It’s hard not to lose faith in human beings right now; it’s difficult not to despair at people’s capacity to (often-suddenly, voraciously) turn on whole categories of humans, intent on despising and destroying them — aka neofascistic fantasies of some sort of superior race/gender/body vs those who then need annihilating. I despair, at least.
Yet as countercurrent, the human capacity for empathy, mutual aid, and egalitarianism is increasingly visible, if we’re willing to open our eyes and hearts to it. There is neither a pure good or evil, a fixed human nature, in my view, but rather an elastic range of ways of being and acting in this world; multidimensional facets within us all; and life, as daily series of ethical choices. Some people, and I want to trust that it’s going to be more and more people as authoritarianism takes further deadly hold, lean in toward a liberatory ethic, stretching out a hand to others who they don’t “other” but instead see as accomplices, neighbors, new friends, fellow resistance fighters and rebel-dreamers, inherent parts of caring and brave communities: humans.
An artistic hand reached out to me last week, across cyberspace, to draw images as PDF gift, ready to be transformed into the #ArtOfResistance. A few days later, while stopping briefly in Cleveland to join in an #Antifa rally downtown, another hand reached out toward me. This time, it was full of homemade buttons, many bearing the art penned by my cyberfriend: “Become ungovernable,” “No love for cops,” and “No Borders, No Nations” among their handiwork. Tiny gestures, but ones interconnecting us in a larger circle of social relations. Little drops in the water of choosing to resist this moment in history, collectively and lovingly side by side — drops that hopefully create ripples of concentric circles of beautiful struggle and solidarity.
Each of us alone, aspiring toward dignity and freedom, self-determination and self-organization, is nothing alone. It’s when we stick together that it counts; that it begins to be a force of life against barbarism of the present.
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(Photo by Cindy Milstein, button bouquet, Cleveland, November 25, 2016)
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