We have tried to illustrate the importance of a politics that is prefigurative, horizontalist, and intersectional. This work is happening in big and small spaces, and through groups we build and groups we seek to transform. These spaces include our workplaces, our schools, our neighborhoods, our communities, our built and born families, and more…
Our work will only grow, and we will only grow in our work if we have places to practice different ways of being with one another. Experiential glimpses of holding and creating new social relations are and have been important to this process. One example comes from Chile in the early 1970s when the democratically elected government of Allende pushed through a series of progressive reforms, including nationalization of some key industries and limited land reform. During this time, powerful movements in communities and workplaces began creating their own prefigurative institutions that included regional networks of workers councils that started to take over and run the factories without government permission as well as neighborhood associations that seized vacant land to build new communities. While Allende was trying to contain these mass movements within the legal and economic boundaries of the state, the grassroots leadership was pushing beyond these boundaries. They used these new spaces to practice how society could be run without bosses, without landlords, and with new kinds of horizontal relationships between people and within communities. By shifting the texture and quality of their relations –which included but was not limited to how resources were distributed–the dimensions of the dreamscapes of what could be changed, and reclaimed, also widened.
We need places in our lives where we can practice different ways of being with each other. We not only need to learn how to undo racism, patriarchy, and all kinds of internalized power and oppression, we need to learn how to do –how to give feedback, how to push and motivate each other without using shame or power plays, how to feel good about ourselves (like we’re important enough to have ideas and share them). Many of us may know about this stuff in our heads, but most of us know we need an organization in which to practice, learn, and in Grace Lee Boggs’ words, “grow our souls” together.
It’s really hard to hold onto our politics and our commitments living in the world in which we live. Every message we get is about individualism, giving up, accepting the way things are. Our dreams often get tied up in ‘making it’ or sacrificed for practicality. Even though we might feel excited and committed to our political work, it is easy to feel worn down and burnt-out. Community, and essentially organization, is a fundamental system of support that can help us remember our commitments and practice mutual support and responsibility towards one another and our shared work.