5:45am Mon Jan 7 ’02
I received an email on a list serv that I am on saying what we do is bullshit and we never get any results. This is my response, edited a bit and made in to an article for indymedia. I am not saying, “I am the best, be like me.” I am just saying how I live. I do not have all the answers. who ever says that they do is wrong.
As some of you may know i am studying in England this semester. I have learned a lot here that I want to share on what we do is NOT bullshit. First off I think every activist goes through “We/I do so much and I never see results” People are still working in sweatshops, people are still going hungry, etc. Me personally I do not judge my wins and losses by how many sweatshops are closed or how many large demos i get my ass kicked in. My wins and losses are judged in how close I am to living in an Autonomous zone. The Zapatistas in Mexico say, we are not trying to take over the government, we just want to live Autonomously from them, and the super corporations that are around us. They also say do not come here and work, But to create your own zones in your own places, work locally for the people around you that need it.
I try to live like that. I think we all do. I try not to support super corporations, I buy my food from local shops, my clothes second hand or not from places like the gap, I recycle an reuse stuff. Now am I solving all the problems of the world? Hell no, but I am doing my part. Also when people are out with me and they want to get a quick burger at McDonnals I tell them why I do not eat there and can we try the local sandwich shop. This is how what I do is not Bullshit. If we change one persons original thought, we are winning. While over here it is very easy to just go to the large demos in Europe, but I didn’t. There was a large demo in London against the WTO meetings, but instead some locals squatted a building for a week and created an alternative (autonomous) place. There were about 150-200 people that came through the building and did not know they were doing something radical, but when they left they did know there were alternatives in the world. As for the large demonstrations I think they are good to go at times so that you know there are other people in the world that think like you think!
Other ways of living free is to think about what you like in this world. I am vegan and do not eat meat products. I like vegetables and fruits. I like organic stuff too. Why can’t I take old windows and make a green house so I can have this stuff all the time. I met someone who has this and their foods were really great. Also there are tons of fair trade products out there. Even though it is not as popular in the U.S. there are ways to get fair trade on the internet or other places. This directly helps people who I want to help. However, it is important to know what am I getting out of it, other then helping people that I will never meet? Ask yourself that question when you do the activist work you do.
I remember a report written from someone who went to a demo in Canada. In it they said that when they passed though an area there were minorities who were cheering them on from their buildings. “This was good because it is their families we are trying to help” I am sorry but I have to disagree. Who says that their families are not all living in the there or another place? I do what I do for my family and my future children. When they grow up I don’t want them to live in a police state or in fear of government. I want them to live autonomously in a community of equals, and I do things to try and achieve this. It is easy to say that you are an “anti-capitalist” but it is not as easy to say what you are pro. If you are anti something it is good to have a pro something to go along with that so things are balanced.
I strongly recommend a book to everyone to read. If you know me I don’t like to read and never recommend books, so i really mean this one. It is called MENTAL FIGHT by Ben Okri. It is a book of poetry but it is more than poetry it makes you think a lot, more than “Where The Sidewalk Ends”(oh shit, a Shel Silverstein reference!). Remember we are not supposed to have all the answers. People always attack Naomi Klien for the book No logo that she states the problems but does not say how to solve them. Look at it this way: “If you are in a building and someone tells you there is a fire, but does not know where the exit is; Should you yell at them for not knowing where the exit is? Or should you thank them for telling you there is a fire.” meaning we don’t have all the answers, but we are trying, what we do does help. I have rambled for too long now. I wish you all a happy New Year. May we all have Peace within ourselves and our world in the next year. I will leave you with a quote by Ben Okri, which I have began to live my life by: “We are not Freedom Fighters… We are Free, We Just want to share it with Others.”