Saturday, September 29, 2007

Welcome to the Carnival of Radical Action 5: Revolutionary Change

I voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election.

(Yes, you are reading the 5th Edition of the Carnival of Radical Action.)

I voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election because he was pro-life and my family - then - was strongly Republican and my father loves Ronald Reagen more than chicken Adobo. For a family of Filipinos, that is dedication.

I voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election because I thought I knew what I was doing. Do many 20 year olds understand how to properly and thoroughly analyze, weigh, and discern? I watched the election praying my vote wouldn't count. That was the Florida year, as if anyone could forget.

Yes, I voted for George W. Bush 8 years ago and every time I turn on the tele, all I can think of is one thing. Change. I look at the president I helped elect in the first election and wondered how I had changed, how he had changed, what kind of change has ensued, and the level of responsibility I assume in that.

Change.

The difference between change and Revolutionary Change is its relationship to Truth. Regular change - shift in situation, alteration of state - transpires everywhere and anywhere. It occurs in the media, in our homes, in ourselves, and in our relationships. However, change becomes Revolutionary when heavy doses of honesty and past learnings are incorporated. Without truthfulness, there cannot be Revolutionary Change.

There is no clearer evidence of our need for truthfulness than in Jena, Louisiana. For those who haven't read about the Jena 6, I can offer one of the most profound voices on the internet. The most beautiful and often unsung journalistic voices are not in mainstream media, but in our roaring blogosphere. Events like Jena change us. Jena influences us and it weighs heavily in our hearts. Summing up some of the most powerful elements of Jena is M, who writes a heart-tugging guest post at Kai's pad:

"So what glimmer of understanding do I wish to impart? Very simply, the Jena Six is not a matter of guilt or innocence. If you think this case is about dancing and singing with Al Sharpton in Jena while wearing black, go home or bury some soap or something. If you view this case as a stepping stone for your own self-aggrandizement here there and everywhere, sit at home and think a few seconds before stepping back out again. If you think this case is only about freeing these young men, you're half-steppin'. If you view the Jena Six incident as uppity newcomer Negroes wanting to start some ruckus, then please go back to your guard post under your bridge. Denial about a person's criminal actions in a case is unwanted. This fight is not about what we can do to stop people from being criminals (though there's no denying that goal is important); it is about what happens when those people are already within the criminal justice system and cannot afford an OJ-style legal Dream Team."
How I wish that Jena was the only evidence of how damn slow we are to change - how slow the "justice system" works, how change takes numerous laps around the clocks and calendars before it begins to take effect - but it is not.

To implement change, one can participate in random acts of activism or contemplate more organized methods as well, but at the end of our radically truthful day, it is difficult to bear THE question of activism: What, really, are we changing? Oh yes, I am going there. Not many have the temerity to ask such a truthful question, but Little Light at Taking Steps takes it on:
"The change we want--the deep-seated social shifts that will make the world a more decent place for more people--that will echo, and grow, and move planets for our children's children's children, and maybe they will thank us. But we will not taste it. We will not cross the Jordan. And what is it we're changing?
Well. Put simply? This world is a heartbreaker."
In reflecting on those words, hard truths bubble to the surface: there are also some things that never change. They may change in face, but racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, ableism are ubiquitous. How are you supposed to move forward with that knowledge?

One way is remembering that, yes indeed, all those ills seem to never change, but neither does the power of the written/spoken word and our infinite ability to create change in ourselves and in our communities. Take notes from people who have learned how to turn a chronic disease that affected their life into RadActs. What do you do when you're diagnosed with MS? You work your mind into communicating to others that hope is not lost. And survival is so much more than just holding on the edge or life, or merely brimming, but survival of life means overflowing with insight, perspective, and hope. RevChange? RevChange.

In general, how we educate about health and dis-ease is in dire need of change. Acting White takes on how we need to change the dissemination of information so that people understand how cancer affects Black women differently. Alas provides commentary on woc being taught how to hate their bodies. Making her case about health as well, Los Anjalis pushes the health effects of subtle racism forward making us rethink the relationship between race, stress, and wellness. And don't forget that wellness includes mental health as well, which is central to keeping ReVoices alive.

How and why do we often slip into blog-nesia and forget that delving deep and coming up serious and sad and depressed and lost and hopeless and isolated and fighting and bitter is acutely dangerous? Yes, we need to piss in the oppression toilet and figure out the dark complexities of ourselves and of our world, but we can't move forward if we're on our knees all the time. Wellness should not be an option for activists of RevChange, it must be a priority.

To be Revolutionary and healthy, you must braid change in your blogdiet. Have a bit of heavy carbs (news, headliners) that wake you up to what's going on in different parts of the world
but don't forget your inspiring vitamins. Down some fruit, milk, and chocolate dipped strawberries and remember that change can and does happen. Feeling uplifted is not overrated. Take it from Xicanopwr who reports good news from New York. Or take a gander at the video on Miss Crip Chick, "Thank Goodness God Gives Republicans Gay Children." The Angry Black Woman documents some Glamour victories along the way while big changes in legislature give tremendous boosts to our activist energy banks. My all-time feel good act of radical action is coming from our youth. God love 'em. I was just about to give up pink when I read this (and the full story link) over at Gay Persons of Color.

Don't forget to drink the pure outcome of combining truth with music, humor, and artistic expression. I mean, God forbid we actually use humor - and I'm not talking about the dry sarcasm jabs at politicians - I'm talking about humor that celebrates who we are and relaxes us; reframes our activism (and ourselves) in comic light.

And where would we be without the sway of music and dance? The Latin American Princesa introduces the new album by global change artist Manu Chao. And ART! The most moving and revolutionary truth about radical action reflects nowhere more deep than in the creative neuroses patterns of our brains. Get past Van Gogh or Ansel Adams. Learn about class at Panda camp. Discover of the talents out there who pour their intellect into imaginative drawings that redefine super(s)heroes, and push the limits by visually guffawing over our governmental leadership. Stretch yourself in imagination. Forget bumper stickers as the module of the shortest delivery of meaning and think comics. This is a photo of a comic created by Mikhaela Reid, a political cartoonist. See more here.












And speaking of felines, why not check out how you can change your approach to effectively combat racism at Feline Formal Shorts? Here's a little bit from Racism 101 - What if I Screw Up?
"One of the biggest reasons people give for not wanting to engage in conversations about race is that they’re worried about doing or saying something offensive. After all, race is a fraught topic in the United States (and elsewhere, even if the issues are different), and the overwhelming impression well-intentioned but clueless people get is that any phrase can be a trap."
And speaking of anti-racist work, who better to read more about than Grace Lee Boggs over at Kai's who reflects on her autobiography, Living for Change.

Change can also bring goodbyes. Graceful exits from the blogosphere have left me pondering the life changes that occur offline. Sometimes the pauses are only temporary (thank God) and sometimes they are not, as written by a wonder woman who would like to be known simply as a WOC fugitive blogger:

"Severance"

I'm putting in my notice
my two weeks
my one day of feeling
of shallow words and
unkempt body
of hollowed eyes and
of faulty memory
today

I'm signing off and
shutting out the best
and the worst of me
but mostly the worst
that's the only reason why
the pay is meager
the hours long
the cubbies empty

I'm packing up hope
and dreams
and desires
and sympathy
and humor
and happiness
and peace
and quiet
and tenderness
and safety
and gentleness
and charm
and wit
into a collapsible box
with no handles and
automatic locks

I'm escorted away
and I'm not returning
unless I left something
behind that I didn't realize
until much later after
someone shaves my name
off the door
and steam cleans my steps
from the carpet
and combs through files
and blackens me out

I'm resigned to misgivings
to layoffs
to paycuts and additions
and unforeseen circumstances
to downsizing and
just plain signs that say
"there's no room for you"

Sometimes change brings an end, a finale. Even in her departure, Twice the Rice can still utter those trademark truths, "The only constant is change. Change is good. Change is afoot."

And sometimes,when I miss old ReVoices that have slowed their blogs, I realize they are still working for change, just in a different medium. I started wondering where Nubian is needed the most. Maybe it's the blogosphere, maybe it's in film. Then I realized that maybe it shouldn't matter just as long as women of color's voices are getting heard in the media because that kind of change is n-e-c-e-s-s-a-r-y.

Change is always afoot. Always. In our deepest spiritual selves, we have the strength to heal and embrace change, as Phoenix and Tree writes about the parallels of her own trauma with the story of Persephone. In our deepest intuitive selves, you can sense it just as Journey_Wmn so eloquently and courageously asserts in her identity as a lesbian of color:
"I really feel like a change is about to happen, like I'm finally going to reach that next level in my journey. I'm not sure where its going to take me, but I'm ready for the ride."
An aspect of my own revolutionary change is that I have always been a truthful person. I just put out there for the world to read that I, a RadRevFeminist Writer of Color, had once put a political vote for arguably the most destructive and inarticulate governmental leader in the history of the world. I don't know what could be more truthful - except the confession of how many ill-fitting bras and ripped undies I own - than that.

Instead of shaming ourselves as to who we once were or things we have done, why can't we seize the growth and shine it as from who we have grown; from who we have learned the most? Truthful questions are scarce, riding frighteningly close to a path toward extinction.

This CORA celebrates activists. CORA, on its 5th edition, celebrates you, thanks you (especially to the rock stars whose submissions I could not include). It celebrates the change that must have occured in my life between the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. It celebrates that the greatest and most significant change in our lives is not the internet, but in the unfolding surprises of how we, as activists of radical action, respond to the lessons of our own lives.

Word.

9 comments:

  1. this is sooooo freaking beautiful and exciting--and I *can't believe* that you voted for george bush!!!!!!! What a brave thing to admit!!!!! :p

    ReplyDelete
  2. Really awesome work, Sudy! I can't wait until I have time to read these. What is the deal with having to work, anyway? Pfft!

    ReplyDelete
  3. hahaha, you voting for bush reminds me of a list of things i used to be just 2-3 years ago... they include being a bush lover, being in a girl scout type group for fundie christians, etc. scary eh?

    LOVE THE CARNIVAL!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Beautiful Sudy!

    ReplyDelete
  5. *curtsy*

    Thanks all for your support! It means so much.

    RAV- I am totally with you. Work, shmork. I'd write and blog all day if I could.

    Bfp, (sniff) I can always count on you to support and love me first (double sniff).

    Miss Crip -- LOL! That is hilarious. I wish there was a way to watch a video of just what in the heck we were thinking then, huh?

    Fab and BA - You women are always there. Always. I think of you often and am sending lots of energy and healing.

    LOVE.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Joan Kelly4:31 PM

    This is awesome, Sudy. And your discussion of voting for Bush made me love you even more.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's his, actually. :)

    Thanks for writing about how you voted for Bush. It's brave, and I think it's important for people to talk about things like that 'cause, as you also write, honesty is key for radical change.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sudy, this is absolutely beautiful, and you are absolutely beautiful. Excellent carnival.

    I <3 you, former Bushie or no. ;)

    ReplyDelete

Hey there,
Before you leave a comment, just remember two things:
1. You are taking responsibility for a public comment
2. Anything that resembles racism, homophobia, classism, ableism, or anything based from religion, citizenship, or ethnic bias - don't bother commenting, you'll be deleted.