On Self Care, Abolition, and Resistance: A Coalition of Love
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” -Audre Lorde
People who have been doing this work for a long time have personally suffered triggers unpatterned flashes of PTSD, insomnia, and outright exhaustion. Movement work is personal for us. Enlightenment is thoroughly painful and permeates our breaths dreams and a slow fruition of truth. An emergence of spatialized interrogation feels intimate in ways that folx collectively divest from their anti-Black family members, employers, and social circles.
“If slavery persists as an issue in the political life of Black America, it is not because of an antiquarian obsession with bygone days or the burden of a too-long memory, but because Black lives are still imperiled and devalued by a racial calculus and a political arithmetic that were entrenched centuries ago. This is the afterlife of slavery–skewed life chances, limited access to health and education, premature death, incarceration, and impoverishment.”
-Saidiya V. Hartman
Our descendents may savor this moment and rejoice someday, thus it is paramount that we cannot commit to each other without committing to uplifting ourselves. While there is a public embrace of perfunctory apopogies and bromides, we should still ask what took you so long to notice? Capitalism, defunding police, abolishing ICE and all surveillance investments by whiteness. Any opportunity for restorative justice must be bridged by a precusor to wholesale tranformative justice. Neoliberal capitalists will compress solidarity movements into a brand.
This doesn’t address how schools contract cops, utilize eugenic bell curves, and anglonormative constructs like achievement gaps–that are actually gaps in nutrition, health, housing, and racialized violence that manifest as zip codes. Our freedom is dialectical related. Abolition is dependent and operates parallel to a movement that shifts away from privatized and subsidized labor. Our freedom is dependent on the confinement and policed starvation of Black people and other dis/re-possessed people globally.
The mixtape for our power and triumph will be ether but for now I’m holding you down in any way you need that I can humanly provide. The mixtape for our power and triumph will be ether but for now, I’m holding you down in any way you need that I can humanly provide. A footnote or a eulogy–mobilizing our resistance and fight to live in the actualized vision of freedom whether a maternity of Blackness or Afrofuturist possibility– we are responsible to love hard. In my humble opinion, there is not greater act of humility and protection of this vision than to pick veritable weeds (social death) in a polluted garden our children will someday nurture and harvest.
There are three kinds of responses to this parable of abolition. The first response is someone comes and blankly observes the garden then leaves abruptly; the second and third either replant the weeds in more favorable conditions (soil-i.e.funding, water-i.e. state protected, light branding/propanganda; Althusser, 1981) or uproot weeds, resoil the plants in conditions in which light water shading and harvest are symbiotic and mutualistic. Co-opting love is a platitude and antithetical to survival. that buries the spear which kills you: police are for profit enterprise couched in a nest of white supremacist state protection. To paraphrase Frank Wilderson (2020) …”love conquers all” is meant to renounce violence that disavowed love a long time ago.
Director of Publications, Save the Kids
Editor, Transformative Justice Journal