Activist Journeys compilation zine – a call out for radical submissions
Activist Journeys: a call out for radical writing and artwork
Always open for new contributions
Personal solutions which helped you keep on going, finding your place in something bigger than yourself – Developing skillsets and philosophies for achieving more, as one person linked into an entire movement, than anyone could do on their own.
I’m looking for collaborators as well as contributors. I am interested in the activist journey: I’ve come to see it this way and I’d be interested in hearing from others who can relate to this: my experience and observing others is that it begins with a growing awareness and resentment of social, political, corporate injustice – to a belief in ones own ability to effect change through direct action.
What for you, was the trigger to direct action, to militant activism, rather than a more validated or socially acceptable predisposition to dissipate anger through ‘grumbling’. Once active, what sustained you? What personal beliefs, experiences, made you ‘other’ than the norm, kept you in there from one campaign to the next?
My experience arose from abusive relationships which made me sharply aware of, and determinedly fighting, abuse of any kind. Then through experience of the activist struggle, relationships, direct actions, campaigns, travel, deprivation, joy – there came a realisation that in and of itself, direct action is less directly effective than at first hoped or expected. A wondering at ‘what I am personally achieving’ and, is it enough.
At first in this stage, I experienced disillusionment, and something close to burn out. And then I found that there survived, the human spirit, innate optimism that drove me in the first place and then an innate excitement, a ‘what next’.
There are so many stories out there of disillusionment and burn out, but if you can relate to this process, this ‘what next?’ or something akin to it, I’d be really interested in reading about this in your writing.
What drove you and what sustains you? Was it the advice and support of friends, was it your understanding of events as they unrolled, was it things you read, or listened to, elements of all these things? This is where I am right now, and I’d like to hear your journey to here, or to the somewhere near here where you are.
Essays shouldn’t exceed 3000 words. We’re also looking for radical artwork so please submit high resolution copies to email@example.com
Looking for any and all activists:
· Living closer to nature, wild food gathering or using permaculture.
· Self-building tools, crafts or preserves.
· Ecology/biology/geography students and researchers.
· Field surveyors faced with the ethical dilemmas or tedium of earning a wage.
· Involved in the rescue, rehoming or care of animals.
· Doing overseas solidarity; building easy maintenance environmental solutions to bolster community autonomy.
See below a sample of the questions put to environmental volunteers working overseas:
Utopian vs Internationalist
Do you ever worry about what role you play as activists parachuting into foreign struggles, what rural ideals you bring with you?
Sympathy Advocacy vs Tactical Militancy
How do you hold all that grief in your heart, seeing the damage and turn it into positive energy? To be able to think long-term and feel affirmed in your tactical choice to be educators?
For example you could be advocating for funds for barricades and tree-sit watchtowers first, and DIY community building second. What part does your enthusiasm for ecology and earth based cultures, play in your life journey and wanting to strengthen those ties before another generation is lost?
Local vs global / Emotional vs Rational
I imagine everyone understands that the world’s largest rainforest is more important than the destruction of a small park in their neighbourhood in terms of environmental issues, obviously both are important, but do you worry that people find it easy to extend human solidarity locally and yet can be complicit in environmental destruction on a large scale internationally?
I’m on the lookout for radical folk who want to write personal stories that meander about general issues they’ve come up against surviving, growing, learning how to make change happen, for themselves and their adopted community.
There are many books, zines and essays advising how we’d ideally organize together, support, transform etc. Titles like ‘Organizing Social Spaces as if Social Relations Matter’ aim at critiquing a certain ethos, in the hopes of moving the movement in a certain direction. I think a more general approach would be really useful in broadening the conversation, more open questions like, where we’re at, where we’re going as a movement, what sustains you? and what motivates you? as an individual.
I’m looking for both positive and negative stories, if you have stories of trauma it would be great to read as one important part of a larger journey, which might have even kick started something positive for you, like finding a supportive community, personal resilience, post traumatic growth. But at the same time I don’t want to discourage writers from submitting experiences that lead them to a realistic appreciation of sadness, or the limits of experience open to you being born into a narrative of kyriarchy.
If you’ve been immersed in the language or action for a long time maybe you can relate to some of the questions below;
Consent workshopping or writing community empowerment toolkits
What was the impetus to open up conversations about consent? Was it a lack of people skill-sharing personal solutions in your area? Was it aimed at fellow students at university or perhaps a social centre in your community? Was it conversations you had with survivors or friends and partners of survivors? Did you get to see what healing and resilience could look like in your life and community?
Survivors of sexual assault
Were there challenges of opening up to friends and strangers, did writing give you a sense of agency? Did you set goals for yourself of what you’d like to accomplish? Of what healing and resilience could look like in your life and community?
People Called Out for Sexual Assault
Was it scary to see in yourself that which you hate in society, what was it like learning to change your own social conditioning, going through an accountability process or finding hope through justice doing.
How have your negative experiences of abuse or living a marginalised or limited sexuality inflected your journey into anarchism/activism? Does it affect the way you approach direct action confrontations or opportunities of hope?
Did you find yourself trying to work the system or looking for what projects you could get away with without asking? Do you see it as a refusal to accommodate yourself to the dominant culture, to not be responsible for reproducing it in any way? Whether that’s neoliberal sex positivism, sex conservatism, the racial contract or transphobia?