with love as always
A few days after publishing my last essay, our home was broken into and burglarized. My laptop and all the momentum I had going, gone-zo.
Family and friends, near and far, picked us up: opening their homes, sharing food and laughs, lending computers, listening, then offering advice and encouragement. I’d be lost without their love.
The violation to our space and intimacy hurt most. Still hurts. I know it was real because I feel it in my soul. It changed me.While these feelings of insecurity linger, I don’t feel angry. I never really did, nor did I ever yearn for revenge or retribution.
What good does that do? I just want to be safe. I want everyone to be safe: to have a home filled with love and joy, food and friendship, like I do; to have time and space for free expression, as I do now; and to have all the support they need through tougher times, as I did recently, and always have.
This is not the reality for all 7.753 billion humans living today because the global economy is organized solely for the profits of a few entities—no matter the ruinous costs to earth and everyone else. It is not any more complicated than that.
To be free of corporate autocracy, and the utter calamity it causes, requires reorganizing our global systems around what is real.
Profit is not real, for example, but health is. Life’s resources are real: clean air, water, and nutritious food. Without them we won’t survive.I think we’ll be fine without Blackrock, Vanguard, and JPMorgan though. Likewise, carbon credits are not real, but carbon pollution is. So are heatwaves and hurricanes, droughts, floods, fires, and famines. Peace can be real too. Though debt is imaginary.
Friendship is the realest though. Some call it community. I like democracy. Paolo Friere calls it fellowship and solidarity in his prophetic work Pedagogy of the Oppressed:
The pursuit of full humanity … cannot be carried out in isolation or individualism, but only in fellowship and solidarity; therefore it cannot unfold in the antagonistic relations between oppressors and oppressed. No one can be authentically human while he prevents others from being so.
I am also realizing “safety” is more an ongoing relationship, than it is a state. Borders, cages, cops, militaries, and punishment bureaucracies can’t make safety real because they require and enforce its deprivation.
We can only generate safety through ongoing, honest, reciprocal, and mutually accountable relationships—with one another and with the earth.
I write for a world built through these relationships. A world where we say safety, democracy, justice, peace, love—and we mean it. Where we distribute resources justly and democratically, prioritizing care over profit, and repair over punishment.
I write for a world where we embody constructive not carceral politics because imprisoning people in crisis rather than housing and supporting them is cruel and deranged. So is filling schools with more cops than counselors, or arming teachers with guns and bullets, rather than tools for constructive learning.
Moreover, criminalizing honest history lessons, reproductive healthcare, direct-action protest, and restricting democratic participation, are all expressions of tyranny: autocratic, authoritarian, fascist rule. We must know: the soulless ghouls who enact these laws do not believe in freedom, justice, or safety, and they do not care about life, no matter how often those words ooze from their lying mouths.
We owe ourselves the truth. It is hot, only getting hotter. This may be the coldest summer of the rest of our lives. But we know for sure: everything around us is changing. It is always changing.To survive and flourish, we have to change too.
So goes the Earthseed Prophecy in Octavia’s Parables:
When apparent stability disintegrates,
As it must—
God is Change—
People tend to give in
To fear and depression,
To need and greed.
When no influence is strong enough
To unify people
One against one,
For survival, position, power.
They remember old hates and generate new ones,
They create chaos and nurture it.
They kill and kill and kill,
Until they are exhausted and destroyed,
Until they are conquered by outside forces,
Or until one of them becomes
Most will follow,
Or a tyrant
In the end, all we have is each other. It is tempting, at least for those who felt them, to cling to the safety, stability, and comforts of yesterday. But those were only an illusion. They always depended upon the enforced instability of other people in other places, out of sight and mind. We won’t survive this way.
So then: how do we have to change? Not to feel safe, but to be safe. What if, for a change, we took good care of each other? That’s all democracy has ever asked of us.
Thank you for reading.
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With love as always,
“All that you touch, you Change. All that you Change, Changes you. The only lasting truth is Change. God is Change.” Earthseed: The Books of the Living, by Lauren Olamina (from Parable of the Sower, by Octavia E. Butler, published 1993).
According to the World Wildlife Foundation, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages by 2025. Two-fucking-thirds. In three fucking years. Then what?
See Footnote 1.
Beautiful writing as always! An inspiring response to being confronted with the unfortunate truths of our society. Much love to you, Mateo!
You have such a gift!! Very lucky to know you and be a part of your journey! <3