi-generational trauma, where studies show trauma from prior generations impacts current generations.
Now add trauma from situations encountered in life.
See how this piles up?
It’s not enough to just be welcoming. It’s not enough to just be tolerant.
We need radical acceptance and collective solidarity to help us heal as a community, to help us build healthy boundaries and rebuild right relationship with each other and the planet.
To rebel against the capitalist colonialist imperialist white supremacy that causes so much minority stress.
To build a collective and equitable and just and sustainable society in its place. We need to challenge our imagination to realize that dream.
Octavia Butler wrote: “Belief initiates and guides actions. Or it does nothing.”
It is not enough to believe in a just, equal, equitable world; we must initiate and guide action toward that future.
But to do so, we need to understand our history and our present as both impact our future. An ending fractal of time that connects us to the past, present, and future, where the past is never closed but always influencing what we do and believe and experience today.
How do we heal the trauma of the past?
How do we heal the trauma of our present? How do we create a world where we live in right relationship with one another and our planet?
We have to diagnose what is wrong first, and collectively seek the solution — people are already doing this, people are already rising up.
In Emergent Strategy by Adrienne maree brown, she writes:
“And what I saw clearly was that, at a local level, we –Americans — don’t how know to do democracy. We don’t know how to make decisions together, how to create generative compromises, how to advance policies that center justice. Most of our movements are reduced to advancing false solutions, things we can get corporate or governmental agreement on, which don’t actually get us where we need to be. It was and is devastatingly clear to me that until we have some sense of how to live our solutions locally, we won’t be successful at implementing a just governance system regionally, nationally, or globally.
This awareness led me to look at organizations more critically. So many of our organizations working for social change are structured in ways that reflect the status quo. We have singular charismatic leaders, top down structures, money-driven programs, destructive methods of engaging conflict, unsustainable work cultures, and little to no impact on the issues at hand. This makes sense; it’s the water we’re swimming in. But it creates patterns. Some of the patterns I’ve seen that start small and then become movement wide are:
- Burn out. Overwork, underpay, unrealistic expectations.
- Organizational and movement splitting.
- Personal drama disrupting movements.
- Mission drift, specifically in the direction of money.
- Stagnation — an inability to make decisions.
These patterns emerge at the local, regional, state, national, and global level — basically wherever two or more social change agents are gathered. There’s so much awareness around it, and some beautiful work happening to shift organizational cultures And this may be the most important element to understand — that what we practice at the small scale sets the patterns for the whole system.”
A fractal is a small pattern that ripples outward into larger patterns. Fractals are seen within the smallest of things — a collection of cells — to the largest — whole regions of space filled with galaxies. Our society is such a fractal, where small patterns at a local stage ripple outward.
Right now our society has put a lot of pressure on us to live in a scarcity mind-set, where we are trapped in survival mode. But how do we combat that and build right relationships with each other? Transform ourselves and our relationships, to build a collective solidarity and way of being?
Instead of living in hierarchies, how can we live in a more collective and horizontal way? Where we are equal at the table, each given what they need to survive, each equally heard, each welcomed as they are, each accepting and loving people as they are, each willing to share and receive in return, and each willing to live in right relationship?
How do we explore what collective solidarity looks like at a local level?
I might write more later. Just thoughts to consider.