This Is How We Survive
127 pages

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127 pages

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In This Is How We Survive: Revolutionary Mothering, War, and Exile in the 21st Century, Mai’a Williams shares her experiences working in conflict zones and with liberatory resistance communities as a journalist, human rights worker, and midwife in Palestine, Egypt, Chiapas, Berlin, and the U.S., while mothering her young daughter Aza.

She first went to Palestine in 2003 during the Second Intifada to support Palestinians resisting the Israeli occupation. In 2006, she became pregnant in Bethlehem, West Bank. By the time her daughter was three years old, they had already celebrated with Zapatista women in southern Mexico and survived Israeli detention, and during the 2011 Arab Spring they were in the streets of Cairo protesting the Mubarak dictatorship. She watched the Egyptian revolution fall apart and escaped the violence, like many of her Arab comrades, by moving to Europe. Three years later, she and Aza were camping at Standing Rock in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline and co-creating revolutionary mothering communities once again.

This is a story about mothers who are doing the work of deep social transformation by creating the networks of care that sustain movements and revolutions. By centering mothers in our organizing work, we center those who have the skills and the experience of creating and sustaining life on this planet. This Is How We Survive illuminates how mothering is a practice essential to the work of revolution. It explores the heartbreak of revolutionary movements falling apart and revolutionaries scattering across the globe into exile. And most importantly, how mamas create, no matter the conditions, the resilience to continue doing revolutionary work.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 janvier 2019
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781629635941
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0025€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Praise for This Is How We Survive
Part diary, part travelogue, part black feminist manifesto, This Is How We Survive by Mai a Williams charts one woman s journey across global warscapes as she confronts and negotiates the impact of human conflict on the mothering project. Throughout, Williams is a brave witness, a warrior, questioning what we might do to rescue our humanity. There is an urgency in the writing here, for Williams understands, deeply, that motherhood is not simply the act of giving birth; it is an understanding of the needs of the world.
-Alexis De Veaux, author of Don t Explain: A Song of Billie Holiday and Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde
Mai a s ongoing journey is about mothering as a daily revolution, brought into focus by living and loving at major revolutionary sites of our contemporary world. From Palestine to Egypt, Chiapas, Berlin, and especially the U.S. Midwest, Mai a shares her experiences of navigating the intimate intergenerational impact of a constant state of political and personal war with detail and a crucial side-eye. This book is an opportunity to see the life you are living, and lives you would never see otherwise, in new and interconnected ways.
-Alexis Pauline Gumbs, author of M Archive: After the End of the World
Magical, poetic, adventurous, eye-opening tales of global community organizing and resistance. Mai a breaks the hold of American mind control, despair, and isolation with tales of gatherings around the world of everyday revolutionaries who do not have the privilege to decide whether or not to engage or fight for their lives.
-China Martens, author of The Future Generation: The Zine-Book for Subculture Parents, Kids, Friends Others
I drank down Mai a Williams s This Is How We Survive like a glass of delicious water hitting me where I was the most thirsty. Williams gives us the story we ve been waiting for and deeply needing, about the ways Black, Indigenous, and Brown women and mothers across the globe birth freedom struggle as they open their homes, hold late-night cigarette conversations, and insist that everyone be present to the work of liberation. Her work, and her life s story, is crucial to what will bring us home.
-Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, writer and organizer, author of Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home
In reading the work of Mai a Williams, it s hard not to be excited by the sense of possibility.
- Hip Mama
This Is How We Survive redefines revolution beyond the headline grabbing events to the everyday resilience of families living under ever-present threats of bombings, assaults, arrests, and disappearances. This book will push you to expand and reimagine your definitions and ideas of revolution.
-Victoria Law, author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women

This Is How We Survive: Revolutionary Mothering, War, and Exile in the 21st Century
Mai a Williams
2019 PM Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be transmitted by any means without permission in writing from the publisher.
ISBN: 978-1-62963-556-9
Library of Congress Control Number: 2018931529
Cover by John Yates /
Interior design by briandesign
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
PM Press
PO Box 23912
Oakland, CA 94623
Printed in the USA by the Employee Owners of Thomson-Shore in Dexter, Michigan.
Let me tell you a story about migration, about movement, the back and forth of love. Across boundaries and borders, across heartbreak and forgiveness. Let me tell you how we got free, got imprisoned, broke out, broke down, and got up to fight once again. Let me tell you about memory, about resistance, and yes about mothering. This is a story for these times. About what it takes to create love in the face of fascism. The war is everywhere. The war is here. And this is how we are going to survive the 21st century.
FOREWORD by Ariel Gore
Some Thoughts on Revolutionary Love and Survival in the 21st Century
Searching for Paradise
One More for the Revolution
Dar La Luz
Zero Stars
Fuck the Police
The World Is Yours
Ultraviolet Spring
Paper Dreams
This Is How We Survive
When I first became a mother, my politicized communities back in the United States frowned on the whole thing like it was a sellout to consumerist normalcy. Revolution, they believed, was fought in the streets with no concern for the babies on our backs or the underpaid babysitters at our apartments or the multigenerational conversations that happened over dinner-making.
This kind of thinking hasn t gotten us very far.
We don t need angry masculinity to fight angry masculinity. We don t need the mind-sets of colonialism and enslavement to save us from the genocidal legacies of colonialism and enslavement.
So what s the real alternative to this shit-show of a white capitalist war machine? Maybe it starts with centering femmes, mothers, and children. Welcome to Mai a Williams s revolutionary love experiment, a dynamic test kitchen of radical reenvisioning that will affirm, inspire, and transform the way you think about and engage in parenting, direct action, and self-preservation.
At turns empowered in her defiance and plowed over by cops and doctors, our mama-guide through these pages never claims to have all the answers, but she s willing to take us along on the learning curve. Because this is real life, and time is of the essence.
These are stories of real revolutions blooming every day in everyday communities all over the world. These are stories of femmes, mothers, and children centering each other. This is the resistance we don t see on TV.
In times of quickening instability, Mai a knows that it s easy to feel overwhelmed, to succumb to the fears that late-stage capitalism feeds on, to get depressed. And it s not that she doesn t feel these ways sometimes-it s just that she insists on living and standing up to power anyway.
When she meets a mother in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo who envisions a society that would reward her sons for working toward the good of the community and not for destroying the community, Mai a s ethos, the ethos of this book, crystalizes: We are talking about moral liberation here. We are talking about centering love instead of greed.
Mai a does it the way Mai a does it. This book will have you strategizing ways to do it the ways you ll do it. Because this is how we survive. It s ancient and brand new. It s radical love. It s the kind of revolution that multigenerational, politicized communities everywhere are ready for.
Ariel Gore
Some Thoughts on Revolutionary Love and Survival in the 21st Century
There is no end
To what a living world
Will demand of you
-Octavia Butler
I ve been accused of being impatient. It s true. I m impatient. I don t have time to fuck around. None of us do. There is hard work to be done now. And those of us on the margins-we mamas, caretakers, femmes, black aunties, lovers, and fighters-the work is on us. It s not fair that this work is on us, but it is. No one else is going to do it.
Have you seen white people for the past five hundred years, their colonization and enslavements, their genocides and exploitation of the natural world? The delusions they tell themselves that they are somehow so separate from the natural world, that they can destroy the world, each other, and us and-still survive? They are a mess.
They have, decade after decade, century after century, become so morally and rationally weak that they have convinced themselves that two minus two equals infinity, not zero. That greed is good. That the earth is flat. That the heart doesn t break at death. That love is slave work, roses, and complacency. That heaven is what we gain once they make hell on earth.
These are not people we can rely on to save us from themselves. They are still burning the earth away.
In 2005, when I was in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), I met with communities of mamas who were doing the hard, life-giving work of recreating civil society in the midst of wars. The Congolese farmer women told me that they can t predict the weather anymore. Clouds don t mean what they used to. And their children are taken to the mines to dig coltan so that we can have smartphones.
The consequences of the globalized world economy would certainly have been far more nefarious except for the efforts that millions of women have made to ensure that their families would be supported, regardless of their value on the capitalist labor market. Through their subsistence activities, as well as various forms of direct action (from squatting on public land to urban farming) women have helped their communities to avoid total dispossession, to extend budgets and add food to the kitchen pots. Amid wars, economic crises, and devaluations, as the world around them was falling apart, they have planted corn on abandoned town plots, cooked food to sell on the side of the streets, created communal kitchens- ola communes, as in Chile and Peru-thus standing in the way of a total commodification of life and beginning a process of reappropriation and re-collectivization of reproduction that is indispensable if we are to regain control over our lives.
- Silvia Federici
We all are implicated in late-stage capitalism. And yes, some folks are much more implicated and responsible than others. If we survive into the 22nd century, there will need to be some reckoning. Someday we will need a truth-and-reconciliation commission where the descendants of thieves don t

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