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Too Much to Say


too much to say, thoughts on collective action. image of bees on a spherical allium flower
Thoughts on Collective Action 

 

 

My social justice awakening began seriously at age thirteen, when, to my shock, I discovered the adults I interviewed for a school project all supported the death penalty. I began marching and blockading and engaging in minor acts of political vandalism at age sixteen. I have never stopped considering matters of justice and injustice since, while doing my best to work for the former.


These past few years, I’m not out on the streets much, because of the aftermath of a brain injury coupled with an autoimmune disorder that sometimes slows me down. Instead, I write fiction that mixes my radical sensibilities with magic. I write poetry and engage in small actions, trying to help the people working on the ground, wherever they are. I talk with friends.


And right now? There seems to be a battle on every front. There always seems to be too much to say. About too many things.


I wish we could sit in a circle, with cups of tea, and share our stories, bridging the divide sown by misinformation, terror, and fear. But we can’t, so I write these words instead.


There are psychopaths in the world, and not the benign kind—which do exist—but the kind that crave money, power over others, violence, and control.


There are also too many people who carry water for these severely unbalanced human beings, profiting from the actions of those who have no use for empathy or compassion. Most people would rather work together on some level, and be kind. Yet collectively, we have allowed the cold and calculating, power hungry ones to rule us all. The lovers of authoritarianism feel safer that way.


The dangerous ones and their water carriers enslave others. They use rape as a tool of war. They control bodily autonomy. They try to purge anyone who stands against them. They take hostages. They slaughter tens of thousands: in Sudan, Congo, and Palestine. 


They strive to pit ordinary people against one another. They tell us to fear those they deem not like us. They tell us being gay or trans is a crime. They tell us having a uterus is license to give up personal sovereignty. They tell us that to arrive as an immigrant or refugee is to be subhuman. They send children into mines, blazing fields, and meat packing plants. They tell us that being Indigenous means to deserve less than nothing. They say that being Black or brown is a sign of suspicion, and sometimes a mark of sudden death. They tell us being impoverished is our fault. They say that the wealthy are rightfully blessed. They tell us to shut up, roll over, and get back to work.

They cling to wealth and righteousness, to shareholders and war.


Sometimes there is too much to say, but I can say this:


We don’t need to follow their game plan. We can resist. We don’t need to pit ourselves against each other. We can seek deeper conversation, instead. We can think. We can act. We can eschew the shackles of xenophobia and hate. We can look to the bees, pollinating the next season, working together to create sweetness.


We can claim our own collective power.


We can each take one action—large or small—and grow a little braver for each other and ourselves. We can imagine pathways toward joy, pleasure, and liberation.


In this way, we shall build a more just world.


 

This essay was written with the kind support of my Patreon friends. Care to join us?

 

 

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