Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My questions of the summer

Here are some questions I have personally or I have come across and have been unable to answer very well:

Why am I having such a hard time identifying new people who are open to fighting for real change?

Why is it so hard for me to plan ahead? Why does it feel like I'm just living day by day?

And some BIG questions:

- How do we know that what we are doing is fundamentally changing the system or is it just reform?
- How do I know if I am going in the right direction?
- Why is it every time I find myself doing things by myself; how can I change this concretely?

Dinner conversation

Had dinner tonight with a few people in Chinatown. A few things KB said made us kind of nod in recognition:

You're not organizing if at the end of it, you're burnt out.

If you don't have education, if you don't have a right hand, you can find people who do. They can fill that role. If you're too smart, it shuts everyone out.

There are two models: one is to "empower" people you think are stupid or incapable, play god. Give them "power." The other is to "unleash" people's true power. To organize the undocumented, women, un-educated. The ones everyone looks down on. Which is organizing?

Things to think about...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Small thoughts

Two unexpected weekends in a row...

Last weekend, we went to the beach when SF got an unexpected day off from work. It was nice to spend a day together, after a long stretch of only seeing each other for a few sleepy hours a day.

But where is my life going?

This weekend, many poorly laid plans fell through and I am home feeling a little relieved and a little empty.

I did some gardening, which gave me a sense of both accomplishment and dread. Accomplishment from the beautiful little globes hanging where flowers used to be, dread because I don't know what to do with the dirt once we move in December.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Weekend with my bro

My brother came to visit over the Memorial Day Weekend, and it was an action-packed weekend, now that I think back on it:

Lunch at Cha-An Tea House 230 E 9th St.

Shopping and browsing in Lower Manhattan.
No picture available :(

Coney Island,
where Y is being burried alive... slowly...

niku-jaga, ohitashi.

Protest at Kawa Sushi Restaurant

It was a blast though!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On Practice 2

Today, X said to me and V (and U and Z and C were also sitting around the table as usual), "So many young people try to do things one way and when it doesn't work, they get depressed." I thought about a lot of young people and I noticed a few things...

Like E, for example. If E would only zoom out for a second she would see how ridiculous she is. Everyone can see that E has been provided for and spoon-fed for most of her life. She has been given so much attention from her family that she has come to expect this even of others. Every time someone comes to me with a new story about E, I am reminded that what we do is not for the purpose of building an extended family of people who will buy us presents, call us when we are lonely, entertain us. It is to identify and develop fellow fighters in the struggle to win against the enemy.

Or like F, who thinks that his main problem is that he doesn't know how to deal with people who are different. Even before the "dealing" part, he doesn't admit that he doesn't even know anything about these people, how they think, what motivates them, etc. He looks down on them, thinks he has them figured out, and they (being sophisticated animals) do something unscripted. They deviate from the ideal, the ideal being progressive, open-minded and selfless. I too used to think l.....s were just blood-sucking parasites, but they're actually very good at what they do. And I realized that I have a lot to learn from them.

Finally G. She thinks she is only being used, but doesn't see how this is not pure. Of course people want to use you if you are useful, and of course it's no use to be useless, but in the middle of that desire to use you is there not some kernel of a desire to find truth in you as well? Being among the almost totally useless people myself, it's hard to relate to G sometimes. But I can imagine what she is going through, how overwhelming it might be, how hard it might be to quickly seize opportunities and be creative. But isn't that the whole point? Again, I've never been a very creative person, but I do like to be near those people who are always finding new things to try and new ways to solve old problems.

Today I am reminded that I need to zoom out, know that I don't know, and find people who have fresh ideas. And not get depressed when my ideas inevitably don't work out.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Social Security Will Dry Up in 2037

According to NY Times I will be 53 years old when Social Security runs dry. EXcellent....

And yet it doesn't seem like people are working any less. In fact right now a lot of undocumented workers are being exploited to the point where miscarriages and stress-induced cancers are not uncommon. Many work two people's jobs and get paid half - some even pay to work. What if all these people got paid the legal minimum (or - gasp! - enough to survive) and what if they weren't criminalized so that they could actually pay income taxes (they already pay sales tax) and become citizens? Then there would be more than enough tax revenue for Social Security and more than enough jobs for workers born in the US... But then we wouldn't have slaves to wash our dishes anymore. Gosh, I just can't decide which is better!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

coming to the end of my third month of unemployment

Since returning to NYC in March, I've been accompanied by a strange cough that gets worse when I lie down. I was really sick at the top of the month, and had to fight it down in order to dance at the lunar new year celebration.

Because of the rest I forced onto myself, I got into the habit of staying home more, which is both a downer and also allows me to do a lot of historical and theoretical study on my own. I feel that this is where my main interest lies right now, to be honest.

Lately, whenever I try to work with TW especially I feel a lot of resentment on both sides and it's not great. I need to learn how to work in a team and solve problems. So why am I studying right now instead of going out into the work-force??

I want to take advantage of unemployment to work on my communication skills, and also to deepen my understanding of what we are building towards. In order to work as a teammate, I need to resolve my conscious and subconscious disagreements regarding the direction of our work. This is the most important issue, but of course it cannot be done in complete isolation. That's why I continue to stay involved, while I try to develop my self through self-analysis and self-criticism.