This is the seventh article of a 7-part series that will focus on the issues in our radical movements that I think need our immediate and ongoing attention. I am using the ancient eastern concept of chakras for the body as a parallel to our movement’s energy wheel. Healers believe sickness occurs when the body’s chakras are blocked or out of alignment. Likewise, the U.S. Left and our social justice movements need our collective introspection, analysis and adjustments that lead to unblocking our energy/chi points. A weakened Left, and especially the Black Left, have been unable to provide this critical guidance over the last twenty years. I do not have the space to go too deep into my thinking although I have been pondering and talking about this very subject for a few years now. I am looking to stimulate a higher level of principled discussion about how to energize and organize the social forces coming into play at this pivotal juncture in history and how we can rebuild a formidable radical movement in this country.
“The true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situations that we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within each of us.”
– Audre Lorde
The term “transformation” can be over-used in movement spaces. Transformation this, transformative that. It’s almost as if once you speak the word, transformation will magically take place. However, I do prefer the term because it implies a dramatic change from one condition to another. We don’t understand the penetration of the hegemonic tentacles that wrap around us at birth in this country. This means these chakras usually stay jammed and affect our behavior in movement spaces. If ever there was a critical mass of this chakra operating freely, I think we’d experience tsunami-like chi on multiple levels. We would realize the transformative changes we only theorize about now.
If there were sound effects associated with our political baggage, we would hear us coming before we hit the door. For some, it sounds like boxes moving across the floor. For others, it sounds like the stones of the Great Pyramid grinding on a concrete surface. Stuffed in these bags are the isms of individualism, racism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism, homophobia and classism. These isms are the carry the toxins that maintain the hegemony of capitalism such as values, beliefs, ideologies and practices. Whether ours is a fanny pack or multiple matching luggage depends on how intentional and consistently we unpack our baggage as we grow older. Although it starts with self, unpacking your cannot be a solo act; it takes the support and wisdom of a radical collective. Read more