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Following a relatively sheisty July, Eleanor ruminates on her emotional and mental boundaries, and whether or not it's possible to always respect them. And how does this differ or diverge depending on who you're interacting with - i.e. dear friends & family or a casual comrade.
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” - George Orwell
Without history, we wander through our present and build our future - totally blind.
As racists foam at the mouth and shriek about "critical race theory," it seems an apt time to highlight the importance not only of learning history, but in HOW we learn that history...
A seldom considered connection is the one between genocidal imperialism and body image. But as we sift through history and into the shallow dumbshittery of eugenics, we find not only the drive to mass murder "inferior races," but to define beauty along those very same genocidal lines.
Pulling from Sven Lindqvist's work, "Exterminate All the Brutes," this foray into the nerdery follows nefarious threads to the roots of self hatred based on the creation of "inferior races."
Multiple things can be true at the same time. Our very existence proves that. We exist as multitudes, holding multiple truths not only about ourselves but about the world around us. For instance, the rise in anti-Jewish violence must be condemned AND we must continue to demand an end to the oppression of Palestinians.
By embracing these multiple truths, these manifold selves, we resist the rigid monoculture paradigm of a system that demands one way of doing things, one truth, one allegiance, one mind.
If you're like me - a white person with a background that criss-crosses borders from Europe to the Middle East, you may struggle with the word "home." It might feel hopeless digging into a deep past, before colonialism, to find when our people lived with the land, not just off it.
Pulling from Braiding Sweetgrass, I dig in - literally and figuratively - to the earth beneath us, far from "home," and how we can be good neighbors and family members regardless of where on earth we land.
Shit happens - especially when you're trying to topple the largest empire the world has ever seen.
Preparation is therefore key. Preparation that reminds us of our goals and centers those most targeted by the state is vital, so that we avoid white saviourism, replicating harm and derailing our work.
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Are you square pegging it just like me - rounding your edges to appease?
A musing on not fitting in, on latching on to boulders sinking with the weight of a cowardly resolve - and on courage, the radical world-building kind.
Coming off a particularly vicious bout of food poisoning, I thank you all for the inspiration that brewed up a new spoken word piece for this episode!
Meanwhile, let's talk about who profits from our programmed feelings of self-worthlessness, and the insidious nature of this programming.
Plus a look at the harshly cut borders between science and magic - may they be blasted through with finely tuned lasers wielded by unicorns ;)
Cue the "this is so un-American" speeches. Anytime something horrible happens, it's immediately lambasted as being un-American when in reality, it's actually very VERY American.
Eleanor dives into the arbitrary dividing lines of borders and nations, the struggle for the state(lessness) of your mind and taking pride in your culture - not your country.
How do artists and creatives think of their work in terms of dollars and cents? It feels wrong - because it inherently is. Art and creativity, the labor of creation - is the antithesis to a system based on destruction, on profit and quantifiable work over connections that can never be commodified.
This week, we step into the multilayered nerdery of art and capitalism, with some help from dead French philosophers, vinyls, Robinson Crusoe and mixed metaphors.
Huey P. Newton wrote that "we all belong to one society yet live in different worlds."
The layers of self in these worlds, the infinite intersections, the myriad truths are all sources of power - when combined. When kept in sharp and separate boxes, our connections to each other and to our selves are amputated.
In order to build, we must color outside the lines - into each other's existence.
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An anti-capitalist nerderific look at failure, focus and boundaries:
Why do we have such a troubled relationship with failure? Why can't we feel the life in the ruins?
Oh woe when we take our daily distracted energy into our movements spaces...what kind of worlds could we possibly hope to build?
Finally, setting boundaries is anti-capitalist. And it's the only way to show up with fairness and care for yourself and your community.
Come into the nerdery and help me chew over some of the ideas from Douglas Rushkoff's book Team Human.
How do linear belief systems fuck over the planet and ultimately of course, humans too? How can a cyclical perspective change the way we are in relationship with ourselves, each other and the planet? And can we let go of the need to 'own' ideas in favor of embracing ideas buried, silenced or ignored?
The institutionalization of activism - much like charity - depends on preserving the current capitalist system. So, it feels like an apt and vital time - for a radical change.
At the same time, whatever you call it, if "it" means building for justice, grassroots autonomous power, we're on the same side - and we don't have time to burn bridges.
Meanwhile, less than a week into 2021 and we've already got men dressed up as goats taking over the Capitol building...what a time to be alive!
It's remarkable how much more we can reflect on in the dark...
A special solstice thinky-dink nerderific episode on accountability, jagged boundaries and the differences between not caring and self caring.
As Karen Armstrong writes, "human beings have always been mythmakers." We seek meaning, we seek protection and comfort. But not all myths are created equal.
Some myths are incredibly dangerous - they distort and cover up a harsh reality that unless faced, will destroy us.
In this tour of the nerdery, Eleanor slides along the spectrum of dangerous myths and offers up some ideas on how we could use acculturation to face the facts and dig up the truth of our past, so that we might build a better future.
A cathartic step into the nerdery this week - spinning some spoken word, calling out the grating cheers for a war criminal racist sexist, a symphony requiem mass for the illusions we must lose - if we want to win anything.
Got a special episode for y'all this week - featuring the voices of Deception 2020 - the series I've been doing in the lead-up to the election. Hear from Dan Kovalik, Nick Braña, Dr. Margaret Flowers, Mickey Huff, Eugene Puryear and Leonardo Flores on issues and angles you'd never hear from corporate media.
And in all of this, through all of this - we are not alone, we are the solidarity of the shaken.
Fear is incredibly useful - until it's not. Here's a look at how fear is pushing people to make rash (and ultimately unhelpful) decisions in the face of actual systemic dangers.
And this isn't about vote shaming - this is about system shaming.
We have to be real about our place and time, the historical context of this election and the work that can't be done by checking a box on election day.
Movement spaces can feel uncomfortable at times - and at times, that's a good thing. But if rigid radicalism is at work, people and spaces will break under the weight of replicated oppression and narrow-mindedness.
Embracing feeling weird, building space to acknowledge our continuing growth while holding ourselves and others accountable is in the DNA of powerful and radical spaces. Here, we can break the stalemate of inaction that so often hits people when they're so afraid to fuck up, so afraid to misstep...
This week's nerdery hang dissects the problem with equality in a system where people have unequal needs and access.
Technology divides, it isolates, but it is not the inherent enemy. That is capitalism - and we don't have to look at a future written by a capitalist scribe. We can write our own, starting now.
In so many ways, voting doesn't count. And for those who lift their heads from the sand every 4 years just to proselytize the virtues of voting for evil, y'all can fuck right off.
Change won't come from voting or petitioning, it comes from mutual aid, community organizing and the myriad possibilities outside the voting booth - all the ways to engage they never talk about, because they know how powerful they can be.
Sometimes you get delicious fish, sometimes you get tires. Either way, to know and to deal with what's beyond the surface, you gotta dig. This isn't just for our selves but for global systems as well.
Don't accept their painting of fate - and come to that, don't accept the state!
On the other side are possibilities legion. Our work dreaming and building includes nurturing solidarity and making space for other dreams, tactics and emergent ideas.
Some decisions are binary - yes or no, south or north, on or off. Some decisions include manifold options, backstories, possibilities. Organizing is hardly ever binary. Embracing some nuance - tho it might feel uncomfortable and icky at times - is vital for building power.
So you've been to a protest, now what? Some thoughts on what folks can do now to not only fight, but build.