cooperation

Mother’s Day is Here to Transform White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy into Something Beautiful

I’m inspired by Mother’s Day. It’s wonderful to know that this is not, after all, a Hallmark holiday, but one that has its roots in compassion, healing, and opposition to war and violence.

julia ward howe

I’ve griped on here quite a bit about how alienating I find consumer capitalist culture, so to be reminded that one of the buy-things-to-show-you-care holidays actually has its origins in radical anti-violence activism and to see that it is actively being reclaimed this year by women of color activists gives my heart some serious joy.

And, because bell hooks has made a career out of insightful cultural criticism and does such a great job articulating the structure of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, here she is:

Earth and Freedom Song

A wilderness, a wilderness
calling, calling. When I was younger,
I had a fantasy of foraging
in the ruins of western civilization.
The truth of the zombie apocalypse
is that the worst predators are human.

A wilderness is calling us,
a wonderness. Earth is shifting
and our signpost won’t direct us
no more. We need a human technology.
We need music springing around us,
drums, voices, strings. Grass underfoot.

Spring is calling us, wilder now,
wondering at how long, how long
we’ve been downpressed. No more.
We make a human technology,
music and language, the laughter
of Earth working. Grass underfoot.

Flowers burst and we’re wilder here,
raving, calling in the dawn. Snowmelt
and rising rivers, up to our shins
in richness, rich mud. And all the colors
come out. Now, now we move,
shake out from this chrysalis. Wings.

Metamorphosis. We are seeds, we sing
an Earth song. These tones are our home,
we feel our blood rise to the occassion
and how long, we wonder at how long,
but no more. There’s a freedom coming
we’ve none of us known before.

Here

I am here on the precipice
looking out on work to be done
diving finding ground on which to walk
my voice is not my own is owned
is owned and it is I who do the owning
of my voice now

I am here on my own
holding your hand
discarding my clothes
together we turn to see the land
see it and taste it and walk on
on the ground we are finding

I am here with you
with your skin close to mine
I am afraid of all we must see
but the bare grass on my feet
and the music we speak
reminds me of youth

I am here on my own
owning a maturity a fruit
hard earned I am here
with you with your skin
close to mine I am sorry
for loss for the loss of life

I am here I own sorrow
but that is not all you say
and I affirm that we will be
more after all you have endured
and I say I cannot fathom
how you thrive

I am here and I cannot
choose to ignore any longer
the losses they have inflicted
and I am not complicit
in the blind rush to the precipice
but I watch the future fall

I am there with my sons
the extension of my flesh my thought
my love I am there with my sons
who are there coming to terms
with what has been done
and the work to be done

I am here which is nowhere
and I search for a place to stand
I see that the ground must be made
must be made of words of love
that will nurture the future
to blossom over the fire of the past

I am here I am not burning
am I burning who am I here
the television is telling us it is not us
it is telling us so much by
what it refuses to say
by its inability to hear

I am here demanding with you
that the present be accountable to the past
that our language be precise and authentic
that our technology serve us
that we serve the earth
I demand respect each other

I am here overstanding history
I have come to terms
I have come to shape the future
with words of love that nurture
skin and flesh and ground that blossoms
and demands that we be more basic

we are here and we must thrive
or we will die as we have died
and kill as we have killed we must stop
we must learn to bear fruit
we must learn to tend roots
we must learn we are here