Category Archives: Ableism

Banning Plastic Straws: The Strawman of Strawmen

A bingo card titled "Plastic Straw Ableism Bingo", in yellow text on a green field. At the bottom of the page it says myfreebingocards.com Bingo squares have black text on grey field. Text: What about reusable straws? They can use paper straws & compost them. My sister's cousin's friend works with the handicapped... It's ableist to say that DISabled people need straws. They're just as capable as everyone else. We all need to make sacrifices (which is why I chose a campaign that requires absolutely nothing from me). All this negativity. It's a start!  I don’t see any reason why we waste resources on severely retarded people. What about BAMBOO!? What did people use before there were straws? We have to start somewhere.  Why can't you carry a metal straw? Can straws be made out of hemp? Carry reusable straws with you. It’s very simple. Problem solved. Wouldn't it be the responsibility of the "DISabled" person to have one just in case? Should we expect establishments to provide wheelchairs for all the disabled "folx" too? I once heard a blind man say.... Some of my best patients are crippled. I know someone who needs a straw or water bottle to drink and he carries his own. Straws worked fine without being plastic. People will stop using them if you stop selling them and making them. Start making paper ones like the GOOD old days. They can drink from a well, actually.... We need to start somewhere. It's killing the ocean. Everyone needs to make sacrifices.

By Emma Rosenthal for inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com

Rebuttals to each bingo square:

What about reusable straws?
Reusable straws are problematic for many reasons. People with the types of DISabilities that require the use of straws to drink often can’t use reusable straws which need to be cleaned, very carefully. If they are not cleaned, they can harbor diseases which can be especially harmful and dangerous for people with compromised immune systems.

They can use paper straws & compost them.
Not everyone has a compost pile, which requires a lot of work and space to maintain and which may not be something someone with a DISability that requires the use of drinking straws, to be able to do on a regular basis.
Paper straws that are thrown in the trash contribute to landfills which are air tight. Nothing decomposes in a landfill.
Also, paper straws are not as substantial as plastic ones, and often break or fall apart.

My sister’s cousin’s friend works with the handicapped…
This is the DISability version of “some of my best friends”, it is stated in many forms but usually doesn’t involve having actual friends with DISabilities.  (My clients, my child, my dad….), that dismiss the issues of access and accommodation by claiming someone else with a DISability said something different or had different needs.

It’s ableist to say that DISabled people need straws. They’re just as capable as everyone else.
This is a concern troll statement that pretends to care about and advocate for DISfolx by pretending that accommodations aren’t really necessary.

We all need to make sacrifices (which is why I chose a campaign that requires absolutely nothing from me).
The straw issue demands that DISfolx give up drinking while demanding little or no sacrifice by anyone else.

All this negativity. It’s a start!
Calling any demand for access, rights,  human needs negative is a really negative argument that negates the needs and existence of entire groups of people.

I don’t see any reason why we waste resources on severely retarded people.
For many DISfolx, this is the crux of the issue: that our lives have no value, that those who need straws are useless people who don’t deserve to use resources. It’s a #NaziMove that basically uses environmentalism as the basis of eugenics.

What about BAMBOO!?
This is one more superficial call for environmentalism that ignores the social justice issues raised in critiquing the “ban straws” campaign.  Bamboo straws would still need to be cleaned and would also still end up in landfills.

What did people use before there were straws?
Using the past as a model for DISabilty access today is a bad move. People died. DISfolx, died.

We have to start somewhere.
No, we have to have well thought out campaigns that don’t marginalize already marginalized people while demanding little of anyone else and totally ignoring the larger social issues of capitalism, corporate destruction of the environment and the planet. Environmentalism separate from the larger social justice dialogue that ignores human rights and capitalism is not an environmental movement, it’s a feel good without doing anything movement.
Also, this is just a very mean way to derail the issues being raised by DISfolx in this silly campaign that will have little or no impact on the environment.

Why can’t you carry a metal straw?
A metal straw can injure the person using it. Also, metal straws cannot be used with hot liquids.

Can straws be made out of hemp?
Possible. Go and make them, market them and assure that they’re affordable and available. Do that first, then get rid of something lots of people are telling you they need to have for something as basic as drinking.

Concern Troll  (This is the free space card on this bingo card.)
A concern troll is someone who is really against an issue or concern but pretends to be worried or interested in the well being of the people impacted by that issue.

Carry reusable straws with you. It’s very simple. Problem solved.
The campaign is for a full out ban. Carrying straws isn’t the answer.

Wouldn’t it be the responsibility of the “DISabled” person to have one just in case?
Should we expect establishments to provide wheelchairs for all the disabled “folx” too?
This is a misperception that DISfolx use up more resources and demand “special” accommodations than ENabled people. ENabled people are accommodated all the time. Restaurants, movie theaters all provide chairs for ENabled people. Bathrooms are designed for the use of ENabled people. DISability accommodations simply demand that the same accommodations provided to people whose bodies conform to a norm, be provided to everyone else as well.

I once heard a blind man say….
This again is a way to derail any issue by claiming that one person from a group represents the whole group, though in this case, someone who is blind probably doesn’t represent those who need straws to drink.

Some of my best patients are crippled.
This is again another version of the “some of my best friends”, though of course the person doesn’t have DISabled friends.

I know someone who needs a straw or water bottle to drink and he carries his own.
Great! Good for them, and with an all out ban, plus a stigma against using straws, they may not be able to carry them in the future. What else do they need to carry? Why should DISability accommodations be an individual problem and not a collective responsibility? We can’t resolve real environmental issues individually.

Straws worked fine without being plastic.
No they don’t.

People will stop using them if you stop selling them and making them.
Exactly. That’s the problem, DISfolx, even ones who carry their own straws and demand nothing of the world, won’t be able to get straws.

Start making paper ones like the GOOD old days.
Paper straws don’t hold up and fall apart easily. In the GOOD old days, DISfolx were killed, left to die, sent to institutions and hidden from public view. Your eugenics is showing.

They can drink from a well, actually….
Okay, I sparked this with a bit of humor. “Well actually” is the way Ablesplainers (mansplainers, whitesplainers) start a sentence when they want to silence someone from the actual group who is speaking from the authority of their own experience. 

It’s killing the ocean. Everyone needs to make sacrifices.
So then make a sacrifice. Not using drinking straws is a really odd campaign that people are pouring lots of time and attention and resources into, without any real change or impact on real, deep, actual environmental issues. A real change means a total shifting of priorities and that includes recognizing the value of people over profit, over expedience, over industry, over greed. And that means DISabled folx, too.

For more links, memes and videos on the issue of DISfolx and the straw ban:
https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2018/07/12/the-strawman-of-all-strawmen-links-and-resources/

Advertisements

The Strawman of all Strawmen: Links and Resources on DISability & the Straw Ban

This page is a work in progress. New links and memes providing information on the limits and dangers of straw ban campaigns will be added as they become available. I’m sure this isn’t the last word on the absurd campaign to ban plastic straws.

(oh, and just try to get these environmentalists to care as much about fragrances they and others use that pollute the environment and make it impossible for DISfolx with chemical sensitivity to function. Where’s THAT environmental movement?)

Plastic straw bans are a feel good response to the crisis in the environment, but individual consumer environmentalism, even campaigns to ban specific products won’t resolve the crisis. This campaign is especially odd as it requires almost no change in behavior or sacrifice on the part of those banning or calling for a ban on plastic straws. For those who don’t need straws to drink, this feel good solution is a poor substitute for real social policy change and does nothing to challenge the enormous corporate and capitalist threat to the entire planet. The fact that McDonalds has stopped offering plastic straws to its customers speaks loudly to how ineffective and insignificant this movement is and how little a threat it is to some of the biggest polluters on the plant. On the other hand, DISabled activists have given ample feedback to this movement, met with a predictable and outraged “ableist bingo” of refrains and total lack of concern for the wellbeing of a significant number of living, breathing, drinking, eating, people.
The disposability of human beings is a much bigger environmental issue than plastic straws.

MEMES:

A bingo card titled "Plastic Straw Ableism Bingo", in yellow text on a green field. At the bottom of the page it says myfreebingocards.com Bingo squares have black text on grey field. Text: What about reusable straws? They can use paper straws & compost them. My sister's cousin's friend works with the handicapped... It's ableist to say that DISabled people need straws. They're just as capable as everyone else. We all need to make sacrifices (which is why I chose a campaign that requires absolutely nothing from me). All this negativity. It's a start!  I don’t see any reason why we waste resources on severely retarded people. What about BAMBOO!? What did people use before there were straws? We have to start somewhere.  Why can't you carry a metal straw? Can straws be made out of hemp? Carry reusable straws with you. It’s very simple. Problem solved. Wouldn't it be the responsibility of the "DISabled" person to have one just in case? Should we expect establishments to provide wheelchairs for all the disabled "folx" too? I once heard a blind man say.... Some of my best patients are crippled. I know someone who needs a straw or water bottle to drink and he carries his own. Straws worked fine without being plastic. People will stop using them if you stop selling them and making them. Start making paper ones like the GOOD old days. They can drink from a well, actually.... We need to start somewhere. It's killing the ocean. Everyone needs to make sacrifices.

By Emma Rosenthal for inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com

Straw Ban Ableist Bingo:
For a breakdown of each of these bingo squares:
https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2018/07/12/banning-plastic-straws-the-strawman-of-strawmen/

 

 

 

VIDEO:

  • Plastic straws: Call for government to rethink policy
    A woman with cerebral palsy has called for the government to consider the need of disabled people before bringing in a ban on plastic straws.
    Ellie Simpson, from Chesterfield, who set up her own charity, said politicians had not given proper consideration to people with disabilities who rely on plastic over other alternatives.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/embed/p06577lz/43879489
  • Reversing Climate Change Is A Plastic Straw Away.

    Published on Jul 9, 2018

ARTICLES:

  • http://mynameiskristine.com/2018/07/10/we-seriously-have-to-talk-about-straws/

    We Seriously Have To Talk About Straws??
    “And this is why white liberal activism is so exhausting. The environmentalists originally chose the plastic straw issue, because it seemed like an easy win that wouldn’t hurt anybody. When the disabled community spoke up and said, “Actually, it hurts us!” that should have been the end of the conversation. That was the cue for the environmentalists to say, “Oh, our bad, no problem, we’ll pick a different thing.”

    But, no. Instead, they get mad at us for letting our negative impact get in the way of their good intentions. We aren’t awarding them Good Person Points, and they want their Good Person Points! It doesn’t matter that they’re trampling on a marginalized community to get them.
    People like being advocates for the environment and animals. You know why? It’s easy. Relative to activism and allyship for groups of humans, I mean. The environment doesn’t talk back and tell you that you’re doing it wrong. Animals don’t tell you that your good intentions were misguided and they’d like you to take a step back and let them define their own needs. Humans are so much messier and more complex.”

  • This article really breaks down the eugenics that is very problematic in general in the environmental movement.
    Picking a fight over straws may seem nonsensical, but the larger low-waste and zero-waste movements, which tend to be overwhelmingly white and nondisabled, frequently single out products that benefit the disability community, like straws or pre-cut fruits and veggies, as a wasteful use of natural resources. It’s a two-part logic: One, the planet’s resources are limited and growing scarcer, and two, the way to control that is by cutting back on the use of nonrenewables. This does little to explore which humans are using the majority of resources on Earth and where the real choke points of waste lie. And it feeds insidious attitudes about who should be “allowed” to use the resources that are available.”
    https://www.bitchmedia.org/article/the-straw-ban-harms-disabled-people

    VALUABLE RESOURCES: THE ABLEIST FIGHT OVER PLASTIC STRAWS
    “I don’t see any reason why we waste resources on severely retarded people,” someone asked in the popular r/changemyview subreddit in 2014. “Why would we ever spend our resources on something like this rather then [sic] people that will benefit far more from them?” The harsh question netted over 300 replies with many people debating whether euthanasia is a “merciful” solution for people who are “not really human beings.” A few commenters said that the entire conversation dehumanized disabled people. Ultimately, the original poster concluded: “Even though my view on the burden on society remain unchanged, you’re right that there’s probably no real way to implement [a way to make value judgements on who should be allowed to live and die].”
    While the original question is reprehensible, the conversation echoes a largely held opinion in the environmental movement about who “deserves” resources. The assumption that disabled lives are worth less is at the core of these conversations, and a failure to reckon with that warped premise alienates the disability community. Implying that nondisabled people need and deserve more resources than disabled people also distracts from finding real solutions to issues such as climate change, resource scarcity, and pollution.
    Nowhere is this more evident than in the current fight over plastic straws, a cause célèbre of the environmental movement. “Stop sucking,” a cheeky environmental campaign exhorts, noting that millions of straws end up in the trash, and often the ocean, every year. A heartrending video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw sticking out of its nose has become emblematic for the war on straws, just as chilling images of birds ensnared in six-pack rings pushed consumers to demand changes to beer and soda packaging in the 1990s.”

     

  • https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/07/12/plastic-straw-bans-are-the-latest-policy-to-forget-the-disability-community/?utm_term=.a9f97e8be894
    Plastic straw bans are the latest policy to forget the disability community: Laws, rules and regulations developed without input from people with disabilities often end up penalizing us.

    “Living with a disability means having to worry about things on a daily basis that never cross other people’s minds. It means worrying about whether somebody will come to help you get out of bed in the morning. It means a morning commute completely derailed by an elevator outage. Living with a disability means only being able to travel to cities where accessible transportation is an option. Living with a disability takes a lot of planning and energy and learning how to exist in a world that is not made for you. I’d rather not add, “Will they have a straw?” to my list of worries every time I go out for a cup of tea.

    People with a huge range of disabilities depend on plastic straws to access beverages and the very water they need to survive: cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis, among many others. For so many people with disabilities, something as mundane as a straw represents independence and freedom. And the conversation around their environmental impact, without consideration of who uses straws and why, demonstrates how people with disabilities are often forgotten.”

     

  • https://www.seattleweekly.com/news/straw-ban-leaves-disabled-community-feeling-high-and-dry/
    Straw Ban Leaves Disabled Community Feeling High and Dry
    “Requiring people with disabilities to treat a routine fast-food trip as something that requires planning and supplies is an unplanned failure in equity, when these restaurants could just as easily offer them upon request to individuals who need them. Disability is already very expensive, and many people are forced to carry around large amounts of equipment or types of medication and devices. Adding another specialized device, simply for them to be able to hydrate themselves, is an undue burden, and an unfortunate effect of this law,”

     

  • http://www.upworthy.com/there-s-an-unexpected-downfall-to-banning-plastic-straws-here-s-what-to-consider
    There’s an unexpected downfall to banning plastic straws. Here’s what to consider.
    “The next time someone comes to you with a concern, especially if it relates to inclusion or accessibility, try to make a real effort to actually hear what they have to say, and then maybe ask yourself why something like banning a plastic straw is so important to you, anyway.
    If we can’t take care of each other, we can’t take care of the earth. So let’s start there.”
  • https://mssinenomineblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/31/curiosity-vancouvers-straw-ban-another-barrier-and-another-excuse-for-non-disabled-people-to-shame-marginalize-interrogate-and-demonstrate-they-dont-care-about-discrimination-against-disabled/
    Curiosity: Vancouver’s Straw Ban – Another Barrier and Another Excuse For Non-Disabled People to Shame, Marginalize, Interrogate and Demonstrate They Don’t Care About Discrimination Against Disabled People
    “The City had originally planned to ban other items, such as single-use plastic utensils but after concerns were raised during consultation, that was changed to opt in – meaning provided only if requested by the customer. In contrast, as a result of consultation the opt-in for plastic straws was changed to a ban in part because “staff concluded that a customer prompt or by-request by-law was not practical…””

  •  https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/universal-plastic-straw-ban-disabled-people/ Why a universal plastic straw ban is actually bad for people with disabilities
    “Metal and bamboo straws are too strong, and can cause injury for people with Parkinson’s. Bio-degradable alternatives often can’t be used above a certain temperature, so aren’t usable with hot drinks, or soup. The leading manufacturer of bio-degradable straws in the UK, Plastico, produces straws that can’t be used with liquids above 40 degrees, while the average Starbucks coffee is served at 70. Paper straws are often used as an alternative, and Szymkowiak says that “disabled people can take longer to drink and paper straws become soggy which is a choking hazard.” This can be exacerbated for people with learning difficulties who may not notice the deterioration. They are also inflexible, a problem for people with mobility issues.”
    (Temperatures are in celcius. 40˚C = 104˚F  70˚C = 158˚F)
  • https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-06-07/plastic-straws-aren-t-the-problem

    Plastic Straws Aren’t the Problem: Skipping straws may be hip. But there are much better ways to fight pollution.
    ” Straws make up a trifling percentage of the world’s plastic products, and campaigns to eliminate them will not only be ineffective, but could distract from far more useful efforts.”

     

  • https://psmag.com/environment/banning-straws-wont-save-the-oceans
    BANNING STRAWS WON’T SAVE THE OCEANS: Instead of shaming disabled consumers who rely on straws, let’s hold producers of plastic financially responsible for their waste.
    “There’s nothing wrong with pushing people to be more environmentally conscious. But individual action is not going to save our oceans. Our industrial systems continue to flood waste facilities with plastics, big and small. From there, plastics flow into rivers and streams and are carried into the sea. We need to look at the systems that generate these plastics, and hold producers financially responsible for safe disposal. Let’s put our efforts where the money is, rather than shaming disabled consumers who just want an accessible drink of water.”

  • https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/09/disabled-person-plastic-straws-baby-wipes
    I rely on plastic straws and baby wipes. I’m disabled – I have no choice

Burn baby Burn

I always felt Los Angeles was a very cruel city with a Hollywood front of pleasantries and falsehoods. The “have a nice day” “I can’t help you when you’re upset” snide of disconnections and dismissals.

The cruelty of those who claim to fight for justice, the unwillingness of activists to reflect

Concrete Realities #2 Image of a concrete wall, with shadows cast on the wall, the texture of the cement and very narrow depth of field.

Photo by Emma Rosenthal

on their own behavior and ethics all the while demanding huge changes in the entire structure of society has been extremely impressive here. The expedience of power and the currency of opportunism knows no bounds, the criminalization of breath, of life, of survival, ordinances that outlaw sleeping in one’s car or provide snitch clauses and heavy fees for the decriminalization of grey market labor in a desperate economy.

I have lived and worked in this city since the early 80s, but the only time I felt at home here was when I moved to Douglas Street about 10 years ago, even before home sharing.
In home sharing, I fell in love with this city, welcoming in guests from all over the world.
Those opposed to home sharing, with all the corruption in this city, have no heart for their neighbors struggling to get by, because it’s easier to blame everything on airbnb than really fight for housing justice. It’s a feel good response: we can do something about this, without really upsetting those with any real power.
By the time I leave L.A. watching it (metaphorically) burn, through the rear view mirror, I will be ready to leave.
View of the L.A. Basin at Sunset: Day End #1 Image description: the view of the L.A. Basin and downtown Los Angeles, just before sunset, seen From Griffith Observatory. Image is distinguished by saturated colors, cloud patterns.

Photo by Emma Rosenthal

All I own is the equity in this house, which I cannot access except by selling to the highest bidder. The most gentrifying thing I could do is sell, but if I cannot afford to live here, to pay this mortgage, live with whom I chose, do the work I can, from the home I live in. I will have no choice. The “anti-gentrifiers”, those trendy, hip, slick, cool, young, pretty activists and the hobnobbers whose names open doors,  who disregard the hosts, many of whom are undesired: elders, chronically ill, DISabled, outside of the mainstream workforce. This elite has been told. They have been warned. We have tried to share the struggle with them and our stories.

They seem to think the radicals of a former age just disintegrated and that old people were always old. What city will they be leaving for their older selves? When they can no longer just couch surf, crash at their parents’ homes or sleep in a tent?
Activism for the strong, beautiful  and powerful is just supremacy and when that ordinance is passed and I’ve reduced my 30 years of life in L.A. to what can fit into a moving van, I will be ready to leave it all behind, for a life I can afford, in comfort, somewhere else, where I may have to take up lawn bowling, and Andy can go play golf, hold protests over green jello and demand local community gardens, with raised beds that those in wheelchairs can reach.  And the L.A. radicals will outgrow their false idealism and start selling condos and make lots of money and live in those high rises that displaced so many, and justify it…
Because their parents had it so rough.

Going Viral (sort of)

Travels of a Tweet

I pretty much NEVER go viral, so I’m a bit thrilled to see this tweet of mine, get some press. We crripl girls go far, traveling in our magic beds. So much we have to say. Are you listening?

“Doctor I’ve Been Impaled”: Obesity & the Medical Establishment’s Fat Frenzy

Black field, with a red X. White text: Are you among the people who, under late stage capitalism & neocolonialism are just supposed to die? -Emmanations

Fascist Health Care: We only operate on people
who don’t need operations?

A new policy in England, an NHS ban on surgery for people who are obese.

 
And while it isn’t an official policy in the rest of the world, there is a growing movement among doctors to refuse services to fat patients. The refusal to treat people who are overweight is a serious problem even when it isn’t overt public policy.
I’m Fat. I’ve been chunky all my life, and between diabetes and fibromyalgia (which makes exercise very difficult and dangerous), I’ve recently crossed that threshold where doctors don’t just suggest I lose weight, but actively refuse to treat any aspect of my health care needs and make outlandish, dangerous and uninformed suggestions, often starting with the sentence “I’m not a nutritionist, but…” (But then STHU!) If you’re not a nutritionist, giving nutritional advice is very dangerous. If you’re not even going to ask me what I eat, telling me what I should eat is very dangerous.
It’s a safe bet that anyone who is my age (58) has tried every diet, diet pill and diet strategy to the point of self harm. I’ve found a regimen that works for me, that balances my limited strength, finances and dietary needs. Very few people eat a diet as healthy as mine. My partner, Andy lost 80 pounds and has kept it off for over a year, eating almost as healthy as I do. I haven’t lost a pound. I struggle with diabetes and fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia makes exercise difficult because it makes me more incapacitated. There is nothing I can do about my weight EXCEPT try a series of extreme and unhealthy practices to attempt to conform to a societal standard that I just can’t achieve.
 
While I am no longer a smoker, my first cigarettes were given to me as samples, handed out on the streets of Philadelphia. I was 13. I don’t know if people should be held responsible for the consequences of addictions they were introduced to by the corporations who manufacture that poison, or how much control people have over addictions. Interestingly, this policy doesn’t extend to alcoholics or drug addicts.
 
This is an ableist death sentence.

Real revolutionaries:

  • Know it doesn’t just happen in the streets and work to find ways to be fully inclusive
  • Don’t avoid difficult conversations on issues of marginalization: class, racism, sexism, ableism, agism, Palestine, settler colonialism, indigenous rights, antisemitism, Black lives matter, Say her name……
  • Aren’t afraid of complexities
  • Understand that the role of the movement vanguard is to defend the working class, not the other way around.
  • Don’t use “The Party” as a vehicle for abuse, demanding obedience or ostracizing dissident voices.
  • Draw the circle wide
  • Embrace intersectionality
  • Don’t use their social capital to marginalize, abuse and assassinate people and their character, who may be inconvenient, challenging or different
  • Don’t snitch jacket
  • DON’T make accusations without a whole lot of ——EVIDENCE!
  • Don’t avoid evidence when it’s right in front of you, just because the guilty party is your dudbro, homie, movement star, favorite author
  • Invent evidence just because the innocent party said something they didn’t like, made them uncomfortable or demanded greater inclusion and consideration
  • Don’t accumulate people according to identity
  • Don’t play racism, sexism, ableism bingo
  • Don’t avoid class analysis
  • Aren’t afraid to be wrong and can take criticism
  • Constantly take inventory
  • Hold themselves and others accountable
  • Recognize complexities
  • Fight for everyone: Justice not Just us
  • Don’t engage in self promotion at the expense of social justice, the collective benefit and the greater good
  • Use their skills, abilities, entitlements, resources and access for the growth of the movement
  • Don’t derail the discussion with platitudes like “Not all_____”
  • Hold events at venues that are accessible to people with disabilities, children, elders, people without money….
  • Don’t make excuses for exclusions
  • Don’t hold themselves above scrutiny
  • Don’t silence dissent or attack people with new ideas
  • Constantly work on themselves and enhance the movement
  • Give other people credit for group efforts.
  • Make a deep commitment to a place, a time, the group, the movement
  • Understand we are in this for a lifetime
  • Don’t use their identities as an excuse for lack of accountability
  • Don’t disregard their elders or the new generation of activists
  • Don’t use their entitlement as a shield of fragility against real conversations and human lives
  • Don’t play cheerleader for the abusers in the community
  • Support those who have been bullied, abused and maligned for the political expedience of opportunists
  • Call out opportunistic abusive bullies
  • Take difficult positions within the community of activists
  • Engage in grassroots organizing
  • Meet people where they are
  • Put principles before personalities, power and prestige (Opportunism isn’t a principle, it is the antithesis of principle)
  • Build counter cultural alternatives to the state to meet human needs in health care, education, housing, food production, transportation, child care, jobs, community, spirituality
  • Don’t ascribe to new age platitudes and spiritual fascism to blame the victim and dismiss individual and collective narratives
  • Continue to define the work of real revolutionaries, knowing that our work is never done and that a shield protects us against attack and also serves as a mirror for self reflection.

    Add your own, in the comments below!

Diary of a Staycation: Waking up alone

I woke today alone.  It is cooler at Vanessa’s house in South Central, than in Echo Park. The breeze comes through the windows. It’s a bit warm for me, but not too warm. I will cool myself with wet scarves and iced tea which is brewing. My hair is a mess. I am wearing pajamas and a tank top.  I am slow to deal with breakfast or tea. There is no rush, no one else to consider right now. I can focus on craft and growth.

Vanessa had wanted to have coffee (tea) in the morning, but I messaged her to wait a day. I am also in a lot of pain, which is common with the fibromyalgia, especially after packing and moving yesterday. I usually give myself the first day on a trip, just to rest, as well as the first day back.  This systemic pain can be very limiting.

These days, I rarely wake up alone. Aside from my partner Andy, waking up next to me, there are all the guests, my team members, neighbors and the cat in my home, and morning is the most sociable time at our bnb at DragonflyHill Urban Farm. Once the workday has begun, my bedroom turns into a hallway for team members going to and from the laundry room. Since I need to work from bed, we have many bedside meetings. The bathrooms are all shared in our home, shared between guests and team members. I do not have a private bathroom, so just going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I’m at work. I check my hair, wear sweats to bed, not pajamas and check myself before leaving the room.  Breakfast is wonderful, as everyone gathers in our dining room, but it is also a daily obligation. It is home, it is family, it is community and it is work.

Image of a crafstman house dining room, with a huge breakfast spread: tea, coffee, eggs, bagels, sausage, fruit, condiments

Breakfast at DragonflyHill Urban Farm

Before DragonflyHill, before Andy, I was dangerously lonely. Loneliness is a huge health issue. It is rampant with so many people suffering from isolation, unable to maintain or find human relationships. Most workplaces are dehumanizing and impersonal and one is expected to be “professional”.  It is safer not to reveal much.  Outside of primary relationships, there is little emotional intimacy, and there are many people who are not in a relationship who are desperately alone. It is especially hard with a significant illness and for single parents, who are not alone, but struggle alone to take care of themselves and their children.  I am not so desperate now. I love my life and the amazing people in it. This for me is a huge miracle. Time alone allows me to reflect on that when I am not caught up in the bubble of “getting it all done”.

Today is wide open. I want to work on an essay that has been in penultimate draft for over a year, and get it out. I also want to update my photography web page. That should be enough for one day.  If I have anything else, I’ll report it later.