I just found a quote on Tumblr from an amazing speech given by Naomi Klein in 2015. Go read and come back. I’ll wait. 😉
I’m just starting to wake up to the idea of neoliberal individualism and I’m shaken because I buy into this concept so hard. It’s hard to see past what mother culture has been telling me for the past 20 years. This is the truth: our actions as individuals are meaningless. Life is too big and too powerful to be changed by the actions of one person. Only by acting together can we hope to make or enact any change.
This just fucks everything up for me. So much of my political activism has been personal because I feel like that’s the only control I have over anything. To tear down that ideal means, in turn, that I have no control. And while I knew this in theory, it still feels like pulling a band-aid off a bit too fast.
And I think I’ve known this for a while which is why I’ve been thinking and writing about community so much: because I know that I need community in order to make lasting change. Individually I can choose local food sources; as part of a community I can make local food available to everyone. Individually I can thrift for my material needs; as part of a community we can swap, reuse, and share to meet our collective material needs. Individually I can read about anarchist theory; as part of a community I can contribute to collective mutual aid and build according to the needs of the community, learning to live communally. Worker co-ops, unions, collectives, community gardens: this is what we need. Homesteading and unschooling might be great actions for my individual family, but we sure as heck aren’t changing the world from where I’m standing right now.
I haven’t figured anything out about what this means for me (as an individual, haha). I think maybe it means that I have to change where I’m putting my time and energy. I think it means that I need to find more people to connect with. But I’m not sure how.