Another World is Possible

Despite the collapse of capitalism and the current political system based upon it, there are signs of hope. More and more people are joining with others to build better economic and political systems. Or return to systems that worked in the past for hundreds of years.

I am blessed to have gotten to know people who are doing just that. One of my new friends is Jake Grobe who works at Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (ICCI). Jake joins in our Mutual Aid work in Des Moines. I knew he was going to the People vs Fossil Fuels Week of Action last week in Washington, DC. I saw some of what he posted online while he was there. And we got to visit yesterday when we were at the Mutual Aid food bank. He described being present when the flag outside the Army Corps of Engineers was replaced with one indicating “No Consultation”, which you can see in the video below. Following is from an email message he sent yesterday. I like the things he said about what gives him hope.

Also below is part of a teach-in my friend Ronnie James presented in 2020. “The recent past shows us that mutual aid is not only a tool of survival, but also a tool of revolution.

In addition, umair haque writes about the problems with hierarchies. “These two forces naturally oppose one another, like fire and ice — hierarchy and progress. And it seems to me one of the great secrets history tries to teach us is that when we find ways to make them work together, then and only then human possibility opens to its fullest horizons.”

Hierarchy is what Mutual Aid is about. Mutual Aid works to avoid vertical hierarchies. And instead to maintain a flat or horizontal hierarchy, where everyone has a voice.

As an example of how our struggles are interconnected, Jake and Ronnie are in the photo below that was taken after we completed the Mutual Aid food giveaway. We are supporting the Wet’suwet’en peoples who are struggling to protect the water and prevent the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline through their pristine lands.

Last week a delegation of CCI members and People’s Action joined thousands in Washington DC for the People vs Fossil Fuels Week of Action. Led by Indigenous and frontline communities, we marched, occupied, and blocked roads alongside faith groups, racial justice groups, and environmental groups to demand federal action to end the era of fossil fuel destruction. 

Words mean nothing without action: call Biden to demand a halt to Line 3.

Despite all the promises, the Biden Administration has approved over 2,500 new oil and gas permits on public land, the fastest pace since 2008. He has let projects like the Line 3 tar sands pipeline in Minnesota go online, already polluting sacred water and violating treaty rights. And as I speak, Biden is surrendering to the demands of two blatantly corrupt Senators to gut the Build Back Better bill of programs needed to address the climate crisis. 

Reeling with all this has been hard to say the least. Here is where I’m finding hope:

  • Indigenous people have been resisting genocide for hundreds of years and many continue to lead the fight on the frontlines – there is a lot to learn.
  • Over 500 of us were arrested in the name of justice last week, many more have put their literal bodies on the line to stop construction of fossil fuel projects, and right now Sunrise youth are going on a hunger strike outside the white house while tens of thousands of workers are on strike.

People seeing their power and using it means we can win, because Mother Earth will regenerate and heal herself, as soon as we stop the harm.

Jake Grobe, Iowa CCI

Perhaps, like me, you think things aren’t going so well in the world today — 1930s style authoritarianism, extremism, and stagnation rock the world like a hurricane once again.
The question then is this: what kind of world do we want? In this essay I’m going to offer three futures. They’ll contrast the tension between hierarchy and progress. You see, the question in ages like this one is whether hierarchies — which make things comfortable for those above the waterline, even during decline and collapse — can make us more capable of change, growth, and maturity, somehow too. So I will write it from a curious perspective, too — that we each decide, in some way, what kind of future we are to create.

These two forces naturally oppose one another, like fire and ice — hierarchy and progress. And it seems to me one of the great secrets history tries to teach us is that when we find ways to make them work together, then and only then human possibility opens to its fullest horizons.

So what kind of future do we want? One with lots of burdensome, bitter, and polarizing hierarchy — groups vying to pull each other down — which flatlines progress? Or one where consensual hierarchy has collapsed into predation — no one can agree to govern or be governed, so monsters rule — which leads to super-charged regress? Or one in which, improbably, hierarchy and progress have learned, improbably, to walk hand in hand? That choice, I think, is the one that will define these times.

(How) We Need To Fix The World. If We Don’t Change the Path We’re On… by umair haque, Eudaimonia and Co, Oct 2021

As bleak as this is, there is a significant amount of resistance and hope to turn the tide we currently suffer under. We stand on the shoulders of giants that have been doing this work for centuries, and there are many lessons we can learn from.

The first, and possibly the most important, is that it was not always this way, which proves it does not have to stay this way. 

What we have is each other. We can and need to take care of each other. We may have limited power on the political stage, a stage they built, but we have the power of numbers.

Those numbers represent unlimited amounts of talents and skills each community can utilize to replace the systems that fail us.  The recent past shows us that mutual aid is not only a tool of survival, but also a tool of revolution.

If we are to survive, and more importantly, thrive, we know what we will have to do.

All Power To The People.

Ronnie James, The Police State and Why We Must Resist, 8/22/2020



Mutual Aid supports the Wet’suwet’en peoples

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