Outside the Circle

Cindy Milstein

Communities of Care

This weekend has underscored how crucial it is to prefigure new forms of social relations, both to qualitatively transform the present & push past it. At the dance for Dara Greenwald on Saturday night and then her memorial all day Sunday here in NYC, hundreds of us processed her death and celebrated her life in ways that built on the community of care she herself built for her life & death–transparently, honestly, with empathy, humor & grief. As she herself wrote toward the end, she lived her life well & she wanted to die well, & it was extra evident that both were true. Yet she also modeled how all of us can form webs of interdependence outside hierarchy that sustain & nourish us, not just in moments of trauma but equally in moments of joy. She brought many friends together to care for her & each other during her cancer–defying statist, privatized & alienating forms of “health care”–& through that do-it-ourselves example, she also ensured that many more friends could come together to care for each other now.

After the power of all that, I went on a pitiful OWS Oakland solidarity march–pitiful not only because it seemed purposeless but also pitiful in that almost no one seemed to have anything of substance to say to each other, or even really know each other. Meanwhile, back in Philly, my brave Occupy Philly comrades/friends continued to surprise & impress, boldly tearing down the fence surrounding our former encampment, which is set for groundbreaking ceremonies this morning at the start of the $50 million-plus upscale development project. More than this action, though, I realized how generative each & every OP demonstration is: always purposeful, but also always creating a space of commons, where we build friendships & trust, catch up on each others’ lives, & talk politics, strategy, & ideas, forging a deeper community of care as well as deeper community of resistance/prefigurative by the way. We may not be hip & glamorous like NYC & OWS, but damn, Philly & OP, thanks for showing me that we can be there for each other, growing ourselves & a movement, while just getting better all the time. Sad I’m not with you right now, on the streets last night & doing jail solidarity now. Mad love to Philly (& Oakland comrades too!)

One comment on “Communities of Care

  1. Ian Mayes
    January 30, 2012

    Cindy, I am struck by how you now posted about the subject of “communities of care”, social connection and the loss of a loved one. Yesterday I did the same on my own blog, and the topic has been one that has been on my mind. You can read what I wrote about it here:
    http://parenthesiseye.blogspot.com/2012/01/in-world-full-of-no-ones-i-am-someone.html

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This entry was posted on January 30, 2012 by in Dispatches from Occupy Philly.
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