Hi everyone. Sorry I’ve been missing for so long – I took a 3 week holiday (although I only left Wellington for 9 days of that) and didn’t think to mention it on here. Anyway, I’m back now (hooray!) and will be writing again.
It’s great when something you’ve planned for a while turns out to fit in perfectly with what you need – I had organised a while ago for 2 close friends of mine to come visit me from Melbourne (where they both live) – each came for 2 weeks, with 1 week overlap (which was when I left Welly and went up North). As it turns out, by the time they came to visit, I was needing a break from everything – Wellington itself, the people, and all the bits and pieces I do down here. So, everything worked itself out quite nicely.
The 3 weeks break I took really helped to clear a lot of things up for me, but in the last couple of days I’ve realised another week probably was needed. Returning to Welly has left me with some very mixed feelings about my life, what I’m doing and where I’m headed (both in a metaphorical and a literal sense), and another week “away from it all” probably would have helped significantly in answering those questions. Still, I’m back now, and am going to make the most of it.
While I was away, I got to thinking about activism, and about the critique vs. creation (or reaction vs. action) choice that all activists make. I started writing an article on this very topic for the soon-to-be-published new anarchist zine (taking up the space left by the fantastic Aotearoa Dissident Voice) which I will also post up here as soon as it’s done. For a brief explanation of what I’m writing about, the path of critique takes in all activism which exposes or hinders the many forms of oppression our society partakes in – this includes rallies, marches and also more direct actions such as animal liberation or reclaiming the streets. The path of creation is the complete opposite. Rather than exposing the bad points about society, creation seeks to form new spaces, both physical and figurative, using the same methods that we wish society as a whole to use. This can be anything from forming a radical bookshop to changing the way we interact with others to be more equal and less based on traditional power imbalances.
My focus is steadily but surely switching from a majority critique to a majority creation one, and that majority is ever increasing. I think the main reason for that is that critique requires putting oneself out there in what is generally an emotionally (and sometimes physically) unsafe environment. Activist lifestyles which consist purely of critique are thus extremely unhealthy – without creation, without an emotionally “safe space” to return to post-critique, our lives tend to become racked with feelings of instability, and with an overwhelming desire to curl up into a ball and cry our hearts out. Or maybe thats just me. Who knows?
Either way, creation, while perhaps harder than critique, is a vital part of any community which seeks to radically change society. And right now, on a personal level, what I’m seeking are emotionally safe spaces and relationships with others that are able to provide for me the safety so that I am able to continue in whatever it is I’m trying to do.
This is something that I’ve realised to an even greater extent in the two days since the 2nd of my friends to visit from Melbourne flew away. I noticed while they were here the big difference in my relationships with my friends here and my friends in Australia, who I lived with for a year on my OE. My friends here are great, and I love them dearly. They know about what goes on in my life far better than my friends in Australia. What they don’t know, however, is the whys. My friends in Australia, and especially the two who visited, understand why I do things and how my mind works like nobody over here does. It’s probably primarily something that can be attributed to time spent in proximity together. Spending a large period of time living with someone means you will get to know them far, far better than otherwise. Seeing someone outside those normal “social hours”, seeing the way they live their life in their own home means you will see a part of them that normally remains hidden. That doesn’t change the fact however, that the people who understand me best live on the other side of the Tasman Sea to me.
So, what am I to do? I’ve got ideas for creation that are based in Wellington, ideas I would like to see come to fruition, but that means a medium – long term committment to living here, something which I’m not sure if I want to do. The other option, which is looking more likely at the moment, is to put myself into a holding pattern for the next 6 months until a move to Melbourne over new years, followed by Uni over there, and, depending on what the activist community is like in Melbourne, perhaps creation along similar lines to my ideas for here.
What will the future hold for me? I’m not sure, but stay tuned to find out…