Swapping emails with friends in various parts of the country, we tend to send each other links to organizations we found out about that are doing work we think has some kinda value. There are a lot of ’em – some international, some local, all of hem fellow travelers in some way. I threw together a very short list of organizations off the top of my head –
My list shows some bias – I thought of organizations I follow or causes that are closer to home for me. There should be a lot more there. All these groups could be working together for common cause. The POC and LGBTQ groups overlap and both are disproportionately affected by poverty, all of which happens in a world that is being wrecked by climate change – well, not wrecked, but made less hospitable for people. None of the issues can be extricated from the others.
I’m all for people choosing a cause and working for it. If you feel strongly about the plight of Latvian sex workers with dyslexia in your town and you want to help them, then I support you in that endeavor. But there is a bigger picture and the reason marginalized peoples are marginalized is they/we haven’t banded together. If all the various subcategories are added up, it forms a majority. The overwhelming majority of people are not rich, white, cis-het and evil. There is no reason whatsoever for the tiny minority of super-rich assholes to dictate the conditions the rest of us must live in.
How do we make it fit together? How do alliances get formed? Recognizing common ground is the first thing. Overlooking minor differences is next. I used to work with a guy who was heavily involved in the local fight against a pipeline. I suggested he link up with Lutherans Restoring Creation, get them to send word to the Lutherans in the affected area and work together. The look on his face told me he wasn’t going to do that – I just checked his groups F’book page, their only web presence, and sure enough, there ain’t nothing there about LRC. So, two things – 1. F’book is a bad thing in itself, and a pretty useless way of reaching people, and 2. Just because you’re a cool Millennial, and therefore an atheist, is a stupid reason to avoid joining forces. We’re talking about our environment here, about whether the George Washington National Forest is going to be torn up for an oil pipeline with the potential to make all those coal slag leaks pale in comparison. (If you don’t live downstream from coal, add that to your list of things to be grateful for.) There’s no good reason a bunch of hippies can’t work with some liberal Lutherans.
Frustrating, yes, but I have so much hope right now. The Black Lives Matter movement is knocking down statues all over. Juneteenth is a thing even white people know about now. (I heard an African-American historian on NPR taking about Juneteenth and pointing out that A) the slaves in Texas who were liberated on 19 June 1865 were not the last people of color held in slavery in the USA, B) the last slaves to be freed were in states that didn’t secede from he Union and C) the Emancipation Proclamation wasn’t intended to free all the slaves. Those are verifiable facts and so what? The USA wasn’t founded on 4 July 1776, either. Jesus wasn’t born on 25 December 1. Juneteenth is a holiday that recognizes an important event. The exact date doesn’t signify.)
So many people are up in arms. So much is in motion. I’ve felt like Cassandra for decades – seeing what it seemed like no one else saw. Now I see action. I see …shit, something I’ve never seen. Boomers might liken it to the movements of the 60’s, which I will bite back about. The popular notion of 1960’s radicalism is a bunch of white kids smoking weed and listening to Jefferson Airplane while giving each other the clap. That didn’t work out well. People of color made some progress in the 60’s, but white hippies did fuck all. I’m glad the present moment can learn from their failures – and that many organizations are not being led by them. We need marginalized leaders – people who know what the fuck they’re on about. (Which is why I won’t. I might be a neurodivergent trans-lesbian, but I look a lot like a straight, white male, and nobody needs one of them in charge.)(Also, I’m not really a leader-type.)
Where is this going? I don’t know. Fellow travelers working together. Intersectional solidarity. There has to be a way of connecting it all together.