chemical weapons kill over 600 people in syria today.

i dare you to watch the videos of rows of motionless brown children laying on cold dark cement floors in makeshift hospitals. i dare you to hear the screams of Allahu Akbar by husbands and sons clenching onto their dead loved ones. i dare you to witness a child convulsing attempting to live a little longer, to witness a young girl with white froth bubbling from her mouth and nostrils, to witness the lungs of all those half dead violently searching for breath.

what will it take for us, for me, for me, for fucking me, to forsake our comfort to really begin to be in solidarity with people trying so hard not to die? like getting in the street rather than posting shit on facebook, like intervening in public rather than creating “safe spaces”, like making war felt.

if we remain comfortable, we remain complicit.

“In two days, you and the rest of the world will forget about this massacre the same way you forgot about the rest that have happened over the last 2+ years in Syria.”

gentrification or “urban renewal” (really a term used to invisibilize displacement of peoples) is essentially colonialism. when a place has endured a removal of lives, when its new inhabitants have joyfully erased its natives’ forced exodus (or have appropriated it to show progressiveness), when the process of “renewal” has replaced a natives’ culture and history with what is ahistorical (shiny shit that is used as an agent of forgetting), when there are forces of state violence (in this case the cops) protecting the lives and property of its new residents, what is it but colonization?

its appearance is just more comfortable to swallow now.

gentrifying san franscisco

sometimes i have these out of body moments where in the midst of quiet, my spirit is pulled to some place i haven’t quite been. i see something, i feel many. and then i’m back. tonight it happened again.

as i sit here on this sunday evening, reading my book nestled into soft brown couch with big warm blanket, war is happening.

so many with bullet wounds, bare stomachs and steel bars as their only windows.

so many fighting for their last breath, first meal and second chance.

so many with so many others yelling, pleading, whispering “freedom.”

this comfort is ugly.

it arrives with a pool of red sweat and carcass.

it arrives because this land is its graveyard.

it arrives because we crave it too much to stop it.

our comfort has become our only privilege and it has become dangerous.

dangerous enough that we will cry, die, slave for it rather than for our freedom.

dangerous enough to keep us chained to our tv, to our desks, to this couch rather than to the streets, to the struggle, to our people.

dangerous enough to kill us.

and tonight, unlike most nights, i smell death in the comfort of my own home.

this place not feeling like home still is hitting hard these past few days.

i have an immediate reaction when something big&tragic hits the u.s. because i know all who they will immediately line up as culprit and i will fear the backlash against those/my communities, i will sense intense racism rise, i will tell my family to “be extra careful”, i will see the emotional inequity between tragedies- the outrage over a tragedy that hits an unsuspecting place because privilege rests there and not a sound for those who are more “deserving” of tragedy (i.e. those in prison, those in occupied territories, in war zones, those who are muslim and inherently terrorist, those who are black and inherently criminal, those who are any shade of brown and inherently illegal), i will await new heights of racism, dehumanization and violence through vigilantism, “security policies” and war and i will know that if the perpetrator of the tragedy is white that no war will be cast against their land, no stigma attached to their race, no analysis to “understand” the characteristics of their people and no subsequent physical/emotional violence (or threat of) to anyone or anything associated with them. and after all of this upsurge of seeing- history, present and patterns- and feeling my immediate truth attached- my rage, sadness, righteousness- i feel shame for losing my ability to empathize even amidst it all. every fucking time something tragic happens here, this is the pattern.

and it is a fucking lot.

learnings from darkness

walking in the shadows, purposefully out of focus, it was uncustomary for me to be illuminated. in dark places was where i found solace and safety, it was where i could not be found. it was where i could not be outcasted either, manhandled into the corner, into the margins. instead i was casting myself out, gently sliding into the crevices where i could not be seen, heard or bothered.

i don’t understand the term “leader” from my lived experience, to put myself so far into the light would blind me, it seems. but to be revolutionary is to be leader in some way or twist, perhaps not like how the so-called-revolutionaries-but-really-murderous-colonizers are characterized or even the watered-down-so-they’re-easier-to-swallow MLKs, Mandelas and Gandhis that our hystory books have taught us about. to be a revolutionary leader is to notice the reality of where we are- time, place and people. it is to listen to and recognize the hystorical moment as such and to act and adapt according to the need of it, the need to move it forward under the propellant of revolutionary intention, strategy and most importantly, the propellant of the many many beating hearts harmonizing liberation all at once.

to be in the light sometimes but not casting shadows, to speak loudly but never over, to inspire the people but to know that they already know, they just need to be reminded, is leadership that i’ve borne witness to but the light, the light is something my eyes are still adjustin’ to.

my strengths as a leader, the strengths that i’ve been cultivating since the days of hiding in the colors of midnight lie in listening deeply to those who i speak to and who speak back, to the time that tells me where we are at, to our people’s hystory when i will myself to know.

my strengths as a leader, the strengths that i’ve been cultivating since the days of hiding in the colors of midnight lie in thinking deeply about what i see and what i’ve been told, about learning new ways and old, about the fantastic and creative places our movement of liberation will soon go.

my strengths as a leader, the strengths that i’ve been cultivating since the days of hiding in the colors of midnight lie in going deeply into the experience of how we sense the world, into the context of why capitalism is designed to hurt us and into the strategy of how we can hurt it back so we can heal.

my strengths as a leader, the strengths that i’ve been cultivating since the days of hiding in the colors of midnight lie in supporting, in loving, in guiding the moment, the person, the people, the comrades, myself.

my strengths as a leader lie in the many many beating hearts harmonizing liberation all at once.

_____

written for a revolutionary study group in Oakland, CA.

prompt for this meeting’s readings- STORM; Tyranny of Structurelessness and Capitalism Destroys Us, Movement Heals Us: what does leadership look like to you, ideally, in political organizing and struggle? do you see yourself being / becoming a leader, politically?  what kind of leader?  what are your strengths or weaknesses according to your own ideas of what good leadership is? if you don’t believe leadership is positive, what other roles or arrangements, do you prefer, politically?

and again…

and again, israel attacks gaza.

and again, it strikes to kill

those who have endured

decades of children knowing

the ear-deafening sound of death,

of grandparents fighting to survive not only 1948 but

each war, attack, daily persecution

since.

 

and again,

and again,

 

and again, israel attacks gaza.

and again, it strikes to kill

palestinian resistance

for calm and quiet evenings,

for laughter uninterrupted,

for celebrations unfamiliar with death,

for the necessities that are now luxuries.

 

and again,

and again,

 

and again, israel attacks gaza.

and again it strikes to kill

the determination that carries the people

the heart that beats “liberation”

the fists that spring revolution.

 

but again,

but again,

 

but again, palestine rises

in struggle,

in power

and with

the people.

blackgirldangerous, article “When The Lesser Of Two Evils Isn’t Enough”, comment thread which essentially discussed this question: in a two-party system where both options seem terribly evil, the choice between either obama (lesser evil) or romney (more evil), who should we lean towards even when acknowledging that we have a failing democracy?¹

i wonder how lesser evil is defined because yeah, mitt romney has a personality and opinions of a jackass but obama has actually been doing hella fucked up things, like materially fucked up, like creating killing fields and detaining folks because their breath smelled like “terrorist”, like displacing more folks than bush, some stupid fucked up life-murdering shit. to top it off, he’s pretty, charming, democrat and black. sounds pretty dangerous to me for what he can get away with (see: what obama has wrought)

but really this isn’t about him or mitt romney or whatever other shit-face that becomes president. whoever it is, will inevitably fuck shit up because in reality, none of them has control over the way the system wants to crank out its program of stripping workers of material power, of access to livelihood. and you know, we, the brown, black, immigrant, poor and queer, will get it worse, like we always do.

this system has got to go. and before that happens, this game of who is better or worse, seems like a game we will perpetually lose.

and yeah, when things get really bad, people can become more afraid. but on a brighter note, when things get really bad, people rise up, harder and stronger than ever before.*

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¹ i wrote this response 2 months ago on the blog blackgirldangerous, contemplated posting it on here, felt the time had passed by the time i got around to it but once again, it feels relevant because it’s in our celebration of obama’s “victory” that we have once again been distracted by the illusion that this system would concede its powers to the uncertainty of election. capitalism is smart, it knows better than to leave its success or its demise in the hands of some individual we happen to elect.

*comment slightly edited for aesthetic reasons.