By Cory for Boston Compass (#130)
December 10, 2020
How are you doing?
Are you having difficulty going outdoors or talking to people? Frequently flooded by despair and acid reflux? Do you want so much more than your dehydrated mind can provide right now?
I'm not selling vitamins, I'm projecting.
My name's Cory and I'm an artist and activist working with Extinction Rebellion Boston ("XR"). We're a climate change resistance movement focused on environmental justice, curbing ecological destruction, and building a global rebellion to force government action on these issues.
Climate change news is... really not getting better. On top of everything else going on right now, that's mind-breaking. Some days I can't do anything, including sleep. It's very hard to do resistance work when my own needs are unmet like this. "Motivation is for well people" is kind of a bullshit idea, but there's some truth in it too...
My personal wellness feels strongly linked to global problems. At the risk of sounding like Arwen from Lord of the Rings, the worse the world at large is doing, the worse I feel. "My fate is tied to the international fossil fuel power ring..." etc. Being aware of systemic, enviro-social destruction is part of the overwhelm, but so is my level of participation. If I'm not taking part in social resistance, I feel alone and terrified. Yet, starting to do something - organizing with neighbors, protesting outside, making flyers - feels impossible when I don't have energy to start from.
A good friend of mine once told me that resistance needs to be practiced, especially the breaking the rules part. The little act of putting up a sticker, for example, exercises your rebellion muscles. We need widespread social revolution to avert climate catastrophe, but in this way, small moments like stickering can be just as important as giant marches. It's hard to imagine bigger resistance when you're afraid to "deface public property." And I am, honestly.
Stickering, wheatpasting, tagging, and even chalk art take back public space visually. They communicate solidarity, information, and will in eye-catching ways that people notice. After all these months trapped inside my house like it's Shelob's fucking lair while the world burns, I'm MAD. And I have a right to be! And you do too! One way to validate that anger is to make public art that doesn't ask permission to be there.
"It's a dangerous business, going out your front door..." The 1% that rules us all should start worrying.
In love and rage,