Dean and Tyrone met at the Building a Queer Left meeting that preceded the US Social Forum this summer, and began a conversation about the politics of wealth, poverty, being an anti-capitalist while living within capitalism, and more that is beautifully blossoming into a very special and potentially transformative web project. Perhaps you'd like to participate?
What is the difference between financial security and hoarding wealth?
What are some ways we can share resources to support community and movement-building?
How can we talk to each other about personal money issues and politics without guilt, shame, and judgment?
What does a politics of wealth redistribution look like in the day-to-day, and what are the
obstacles to developing conversations about this in political communities we belong to?
These are some questions we've been thinking about, and we're interested in jumpstarting conversations about how we conceive of and live a politics of wealth redistribution. We'd like to invite you to contribute some writing to a website we're creating to explore this topic, called Enough.
The ubiquity of capitalism in the U.S. can limit our ability, even in radical communities, to conceptualize creative responses to oppression and injustice. This can manifest both in how we build movements (reproducing bureaucratic, hierarchical, business-type models; packaging and "selling" social justice work to foundations in exchange for grants), and in how we deal with personal finances in our own lives (defaulting to patterns like hoarding, excessive consumerism, and individualism in how we conceptualize our lives and futures and economic security).
We'd like to address some of the ways that class privilege and capitalist dynamics function even within communities and within the lives of individuals working to fight oppression and economic injustice. It can feel taboo to share details about things like income, inheritance, class background, debt, and spending. Silence and secrecy about money make it difficult for us to challenge ourselves and each other when classist dynamics arise. Social conditioning trains us to hoard money rather than share it and build community. We want to get people talking about building shared values and practices around wealth redistribution, because we think figuring out how much is enough, and when to give away money, are key under-discussed questions in anti-capitalist politics.
Some examples of the kinds of things we're looking for:
-Pieces about how your class position has changed over the course of your life, and how that has affected feelings of responsibility about wealth redistribution.
-Stories about cool methods of figuring out what is "enough" when it comes to making/saving money.
-How do class background, class conditioning, fear, guilt, and other factors influence how you think about this question?
-How do you figure out what you need versus what you want when it comes to consuming?
-Examples of (or ideas for) community-based support systems that serve as alternatives to individualistic models of taking care of ourselves.
-Strategies for redistributing wealth in your community, or to support social justice work.
-Discussion of how ideas about wealth, security, scarcity get reproduced in families.
-Diatribes on the politics of inheritance.
-Discussions of professionalism and salaries.
-Exciting models of people dealing with money ethically in activist spaces and organizations.
-Strategies for overcoming immobilizing guilt about class or money.
-Anti-capitalist/anti-racist/anti-imperialist analysis of personal choices about saving for retirement, buying real estate, taking certain jobs, supporting our community, etc.
-Diagnostic worksheets to help people figure out any of the following: My place in the economy (local, domestic, global) Am I rich? What sources of security do I have that I may not be aware of? How do I know if I need something or just want it? What are my resources besides money?
The two of us come from very different class backgrounds (Tyrone grew up in a first- generation owning-class family, and Dean grew up on welfare) and we're hoping for a specifically cross-class conversation about these issues. We think that the anxiety that can arise when talking about these things among folks with different experiences of class can be useful and productive, and we hope to create a space where we can learn by sharing our experiences and challenging each other.
Please send us an email if you have an idea you'd like to write about, a resource you think we should know about, existing writing you think we should post in this conversation. Your piece can be short or long, written in any style. Please send submissions to: email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reposted from The Bilerico Project by Jessica Hoffmann.