We oppose all forms of oppression. Read that again, because it’s fundamentally important.
We oppose all forms of oppression!
It doesn’t mean just class, race, gender, ability, hierarchical or authority based oppression. It doesn’t mean, in the ways that I’m oppressed, or in the ways that you’re oppressed. It means all forms of oppression. Yours, mine, theirs, everybody’s.
We recognize the absolute necessity to find common ground because too many times our struggles have been sacrificed, or co-opted, in the process of gaining allies in the distant hope of gaining much needed ground.
As we find ourselves arduously walking along the road to freedom, that road often seems impossibly long, progress intolerably slow, and the goal dishearteningly distant. At these times, hitching a ride seems to be a no-brainer, a much needed respite for tired feet and a promise for the fast track to success. The problem with hitchhiking is… you’re not driving. You’ve just sacrificed autonomy for expediency. We’ve learned that the ride probably isn’t going all the way, or may even take you completely out of your way. For instance, the anti-capitalist ride won’t get you all the way to gender equality. The anti-racist ride may stop short of going all the way to non hierarchy, but if we can all agree on a route that touches all of our stops, we can pool our resources together, get a bus and buckle up for the long haul to self determination and liberation for all the people… and not just some of the people.
So what does it take to get a seat on this bus?
It’s simple! If you oppose oppression without creating or reinforcing oppression in the process, we can ride together. If you are not expecting your stop to take precedence over any of the others, you’ve got a seat. You see, every struggle has many different stops, and they are scattered all over the place. It’s going to take mutual aide and diversity of tactics to get everyone to where they are going, but if you are on this bus then you are a comrade, and we will not skip your stop in favor of ours.
Fighting oppression is a bus route– one that will likely never end. It’s not a destination. It’s an ongoing struggle that requires new stops to be added and old ones to be removed, a route that is just as mutable as the social construct. Getting into a ride and driving to a destination gives a false sense of closure. It is a sense that, “at least my struggle is over.” This narrative ignores the ways that all of our struggles are entangled in a non linear way. It ignores the way that oppression is like a many-headed Hydra, always growing another head just as you lop one off.
If we are all truly serious about fighting oppression, we must commit to fighting the long fight. We must reject the romantic notion that we are preparing for one final battle against evil. When we use this interpretation, it becomes easy to ignore some battles as inconsequential. It’s an excuse to save ones energy for the ‘big one’… but the ‘big one’ is just a feel good story meant to distract you from the true nature of the beast. The truth is, each of these battles is just as important as the next, because people’s lives are at stake in every single one. There is no final boss. There is no final battle where everyone lives happily ever after. Instead, we commit to fighting all oppression, every single instance of it, because your liberation is irrevocably enmeshed with mine. Your struggle is my struggle… and we are in this together.