This text in four acts pushes questions forward about the relationship between the political obsessions of our times, the rising extremism worldwide, and the emotional attention required to give courage to each other in order to unearth possibilities beyond polarization. A queer journey like a hymn of desecration.
Right before the tragic political events bending the nascent re-democratization of Brazil. A social justice activist and anarchist from Perú, beloved kin of mine, told me how she has been accused of being a Terruca—a terrorist a few years before, after occupying a park in Lima that was destined to become a highway.
The accusations came after the leftist president Castillo—impeached for the third time by the right wing, and who she denounced publicly—tried to overthrow the government and take unilateral control of it.
Right-wingers accuse left-wingers of being terrorists, that’s the narrative they carry on, she told me, but when the left itself becomes totalitarian, it means that politics have been completely vampirized by their potential as tools of LIBERATION.
When I asked if there was something I could do to make her feel better, she replied that she didn’t want to feel ”better," anyway.
It’s okay to be enraged and furious and sad and while feeling all of this sorrow; still feeling joy, she said.
I couldn’t help myself from comparing another form of the abuse of power, which time had simultaneously brought to my attention.
A few days before, on another channel of communication, I was called out by an acquaintance of mine from Berlin after I sarcastically referenced the attempted and heavily conspiratorial coup to the German government by the far-right extremist group Patriotic Union.
I am so in shock. Fascism has never felt so close to me, she confessed. This is nothing to make fun of.
The shock, for me, was to witness her blind faith in the state. The looming energy crisis, growing political violence, the aggravation of inequality, and cultural paralysis are all signs of the blazing decline of the political West.
Where democracy is weaponized as the system opposite to totalitarianism without coming to terms with the capital's ongoing project of deepening social divisions, autocracy is a capillary inoculated in our daily life, confusing errancy and chaos for something to be afraid of and fight against.
Coming from a country—Italy—where nationalism coated by serendipity is the only way of existing in a community, I had a deep admiration for my friend from Perú, who was bravely looking at the consequences of democracy in a country stripped by racial capitalism from both history and perspective.
Someone grows into this state of things: where the alternatives are suppressed even before manifesting, where justice is a raped practice, and yet, sees that possibilities exist. Someone else instead trusts stability and consensus and is surprised when it is endangered and frail, yet does not ask the fatal question of co-responsibility in the ideological banality of extremism.
But how to grow transnational empathy among those sheltered and those always under attack, beyond lukewarm and financial-driven solidarity? How to ask someone soaked in imperial privilege to go beyond their power-informed story and see the broader picture?
The peril of entrusting national states is high in the spirit of this time.
Times where democracy is no longer aligned with wealth; where capital is mingling with fascism.
Times of dealignment.
Every time I see you
I crash into a state of trance.
My whole mind-body complex gets hypersensitive,
ready to be receptive to the signals you will send me.
When you get closer,
Moving is like swimming in waves of electricity. When I inhale,
my lungs jolt.
When I Think about you it is like evoking ghosts that will haunt me and what will come after.
But I won't stop to desire
from the violence it can provoke.
Your sole body, endangered by hate
and an immense source of love,
Is the medium through which I want us
The drive that moves me is pulling from within but it’s a gift of yours.
It is for you
that I would disobey
family, and the algorithm.
I am denying everything for this horizon of possibility you represent.
In times of collective pulverization,
In times of grief, your maniness is the militancy we are destined to initiate.
You taught me that to be a nonreducible complexity
is to occur into violation by those with faith in unification, those who get together as one,
The purpose you gave me is that of never committing to established roles.
But I run toward you in plain sight,
in the fog of vagueness,
corridors and dance floors,
bars as stages
and bathrooms for fabulation,
so everyone can see that I am not ashamed
to give you my devotion.
As an epiphany, last night, Patty Hearst appeared in my dreams. For those of you who don't know her biography, she was a 19 year-old heiress of a media empire when, in the ‘50s, she was kidnapped by the first ultra-far-leftist group in the US, the ”Symbionese Liberation Army.“
In their manifesto, the SLA articulates the etymology of the name ”Symbionese,“, taken from the word symbiosis, which they defined as a body of dissimilar bodies in deep and loving harmony and partnership.
The Symbionese Liberation Army intended for political symbiosis to encompass the unity of all left-wing struggles: feminist, intersectional, anti-racist, and anti-capitalist, to fight and live together peacefully in a united front.
In the name of an infected symbiosis, the group committed several murders and bank robberies.
Nonetheless, after her kidnap, Patty Hearst, maybe being forced into or fascinated by this entanglement of idealism propelled by violence, repudiated the prestige of her family by joining the organization, becoming an international criminal.
Her story made me think about an infamous question: if what is right is the profit of the fittest, and the fittest is a murderer and an extremist, and the fittest suffer amnesia and have forgotten other ways to be right if not by imposing segregation and pain, how can criminality be reclaimed as a mode to question care and power?
In The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels demanded that all the fixed and frozen relations, with their strings of ancient and venerable prejudices, need to be swept away.
And enlarging these questions is what we should do:
PER NON-ESSERE CONFORMI E SIMPATIZZARE CON LA DISOBBEDIENZA
When I didn’t expect it from you, you told me something important: we need to be stupidly optimistic in the face of despair, and keep dreaming big and dangerously.
We need to keep being stubborn in this feeling. There is nothing stupid in it, I added.
I wish for all my lovers to be messengers of hope beyond the fluids involved. To substitute fragile attachment for immense courage. I wish more often we could feel obsessed with complicity, pursuing a complicit love.
From you, I inherited the promise of creating spaces of micro-emancipation by breaking piece after piece of the systems of beliefs into which we have been forced.
The Leviathan is our pet while we find ceremonies to invoke our demons.
But if humans are to be venerated as storytelling animals, we should forget the metaphors in dreams, forget the plot and aimlessly create the forms we cherish, pushing the disequilibration of the global order to finally see how it operates.
Addicted to the strange joy of new
Orienting power toward empowerment
We will want
This text was originally written for a spoken word performance as part of the DAI (Dutch Art Institute) program 2022/2024 in Nida Colony, Lithuania.