Doing Truth When the World Is Upside Down

As I was doing more research about truthsgiving, I came upon this beautiful statement by my good friend Ronnie James. As it says on the TRUTHSGIVING The Truth Will Not Be Whitewashed website, Ronnie is an Indigenous organizer and activist in the Mutual Aid tradition in central Iowa.

To walk a path of Doing The Truth is a battle with a very young culture. Telling the truth is comparably easy, we have our oral histories, art and traditions created and carried on, histories printed by those that found a way to the presses. We can recount the stories and lessons that survived colonialism.

But to do the truth, to live a life that enforces what we once had, a life and culture that made a millennia of humanity possible to thrive, is to be at war with what has defined and destroyed this world for too long.

We, those that conspire to live the truth, have chosen to honor our histories of cooperation. We know, with all that we have, that a world of competition and conquest is the opposite of how we gained the knowledges that propelled our abilities to create the sciences and the art and architecture of beautiful societies that our ancestors built, and we draw our strength from that to continue, to create, a world our future generations can thrive in.

It has only been a very short time that the world has been this way, which is the proof that it doesn’t have to stay this way.

Ronnie James is an Indigenous organizer and activist in the Mutual Aid tradition in central Iowa.


Photo: Jeff Kisling

Photo: Jeff Kisling

I was truly blessed to meet Ronnie a couple of years ago. It was the Spirit that led to our meeting. He came to a vigil we were holding related to the Wet’suwet’en peoples, who have been working tirelessly to prevent the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline through their pristine territory in British Columbia.



Since that time, he has patiently mentored me about Mutual Aid. That now includes my participation in Des Moines Mutual Aid’s weekly food giveaway, the Saturday Panther Pantry. That is in reference to the Black Panther Party that originated the Free Breakfast Program in 1970 in Des Moines and other cities. I have only missed showing up for our food giveaway a couple of times over the past two years. I agree with the sentiment I’ve heard from my comrades, that these Saturday mornings are the highlight of our week.

So, I work with a dope crew called Des Moines Mutual Aid, and on Saturday mornings we do a food giveaway program that was started by the Panthers as their free breakfast program and has carried on to this day. Anyways, brag, brag, blah, blah.

So, I get to work, and I need to call my boss, who is also a very good old friend, because there is network issues. He remembers and asks about the food giveaway which is cool and I tell him blah blah it went really well. And then he’s like, “hey, if no one tells you, I’m very proud of what you do for the community” and I’m like “hold on hold on. Just realize that everything I do is to further the replacing of the state and destroying western civilization and any remnants of it for future generations.” He says “I know and love that. Carry on.”

Ronnie James

Doing Truth

I love the title of Ronnie’s post above, Doing Truth When the World Is Upside Down.

I’m so frustrated with how much time and effort is spent talking about problems without determining correct solutions. And/or wasting time trying to implement incorrect solutions. Instead of “Doing the Truth.”

Mutual Aid is a framework that can guide us “to walk a path of Doing the Truth.”

Mutual Aid is a framework that can guide us “to walk a path of Doing the Truth.”

As a person of faith, I look for spiritual guidance for my work. But this has been consistent with Mutual Aid as a framework for doing justice work.

“Mutual Aid is not only a tool of survival, but also a tool of revolution.”

I’ve written about my Mutual Aid experiences here: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/mutual-aid/

Des Moines Mutual Aid that Ronnie and I are part of is a member of the Truthsgiving Collective. https://www.truthsgiving.org/



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