Learning to unlearn!Posted: February 26, 2011
The function of capital is to reproduce itself and extract more and more profit. It is not about the survival and health of the people it uses and exploits to operate. It then tricks us to believe that it is actually good; the best system for individual opportunity and growth. Meanwhile as we all struggle against inflation, high rent and unemployment we are alienated from ourselves and each other so we have no sense of our collectivity. Alienation means the loss of self; we have no power or control over the system and the way it abuses and oppresses us. This loss of individual and collective power is vital for maintaining the order of the system, because the ruling class understands that if we develop a sense of love and trust for each other then maybe we might collectively decide to fight such a system and change it so the people might have power; and that work might be shared collectively for the survival of entire communities. How does this happen? It is when the oppressed take these ideas and translate them into a material force and usher our society into a new historical epoch; hopefully a socialist one. It is the role of revolutionaries in revolutionary organizations to quicken this process and help educate the oppressed of this historical task; make them conscious of a revolutionary people’s history they are robbed of by the bourgeois ideology that dominates public education.
But in order for revolutionaries to embody these alternative values and spread dreams of a healthy, loving, communal world we must do work on ourselves to overcome the alienation and internalized oppression that isolates us from each other and makes us do harm to each other. Self-care is revolutionary work. Alienation makes it so hard to learn to trust and love each other, because we are not taught those skills. We are taught to fear each other and look out for ourselves. This reality makes it so difficult to have healthy, loving relationships (friendships and lovers), that aren’t shrouded in fear and co-dependency. We are not taught to care for ourselves or each other. The one relationship model offered to us is the heterosexual family, whose real function is to support the capitalist division of labor through this domestic system of reproducing human labor through the oppression of women in the home. And if you are a queer woman of color you are definitely not taught how to love another woman. It’s not even an option in the heteronormative relationships we are pressured to accept. We must silence our desire in general, and if it is queer desire we must swallow them deep inside ourselves. As women, we are not given the tools to have loving relationships with other women. We are taught to devalue women the way patriarchy does; to unleash our anger on each other.
As I have been hurt and have hurt others I am trying to learn all these lessons about loving and accepting love in order to overcome the alienation as a healthy queer revolutionary woman. I think a lot of it has to do with trust, and overcoming the way I have hardened myself in order to protect myself from people breaking or abusing my trust. I think a large part of this has to do with the pains of my early childhood years, which are so crucial for your development into your adult years. I developed unhealthy behavior patterns as a response to the conditions I was raised in that were never really challenged by the people around me so I could re-learn better behavior. A large part of this has to do with the abuse and neglect of my father and having him break over and over again my trust, faith and love for him. This, combined with early heartbreak, made me swallow my pain like stones that I buried deep within me. This process hardened me and made it difficult for me to trust and love someone. I have realized this through my last two failed attempts at love and relationships. The most recent one being particularly devastating, because It was so clear that the barrier preventing the relationship from growing was my fear and lack of trust of her. My past feelings of rejection and suspicion of people made it difficult for me to ever open up and believe that she could have real love for me. Whenever there was a slight opportunity for me to assume the worst I did and I think in some ways we are both responsible for that, but I take a lot of responsibility due to my lack of trust. It is rather tragic to think about the ways we self sabotage our own happiness and abilities for love in a world that is not the most loving. But I am also hopeful in myself, and the loving radical community around me, to begin to the process of unearthing these stones within me and each other.