by FWs Gordon and Sean

We live in an unhealthy society. LGTBQ people are harassed for wanting to be free and abortions are illegal. People die every day for lack of basics: 3.5 million Americans are in danger of losing their homes, 340 thousand people died during the pandemic for lack of health care, and over sixty percent of Americans now report that they live paycheck to paycheck.

An example of how little people are valued in this society is the recent bailout of Silicon Valley Bank and the response to the East Palestine disaster. People and a city are being erased by toxic chemicals for profit, while the SVB investors were saved from a ten percent loss. Between the last two bailouts, thousands of workers were gunned down on the street for the color of their skin, and one houseless person died a day. There were child massacres at Sandy Hook and Uvalde, there was the Orlando massacre and the Vegas shooter, and there was Dylan Roof. Immigrants are sterilized at the border and kids are put in cages, Covid struck down millions, foreign wars rage, we’ve locked up more people than Stalin, and the opioid epidemic ravaged our friends. In our lifetimes, millions have suffered in the U.S., but the almighty dollar has not, and it will not. Profits are at an all-time high.

An honest assessment of our material and mental conditions, brings to mind the Indigenous Critique as outlined in The Dawn of Everything. The critique is an attempt at distilling broad trends from Americans — also known as the indigenous inhabitants of this country, who are currently being exterminated for existing on land needing to be developed for profit. Contrary to traditional histories, the Americans were not savages and formulated a stinging intellectual response to meeting their capitalist colonizers. The critique is that the colonizers were unpleasant. The colonizers offered unreasoned arguments, they spoke over each other, and were compelled to obey the orders of inbred Kings. Amongst them existed beggars and in their homelands the beggars numbered in the millions. Americans were free. Americans engaged in reciprocity and hospitality so that none begged. Leaders couldn’t force people to work, people were cared for, and injuries were healed with restorative justice.

Looking around today, one can’t help but feel those founding Americans were correct and that not much has changed. We live in a nasty brutish society fueled by the destruction of Earth. We are not free. We must go to work to survive and we must do it without universal healthcare, shelter, and education. Without those basic dignities we’re then asked to dig and scratch our way out of education debt, while unelected justices make decisions about our sexual autonomy and we navigate an increasingly fractured and hostile society.

In Kitsap county, IWWs are taking the Indigenous Critique to heart and organizing cooperatives, which allow for workers to democratically meet each other’s needs in reciprocity. We’ve established the Kitsap Permanent Real Estate Collective to remove land from the speculative market and meet the housing needs of BIPOC workers. By developing cooperatives, we’re choosing to care for each other in a systematic and organized manner that will create a social good while striking at the power of the bosses. We’re organizing to create safe spaces for dignity in a harsh brutish world. We’re organizing so that people can democratically meet their needs in community and break down those barriers with people they wouldn’t normally talk to. In our county, the capitalist will not long be able to lord over us their high rents and substandard conditions because we’re taking a cue from the Americans. We’re building our own housing. We’re coming together in community to learn about each other, treat each other kindly, and to care for one another. We love our neighbors. We’re letting our lights shine bright, illuminating the way for others. It’s empowering and offering hope in our community.

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