|by Beck "Astro" Levy, High Priestess, Hand Grenade Job|
It is now the reign of Herr Fürer Pence, who presided over the imprisonment of women who miscarried. Get them vas deferens snipped and get some IUDs inside your junk while you can. And reflect on how "sex-positivity" has been deployed as a way to enforce female erotic availability. Fucking is donezo.
4. CONSPIRACY THEORIES
Now that facts straight up do not matter in the dominant discourse, it's kind of boring to be a conspiracy enthusiast. I've long taken pleasure in extensive rumination on JFK's demise and Stanley Kubrick's role in the moon landing. But now that right-wing vigilante assholes are showing up with assault rifles at my friends' workplace in the name of #pizzagate, I'm exclusively sticking to scholarly, peer-reviewed accounts of history. It’s weirder than fiction. The Amerikkkan CIA, which has rigged elections and destabilized democracies around the world, is now crying foul at Russia. Reality itself is utterly bonkers, there's no need to invent fiction here.
3. RSVP-ING FOR PROTESTS ON FACEBOOK
Facebook is Fedbook. Peruse the Electronic Freedom Foundation's extensive guides for digital security and stop snitching on yourself.
2. THREATENING TO MOVE TO CANADA
Listen, if you're going to go, go. I understand. But Canada's got its share of problems - an epidemic of murdered indigenous women, the Trump-like conservative MP Kellie Leitch... Honestly these days I just fantasize about Mars, but neoliberal technocrat Elon Musk is gonna get there first. Anyway, if you're under legitimate threat and need to leave, that's totally reasonable. Marginalized people are becoming more vulnerable. The past 8 years of neoliberal identity politics have bestowed more visibility, but protections haven’t been commensurate. Being complacent about staying could indicate a certain level of privilege. But many of us can't or won't bounce. If you can, stay and fight.
1. SAYING "WE'RE A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS"
I get why this rhetoric is used in reaction to the scourge of white-supremacist nationalism, but it's reductive. Distilling the American populous in this way erases several important populations. America is also a nation of the descendants of stolen/kidnapped peoples - remember, American capitalism and wealth was built on the backs of slaves and continues to prosper on the backs of prisoners. And America is also a country of indigenous/first nations peoples, the original stewards of this land, who today put their lives on the line to defend the natural resources on which all our live depend.
Since sex and dyadic relationships are decidedly OUT, it follows that friendship is IN. In an era of a faltering commons, a tattered social safety net, and fascist vigilantism, it becomes clearer and clearer that all we have is each other. Be attentive to the needs of those around you. Think about friendship as a gift economy, a mode of exchange governed by a sentiment rather than a market. Communities of care, mutual aid, and mutual assistance evolve into a counterpower capable of challenging the ruling order.
Do you know what you'll do if you are the bystander to Islamophobic harassment? Or if ICE shows up at your door? Or if you get doxxed? There's nothing you can do to definitively prevent harm from coming to you or your loved ones, but what you can do is make a plan. Think through scenarios, talk to the people you live with, be prepared.
3. POLITICAL FUNERALS
How is it possible to participate in resistance movements when you are mourning loss of an immense scale? How do you move forward in hope when immobilized with grief? These are the questions I brought to my therapist, who was in ACT UP. They are a badass who I am lucky to have in my life, and they laid it all out for me. Our dearly departed want us to keep living: it is their most beloved wish, other than that they could still be alive with us. They want us to live. They also want us to keep fighting for them - this challenges a dominant narrative of mourning as an apolitical act. It need not be, and when our loved ones are dying from systemic injustice, systemic neglect, systemic precarity, how can their deaths be apolitical? Their lives weren't. Our dearly departed want us to fight, they want us to live. We are so lucky to have any elders at all who can tell us how to carry the light of our dearly-departed in the face of immeasurable loss. I'm so grateful for them. They themselves are carrying the light of their dearly-departed, and thus we honor them too. If you aren't lucky enough to have a mentor like mine in your life, watch United in Anger, and think about how you will integrate mourning into your practice of resistance.
Like Bruce Lee said, “when the opponent expand, I contract. When he contracts, I expand. And, when there is an opportunity, I do not hit - it hits all by itself.” Be flexible. Be responsive. Be incomprehensible. Be unruly. Be ungovernable.
1. HEALTH AS SELF-DEFENSE
If I had a dollar for every post-election facebook post about taking up arms, I could make my local abortion fund quite wealthy! I have no gripes with folks wanting to learn how to use weaponry and other methods of self-defense. But some of the rhetoric around this makes me nervous, like folks seem to think they are ready to brawl with the Aryan nation after a 3-day krav maga workshop or something. That shit takes daily rigorous training. I’m kind of worried that overzealous and underprepared radicals are about to get their asses beat or shoot themselves in the foot (literally, figuratively). I’m pro self-defense. Get strong if you can. Learn to use whatever tools you want, but knowing your limits will always be your best defense. GET IN WHERE YOU FIT IN. Society needs more than just fighters, remember? The depreciation of tenderness is a patriarchical lie and itself an act of violence. Plus something about this trend of repping self-defense is mad ableist, too. Some of us can never get swole and become nazi-killing machines, sadly, yet we offer other vital gifts (and would deserve to exist even if we didn't). The type of self-defense that is IN for 2017 is supporting the health, wellness, and prosperity of yourself and your community. Taking CPR and first-aid classes is the hot trend. Acquire life-saving skills. Stockpiling crossfit paraphernalia is out. Understanding how to implement harm reduction in your immediate community is IN. Stockpiling Narcan, Plan B, hormones, and antibiotics is counterpower. TL;DR - counterpower is IN.
Beck "Astro" Levy plays in the band Hand Grenade Job. She produces work in multiples under the imprint Astropress. Her current research interests include autonomist movements, psychopharmacology, and makeup tutorials. From her lair in DC, she sends astral beams of pure love to her friends around the world.
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