and I’m pretty nervous about it. Or rather, a lot of anxiety is arising. I’m excited, don’t get me wrong. But it will also be a very dramatic shift from the life i’ve been living for the last 5-6 weeks. Just being in a house for a consistent period of time will be a trip – I have a sneaking suspicion i’ll get claustrophobic. And winter in the bay area combined with clothes for hawaiian weather probably won’t allow me to spend an overwhelming amount of time outside. But that’s not where the majority of my anxieties are coming from.
When I left the Bay Area I was coming out of intense burn out from a year of madness and 6 months of brutally intense work – both schoolwork and activism. The last two times I have visited home I came as a “working professional” in a sense… somehow more plugged into the system and surviving it. Now I’m coming back a rebel anarchist. Realistically I always was. I had these ideologies and tendencies the entire time, especially when organizing at SMC. Now they have become fully realized, are more thoroughly formulated and I am taking ownership over them without reservation. I have fully embraced my rejection of the system and my dedication to consistent, direct resistance of it. When interacting with individuals in the “real world” aka not Occupiers, I realize how out of touch I am with society. My friend S said it best – once you’re away from Occupy you realize you’re surrounded by capitalists. Or “spineless liberals” at the very least. I have anxiety over returning home and not being able to connect with the people I love and/or having them see me as crazy. I’ve already had one of my best friends say they were worried about me because of my lack of ability (and desire) to connect to the mainstream. I’m worried that they would want to connect to the very structures that are keeping people repressed, oppressed, and controlled. I haven’t spoken to another one of my best friends in a few days because of an argument about perpetuating a system we know is broken vs. actively seeking to change it. These are two of the most conscious people I know.
To many of my loved ones at home, Anarchy is still a bad word in many ways. I definitely didn’t have any overtly anarchist friends before I left, but then again I didn’t realize that my own values and ideologies were in line with Anarchist principles. So who knows.
In some ways I’m dreading the conversation about why I am doing what I’m doing here with the Occupy Movement. Why I am living on a street corner, in a tent. The short answer is because the entire system is broken. The subsequent question is always “so what do you want to do about it?” or some other request-demand for a solution (because it has been made clear by mainstream media outlets that complaints and criticisms are only valid if you have a feasible solution… insert snark here), which i’ll have to respond with an explanation of OH (occupy honolulu), the GA (general assembly) , how this movement simultaneously represents and creates a dialogue which needs to take place (because really who can deny the world is fucked?) explain diversity of tactics, and depending on the company I’m in at the moment these conversations take place, expressing how I think the entire system needs to be torn down. At the meeting with Mayor Carlisle yesterday, when I said “the system is broken” they asked me what i meant with really confused faces. I asked where I should start – the government, education, social services, military, and the list goes on and on. The better question is “what system does work?” Even that concept seems like a difficult one for some people to grasp. How can I explain that the problems go so much deeper than that – it goes to the core, to the very fundamental framework upon which our society and “western” civilization (and due to imperialism and colonization the majority of the globe) is built. From interpersonal relationships and communications which are based on domination/subordination, power struggles and various inequalities, to governance, and thus all subsequent structures of society, and especially and ultimately capitalism, which drives it all. And because we can see how it’s been created and perpetuated, we can see how existence can be re-framed. This state of being, this society, everything we take as normal is absolutely not natural and we don’t need to feel trapped by the frameworks we see around us. A different world is possible. No, this is not utopian. Whatever new system is created will come with it’s own unique set of problems that will arise. But what is the harm in trying when the path we’re currently headed down can only end in a very destructive way. But the only way we can even begin to create a change is by individual and collective actions of resistance and outright disobedience.
one way, one very uncomfortable and even painful way is to reach out to friends and family. To start the process of unplugging from the matrix. This will probably be the most important way to grow the resistance and build something that actually functions to benefit the majority. Many of my homies and myself here at OH are outcasts, weird kids, stereotypically odd, used to existing in some sort of fringe space. But we come from more or less “normal” families and communities of friends. If we can share what we know, what we’ve learned, what we’ve come to understand (or understood all along but never felt comfortable saying aloud/acting on) with our loved ones, and then they go and share with their networks of loved ones, emancipation from our automated enslavement could, potentially, spread like wildfire. But this task challenges us to speak a different language in many ways, it challenges us to speak empathetically with those who will challenge and outright disrespect our “radical” ideas. It will challenge us to hear the concerns (economic, political, whatever) of our loved ones and show how relevant it is to the larger picture I described above. And I have no doubt that it is all connected. And it will challenge us to use language and examples that can convey exactly why any and all forms of resistance are necessary. The fun part will be brainstorming new and innovative ways to resist.
So I’m nervous about the response I’m going to get from my ‘ohana back home, but hopeful as well. We are the change we’ve been waiting for, and in the end I truly believe that if we move forward with love in our hearts things will be okay.
I feel better now.