The revolution starts in our communities

Opinie, gepost door: nn op 12/12/2021 12:10:32

The revolution starts in our communities
They just opened a squat with Him.
We know most of them.
We used to be friends, a community.
We had the same ideals, the same anger.
We wanted to change the world together.

The revolution starts in our communities
They just opened a squat with Him.
We know most of them.
We used to be friends, a community.
We had the same ideals, the same anger.
We wanted to change the world together.

Before you go on to celebrate the new squat as a success, be aware that it is an insult to some of us. Supporting this squat, with this group, in this constellation, is supporting the continuation of the ignorance, the silence, the violence that has happened to us.

We talked about the big issues, about capitalism, patriarchy, structural violence and how we needed to take a stand against it. How we needed to support each other. How we needed to change within our communities so that something could change outside. We truly believed we could at least change it for us. Have a place that would feel safe.
It would be work. But we would make it!

They opened a squat. A space to dream, to resist and to create. To some it will be a refuge, a home, a hangout, a safe space.
A distraction -
To some it will seem brave, radical, revolutionary, empowering.
Where you see bravery, we see recklessness.
Where you see radicality, we see ignorance.
Where you see revolutionarity, we see hypocrisy.
And where you see empowerment, we see oppression and violence.


While you are building a home according to abstract ideals, you are ignoring how you have pushed us out of ours. We excluded ourselves, we got kicked out of our lives, of our struggle, we’ve lost city, house, communities, friends, home, family, mind and body.

What does this say about us? About our community? About our activism?
If we are not capable to handle these situations better, if you are perpetuating the violence you are standing against, how do you expect anyone or anything else to change?

It is so easy to be an idealist, a feminist, an anarchist, a whatever-ist, when you get to choose the battles you are fighting. It is so easy to deal with injustices as long as they are far away, theoretical and easy to label. But what when the injustice is happening in your midst? Through your hands or through your passivity. You didn't need to go far, not even to the city centre, to find a cause that would have deserved your attention. But it is easier and certainly more exciting, rewarding and safe to dedicate your time and energy to something topical and brand new, something to distract you from your accountability.

For the longest time, we have kept quiet. To protect you, to protect ourselves. Because we felt that we still had something to lose. Because we are afraid of the reactions and the scrutiny. Today, we no longer want to keep quiet. You left us with nothing but the choice between fear and anger, and we choose anger! We are angry, because this squat is the loud and clear confirmation that we have nothing to lose anymore. That to you, the last year is a closed chapter, a thing of the past. That you are ready to move on as if all the times you have hurt and lost people over the last year were out of your power. But we are still here.
We are still watching and we are still hurting. We are not accepting that you get to reap the rewards for this project without telling the whole story. If you do not address the bad, the really bad and the unspeakable things that happened within this group, then we will.

My dreams exploded when we understood what happened last year. When we realised and remembered all the ways, all the days in which he emotionally or sexually abused us.
My dreams exploded when I understood that we were all alone with this realisation, that you would let us leave and you would stay with him.
My dreams exploded when I understood that you would accept it. That you would not stand
up and talk. That you would remain silent about what happened. That you would protect him.
Because now you know, and you decided to stay.

This squat can never be a safe space, no matter how many guidelines you put in place, no matter how many meetings are held. Because you have allowed the person that many of you know is at the core of the problem, to be at the core of this project. The person who made what used to be our safe space, too, unsafe, unbearable, even detrimental and dangerous for us.
Do not turn this into a failed love story when it is a story of power, domination and control.
By giving him a voice, you have silenced us. We claim that EVERYTHING IS POLITICAL out on the streets and on campus, but within our group, we apply different standards. Out of a lack of knowledge, of skills. Out of convenience or fear. Yet this work needs to be done. This is the battle we didn't choose.

We wish you would have put all this energy you put in the squat into understanding what happened. Into understanding our collective and individual parts in it. To change the way we interact and what we expect from each other.
We wish you wouldn’t consider it to be personal.
We wish you would understand that staying next to him and opening this squat with him
is taking a stand!
We wish you would see how your silence is violent.
We wish you would talk about what happened.
We wish you would have been here to support us.
We wish we wouldn’t have been too afraid, lazy or privileged to avoid doing this work.
That we would have seen how we are part of the problem. How we are reproducing the things we fight against.
We wish we would stop seeing action as more important than community building.
The revolution starts in our communities!


You can tell yourselves that you are working towards something great, something important and righteous, but you have become a caricature of the institutions that you so passionately rebel against.
Where you keep a flawed system running because it works well enough for a few of you.
Where the sensational outputs have become more important than the process, and where the hard care work is always postponed until after the next action.
Where you have to keep up with the ways of those with the most stamina or else move out of the way.
Where hidden agendas determine what is being talked about, and how.
Where, if you raise critique and worries, you are told that they are unfounded and more energy goes into justifying the status quo than reflecting on how to accommodate other perspectives.
Where having a good time is more favourable than conflict resolution.
No true function can arise from basic dysfunction.
You are building on rotten foundations - does that sound familiar to you?

You just opened a squat.
I know most of you.
We used to be friends, a community.
You used to be in my house every day for the past year.
We had dreams.
We wanted to change the world.

Ours is not an isolated story and we need to understand it as the political struggle that it is. These abuses are perpetuated within our spaces and will continue happening as long as we live in the illusion that we are better than this. That we are too feminist, woke and radical.
This will keep on happening as long as we remain silent, as long as we give abusers the benefit of the doubt and preserve toxic hierarchies, as long as we do not learn how to prevent the involuntary self-isolation of our community members. Challenge each other, even if it is hard and inconvenient. Start talking. Take collective responsibility. Start changing.

Your revolution is lost…
Ours starts today!

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