Greed for All
Freedom will not be built on a politics of self-sacrifice. Instead of desiring less, we should become greedier for each other. In fact, we haven’t been stealing nearly enough.
We are constantly told to have less. That the virtuous work hard and go without. As a girl, I am told I am too much, that I need to eat less, drink less, fuck less, be less full of love and less full of hate. That if only I shrank my desires I too could be virtuous, good, pure, or at the very least not a fat hysterical slut full of silly anger. As members of L.A. ONDA write in the journal Hostis, “We’ve been told to live with less and less by not only Green Capital, but by the Church, by our liberal ‘friends,’ and even by fellow comrades.” And we’re fucking mad about it.
Our enemies want us to sacrifice and suffer. They have made themselves appear so total we almost start to believe not only that we deserve to have less, but we should willingly choose to give things up. Even comrades with the best intentions often espouse the virtue of asceticism.
Like the vegan straight edge punk boys I thought were sexy as a teen. They were so skinny, as if they were trying to keep their bodies pure for ‘The Rev’ they were sure would come any day now. They told me to make myself smaller, too. Or they didn’t say it outright, but they told me how good it felt to deprive yourself of the simple joys we find in this hell world – smoking, drinking, biscuits and gravy, pink sparkles and plastic tiaras. And they were older, and smarter, and more committed to this thing we call struggle. So, I talked less, pretended I knew less, and didn’t tell them I cooked all my food in butter.
Their position is understandable, of course. In a world where all joy that is not commodified is repressed, often violently, even I have to remind myself there are other ways to fight than sacrificing what us joy. There are times I feel the inevitability of the State projected so deeply into my body that I can’t imagine anything better than getting new bruises before my last ones fade. When all we can imagine is endless struggle without a chance of survival, it’s easy to think the best we can do is live the lives of tiny martyrs, hurting ourselves and each other, giving up more and more.