There are often words that I use in describing abstracted or more complicated ideas as shorthand. I use these words because I think the current language of politics and political movements is often stuck in old dead language from the early 20th c. or worse in jargon that means nothing to those outside of the milieus (there's a word for ya) or academia. I am not trying to coin new terms or redefine old ones just find a more reflexive and dynamic language with a dash of poetics drawn from other historical analysis and writings.
EMERGENCY HEARTS describes the immediacy of our feelings of empathy and compassion that motivates us to act to end oppression, exploitation and destruction. Our emergency hearts are what motivate people into the streets to resist injustice and create something better.
CIVIL SOCIETY is a term I adopted from Zapatismo and some Latin American political traditions. I use it to refer to individuals, organizations, and even institutions as opposed to the state apparatus or even the multinational corporations that use force to reinforce their power. Civil society is you and I and everyone else who associates without coercion.
LEADERSHIP (for lack of a better term) represents for me guidance by individuals or groups within communities. This guidance is based in the recognition that there are power relations even within horizontal organizing, based on social, cultural, experiential, or political factors. Individuals or groups in guidance roles may have more power (or be perceived to have more power). The practice of leadership seeks to subvert the familiar figure of the authoritarian leader who delegates tasks, makes unilateral decisions, and takes actions without discussion or accountability to those involved. The practice of leadership seeks to create and reinforce power-sharing rather than power over others.
TRADITIONALLY or HISTORICALLY NEGLECTED/ MARGINALIZED
I use these terms instead of, or sometimes interchangeably with, typical sociopolitical language (like working-class, queer, poor, etc.) that have been used to qualify people or communities pushed to the margins in civil
society. Traditional political language takes many of the complex relationships within civil society that make up people and communities, making them one-dimensional. This leaves out the complex humanity of those
involved. People and communities are often marginalized for more than one reason. These phrases address the fact that there are multiple issues at stake, instead of running a laundry list to illustrate the marginalization
POWER I use the term “power” in three ways:
1. power (with a little ‘p’): power that is exercised directly by individuals and communities, as part of civil society, working to make changes in the world. It is what grassroots democracy is based on. This kind of power is derived from recognizing that we do have the abilities, creativity, and strength to make the world better. It is the collective power of everyone, from the middle class to the marginalized.
2. Power (with a capital ‘P’): concentrations of authority and privilege in economic, political, or cultural institutions that exercise undue influence on the world. In this sense, Power is identical with the state, multinational corporations, or the rich, who are unaccountable to and derisive of civil society. It operates through bureaucracies, executive boards, the military, and transnational corporations and corporate media of all forms. It is exercised through brute force, neglect, and manipulation or corruption of economies, for example. It results in control over resources as well as social and cultural norms.
3. I sometimes use the phrase those who assume to have Power. It is my way of recognizing that such forms of Power do not have legitimate claims of authority over civil society. It is also a reminder not to automatically
give legitimacy to those institutions or people who don’t deserve it. My underlying philosophy is that once we see past this illegitimacy, we begin to recognize that we have the collective capacities to directly make changes and influence the world ourselves rather than appealing to these coercive
hierarchies and bureaucracies that claim this Power over us.
CAPITALISM note: still need to work on this one
Capitalism is more than just economic arrangements and markets. Capitalism like all markets has internalized hierarchies, social arrangements and baggage wrapped up in it.
There never has been and never will be 'pure' capitalism. Just look to the former Soviet bloc countries to see the failures of trying to equalize inequalities through kust economics (and for them planned economies).