CRISES AND HEALING: NEW LESSONS IN THE WAKE OF A POST CAPITALIST WORLD
22 September 2021
Five years ago, talking about collapse and breakdown might have been trashed as alarmist (and hysterical) gibberish. Yet here we are, witnessing economic crashes, climate uncertainties, pandemic and conflicts, taking away millions of lives deemed disposable in the neoliberal-fundamendalist scheme of things. The sheer extent of inequalities within and among societies, across borders, along with the extractive, exploitative intentions of corporations-governments nexus, has made this decade one of the worst in terms of violence, deprivation and State-sponsored crimes against humanity.
Doom and gloom talks get us nowhere, but accepting grief and healing as integral to our collective well being and progress through existing development agendas is no longer a negotiable sideline idea. Social justice and feminist movements are embracing this philosophy in their fight for justice, equity and peace. And it’s not enough that these conversations, actions remain in those spaces alone; it needs to manifest and transform our markets and trade, governance and bureaucracy, families and communities.
“When we bring our fights to the watering hole of grief, our political systems, natural environment, economic frameworks, civil society and culture all become living, breathing memorials to what we have lost. What we have lost becomes found, witnessed, honored. In this way, all social justice and human rights work is a collective act of gloried mourning.
To have a movement that breathes, you must build a movement with the capacity to grieve.”
In a post-capitalist world, progress and rights remain in the hands of an elite few, who are here standing on the shoulders of the billions around the world, in precarious jobs and life situations. One cannot exist without the other – as labour, visionaries, consumers and conscience keepers. These transactional relationships are driving us all to ruin, in our inability to empathize, care and co-create a living ecosystem for all. Solidarity is not just a slogan, it’s an unrealized aspiration that sparks hope and joy for many of us. How do we move away from heteronormative, capitalist conventions that keep unfolding into crises, into a worldview of queer, well-being centered interventions? How do we look beyond the binaries of our existence (win-lose, left-right, war-peace) and explore the in-betweenness of our being? Where do we go from here? There are gentle and firm assertions emerging from different corners of the world of peoples (women, Indigenous, queer, migrants, workers) and we have to listen to these voices, as a bare minimum, if we are to go forth into a secure, welcoming future for all.
“We are touching the future, reaching out across boundaries and post-apocalyptic conditions to touch each other, to call each other out as family, as beloved. “All that you touch, you change. All that you change, changes you.” We are making ourselves vulnerable enough to be changed, which will of course change what Black existence means. Octavia Butler, who gave us that philosophical spirit poem “Earthseed” that I just quoted, is a bridge for many of us, between this world, and the narratives that pull us through to the next realm, or the parallel universe, or the future in which we are the protagonists. We are creating a world we have never seen. We are whispering it to each other cuddled in the dark, and we are screaming it at people who are so scared of it that they dress themselves in war regalia to turn and face us.”
Shradha Shreejaya is a reformist thinker, writer and activist. Her work interests are grounded in ecological thinking and healing. She loves to laugh and forgive the messy parts of the self. 'After all', she says, 'revolution for a world that is free and fair for everyone can't be just a drab policy affair'.
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