Friday, March 06, 2009

how it's not fair.

i'm a little drunk1, but there's some things i need to write down right now before i forget them. this past week filing2 we found a diary entry from a woman3, a radical, a member of the symbionese liberation army who was shot by police probably a year later, and she was sad and cynical over the death of a revolutionary also gunned down, turned against by someone he was fighting with, and she said (sad and cynically and better than i will) that the revolutionary spirit is so rare and beautiful, so rare and beautiful that she just didn't know anymore if a single drop of it was worth losing to save spiritless others.

i bet that the man she was talking about was so luminous. i bet he bristled with imagination and love for the people and a sensitivity to injustice like an exposed nerve. i bet he was so beautiful and so rare. but but but but but! what does a revolutionary fight for if not people? and what are people but just themselves? and if you fight for them, you'd better be fighting for them and not your idea of them that's wrong. that's what i thought when i read it. i thought, first, 'there's something wrong here-- something amiss at the very center of this moving idea'. revolutionaries fight to free people. maybe people need revolutionaries to free them. but revolutionaries need people just for there to be such a thing as a revolutionary. what can it mean, then, to say that people aren't worth revolutionary blood? what beauty can the revolutionary spirit have independent of these others who fight to free? even if they fucking crucify you. even if it's a thing about people that they will always crucify you. that's people. that's what you're fighting for, and i think part of what that woman meant by the beauty of the revolutionary spirit is that when you have it, you have it consummately. you are the fight. and the fight is (ostensibly) for the people. but could you keep fighting if you didn't harbor the illusion that they'd all rise up like an army behind you? could you keep fighting if you didn't believe falsely that they'd love you for it? if you can't, then the revolutionary's very identity, their sense of self and purpose, depends on maintaining this illusion.

have you ever been loved as someone that you aren't? someone that you aren't as good as? and then disappointed someone as bigly as an ocean? have you ever thought that you might prefer to be loved as the big risk that you actually are?

the people never said they'd rise up. the people never gave anyone any reason to think that they'd ever love anything and not turn on it. people will say what they say, but over and above what what they say stands who they are, and it's right there for you to see. and if you love people you've got to see it and love them anyway. love them just because every once in awhile, though you have no right to expect it, they'll make art or keep a promise or smile at you like an arrow through the heart.

sorry for all the rhetorical questions. i've had a few.

1 i've since made some sober editorial decisions. i haven't edited for grammar or anything like that, just minorly, for clarity. i've also removed a quoted song lyric, because quoting song lyrics is embarrassing, but i do urge you all to get neko case's new album and listen to it repeatedly. i particularly like 'vengeance is sleeping', 'i'm an animal', and 'middle cyclone' (the title track).

2 some of you probably know that i work as a research assistant to a radical feminist theorist, attempting to organize an archive of her personal papers (lectures, correspondence, etc.). we're still working on a first sift of the (seventy-odd boxes of) papers, so it involves a lot of one-page-at-a-time sifting and filing.

3 nancy ling perry, known also as fahizah.

1 comment:

Drewski said...

You're not even remotely trying to stick to our bet! I'm going to start sucking down Camel Lights RIGHT NOW. I'm blaming you for my cancer and heart disease.