So long 2016—all your surprises, twists and turns, heartbreak and hope are behind us now. Everything was possible on January 1, but nothing is possible any longer. You are finished, and it’s done. Fresh surprises are up ahead, and new vistas are opening—do you see that small figure gesturing wildly from that distant and indistinct shore? Let’s dive into the wreckage and swim as hard as we can in the direction of our dreams. Let’s stay all the way human.
Frederick Douglass escaped slavery, became a major force in the Abolitionist movement, worked for Black Reconstruction, and lived long enough to see the sell-out and destruction of Black Freedom, the rise of the KKK, and the terror unleashed on an entire people as the afterlife of slavery rose up and asserted itself. What did he do then? Did he retreat into a life of cynicism and despair? He did not. He got busy building the next steps in the Freedom Movement. We can do no less.
I resolve in 2017 to become a better organizer and to once more be guided by the rhythms of activism: Opening my eyes and paying attention every day; allowing myself to be astonished at the beauty and the ecstasy in every direction as well as the unnecessary pain and suffering all around; I’ll rise up and do something about it, say something about it, act out, write it down; then I will doubt, rethink, and start again.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
I’ll try to gather with people in my community and work place, to take the measure of ourselves in order to name and act within this political moment; talk to strangers every day; knock on doors; read everything; distribute information; display my politics in the public square; listen as hard as I can with the possibility of being changed and speak as clearly as I can with the possibility of being heard; learn from my mentors; follow the young; take to the streets; fight the power; encounter art; eat only what I need; ride my bike everywhere; house the homeless; dance the dialectic; stand up for joy and justice, peace and love.
Another world is surely coming, but there are no guarantees that it will be a better world—work camps and slave states are possible, and nuclear war is an increasing possibility. But peace and freedom are possible as well. The choices are stark: socialism or barbarism, chaos or community, the end of capitalism or the end of the earth.
We had better get busy.
I’ll do my best in 2017 to build an anti-fascist united front as the Trump junta executes its soft coup, to contribute to the movement for peace in this Spartan military garrison, for racial justice and freedom in this bastion of white supremacy, for economic justice in the heartland of predatory zombie capitalism, for women’s equality and gender justice in this male supremacist bazaar. And that’s not all…
Black Lives Matter!
Stand with Standing Rock!
Undocumented and Unafraid!
Gender Justice and Full Equality!
Save the Planet!
Reparations for Theft and Slavery!
Education Matters—Free Minds/Free People!
Children’s Rights are Human Rights!