Got my copy of Make/Shift magazine through the post recently with my little article in it. My piece is a Q&A with Sarah Irving who talks about the rise and fall of the Palestinian political left and Leila Khaled’s life after the (in)famous hijackings.
I genuinely love flicking through this mag as I always find something which blows my mind. Love.Love.Love. There’s a snippet of my article below but before that, the article (well, edit of lots of articles) that I really loved in this issue was about activism, burnout and caring for ourselves.
“I feel no different when I read posts like these than I did when I was working as a consultant in corporate america and the boss would send me emails on my “sick days” asking if I’d gotten a chance to review those documents, because, you know, above all, we gotta make sure we think of the company…. Last I checked, activists in the non-profit industry were accusing corporations of being greed, exploitative, blood-sucking a**holes who didn’t care about “people”, just “money.” I’m ashamed to say that after years of working with people in the non-profit industry, there’s not that much difference; just replace money with “self-righteous political agendas.”
To be completely honest, when I think about the times when I’ve been at my lowest and most strained, it’s been due to other activist guilt-tripping me into over-extending myself for some agenda I don’t even remember signing up for.
I’m lucky that I’ve been able to find others like myself, who believe just as much in caring for their communities as they do taking care of themselves, not necessarily as interdependent ideologies, but because — dare I say it — it’s possible to want to improve the world and have other interests that are not necessarily connected, including your own dreams, ambitions, peace of mind. God forbid the word “self” ever finds its way into the mouth of an activist. God forbid we actually practice the “self-love” slogans we slap on so many protest signs.”
“i often struggle with copious amounts of shame, frustration and confusion over the fact that right now in my life all i have to give is going towards helping raise 2 children. It can feel deeply unradical, ordinary and anonymous. it is adding exponentially to my already intense isolation. While not my intention, my world has become this house, this home. As someone who is disabled and chronically ill, i am tapped…and this is capitalism at work yeah? its a set up. there is not enough. not enough time/money/energy.
and revolution. well…it’s THE thing.
but heres the thing, the front lines aren’t linear. they aren’t always dramatic. they
aren’t -out-there-. they are everywhere, including the kitchen. including the bedtime story and the hands on love of being present for need.
i’m learning to think less in terms of productivity, esp. since framing life that way will certainly end me, and think more in terms of sustaining… sustenance… support. this flies in the face of my lower class life that screams produce, keep the cards close or die. it challenges the ableism in my working class roots, the internalized high stakes drive to succeed. to avoid being trash. or criminal.”
Erin Aubry Kaplan also has a great piece about communicating (or not) with her mother via email over the years. Great read.