It struck me the other day that I – and I suspect a lot of other people – would benefit from a more richly detailed discussion of the emotional qualities of our day to day struggles. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really find invocations of joy compelling in relation to politics. I mean, I’m for joy, I like joy, I just don’t find “is it joyful? it must be joyful!” a particularly helpful assessment and I don’t find the demand for joy a very helpful one to pose to political involvement. My new friend Disparaged CNA recently wrote a post about particular techniques she uses “to face the ugliness of the world everyday, to organize with people who might not show me the same respect that I deserve, to face the bosses.” She write that “To do that, I need emotional resilience and strength.” Absolutely. Rather than a politics of joy, I’m for a politics of emotional resilience. That speaks to my life much more so, because as a parent of an infant I do have tons of joy but I also need a lot of resilience. And this speaks as well to much of my organizing experience.

In her post Disparaged CNA writes that “we need to create communal spaces for people to process pain, confusion and sorrow.” I agree with this. To my mind, we need richly detailed discussions about this as well, about particular techniques. I don’t have those here, just platitudes and principles, but … it seems to me that this is part communism (in the sense of the movement of communists under and opposed to capitalism) as a space in which people obtain a sort of freedom, which I sort of got into in the middle bit of this and which I keep meaning to get back to. I have in the past been uneasy (and I remain so) about radical talk about community and communities and so on, all of that rarely moves me (except to get me to move in the opposite direction) but there is an important element of truth to some of that talk in that we need to be prepared to keep ourselves and each other in the game for the long term. That requires taking care of ourselves and each other, which involves some important skills and abilities and techniques that I wish I had a more fleshed vocabulary for and that I wish there was more written about in left circles.

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