Empire thrives on making us feel alone. The ruling class wants us to believe there is no help when they evict us from our homes. They want us to believe we should feel ashamed of the abuse they inflict on many of us. They have ingrained these types of myths into our consciousness. Capitalism wants us to believe that the only way to live freely is through self-sufficiency.
Some of us work 80-hour weeks, in addition to shouldering domestic responsibilities never meant for a single person, and we are often made to feel guilty for reaching out to our loved ones for support. In many of our roles, we are forced to solve problems individually, rather than collectively. Capitalism locks us into lonely and miserable lives. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people between the ages of 10 and 34. Alienation and loneliness are features, not bugs, of capitalism.
As socialists, we know the solution to these structural problems is not individualized. Yelling at individual men will not single-handedly abolish patriarchy. Instead, we focus our energy in implementing policies that lift up women and gendered minorities. Since capitalism profits from making us feel powerless, organizers have one of the greatest tasks of all: showing our communities how powerful we can be through collective action.
When we organize, we are building cultures of care. We are fighting for our neighbors, our coworkers, our families, our friends, and ourselves. Within DSA, we are building structural solutions to the ruling class’ destruction of our communities. We have neighborhood hangouts, craft nights, and beer caucuses to build relationships so that we can fight alongside each other. We fight for tenants unions, learn how to talk to our coworkers about socialism and healthcare, and remind each other that we can be loud together until they can’t ignore us.
The most beautiful part of socialism is that it is impossible to do alone. Socialism is the antidote to the disease of alienation capitalism. We refuse to allow Empire to convince us that we have to go through this dark world alone. When we organize together, we show the deepest type of love to one another: solidarity.
When we do nothing, the same forms of oppression we are trying to fight replicate themselves in the very spaces we hope will foment and facilitate revolution. The first people to get pushed out are typically the most marginalized among us, who are typically doing the draining work of keeping our organizations afloat.
A lack of community care is how movements are destroyed. As organizers, we are constantly on alert and witnessing burnout in our work. Party machines and non-profits view volunteers as transactional. We must reject this approach. Our goal is not to schedule as many people for a phone bank or canvassing shift as possible. This framework that views people as disposable also allows ableism, xenophobia, transphobia, and multiple forms of oppression to thrive.
We all bring skills, gifts, and behaviors that can uplift and support one another. We must harness this potential to revolt against the ways in which capitalism wants us to relate to each other. It will be messy and challenging, but it will be worthwhile. Pour energy and resources into implementing strong harassment policies and community standards; they protect us and hold us accountable.
We want to win, but we cannot win alone. Taking community care seriously and integrating it into all of our organizing is of the utmost importance. We have a responsibility to each other, and developing community care is not only important for our day-to-day survival, it is necessary for our liberation. We engage in the struggle because we have no other option. Our lives depend on it. We organize because we care so much about each other and ourselves. We deserve lives full of laughter.
Sometimes we cry through emails, or while on mute in conference calls. It is so hard to communicate with each other when we all have our unique lived experiences. We study socialism because we know that we can figure out what brings us together and what connect us. By engaging in the struggle, we can discover that the oppression we face is not the only thing linking us together. We also share a deep desire to live in harmony. To bake, to knit, to paint — to live beautiful and wonderful lives together; this is the world we want.
We have seen glimpses of this better world. We have fed each other on the picket line. We have won races that seemed impossible. We have hula-hooped with each others’ kids. We have raised more money for abortion care than we thought was possible. The hell world we live in is engineered to keep us down. But, we are fighting back.
We are lifting each other higher than the ruling class could ever know. We are building something new.