“Gonzo Notes” is Kit’s newsletter of political analysis and direct action tips.
Cynicism and hope for 2018
2017 was a challenging year, but one that was actually rewarding on a personal level.
I began the year by losing my job at MintPress News, but by the end of the 2017 I’d accepted a position as editor of Ministry of Hemp, a niche media site that’s still in its early stages but rapidly growing into a respected voice.
I started Gonzo Notes in late 2016, and during 2017 it reached many new people and became an important part of my monthly output. One issue, “What Are The Antifa Doing After Harvey?” was quoted internationally. My writing career continues to grow more rewarding in all kinds of ways, especially in the feedback and support I get from my readers.
In March I was attacked by a violent fascist which landed me in the hospital overnight. This low point in the year led me to begin a fitness journey in the hopes of being better able to defend myself (or at least better able to run like hell), and 9 months later I’m faster, stronger, and in better shape than I’ve been in at least a decade, maybe ever.
(I’m also still facing a misdemeanor assault charge from this incident. I have pro-bono legal support but some other associated expenses, including the possibility of missed work when the case goes to trial. Please donate to support me through this legal battle if you can.)
I write about my personal life a lot less than I once did, but I’m entering the third year of a loving relationship that’s passionate, comfortable, and challenging all at once.
And my collaboration with Oh Shit! What Now? collective, now just over a year old too, is a beautiful space for activist education that feels sustainable in a way that many other forms of organizing work do not. When the Leftist firing squad starts shooting, I love that ultimately I’m only accountable to the 4 other members of our group.
All this aside, last year was dire and 2018 seems intent on galloping into the abyss as Trump tweets about his nuclear dick while the rest of us wonder where we can ‘duck and cover’ when the shooting starts. Here are a few rather cynical predictions for the year ahead:
Donald Trump will not be removed from office.
More bad bills will become law.
While we may or may not see large-scale “Unite The Right”-style rallies (the nazis seem more interested in flash mob photo ops these days), we will see the continued normalization of fascism and increasingly overt white supremacy within our political system and culture.
Even if the Democrats gain big with massive midterm election wins, we cannot count on them to roll back the horrors of this administration that will continue to kill impoverished and marginalized people. Instead, they’ll dribble out partial solutions while profiting from the same tax breaks and cuts created under 45.
We won’t see the revolution come in 2018, and we’re, basically, on our own.
I’d love to be proven wrong on any of these. At the same time, it only seems sensible to approach this year with the assumption that Trump will continue to dismantle the infrastructure of our country and that the places we’re told to turn to for justice will fail us.
I don’t always feel hopeless, though. If we’re on our own, that means we can do the lengthy, difficult work of building power together. We can deepen our connections and begin to form something new alongside the broken way we do things now.
And when do choose to influence the existing power structures, we’ll know that we must take what’s ours, rather than simply ask (or even demand).
Our goals — clean air and water, the right for all people to not just exist in peace but to thrive, and to have everything they need to do it — all this already belongs to us, by rights, as human beings.
We have to stop talking about what we deserve to achieve “if we work hard.” Simply because we exist, we deserve to enjoy long, healthy, happy lives.
Trump is a horror in so many ways, but he’s beautifully effective at illustrating how what we thought was “the rule of law” was really more like a gentlemen’s agreement among some rich people. And we can take advantage of that by forging a new agreement.
Let 2018 mark a beginning, where we start the long work of creating new societies. This year, I want to engage my imagination again in my organizing and my writing. I want to imagine possibility, not just work to stop the bleeding.
Keep punching nazis, but it’s time to reclaim all the space that they think belongs to them: not just the streets, but our mental landscape as well.
That’s where we’ll plant the seeds of something better.
“We should be looking at different ways we can spread our vision and help people expand their imaginations. That’s one of the functions of fascists is to make us have to concern ourselves so much with their small-mindedness that our imaginations also shrink.” — CRIMETHINC. COLLECTIVE MEMBER, “2017: BATTLES WE’VE FACED, THE PATH AHEAD” FROM IT’S GOING DOWN
Gonzo action tips
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Beyond The Dumpster Fire: Political Predictions For 2018 by Kit O’Connell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://kitoconnell.com/2018/01/06/political-predictions-for-2018/.