By H.S. Gill
Despair has come over me in the last few years. Normally this manifests itself as exhaustion and frustration. To understand it this time, though, you’d have to understand that the last few years haven’t been so good to my family.
My dad lost his job a few years ago, and from there, we lost our house on Christmas of 2009. We had an emotional conversation about what it means to lose a home, the place where we played soccer in the hallways, and the windows, the ones we snuck into after staying out too late before mom could catch us. This loss of home and income, class, and most importantly to some, status, all led to some pretty serious depressive symptoms that have lasting impacts on a family. Some would de-politicize the moment and say ‘life is about more than politics,’ or some vague sentence about how this is ‘real life not politics.’ But that can’t be further from the truth. These moments are the key reminder that capitalism exists in our daily lives and isn’t just beyond the walls of our homes or in our theory texts. It’s in our workplaces, our schools, and unfortunately, our social relationships. That is to say, capitalism has a way of not just stealing your labor as Marx taught us, but also stealing your spirit and meaning, and teaching us to treat each other in these ways as well; as my good friend and fellow anarchist Cindy Milstein reminds me.
This may seem a bit too personal for some, but context is necessary to explain why the #occupywallstreet movement is so important, or, as Naomi Klein said from Liberty Plaza last night,“it’s the most important thing in the world right now.” You see, for a family of 6 with me as the only working member, we live in hopes of increased social spending. We live in fear of cuts to medicare and Medicaid, which our family utilizes. We are terrified of cuts to disability entitlements, to the rising cost of “public” colleges my siblings attend, and the never-ending nickel and diming of working class people. And personally, I’m terrified of the look of despair on my own mother’s face and the tears that accompany her prayers as I continue to wish I could do more to help.