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Comrades in Common Struggle

By JenQ

A thriving ecosystem gets its top blown off, becomes coal, becomes heat, becomes cancerous for surrounding areas. In turn, animal populations are displaced and human communities fight for the recognition of work-related illnesses. Groups of mammals are taken from their land, crossbred into obedience, and continuously subjected to reproductive labor. Vast amounts of the Amazon are cut down so cattle can graze and devastate the land, while indigenous populations are displaced. Timber is sold while carbon dioxide is released. Wood becomes seen as a mono-vision of how one executes a creative project. Wild animals are displaced from their natural habitats and instinctual work, seek new lifestyles among the new growth, and are seen as pests and executed. Genocide is conceived as acceptable as animal bodies rot in refrigerators and on store shelves and decompose in landfills, surrounded by plastic and waxed paper.
Fowl are a part of this cycle and, as older concepts of homesteading become more fashionable, one can easily purchase chicks and baby ducks from a local farm store, raise them in one’s yard and have a small-scale model of a ‘sustainable food’ source, DIY commodification of the reproductive cycle where one sees a profit savings but justifies the enslavement in a different way. The laborers are seen as pets. Chickens become tractors and menstrual cycles become food. The land is made ready for crops; a female’s eggs are consumed. What would otherwise be fertilizing the land becomes a staple and could possibly be linked to testicular and ovarian cancer. Milk and flesh become ‘food’ and folks in turn suffer from diseases of over-consumption and allergic reactions which usually go unrecognized.

Wild dogs are driven off their land and some are taken to be bred to be obedient. Mills are created to produce puppies to be sold to stores and then to consumers as life companions, always subjected to the will of a master, expected to obey and love on command. By-products of slaughter houses are rendered into pet foods, which in turn create health problems in dogs. As civilization grows there becomes a lack of free space, leaving a deadening routine of civilized boredom. Synthesized pharmaceuticals are given to human and animal populations for diseases with names like depression, anxiety, ADHD and schizophrenia which would otherwise be seen as identifiers of divine vision or a wayward existence to ancient cultures.

What is labor but the process of our creative efforts from one moment to the next? The creative drive which propels life forward to be combined with experience, resources and desire to produce direct actions and tangible results? Labor includes the thought process, the claiming and reworking of resources, the decay of these products, and either stagnation or reflection for innovation. Civilization has become aware that the use of human slaves to manifest personal gain is fundamentally unjust and even now we continue to battle child and sexual slavery as well as plantations and wage slavery. But what about the labor we force upon domesticated land and animal populations? Human labor has forced plants and animals to become domesticated workers, perpetuating a cycle of labor for profit. We subject these perceived commodities to cyclical reproductive genocide and we are blind to this hierarchical display of ownership.

The results of being removed from and eventually forgetting the inherent rhythms of liberatory, necessary work fosters mental, emotional and physical degradation and breaks down the framework for what is spiritually vital. What does it mean to respect physical form and how can that be honored in each incarnation? How can we respect not only the self, but other life forms as an extension of that existence? If we believe in liberation through autonomy as well as through community, we must respect the bodies of both plant and animal and create communities of mutual aid for the benefit of everyone involved. Everyone meaning everything, from the singular existence of a rock to the amalgam of commodities produced. We must recognize there is a connection between the forest, whose niche that is and us. This connection is not forced labor or extractions which foster emotional luxury and physical decadence. The physical form of a mountain, for example, ought to be just as sacred as our own drives to fulfil our own needs, and the interpretation of that form into coal ought to be made sacred and not wasted on more resources to heal lung diseases.

How ought we use our labor to integrate all of these populations into holistic, functioning communities towards efforts for the production of systematic health? This means: a healthy mind, physical stamina and strength, emotional well-being amongst communities which share various concepts of spiritual truth. Not just in people, but amongst life. The instinctual drive of an acorn is inherent in the seed. If it has proper amounts of sunlight and water and has the support of its surroundings to work together to communicate those needs (i.e., mycelium communicate over miles of underground networks to manage proper nutrient and moisture uptake), it can do nothing but develop into a fruiting tree or slowly wither from disease or lack of assistance and die.  Shouldn’t we, as individuals, realize the drive for our own inherent potential? Through endless possibilities we can discover the specific realization of the perfection of our form, too. Are we not all full of the same desires for self-actualization and determination to reach social sustainability? In reaching this goal we explore what justice is, what truth is and what is acceptable for the self and the community.

We are all family living on this planet. We must learn, dissect, understand and remember how to work together, how to labor together and use our gift of creative ingenuity to benefit everyone involved. We each have a job to do; we all have something we excel at. Listen, open up. Live! You are alive! Every one of us has a job to do. Discover that within you there is power and use it. Become that fruiting tree with branches reaching towards the sky and roots deeply grounded in the Earth, communicating and living with the water, soil, and the animals of the world. Realize this potential and work on converting waste into something beneficial and useable. This is what our labor is! Not to usurp another life’s will but to figure out the balance of the proper usage of give and take. We must not drive ourselves and other forms of life to sabotage. We must revel in the complexity of bringing order to chaos. We live among ruins that we have created through our own labor, blindly creating at the expense of gross imbalance and domination. We strive to be free through concepts of paid work in order to have money to purchase mutilated corpses which are supposed to bring us happiness. And it makes us hollow. Change the perception of how we work with the land and with other animals and we realize we hold the answers because we already work within these concepts.

I call out to my brothers and sisters. I call for a new labor movement to create holistic balance within the individual as a necessary reflection upon the outer world made up of multitudes of individuals. Let us honor and endlessly reuse what we have taken. Let us look to what is around us and build with it. Let us look to existing forms of co-existence like the mycelial underground and form communities based on natural structures. If we are unhappy about how a product is made, where resources come from, who manufacturing it, let us not purchase it, let us not labor for these terrible ends, and let us discuss our decisions with strangers. Our true labor doesn’t consist of the exchange of currency but of what is felt with meaning in the heart and freely expressed. Building community includes talking with your neighbors who are human, who are the trees, and  who are squirrels. We need to develop an honest exchange with life. Let us share and save useful food and materials from the wastestream. Our work should include understanding how to listen to what is needed and providing the foundation for sustainable health. A simple change of habit is important work. Solidarity with life on Earth. We are all comrades in common struggle.

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