Building community is an artistic revolutionary process. We are gathering a collective consciousness to resist a society that enables and fosters individualism, competition, consumerism, violence against vulnerable people, and unfair punishment. We are not born educated nor with the skills to combat a capitalist culture conditioning people to hate themselves and work hard to realize that we are not part of the 1% but part of the 99%.
Those percentages echoed throughout the recent “Occupation” movement and I think that is what that movement inspired in people: to build community with the 99% the percentage that most if not all people are part of. Most of us work, do not own property, and continue to pay bills- we belong to the majority working-class community. In this individualized encouraged culture we forget what is community. The term “community” is thrown around loosely without a full understanding or we are given a vague definition without allowing us to define what community means to us.
What does community mean to you? How do we build community in an anti-community world?
In a general perspective the term community means to come together as a unit, as one. Usually, people in a community share same values; people are guided by collective principles of unity to function together for the betterment of all. It sounds practical in theory but in practice we do not have that because our U.S. culture operates by labels and segregation. Most of us were not born in this country or are first, second, or third generation. There is also a myriad of different cultures, which is the beauty of this society but labels such as: illegal, terrorist, criminal constantly attack people due to racist business as usual mentality of the current culture. Therefore, we live in fear, fearing our neighbor and one another. This is not healthy as stress, anxiety, and depression begin to affect people; instead of living a confident supported life style.
I think bell hooks said it best when it comes to framing community: “choosing love we also choose to live in community and that means we do not have to change by ourselves.. the moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom.” Let’s choose to build community in an anti-community world and that can be as simple as saying hello to your neighbor, helping a friend with a project, creating a community garden, being part of a collective in your community. As much as we can build community is how much we are resisting the systems of oppression that keeps us separated. It is hard work but if our ant friends can do it we can too!