“… keep going. We are in this together.”
From Niki Ruggiero
Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you turn on the news? Or look at social media? Or look out the window? Everything is awful, it’s getting worse, and mainstream liberals keep telling us if we just drive a Prius, or bring our own bags to the store, or “lean in” we can be part of the change we hope to see in the world.
It’s lies. All lies. We cannot buy our way out of this mess. Our individual actions are not to blame for the systemic crumbling of our freedoms and the ravaging of our planet. Large corporations engage in and promote the very things that we are being asked to manage. We are told to reduce/reuse/recycle; corporations continue to make things disposable, unfixable, and wrapped in wasteful packaging. We are told to eat more veggies, but our soil is poisoned, as is our water; food “deserts” are very real; and ingredients companies know are toxic are included in our food. We are told to drive less, but car companies refuse to decrease gas consumption in vehicles, oil companies get massive tax breaks, and few cities are developing true community-wide public transportation systems. And so on.
But we cannot just throw all efforts into the wind and stop giving a fuck. We still have our individual agency. Sure, not all of us can be Rhyd Wildermuth or Dr. Conjure. Where does one begin? If you’re reading Gods & Radicals, you’re likely ten steps ahead of most people. We all started somewhere. One step led us to another and another.
I didn’t always identify as an anti-capitalist. I still don’t feel like I’m doing enough to make positive change in this world. Yet, I look back at my life and I realize that the small steps I took led to bigger steps, and that this is possible for the people in our lives who might not yet identify as radical.
Below are a list of actions and choices that can lead to other steps. Some of these are relevant to some people, some are out of reach for others. Some of us do some of these things out of necessity, for others certain of these items might be life changing. This is not a complete list, but there is no complete list. As we saw with the popularity of Rhyd’s magical article “Garlic Bread of the Revolution,” there is a strong desire among us to begin where we are. Below is an incomplete list of ways to inspire you to begin!
Read new literature – explore writers from other parts of the world; ask your favorite writers who they read
Use and support libraries
Walk/bike/utilize and support public transportation
Own less stuff
Share tools/start a tool library
Buy what you can locally
Homeschool/Unschool and/or support alternative forms of education in your community
Get healthy and strong, inside and out
Find help for your trauma
Join a mutual support group
Learn to shoot
Learn a martial art
Use cloth menstrual products and/or menstrual cup
Use cloth diapers
Homebirth and/or support midwives
Babysit for a working family/babysit for meetings so working families can attend
Use cloth toilet paper
Grow your own food
Support Community Supported Agriculture/utilize or support community gardens
Work for equitable housing
Host a clothing swap
Make your own beauty supplies
Learn first aid
Make your own food
Teach someone to cook
Support trans rights and inclusion
Support Black Lives Matter
Support prison abolition
Support the demilitarization of our police forces
Support indigenous rights and decolonization
Support disability rights
Practice polytheism, Paganism, witchcraft – remember that other religions also have radical communities within them
Cast spells for the overthrow of oppressive systems
Cast spells for liberation
Cast spells for the protection of people on the front lines
Cast spells for the protection of people supporting those on the front lines
Network with other like-minded folk, especially those engaged in projects different from yours
Engage in mutual aid whenever possible
Amplify voices that might not otherwise be heard
Be quiet and listen to voices that are different from your own
Judge less, practice more
If you have, GIVE
If you need, ASK
Many of these things do not look radical at all. Plenty of non-radical people do some of these things. Engage those people, because they are one step closer to being radical than they (or you) might think.
Most important of all: get rid of “all or nothing” thinking and start where you are. For those of you doing a few, some, most, or all of these things: keep going. We are in this together.
Niki Whiting Ruggiero
is a witch, polytheist, and mother of three.