In These Times - July 2021

James Baldwin once urged activists and revolutionaries to demand the impossible. We must not only demand the impossible — we must fight to make it real.

The following letter is written as if from the future, addressed to ourselves — the ancestors we will one day become. It is grounded in the goals of Black liberation, which we view as a quest for human liberation, and it dares to imagine a world beyond racial monopoly capitalism, heteropatriarchy, war and colonialism.

This letter is not intended as a manifesto or a pie in the sky, but as a small glimpse of impossible possibility.

Dear Ancestors,

We write to you from the east coast of Turtle Island. The landscape and built environment look different now. You would not even recognize it. There are accessibility paths and green areas everywhere. The earth can breathe and everyone can move freely, no matter how they move.

We want you to know first and foremost that you are with us every day. Your presence permeates the new history books we have written, but more importantly, we pay tribute to you in the ways in which we are repairing and acting as stewards of the land, the rivers, the birds and the wildlife. Your beauty flows through the clean skies and waterways— luxuries you were denied in your time. We have many holidays and celebrations where we remember and honor you. August 10 is Pueblo Revolt Day. December 13 is Ella Baker Day. (Just two examples.)

After discussion, debate, reflection and compromise, we have begun to develop new systems and ways of being together that reflect our shared goals and values.

The challenge we tackled, which so many of our ancestors fought for, is education. For our new society, education goes beyond the ​“schoolhouse” and the ​“campus.” And there are no barriers that exclude anyone from learning. Teaching and learning go on everywhere, with billboards, songs and television commercials that teach, rather than sell. And rather than excluding anyone from education, or labeling some of our precious children ​“smart” and others ​“not smart,” we recognize all are geniuses. It is the job of learning coaches and co-learners to help them find that genius — and to apply it to the needs of the community and society.

And guess what? We no longer work 10 or 12 hours a day. So many of you worked day and night just to survive. We know about struggles like the ​“Fight for 15” and the fight for the eight-hour day. But now we work less and live more. The technology that was previously deployed in service of profit, creating obscene amounts of individual wealth, now saves us time that we invest in ourselves and one another and the planet.

Plumbers are dancers. Transport workers are poets. Doctors are potters. ...

Read full letter at In These Times