Will: I started going to the gym regularly in high school, but looking back on things I just kinda dicked around the gym for a solid five years. There was always some “lifting” involved but it was mostly cardio/ metabolic-conditioning based. I tried a bunch of different routines and approaches but I simply saw so results. I figured I was doing something wrong but I just didn’t know what.
Noam Chomsky, the renowned socialist intellectual, believes that human society will eventually transition to vegetarianism due to concern for animals. Chomsky’s academic influence is hard to overstate. According to the Chicago Tribune, in 1993 he was “the most often cited living author. Among intellectual luminaries of all eras, Chomsky placed eighth, just behind Plato and Sigmund Freud.”
I am half--Canadian and half--American. I grew up mostly in Canada and thus have always had public--run health care in my life. I knew nothing about health insurance companies and all of their fine--print and evil until recently. Since coming to the US, I have not yet come into close contact with the American system since I have been mostly healthy aside from a baseball--related injury here and there.
All of the above are heinous and insidiously intertwined manifestations of a dominant culture constructed on the foundation of privilege and hierarchy… but only one of them is directly responsible for the murder of 53 billion land animals per year. Only one of them is directly responsible for deforestation, topsoil depletion, overfishing, water pollution, corporate control of the food chain, unspeakable animal cruelty, and so much more.
This is a glimpse into a process of investigation into ourselves and each other. It’s neither the beginning nor the end and so it’s open to change. It’s never static. For now, at least, it’s the culmination of a year of conversations around what it might look like to be part of a movement that cultivates an environment of collective and self-care, support, revolutionary love and self-determination. The opinions that will follow are my own but i will use the word ‘we’ throughout this piece to reflect that these ideas were inspired by others and created through conversation and dialogue. I take responsibility for them but am open to suggestions and the possibility that they will change where better versions replace them.
I was born in 1953, the year that Guy Debord wrote “NEVER WORK!” on the walls of Paris and the dictator Stalin died, leaving some people with the illusion that the so-called socialist paradise really existed.
There’s been an exhibition dedicated to Guy Debord at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF) ever since 27 March and, from the distance of sixty years, I can see how Debord and his art of war (Carl von Clausewitz) have influenced me as a dermatologist in my battles against skin disease.
Forty years ago today, March 1, 1973 I became a vegetarian. I was 16. There was no glorious last supper before my truce-ifixion with non-human beings – my farewell to flesh was a leftover bologna sandwich.
Most cultures at one point or another had sports and other martial disciplines that developed the physical, psychological, and spiritual faculties of individuals toward a cohesive warrior that could operate on an individual as well as team based level. Should this be any different for activists in conflict? Constantly there are situations where activists are under high stress and tension; this in the end could erode not just the activist's health over time but add to a degradation to cultures and communities of resistance. I feel it is of the utmost importance to take time aside to assess intentions about how and why a person who takes on the task of an activist and how not to burn out. In fact, what I am proposing is an entirely new paradigm of activist health.
Conflict invades our inner selves. It is the single most prevalent thing in activist circles. From worrying about when the authoritarian forces will attack, to attacking other groups, in what has been labeled as “horizontal hostility”, or attacking their own communities, activist groups are plagued with an hyper-tense anxiety of what may be or what has been. Then at the same time, the activist lies within the now, the ever present moment of fluidity. The moment is something that the activist may use as a stable base for building up whatever future visions they may conceive for their communities.