Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

If I can’t dance…

At the dances I was one of the most untiring and gayest. One evening a cousin of Sasha, a young boy, took me aside. With a grave face, as if he were about to announce the death of a dear comrade, he whispered to me that it did not behoove an agitator to dance. Certainly not with such reckless abandon, anyway. It was undignified for one who was on the way to become a force in the anarchist movement. My frivolity would only hurt the Cause.

I grew furious at the impudent interference of the boy. I told him to mind his own business, I was tired of having the Cause constantly thrown into my face. I did not believe that a Cause which stood for, a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from conventions and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to became a nun and that the movement should not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. “I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things.” Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world — prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own closest comrades I would live my beautiful ideal.

– Emma Goldman, Living My Life, 1931

What is incredible here is not only Emma Goldman’s insistence on living her beautiful ideal, but the fact that she has these ideals despite an incredibly abusive childhood, chronic illness, and what is by all accounts a traumatic life.

There was some chatter on my twitter feeds this week about Radicalism vs. Community and if both are possible together.  Intuitively, I’d say no unless you redefine your radicalism around community building.  I’d say this because I work very hard to build and nourish communities around myself and I know just how much bridge building and compromise goes into that.  By contrast, I’d say radicalism is pushing forward your ideals despite anyone else’s opposition and/or personal hardship.  I think community building and radicalism are two faces of the same coin, which is to say, both are absolutely necessary to achieving the whole of the world I want to live in, but they can never be one and the same.  You can’t even see both at the same time.

It’s a little strange really, because radicalism is so prized*, and because I hear flak for all things mundane when I brush up against radical circles, to realize I have consciously and intentionally chosen something else.  And there are some communities that are no longer worth building, but there are others where I can’t be the force of destruction because I want to be here to rebuild once the dust settles.  Which is curious because historically, the people I’ve loved, the people I’ve allowed most intimately into my life, are people who bring me closer to some truer, better, part of myself.  So it’s curious, perhaps, when these people are radicals.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a bit recently about the origins of the blog, and about the different ways people find to live their ideals.  2013 has proven itself to be a year of change, I’m curious to see what comes next.

*If you don’t prize radicalism consider this: we needed the Boston Tea Party, we needed Suffragettes and hunger strikes, we needed the labor movement and the Letter from a Birmingham Jail. All of these things were radical, and all of them shaped the world we take for granted now.

Written by kinkinexile

May 9, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Posted in headspace

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