I woke up this morning, thinking about the value of life. Today I feel barricaded on all sides between a continuing expansion of the "War or Terror" (WOT) aka known as the war against anyone who does not submit to U.S. demands (call it whatever you want), corporate and privatization consolidation (gentrification, workers rights, believing that all solutions can be solved by corporations) and the very real rollbacks in social and institutional progress many have worked tirelessly for blood and body.
I work daily to reject the bombardment of threats to my body from community and police for my skin color, gender presentation, or religious non-expression, in addition many other intersections of identity. There are also people who are part of the daily fabric of my life and community who face these challenges and others which have become institutionalized systematic oppression. When combined with being on the brink of another escalation of war, I am contemplating what it means to be standing in front of another wave of escalation of imperialism and how it trickles down to the destroying the fabric of our communities.
A discussion I participated in with *Queers for Economic Justice on the impact of U.S. imperialism and seeking violence as a money-making venture in 2005 when the country debated the possibility of the privatization of social security.
Highlights from De-Funding Our Lives The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community and the Privatization of Social Security and the Federal Tax Cuts. Wednesday, April 6, 2005, at the LGBT Center.
The overall picture that I’d like to provide is -- this is all about the de-prioritization of human life. I actually think the Audre Lorde Project laid it out very well in 2001 when we did a letter, opposing the war on terrorism. The War on Terror is going to be an extended kind of non-identified way to kind of take resources and money away, and de-prioritize human life. This war will create cuts in human services and cuts in HIV and other crucial health care funding. It will create more a more militarized community and zone which will increase white supremacy and misogyny. We stated that this war is going to be a profit war. So I think the most important thing to try to recognize is that privatization and tax cuts -- the marriage of these two ideas and resulting dynamics, is not a new tactic. So as community builders we have to be aware of local issues like -- fighting against racial or gender profiling and absolute privatization. Where ever there’s a fight for social and economic justice LGBTSTGNC people are there. Let’s just be honest.
If you look at the language used around privatization, it mirrors the language used by the IMF-World Bank -- particularly used in their structural adjustment programs. When the world bank goes to the global south and talks with other countries about paying off their global debt (as if we in the U.S. aren’t sucking down debt ourselves) they encourage theses countries to completely slash public services as a way to divert funds to repay. They also convince these countries to enter into a trade market that their economy can’t sustain (just as many of us could not sustain the predatory lending that made the real estate bubble burst). This then gives the U.S. an economic foothold into that country to start importing our products abroad.
The new cycle of wars is a huge and encourages privatization on multiple fronts. Privatization of schools, waste management, our utilities, and the prisons. And also the privatization of many of our services, like the proposed privatization of social security. So it’s really become about people who are in economic power coming together and using that power, through militarized zones, corporate encroachment and propaganda to enforce social power. That’s not to say that the government is accountable to the people.
As a believer in social and economic justice for all, I ask myself -- Where can we begin to rebuild our collective identity and how do we put our beliefs and politics into action? How do we begin this process by not using strategies that demonize or de-value other lives, in order to build unity or uphold a system of privilege? Do I hold other people, institutions, or entities as accountable as I hold myself, thereby modeling the change I am seeking. If am unaccountable to the commitments, ideals, and communities of which I am a member... then where do I begin to build
individually, in the community and to the world?
* Queers for Economic Justice was a progressive non-profit organization that closed their doors in 2014. Committed to promoting economic justice in a context of sexual and gender liberation, their work built within poor and homeless, queer and trans communities impacted the survival of many. Special thanks to Jay Toole