Reflections of a Rebel – Revolution of Love
Last night I was listening to Yanis Varoufakis interviewing Roger Waters on DiEM25 TV. Content wise everything seemed to make sense: the harsh criticism of capitalism and an economic system only motivated by short term profits, the two headed snake of the Republican and Democratic parties in the US, the need to create an internationalist movement of progressive people around the world, and so forth.
But there was something that didn’t feel right. Something about this story of class struggle, about us vs. them, about angry privileged white men speaking from the heights of their ivory towers on behalf of the silent oppressed, and about us in The Left who have been chanting the same mantras for decades in our little echo chambers while things turned from bad to worse.
What if the story of how we got to where we are is different from the one that will carry us forward? What if we need to invent new stories that focus on the future instead of dwelling on the past? And what if to write these new stories we need to discover new authors?
Who will be those authors? Maybe it is the indigenous activist from Peru whose tribe has been dying from oil spills caused by multinational corporations for decades. Maybe it is the young girl from Palestine who has been protesting in front of Israeli soldiers occupying her land. Or maybe it is the American working class mother who has been squeezed between welfare cuts, working overtime and taking care of her children.
Naysayers will say that these people cannot speak for themselves. That they need us to help them become more educated, to understand how the system works so that they too can operate within it and be able to raise their voices. But that is a myth: these people are already speaking while we refuse to step out from our echo chambers and listen to what they have to say.
The revolution does not need more ivory towers – it needs more love! If you love someone you will not colonize their spaces; if you love someone you will not capitalize on their sorrows; if you love someone you will not treat them as an ‘other’ but as an extension of yourself.