‘The world won’t get no better/If we just let it be/nana na naa naa na naa naa‘ – Wu Tang Clan
‘Where is the love, the love, the love‘ – Black Eyed Peas
I came across the phrase Love and Rage sometime in the middle of 2016. It turns out it’s been a phrase used by activists in environmental and anarchist circles for awhile, but I like the phrase for it’s meaning, not its politics. This is about what it means to me.
Everything we do should be based on LOVE – not the narrow romantic love, but compassion. The feeling that we wish well on fellow human beings because they feel the same feelings as each one of us, the same desire for peace and happiness, the same heart as each of us, the same ability to feel physical and emotional pain and suffering, and have the same value as each of us. This compassionate LOVE isn’t just for humans but also for animals, who also have feelings, and for nature, simply because it is.
And from this LOVE comes RAGE about the injustices suffered. Some pain and suffering is an unavoidable part of life – but a lot of it is avoidable and unnecessary. If we have LOVE for people, when they suffer from injustice the response is to RAGE.
The millions around the world starving to death despite the abundance of food worldwide. Those who are fleeing war and seeking a better life, but drown in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to get to the safety of Europe because there is no easier way to get here, because you can only claim asylum when you make it to a country and it has been made near-impossible to actually get to the European country because you can’t buy a plane ticket without a ‘right’ to be in a country. That people, and especially women, who fear and are at risk of being sexually assaulted and raped in the UK. Those who, because of how they want to dress, are verbally and physically attacked. Those who die from easily preventable diseases due to a lack of money. Those whose lives are treated as if they have less value because of their skin colour or culture. That there are people having to live on the streets in freezing winter weather. [Insert your own RAGE here.]
(And of animals who are imprisoned in terrible conditions because we want to kill them to eat them and spent their whole lives suffering. And of the planet we live on and all the different facets of nature which we are destroying.)
All of this, and much more pain and suffering, is avoidable.
All of this pain, felt by people who feel the same feelings and value as each one of us, who suffer needlessly.
RAGE because of the LOVE.
It’s become a meme that 2016 was a bad year, somehow. Celebrities died, the UK voted to Leave the European Union, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, there is a (perceived) ‘refugee crisis’ and a lot of fear stoked up about Russia and Islamic State (which shouldn’t be called that), and so on.
2016 was not a one-off bad year. Celebrities die every year, and all of the ‘events’ which happened in 2016 are not really discrete events but moments in a process (because that’s how history works). Aside from these ‘events’, there is plenty of injustice for us to RAGE about. Not just these moments selected by a cultural narrative.
It wasn’t an ‘event’ out of nowhere but part of a social process. 2017 won’t be magically different, it will be defined by the continuation of the history from 2016 and our response to that.
There is a possibility of hope in this response. It should be clearer than before that we have big problems on our hands, so maybe, hopefully, enough people will be inspired to do something and move us all in a better direction. There are certainly plenty of people already doing this, it just needs more people to join in.
So let’s RAGE about the fact that the about-to-be President of the USA is a fan of sexual assault, and that the current President decided to destroy a country and culture (Libya) for geopolitical benefits (see this and this), and that there are people who work full-time jobs yet still cannot afford a decent lifestyle because the minimum wage is not a living wage, and the endemic racism and sexism and islamophobia and homophobia and other social structures which value people as less than equal, and SO MUCH MORE.
And let’s respond to that with LOVE. To make the world better.
This isn’t a message particular to 2017, this has been true for a long time, but it’s a message I want to share at this time and these are emotions I’ve been feeling strongly for much of 2016 and will carry through into 2017. A resolution, of sorts, to LOVE and RAGE and be radical with it.
Let’s do things. Democracy isn’t about voting every few years and hoping that representatives do the right thing. That’s part of it, but only a part; the bigger part is about people doing things. So let’s do some things. Get out on the street, organise, agitate and donate. Big things, like campaign for businesses to respect human rights, fight racism and fascism and sexism, and protect the human rights act. Protect and improve our democracy. And smaller, personal things too: eat less meat, say hi to people begging on the street, see if you can help them and offer them a hug, and be kind and patience to people in all the small interactions we have.
Let’s act based on LOVE.
Those are my thoughts coming into 2017.
LOVE AND RAGE
I designed and made the t-shirts myself, if people want them let me know and there’s a small chance I will make and send you one…
It must be acknowledged that, for the narrative of the post and keeping it short that there are many injustices which I did not acknowledge and many things which I did not provide evidence for. Everything I write comes from things I have checked and researched and read about and are right to the best of my knowledge, and if you would like evidence or to read more about it then let me know.
Comments and feedback welcome.