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Martin Luther King and Capitalism

Whenever I try to talk about the necessity of rejecting capitalism, people don’t seem to even comprehend what that means. Why it must happen. When I asked Ronnie, my Mutual Aid mentor about this, he said he’s been having that experience for the twenty years he’s been an activist. He said that was because people hadn’t experienced the collapse of capitalism in their lives, yet. I believe he’s right. Unfortunately, that is changing as the capitalist economy is collapsing. Yet another reason to form more Mutual Aid communities.

I’m of the firm opinion that a system that was built by stolen bodies on stolen land for the benefit of a few is a system that is not repairable. It is operating as designed, and small changes (which are the result of huge efforts) to lessen the blow on those it was not designed for are merely half measures that can’t ever fully succeed.

So the question is now, where do we go from here? Do we continue to make incremental changes while the wealthy hoard more wealth and the climate crisis deepens, or do we do something drastic that has never been done before? Can we envision and create a world where a class war from above isn’t a reality anymore?”

Ronnie James, Des Moines Mutual Aid

I too have become fully convinced of the evils of capitalism. Moreover, I have come to the conclusion that my faith dictates that I work to replace it.

Fran Quigley, Director of the Health and Human Rights Clinic at Indiana University McKinney School of Law

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work was as much about economics and poverty, as it was about racial equality.


“I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic,” Martin Luther King admitted to Coretta Scott, concluding that “capitalism has outlived its usefulness.”

Speaking at a staff retreat of the SCLC in 1966, King said that “something is wrong … with capitalism” and “there must be a better distribution of wealth” in the country. “Maybe,” he suggested, “America must move toward a democratic socialism.”

For King, the only solution to America’s crisis of poverty was the redistribution of wealth. In a 1961 speech to the Negro American Labor Council, King declared, “Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children.”

The Forgotten Socialist History of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Matthew Miles Goodrich, In These Times, January 16, 2023


Again, we have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that Capitalism grew and prospered out of the protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifice, the fact is that Capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor both black and white, both here and abroad. If Negroes and poor whites do not participate in the free flow of wealth within our economy, they will forever be poor, giving their energies, their talents and their limited funds to the consumer market but reaping few benefits and services in return.”

I wish that I could say that this is just a passing phase in the cycles of our nation’s life; certainly, times of war, times of reaction throughout the society but I suspect that we are now experiencing the coming to the surface of a triple prong sickness that has been lurking within our body politic from its very beginning. That is the sickness of racism, excessive materialism and militarism

The Three Evils of Society – Delivered at the National Conference on New Politics August 31, 1967, Chicago, Ill

“And one day we must ask the question, ‘Why are there forty million poor people in America? And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth.’ When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society…”

Excerpts from King’s speech “Where Do We Go From Here?” delivered at the 11th Annual SCLC Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, August 16, 1967

The title for this blog, Quakers and Religious Socialism, came from exchanges of messages with my friend Fran Quigley. The following was in response to my blog post, The Evil of Capitalism.  

This post of yours struck me close to home. I too have become fully convinced of the evils of capitalism. Moreover, I have come to the conclusion that my faith dictates that I work to replace it. Turns out I am far from alone, so I’ve been devoting much of my time this past year to the Religion and Socialism Committee of the DSA, www.religioussocialism.org .

And, as part of a book project on religious socialism, I have published several articles profiling activists from different faith and spiritual traditions who feel called to advocate for a socialist society.  (Examples, if you are interested: a Catholic socialist, a Jewish rabbi socialist, a Black Presbyterian minister socialist, a Liberation Theologian Lutheran minister/professor,  Muslim socialists , a Buddhist socialist and a Black Baptist minister socialist.  I also co-wrote with longtime Religion and Socialism activist Maxine Phillips a short, one-stop primer on the argument for Christian socialism: https://mphbooks.com/democratic-socialists/ )

I do not know of a definitive guide to Quaker socialism, but I know Bayard Rustin, Staughton Lynd, and AJ Muste (late-in-life switch to being a Friend) at various times identified as socialists, and there is a robust UK Quaker Socialist Society: https://quakersocialists.org.uk/  Willard Uphaus was a Christian socialist and pacifist Earlham alum, but it’s not clear to me if he was a Quaker: https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/willard-uphaus

Fran Quigley, director of the Health and Human Rights Clinic at Indiana University McKinney School of Law and a religioussocialism.org editorial team member


Des Moines Black Lives Matter/ Black Liberation
https://www.facebook.com/desmoinesblm

Early in our lifetimes, industry provided nearly full employment. Nearly every household had someone who was working, and bringing home a paycheck. All commerce was based on capitalism. Money was required for every transaction. Money was the only way to obtain goods and services.

Then with increasing automation, and moving jobs overseas for cheap labor, the unemployment rate began to increase. Soon millions of people no longer had the income needed to pay for goods and services. The numbers of those without jobs has increased dramatically from the economic impact of the COVID pandemic. Those without jobs have to rely on social safety nets, which often means people are living in poverty, at subsistent levels.

As a society we failed to address the loss of wages for millions of people who no longer had money, in a system that required money for everything–food, shelter, healthcare, etc.

It is clear to me that capitalism is an unjust, untenable system, when there is plenty of food in the grocery stores, but men, women and children are going hungry, living on the streets outside the store. There is no justification for this.

Conscientiously Object to Capitalism, Jeff Kisling, 12/4/2020


T-MAPs Section 3: Life Lessons and Personal Stories

This section goes more deeply into our personal experiences. I appreciate how the list of statements can evoke our responses and stories. Following the list of statements on each page, there is an open-ended text box to tell your stories related to those statements you chose.

I’m beginning to see how this can be very useful to share with someone else, or a group of people. These lists and responses provide a focused way to share our life lessons and personal stories with each other. That can begin by comparing which statements we checked on a given page with each other.

An example of the list of statements:



What Language do you use?

For years I’ve wondered if I would have been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum if that had been more commonly looked at when I was younger. I think of myself being a very spiritual person. My spirituality is a very important part of my mental health. And language is important because in my culture we don’t have good ways to express spirituality.
I have been learning a lot about settler colonialism from my Indigenous friends. While I continue to learn of all the ways I benefit from white superiority, life as a Quaker has meant many struggles against white dominance. At 18 years of age, I became a draft resister. I was led to live my life without a car for environmental reasons. I’ve spent the past decade working to protect the water, working against pipelines. I’ve found a home in my Mutual Aid community that works against systems of dominance and hierarchy.


Where we come from and how we tell stories about ourselves is so important. In this section we have a series of questions to help you think about your own personal story and find good language for it. Society has so many expectations and frameworks for understanding your life that might not fit at all, or might fit in some ways but not others. There is an incredible power in creating a personal narrative of your life that fits well for you.

This section has two parts – the first is on understanding your journey with mental health and emotional distress, and the second on social and cultural context as it informs mental health. If you don’t identify as someone who’s been through intense mental health struggles and and/or the diagnosis process, some of the questions in the first half might not feel like they apply – it’s fine to skip them. In the second half of this section, some of these questions might be new to you – you might not have thought a lot about your cultural or class background, for example – and that’s ok. Consider these questions a starting point for your explorations.

https://tmapscommunity.net/t-maps-section-3/

This is the PDF of my work on Section 3.


Creative Commons License

 T-MAPs is licensed by Jacks McNamara and Sascha DuBrul under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Martin Luther King and Mutual Aid

For the past three years my justice work has focused on Mutual Aid.
(See: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/mutual-aid/ )

On this Martin Luther King Day, I’m sharing some questions (queries) related to Mutual Aid. And photos I’ve taken of the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, DC.


Queries about Mutual Aid

  • How are we working to deal with existing chaos and preparing for further collapse?
  • Do we provide for everyone’?
  • What is our relationship with Mother Earth? Do we honor and conserve the resources we use?
  • What systems of dominance, of hierarchies are we involved in?
  • Do we work to ensure there aren’t hierarchies in our communities, in our relationships with all our relatives?
  • Do we have the courage to follow what the Spirit is saying to us? To not force those messages to conform to our existing beliefs and practices.
  • How do we connect with communities beyond our Quaker meetings? What are we learning about spiritual connections beyond our meetinghouses? Are we sharing these spiritual lessons with others?

Jeff Kisling


Mutual aid means something more specific than just “helping each other out.” It conscientizes people (makes them aware of social conditions) and mobilizes them for transformative mass action like protests, strikes, or boycotts. Furthermore, it is not sponsored by the state or by philanthropists. 

Mutual aid: material and spiritual by Abby Rampone, Call to Action, March 8, 2021

Activist and prison-industrial complex abolitionist Mariame Kaba celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by praising NU Community Not Cops and speaking to the importance of mutual aid and political organizing in Wednesday’s MLK Dream Week virtual keynote.

“Abolitionists have a lot to learn from Dr. King,” Kaba said. “If King were alive today… I have no doubt that what he would be addressing in our current historical moment is the violence and destruction of the prison-industrial complex.”

The prison-industrial complex abolition movement hinges on two key principles, Kaba explained: the belief that police perpetuate — not mitigate — harm and the practice of mutual aid. 

Mutual aid — or the extension of community-based assistance, services, funds and care with no requirements or expectations of the recipients — was a core tenant of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, she said. In order to provide boycotters a viable transportation alternative, the community coalesced to create an elaborate rideshare system and provide parking, funds and other forms of support. 

King also frequently spoke out against police brutality, Kaba said, adding that King was jailed 29 times during his lifetime for civil disobedience and related infractions. 

In her work, Kaba has focused on ending the racialized and gender-based institutions of violence, maintained by policing, prisons and surveillance. 

However, Kaba emphasized, prison abolition is more than just the dissolution of what she calls “death-making institutions.” A crucial piece is rebuilding a system that celebrates the flipside — “life-giving institutions,” or systems that offer support, accountability and care to communities. 

“I’m a (prison-industrial complex) abolitionist really, in its simplest terms, because I want to dismantle a system predicated on premature death,” Kaba said. “And build one instead focused on life and true safety.”

Activist Mariame Kaba talks abolition and mutual aid, condemns campus police in Dream Week keynote by Binah Schatsky, The Daily Northwestern, January 13, 2021


The major threat of Martin Luther King Jr to us is a spiritual and moral one. King’s courageous and compassionate example shatters the dominant neoliberal soul-craft of smartness, money and bombs. His grand fight against poverty, militarism, materialism and racism undercuts the superficial lip service and pretentious posturing of so-called progressives as well as the candid contempt and proud prejudices of genuine reactionaries. King was neither perfect nor pure in his prophetic witness – but he was the real thing in sharp contrast to the market-driven semblances and simulacra of our day.

Martin Luther King Jr turned away from popularity in his quest for spiritual and moral greatness – a greatness measured by what he was willing to give up and sacrifice due to his deep love of everyday people, especially vulnerable and precious black people. Neoliberal soul craft avoids risk and evades the cost of prophetic witness, even as it poses as “progressive”.

If King were alive today, his words and witness against drone strikes, invasions, occupations, police murders, caste in Asia, Roma oppression in Europe, as well as capitalist wealth inequality and poverty, would threaten most of those who now sing his praises.

Today, 50 years later the US imperial meltdown deepens. And King’s radical legacy remains primarily among the awakening youth and militant citizens who choose to be extremists of love, justice, courage and freedom, even if our chances to win are that of a snowball in hell! This kind of unstoppable King-like extremism is a threat to every status quo!

Martin Luther King Jr was a radical. We must not sterilize his legacy by Cornel West, The Guardian, April 4, 2018


T-MAPs Section 2: Wellness Practices

There are times when I question what I am focusing on. Each morning I sit in prayer and silence, trying to hear what I should write.

Sometimes, as with this series on transformative mutual aid practices (T-MAPs) a series of articles flow from an initial leading. And sometimes, in the middle of such a series, I’ll question how I got here. Who already knows about T-MAPs? Is this useful to anyone else? This is one of those times I take it on faith that this is what I’m led to do at this time. And this is one of the many times I’m learning as I write. It’s an educational endeavor. It’s a bit disconcerting that when I do an Internet search on “transformative mutual aid practices” looking for more information, my blog posts are listed as some of the results of that search.

Today the subject is Wellness Practices. The PDF below is the result of my use of the T-MAPs Online Creator Tool. It is becoming clearer how sharing these things can help us support each other.

Section 2: Wellness Practices

This section is designed to guide us in building our wellness toolkit – to identify what practices and supports help us manage stress, avoid crisis, and stay grounded and healthy. Once we’ve developed these lists, it is good to return to them on a daily basis and potentially share them with others in our lives. If we notice we’re slipping off track, we can return to this toolbox to help us remember how to get back on course.

https://tmapscommunity.net/t-maps-section-2/


This is an example of supporting each other as we walked and camped together for ninety-four miles along the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline during the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March in 2018. https://firstnationfarmer.com/


Creative Commons License

 T-MAPs is licensed by Jacks McNamara and Sascha DuBrul under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Connection and Vision

The past couple of weeks I’ve been reading and writing about Transformative Mutual Aid Practices (T-MAPs)
(See: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/t-maps/)

So, after all this studying and writing, below is the PDF file of my responses for Section 1: Connection and Vision. As stated below, this is more of an introduction to the T-MAPs ideas and process. Still, you probably get the idea about how sharing our T-MAPs can help us know each other better, our needs and our strengths.

I used the T-MAPs Online Creator Tool to create this map.
(See: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/2023/01/11/t-maps-online-creator-tool/ )

Section 1: Connection and Vision

The purpose of this first section is to help ground us in our strength and resilience before we undertake the T-MAPs process. To reframe the conversation so that it’s not starting from the premise that we are sick and need fixing; instead, we are reminded of what we are like when we’re well — how it feels and how we relate to the world around us. Taking the time to think about these things is generative: this is less like a form to fill out where we already know the answers and more a starting point to prompt our imaginations.

https://tmapscommunity.net/t-maps-section-1/

You can see my completed responses for Section 1 by scrolling through the following PDF file.


Creative Commons License

 T-MAPs is licensed by Jacks McNamara and Sascha DuBrul under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

T-MAPs Online Creator Tool

To create your own T-MAPs you can either

  • Download PDF Workbooks and write your answers in them.
  • Or you can use the T-MAPs Online Creator Tool, which is described below. The Tool will save your responses to the questions. You can save what you have done and return to it later. If you enter your email address, you will be mailed a PDF copy of each section you complete.

T-MAPs Online Creator Tool

You can use these questionnaires to create your own T-MAP and have your answers emailed to you in a printable pdf. There are 5 sections. Click one of the images below to try filling out that section, see what you think, and let us know!

Privacy note: Unfortunately, these forms collect your answers. We never look at them or do anything with that data, and no one else can access it, but if you are concerned about privacy please download the pdf version of this tool, print it out, and complete it!


Map Making Instructions

Before you start working on creating your T-MAP, take a few minutes to ground yourself – the more centered you are, the better time you’ll have with this process. The T-MAPs workbook is designed to begin with questions that explore who you are and what you care about, and as they go on become more challenging, digging into what it’s like when you’re struggling. Eventually, you’ll want to answer the following questions thoroughly, but you may start out with notes and evolve your answers over time. This is a living document. You don’t need to do it all at once, and it can be really helpful to talk over these questions with other people. If they get too challenging, take a break and come back to it. Remember that you are creating a map for you and other people to be able to follow – it’s worth taking the time to find the right language that will make sense to you, and that you will be able to share with others


Section 1: Connection and Vision

The purpose of this first section is to help ground us in our strength and resilience before we undertake the T-MAPs process. To reframe the conversation so that it’s not starting from the premise that we are sick and need fixing; instead, we are reminded of what we are like when we’re well — how it feels and how we relate to the world around us. Taking the time to think about these things is generative: this is less like a form to fill out where we already know the answers and more a starting point to prompt our imaginations.

Section 2: Wellness Practices

This section is designed to guide us in building our wellness toolkit – to identify what practices and supports help us manage stress, avoid crisis, and stay grounded and healthy. Once we’ve developed these lists, it is good to return to them on a daily basis and potentially share them with others in our lives. If we notice we’re slipping off track, we can return to this toolbox to help us remember how to get back on course.

Section 3: Life Lessons and Personal Stories

Where we come from and how we tell stories about ourselves is so important. In this section we have a series of questions to help you think about your own personal story and find good language for it. Society has so many expectations and frameworks for understanding your life that might not fit at all or might fit in some ways but not others. There is an incredible power in creating a personal narrative of your life that fits well for you.

This section has two parts – the first is on understanding your journey with mental health and emotional distress, and the second on social and cultural context as it informs mental health. If you don’t identify as someone who’s been through intense mental health struggles and/or the diagnosis process, some of the questions in the first half might not feel like they apply – it’s fine to skip them. In the second half of this section, some of these questions might be new to you – you might not have thought a lot about your cultural or class background, for example – and that’s ok. Consider these questions a starting point for your explorations.

Section 4: Slipping off the Tracks

The point of this section is to map out what is hard for us, what we struggle with, and help us develop self-knowledge to be able to figure out what to do about it. This section is often the hardest one to fill out because it asks us to think about hard times, but the information we gather is really useful in our journey. Often unresolved things from our past can make us feel unsafe or upset in the present – this is called getting triggered. Sometimes our triggers contain useful information about what needs to heal in us, and what we need to express. If you find yourself getting triggered or overwhelmed as you complete your map, take a break and do one of the practices in your wellness toolkit. It can also help to do the T-MAPs process with other people and realize you are not alone.

Section 5: Support

One of the main benefits of making an T-MAPs document is being able to get clarity on the things that are important to us and being able to share it with other people. In this section, we identify the people, services, and resources that are the most important sources of support for us. This helps us remember where we can turn when things get hard, and who to stay in touch with along the way.


Creative Commons License

 T-MAPs is licensed by Jacks McNamara and Sascha DuBrul under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Why make a T-MAP?

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve found it difficult to begin to talk about mental health. At the same time, I’ve become much more aware of how the lives of people I care about, work with, and am trying to support are experiencing significant stresses. From the T-MAPs workbook, “we hope that it helps you give voice to parts of yourself that can be hard to talk and share with others. Understanding ourselves is what gives us the power to help ourselves and be there for others in community”. This image is from that T-MAPs workbook. Soon, I intend to talk about the ways for you to create your own T-MAP using that workbook, or the online tool.

T-MAPs are drawn from our collective wisdom. These tools take into account our social, economic, and political context, and create space for thinking through how our histories and backgrounds shape who we are now. As our political climate becomes more heartless and unstable, we feel the need to weave our own safety nets. T-MAPs can be nourishing to everyone from grassroots social justice activists to woke health care practitioners and Peer Specialists working on the front lines of the mental health system.

Writing down stories about our lives helps us understand who we are, how we got here, and how we relate to the world around us. Wellness strategies are things like eating enough food every day and talking to our support people, which help us stay on our path. Resilience practices are things that bring us a feeling of being whole and alive – spending time in nature, singing, hanging out with people we care about – which help us stay grounded. Resources can be things in our local community – like friendly gathering spaces and places where we can watch the stars at night – or our favorite media, like helpful books and podcasts, or international resources like Madness Radio and The Hearing Voices Network. Articulating these things gives us a resource we can share with the people in our lives to guide our conversations and help us support each other through rough times.

https://commedesfous.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/T-MAPs-Transformative-Mutual-Aid-Practices.pdf

Creative Commons License

 T-MAPs is licensed by Jacks McNamara and Sascha DuBrul under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.



New and creative ways of living

I first learned about Transformative Mutual Aid Practices (T-MAPs) a couple of weeks ago. https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/2022/12/30/transformative-mutual-aid-practices/

Which means I’m in the early stages of trying to understand what T-MAPs are all about.
[See: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/t-maps/ ]

Trying to write about mental health is uncomfortable because I know so little about it. But I am discovering how important it is to learn more about mental health. In part because of increasing awareness of multigenerational traumas of my Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC) friends. And coming to understand that the stresses of anyone working for justice, often very hard work, result in some level of trauma.

In these trying times everyone’s mental health is at risk. Perhaps most difficult is admitting to myself that my mental health needs work.

How I understand my journey with mental health is one of the sections of the T-MAPs workbook.

We have had many other influences in developing T-MAPs, including organizations like Intentional Peer Support and the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community, as well as specific tools like Mary Ellen Copeland’s Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP). Some of the ideas around practice and transformation are inspired by the organization generative somatics. While T-MAPs was initially inspired by advanced directives and related recovery tools for planning mental health treatment options in times of crisis, we have turned it into a group practice of mutual aid, imagination, and prefigurative cultural change. We want it to be useful to as many people as possible to opening up space for new and creative ways of living.

The two main architects of T-MAPs have been Jacks McNamara and Sascha DuBrul, the founders of The Icarus Project. Jacks and Sascha wanted to create a practical tool that embodied the peer wisdom found in our greater community. We offer it as a labor of love to people who might find it useful. There are so many different people’s voices captured in the questions and the responses.

https://tmapscommunity.net/the-origins-of-this-tool/

“[W]ithout changing the most molecular relationships in society — notably, those between men and women, adults and children, whites and other ethnic groups, heterosexuals and gays (the list, in fact, is considerable) — society will be riddled by domination even in a socialistic ‘classless’ and ‘non-exploitative’ form. It would be infused by hierarchy even as it celebrated the dubious virtues of ‘people’s
democracies,’ ’socialism’ and the ‘public ownership’ of ‘natural resources,’ And as long as hierarchy persists, as long as domination organizes humanity around a system of elites, the project of dominating nature will continue to exist and inevitably lead our planet to ecological extinction”

Murray Bookchin

The zine A Call for Prefigurative Mental Health Support and Communal Care within Radical Groups and Organizations includes a very long list of ways we are subjected to trauma. The list is too long to include in this blog post. You can see that list in the embedded zine below.


Des Moines Mutual Aid

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 T-MAPs is licensed by Jacks McNamara and Sascha DuBrul under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Origins of T-MAPs

Recent news about T-MAPs

This past weekend at our Des Moines Mutual Aid food project, one of my friends asked how I was doing. Which turned into an opportunity to share about T-MAPs. She agreed that no one asks how those of us who are doing justice work, are doing. No one outside our Mutual Aid community, at least, because checking in with each other is an important part of our Mutual Aid work together. She was very interested in the T-MAPs concept. I hope to find ways to share this more widely in our Mutual Aid, and other justice communities

T-MAPs was originally dreamed up in the early years of The Icarus Project (TIP), a community of people working at the intersection of mental health and social justice. Over the years, TIP has created peer-based mental health support groups, alternative publications and educational resources, and new language outside the conventional “mental illness” paradigm. One tool developed by TIP, which has partly inspired T-MAPs, is called Mad Maps. Mad Maps began as creative and supportive conversations on the Icarus website about strategies for friends and strangers to communicate about how to take better care of each other. Mad Maps has evolved into a set of guides on navigating different topics like intergenerational trauma and madness and oppression.

https://tmapscommunity.net/the-origins-of-this-tool/

I didn’t know the Icarus Project is now the Fireweed Collective.

Fireweed Collective offers mental health education and mutual aid through a Healing Justice and Disability Justice lens. We support the emotional wellness of all people and center QTBIPOC folks in our internal leadership, programs, and resources.

Our work seeks to disrupt the harm of systems of abuse and oppression, often reproduced by the mental health system. Our model for understanding ‘severe mental illness’ is community and relationship-based and divests from the prison industrial complex and psych wards.

Fireweed Collective

Following is just the beginning of the Fireweed Collective Framework

Healing Justice (HJ) is a framework rooted in racial justice, disability justice, and economic justice. Healing Justice provides us with tools we can use to interrupt the systems of oppression that impact our mental health. Fireweed Collective uses HJ as a guide to help redefine what medicine is, and increase who has access to it.

We are honored to be a part of a larger community of organizations guided by the  principles of Healing Justice:

  • responding to and intervening in generational trauma and violence (Kindred)  
  • collective practices that can impact and transform the consequences of oppression (Kindred)
  • imagining a generative and co-created future (Healing By Choice!)
  • being in right relationship with ourselves, each other, and the land (Healing By Choice)
  • centering disability justice, people of color, and economic justice (Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s history of healing justice)
Fireweed Collective Framework

Transformative Mutual Aid Practices (T-MAPs) are a set of tools that provide space for building a personal “map” of wellness strategies, resilience practices, unique stories, and community resources. Creating a T-MAP will inspire you to connect your struggle to collective struggles. When we make and share our T-MAPs with others they become potent tools for healing and liberation.

Your T-MAP is a guide for navigating challenging times, figuring out what you care about, and communicating with the important people in your life

https://tmapscommunity.net/
Creative Commons License

 T-MAPs is licensed by Jacks McNamara and Sascha DuBrul under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This is a link to what I’ve written about T-MAPs so far: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/t-maps/

Who created this zine and why?

I recently learned about Transformational Mutual Aid Practices (when I did an Internet search for prefigurative and mutual aid). Prefigurative being another new concept I’m learning about.

One of the first things I encountered was the zine A Call for Prefigurative Mental Health Support and Communal Care Within Radical Groups and Organizations. One section of that zine is “Who created this zine and why?” which gives interesting background about how the author came to embrace T-MAPs.

The anonymous author of the zine has given their work Creative Commons licensing, which allows remixing, prohibits commercial use or for-profit use.

We cannot remain complacent and allow white supremacist capitalist homogeneous social norms to strip away our ability to care for each other.

A Call for Prefigurative Mental Health Support and Communal Care Within Radical Groups and Organizations.

Who created this zine and why?

The creator of this zine is white. They experienced infant/early childhood abuse that altered their brain development, which resulted in psychosis when under stress; psychotic episodes can be brief or last months. They experienced childhood and adolescent abuse that altered their development, which resulted in neuroses; depression, general anxiety, social anxiety, eating disorders, CPTSD, and panic attacks are ongoing. Their family of origin rejected them when they came out as pansexual; they have been working towards accepting and embracing their gender.

After untreated mental health issues led to transience and drug addiction led to jail, they have been healing and recreating themselves for the past 20 years. In that time, they have engaged in youth/queer/union/socialist/feminist/antiracist/antifascist/ecological/anarchist/communalist work, groups, and orgs. After years of various minimum wage jobs, they became a public high school teacher for 15 years. As a reading specialist, they worked with incoming freshmen who spent their elementary and middle school years being passed from intervention program to intervention program, arriving at high school with beginning reading skills. Several years ago, they left the toxic public education system and have plans to continue engaging with community education in the future.

In 2017, they participated in a T-MAPs workshop led by Sascha Altman DuBrul and became intrigued by the concept of comrades supporting each other’s mental health as a form of mutual aid. Two attempts to engage their last org with T-MAPs were met with silence, and no comrades reached out to them during a months-long depression with suicidal and psychotic episodes. Unfortunately, this type of alienation happens in organizing circles, as folx are often too overwhelmed by surviving capitalism to counteract the patterns of prevailing society and recognize communal care as essential and others as valued. We have lost more of our humanity than we realize. We cannot remain complacent and allow white supremacist capitalist homogeneous social norms to strip away our ability to care for each other.

The creator of this zine proposes that groups and orgs that do not prefigure mental health support and communal care are not revolutionary: they will not bring about the liberatory society we seek. The need to consciously reject and deliberately rescript the toxic architecture of dominant society’s patterns is dire, and the time to prefigure radical interpersonal relations in our communities is now.

A Call for Prefigurative Mental Health Support and Communal Care Within Radical Groups and Organizations.

“Our being is becoming, not stasis” – Murray Bookchin


A Call for Prefigurative Mental Health Support and Communal Care Within Radical Groups and Organizations.