We discover complete freedom in full solidarity with ourselves, others and the natural world, and use direct action and mutual aid to grow our capacity for solidarity. Direct action means that we take collective action to assist one another and our neighbors without handing our power to a middle person (politicians, police, clergy, lawyers, etc.). Mutual aid is a voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources for mutual benefit.
Capitalism produces material conditions that dismantle our interbeing as a species. The economic system produces ‘subject-object consciousness’ where people and the natural world are seen as a means to an end (ever increasing value to the owners of the means of production) instead of ends in themselves, and all natural relationships become relationships between things. It is impossible to navigate spiritual life without understanding how the material conditions reproduce every aspect of our life together as a species.
Chad Kautzer received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Stony Brook University, New York in 2008, after periods of study in Frankfurt, Germany. Before joining Lehigh’s faculty in 2016, he was Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Social Justice Minor at the University of Colorado Denver and a Visiting Research Scholar at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in 2015/16. He is the author of Radical Philosophy: An Introduction (pdf).
Practice ideas for growing into solidarity
Practice: When people ask us for help, we use direct action to assist. We first seek to understand the problem and then come up with a concrete, winnable goal. We then plan an escalating series of direct actions to achieve the goal.
Here are some examples:
- A restaurant worker in our circle is cheated out of wages for overtime work. After talking with the worker, we decide that it is a winnable goal to obtain the overtime wages. We decide to collectively deliver a letter to the boss that clearly explains our demand and provides a deadline. If the deadline passes, we start a series of protests outside the restaurant during the height of business.
- A trans* woman high school student approaches the circle about being bullied. After talking with her, we decide that it is a winnable goal to end the bullying. We collectively decide to deliver a letter to the bully asking him to stop. If the bullying continues, we start a series of protests outside the bullies home and speak with his parents on the front lawn. In addition, we go with the transgender student to the school administration to obtain the assistance she needs and request to do a workshop at the school on queer lives.
- We work within mass movements in order to contribute towards their power, always working towards the development of an autonomous class consciousness, capacity, and solidarity. Participating in mass struggle builds the capacity to take direct action and shift power relations. It allows us to experience collective power through struggle.
Practice: All of the money donated and raised for Three Souls creates our mutual aid fund. This money is available to assist people in need in our circle and beyond. Funds could be used to help a trans* person with gender reassignment surgery not covered by insurance or someone in need of a rental deposit.
Hegemony describes how powerful interests and institutions don’t just rule society with coercion and violence, but also define society’s norms through a dominant culture. The multifaceted, intergenerational cultural process limits the terms of the debate to make ideas that challenge the status quo almost unthinkable. These resources from radical philosophy, queer theory, and solidarity organizing breakdown this hegemony and provide us with the ability to see clearly and organize strategically. They also provide the analysis to understand how capitalism, white supremacy and heteropatriarchy limit our ability to live fully in our soul.
- The Anti-Fascist Handbook by Mark Bray
- Ur-Fascsim by Umberto Ecco
- American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America by Chris Hedges
- Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Nancy Maclean
- Prison Notebooks by Antonio Gramsci
Antiracism and the Whiteness Problem
- Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy (pdf) by Andrea Smith
- Radical Philosophy: An Introduction (PDF version) by Chad Kautzer
- Marx’s Concept to the Alternative to Capitalism (PDF version) by Peter Hudis
- Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
- The Human Condition (pdf) by Hannah Arendt
- Queer Dialectics/Feminist Interventions: Harry Hay & The Quest for a Revolutionary Politics by Bettina Aptheker
- Toward New Frontiers of Fairy Vision – subject-SUBJECT Consciousness by Harry Hay
- How Harry Hay Could Save Us by Buffy Akaash
- Our Third Gender Responsibilities by Harry Hay
- Anarchy, RFD Magazine
- Direct Action / Stonewall 50, RFD Magazine
- I’m Migration, RFD Magazine
- Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture by Arthur Evans
- Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele (An amazing introduction to queer theory)
- Anarchism & Sexuality: Ethics, Relationships and Power by Jamie Heckert, Richard Cleminson (PDF Version)
- Queering Anarchism: Addressing and Undressing Power and Desire, C. B. Daring (Editor); J. Rogue (Editor); Deric Shannon (Editor); Abbey Volcano(Editor); Martha Ackelsberg (Foreword) (PDF Version)
- Resisting Orientation: On the Complexities of Desire and the Limits of Identity Politics by Jamie Heckert
- Build Your Own Solidarity Network by The Seattle Solidarity Network
- Re:Imagining Change: How to Use Story-based Strategy to Win Campaigns, Build Movements, and Change the World (pdf) by Doyle Canning and Patrick Reinsborough
- 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action by Albert Einstein Institution
- Joyful Militancy: Building Thriving Resistance in Toxic Times by Nick Montgomery and carla bergman
- Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by adrienne maree brown
- 10 great films about queer activism
- How to Fight a Plague by David France
- Pride by British Broadcasting Company