Spiritual organizing and solidarity with spirits on AEWCH 179 featuring Dean Spade

9 Feb

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Friends,
Happy New Year! Here’s the fifth and final in the series of episodes on How To Live in 2022. The first, AEWCH 175, was with occult scholar Mitch Horowitz, the second, AEWCH 176, is on why reincarnation matters for us now, the third is AEWCH 177 with philosopher Zena Hitz on how and why to be an intellectual, and the fourth is AEWCH 178 on using mysticism and the tarot in 2022 with Jessica Dore.

All those episodes, though, were geared towards being an individual navigating the world. But what about, uh, other people? Especially since according to Sartre’s much-misinterpreted line, “hell is other people”? How do we enter into much-needed organizing when groups can be so intolerable? And what about when the spiritual is excluded and groups feel cold and even like they have the wrong idea of how the world works?

I asked the amazing author and anarchist activist Dean Spade back to the show to discuss all the above. Dean was last on the show on AEWCH 131, discussing mutual aid, and his book, Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next), in the midst of the early pandemic. It remains one of my favorite conversations on the show, ever. On this episode, we talk about what happens in groups and the when politicization leads to dehumanization. We also talk about organizing with the dead and the evolution of consciousness as the origin of hierarchies. It’s good, weird, and deep.

SHOW NOTES

WHAT BOOK YOU SHOULD READ?
Since the origins of inequality keep coming up on the episode, I recommend the book of (AEWCH 169 & AEWCH 99) guests, David Wengrow and David Graeber, The Dawn of Everything. It’s a great book and now it’s a bestseller. Not saying I had anything to do with that, exactly; just happy to see the success of such a thoughtful book about the stupidity of takes like “we’re hard wired to be hierarchical” and “society is too complex to be egalitarian.” Get it. Read it.

WHAT OTHER AEWCH EPISODE YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO?
A great look at how we all draw from commonwealths – of knowledge, of tactics, strategies, struggles, creative impulses, and sexuality – is on AEWCH 120 with one of my favorite philosophers, Michael Hardt. Michael is the co-author (with Antonio Negri) of some of the most influential political and global theory books of all time, most recently, Assembly. It’s really, really good stuff; a systems thinking approach to leftist politics. Don’t miss it.

WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK INTO FURTHER?
The evolution of consciousness and its many culturally specific iterations is one direction I point to for the origins of inequality. By evolution of consciousness, I don’t just mean the evolution in what we think, but the structures of consciousness – including perception – itself. One philosopher of the evolution of consciousness is Jean Gebser, whose book The Ever-Present Origin remains a potent and detailed mapping of the phenomenon. Here’s the Jean Gebser Society’s site to learn more.

MORE ON DEAN
Firstly, here’s Dean’s website, which has tons of his efforts lined, including his excellent video workshop series, Building Capacity for Mutual Aid Groups. Dean is the founder of the founder of Sylvia Rivera Law Project which works to help create conditions to help people thrive while self-determining their gender identity and expression. Dean is also the author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of the Law, which identifies the many ways in which struggles that look to permission from the state for human rights fall short. You can also watch his documentary about the ways Israel tires to cover up some of its crimes against Palestinians by exploiting LGBT rights: Pinkwashing Exposed.

Until next time, friends – live well, and together!
XO
CH

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