21 Ways to Divest from the War Economy
Join us in practicing "21 Days of Divesting From the War Economy" to explore where the war economy might not be serving your life, and share ways that we can all reinvest our time, heart and energy to create conditions conducive to life.
By Jodie Evans
What are the values of the war economy? What is the culture that gives rise to the destruction and violence we see in the world?
Economy from the word in Greek is to manage home. The current management of our home — the way we take care of our spaces and each other — is destructive, extractive, and oppressive. It calls our behavior to be transactional and not relational. It privatizes what should be free to all. It thrives on us feeling alienated, frightened and that we live in a world of scarcity instead of abundance. It does not create a sense of "home, sweet home."
I would often look at voting and ask, “Why do people vote against themselves?” And then I realized in studying the war economy and peace economy: we are literally living life against ourselves. We’re trained from birth to do this. We are told lies, that turn into the behaviors, that become addictions we salivate at—even when they're creating the paths to our own destruction.
It’s not a person that's to blame, it's a system that we are all participating in. Some are participating much more than others, but we are all participating.
One reason for this is that so many people are educated by a system of education that has been corrupted. Education at the core is supposed to be about how we live together, how we learn together, how we create thriving for everyone. However, when education is perverted to teach us how to compete with and destroy each other, I say let’s throw that education out. We need education that helps us think critically and with all parts of ourselves—with our minds, with our hearts, and with our bodies. And that way of thinking has been violently extracted from most us, from birth. In the edges we can find examples of living in connection with our whole selves, but the powers that be and the structures of greed and scarcity actively work to destroy those connections within us.
How can we commit to thinking critically, so that we can cultivate a sense of home, sweet home that gives us the place to be the humanity that is our destiny? How do we find new lenses to see with?
Join us for "21 Days of Divesting From the War Economy" to explore where the war economy might not be serving your life, and share ways that we can all reinvest our time, heart and energy to create conditions conducive to life. At CODEPINK's Local Peace Economy, we’ve created a resource for you to start identifying the different ways that the war economy culture shows up in your life, and ways to pivot to embodying a culture of peace in the here and now.
Divest Day 1: From Alienation to Connection
Welcome to Day 1 of 21 Days of Divesting from the War Machine!
As peace activists, we feel deeply the pain of war. We feel deeply our brothers and sisters abroad and right here at home suffering at the hands of the war economy we live within. We feel our planet suffering as well. We're not always sure of what to do, but we do know that it's our love for people that causes us to speak out, to resist, risk and fiercely show up in the face of so much adversity.
In the face of the violent culture of genocide and slavery that our country was built on, radical love is an act of rebellion. Our reality is that the dominant culture that we all live in is one of deep-seated violence, and we're all affected by that that in our own ways.
But as we've witnessed from great movements across history, with vision and intention, people change culture. And once culture shifts, political change can happen.
Together, for the next 21 days we offer an opportunity to be more aware of the war economy culture and how it affects us. To open our imagination and engagement to nourishing a culture of peace in our everyday actions that collectively create the more beautiful world we want to live in.
For the next 21 days, as you move through this document, we invite you to explore, journal, and discuss the themes with others and plan ways to change your habits and join with those in your community to transform together.
The war economy thrives on alienation - the feeling of separation from others. Where in your life do you feel alienation from people, place, nature, and the vibrancy of life?
Divest Day 2: From Self-Directed to Community Engaged
Welcome to Day 2 of Divesting from the War Economy! Yesterday, we brought up alienation, and how the war economy thrives on our disconnection from others. So actively connecting with others, even through something as simple as a smile and a “how are you?”, disrupts the worldview of separation and creates space for a new story.
It’s easy to see why we’re all alienated from each other, when we live in a society that emphasizes individual achievement over community care. Celebrity worship and “the self-made man” are just some of the themes interwoven into the story of U.S. society. Even more than that, though, in modern life we’ve replaced our dependence on community with dependence on faceless institutions and distant strangers who grow, ship and process our food, make our clothing, build our houses, and fix our cars.
But we also know that without our relationships, none of us would be alive. We know that in our everyday lives, happiness and security come from strong connections and not from “independence”, whether psychological or financial.
Witness when you find yourself thinking you have to do things by yourself, when you feel alone and overwhelmed. Who supports you in your life? Who do you support?
Look beyond yourself, and take this opportunity to see those who are caring for and creating your community - the teachers, healers, caretakers, nurses, gardeners, etc who enrich our lives. Thank them. When are you drawn to those who hold celebrity status instead of those carrying the wood for the daily fires?
Reflect on what came up for you today as you became aware of what you are drawn to, and why.
Divest Day 3: From Competition to Interdependence
Yesterday, we discussed our culture of individualism, and the need to shift from self-directed to community engaged.
Diving deeper into individualism, we see that the practice of competition alienates us from each other. Our schools push students into competition for grades and college admission, our workplaces incentivize employees to compete for raises and promotions, even our Western theories of evolution make nature seem like life is all about the “survival of the fittest”.
But if you study nature, you’ll see that there’s a great deal of interdependence between plants and animals. Think about hummingbirds and flowers. Consider how ants gather their food collectively instead of hoarding individually, and how geese take turns at the front of the V during migration.
“When Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, almost everything lost its footing. Houses were detached from their foundations.. Sign posts and vehicles floated down the rivers that became of the streets. But..the oak tree held its ground. How? Instead of digging its roots deep and solitary into the earth, the oak tree grows its roots wide and interlocks with other oak trees in the surrounding area. And you can’t bring down a hundred oak trees bound beneath the soil!” -Naima Penniman
Where in your life have you been pitted against others? Driven to succeed or excel? Today watch that urge and move to let go and find others you can connect with in cooperation and collaboration. Try pivoting from knowing and certainty to asking a question, this pivot allows you to let go of self and open to engaging with your community.
What did you discover in reaching out?
Divest Day 4: From Transactional to Relational
Yesterday, we discussed our competitive culture, and how we’re told life is a race that we all fight to win. It’s a lonely way of seeing the world, don’t you think? Another way our war economy has isolated us from each other is by turning our relationships into transactions.
In our modern world, many of our relationships have been converted to monetary transactions, all in the name of “efficiency”. We’ve become so accustomed to paying cashiers and servers for groceries and restaurant meals that we barely recall that we used to grow and cook food together as a community. We’ve turned knowledge exchange into a transaction by paying “experts” to write books that we drill into students’ minds, instead of learning from our lived experience and the wisdom of our ancestors before us as we once did.
This market-based way of relating carries over to our non-monetized relationships as well. We often think: I’ll do this for you if you’ll do that for me. And to our fast-paced society, getting things done is more important than cultivating a real relationship to ourselves and our community. We value efficiency over connection and nourishing our souls. This shows up in many ways: an organization that views their membership as a faceless list of people to use for mass mobilizations rather than individuals with their own desires and passions to connect to; a person who goes out on a date for a free dinner instead of an authentic connection; a politician who makes connections for votes and abandons them post-election.
But as we’ve talked about, our relationships are what keep us alive. Learning how to nourish them for their own sake is one of the many effective ways we can divest from the war economy.
Today, explore the ways you’ve acted in a transactional way—where do you find this showing up in your every day? How can you pivot to a more relational, soul-nourishing way of interacting?
Divest Day 5: From Apathy to Engagement
On this day when one of the great truth tellers of the effects of the war economy on our lives and the planet - Stephen Hawking - has left the earth, we watch in awe as students walk out of 800 schools around the nation demanding politicians protect children, not guns, in a #NationalWalkOutDay.
Last night, I met with a few friends for dinner. As the conversation turned to the state of the world, one of the girls, a beloved K-12 teacher, broke down crying. The system is so oppressive. We’re being attacked every day and it’s exhausting. It hurts to care this much. I just want to give up. I felt my eyes welling up too as the pain of her words sank into my heart. The war economy works overtime to force us into depression and hopelessness. The structure continues to destroy and extract our time, our joy, and our connections to life on the planet.
But I woke up this morning to a different story. A story of incredible compassion, courage, and unity told by students much younger and wiser than I. Thousands of youth today are daring to walk not just out of their classrooms, but out of the system that oppresses us all, to imagine a world where we are all cared for - where we are all free.
Radical imagination is what expands the limits of possibility, and that’s how change happens. Apathy, sadness and paralysis are all real emotions we feel. But as we see today, daring to hope, to engage with the world from the love we have for it, is what makes all the difference.
As you watch today’s historic walkouts unfold, notice the feelings that come up in your body and heart. Notice what possibility feels like, and bring the energy it conjures for you into tomorrow and the next day.
When you feel the vortex of overwhelm sucking you into a place of sinking despair and apathy, recall a beautiful act, either this one or any you’ve felt connected to in your life. Let its power give you the strength to engage.
It all starts locally. It starts with the youth, and it starts with you.
Divest Day 6: From Quantity to Quality
How often do you find yourself thinking that “bigger is better”? I know I’ve bought into this logic in many parts of my life. The more friends I have, the more loved I am. The more projects and tasks I take on, the more effective I am. The more “likes” I get on my blog post, the more impact I’ll have.
It’s not a coincidence that we tend to think this way - the war economy operates on growth and continual consumption, and it rewards those with a big reach, a loud voice, and the money or power to affect thousands of people. That culture bleeds into our own beliefs and habits, even when it comes to our activism. And that can make us feel helpless: what can I, one person, possibly do to affect change?
But what I’ve realized over the years is that change happens in ways we can’t predict or assign a linear value to. And some of the most meaningful changes I’ve created have come from quality of interaction rather than quantity. For example, in my former job I used to have three minute conversations with thousands of random people on the street to sign a petition for education funding. I had lots of signatures, but not much else. At the same time, I also mentored a high school student and spent years growing together in friendship, discussing our different experiences and passions and ideas. Out of this space, he decided to dedicate his college life to activism and is now a leader in the student movement with mentees of his own.
The war economy devalues small, personal acts, but I think the strength of our movement, as adrienne maree brown so eloquently puts it, lies in the strength of our relationships, which could only be measured by their depth. It’s all about growing the love between us.
Reflect on where in your life you’ve thought that bigger was better, and see if you can view the situation differently.
Ask yourself today: what does depth require from you? What small, thoughtful action can you take today to grow the love?
Thanks for all that you are.
Divest Day 7: From Distraction to Attention
In our war economy culture, it seems like there are a million things competing for our attention. Facebook and Instagram notifications, breaking news hits, emails, texts - it all comes in a never-ending second by second stream that most of us indulge. That’s not by accident - our smartphones and accompanying apps are designed to keep us addicted to them in the name of profit.
For many people’s everyday lives, technology has a healthy and beneficial role. But for many others, we have become so distracted by external stimuli that we can’t focus on what’s in front of us. Since the 2016 election, news stories about Trump in particular have gone into hyperdrive and a lot of us find ourselves glued to the headlines, automatically clicking every one that fills our news feed. It’s important to be informed, but sometimes we get caught up in things we can’t actually do anything about, which paralyzes us from taking action on the things we can do something about.
Why does distraction feel better sometimes? Does it mask our anxiety and help us avoid our discomfort with the current conditions of life? Temporarily covering up our overwhelm with distraction won’t remove it.
Today, notice all the moments in your day where you become distracted. When this happens, ask yourself why.
How do you find yourself back in attention? What can bring you back to awareness of the present moment?
What do you want your attention to be creating? Is it?
Divest Day 8: From Waste to Conservation
There’s no denying it: we live in a culture of waste here in the U.S. Our war economy extracts resources from the earth and dumps them into a giant hole in the ground, while bombarding us with messages to mindlessly buy more and more with little regard to whether we actually need the things we purchase or not.
We waste $1 trillion of food every year and consume 1 million plastic bags every minute, and you’re probably well aware of the consequences for our planet and the people exploited in the process. A finite planet simply cannot accommodate infinite growth, and we’re fast approaching the tipping point.
Like we’ve discussed in earlier days, the war economy tricks us into believing our personal actions won’t make an impact on problems of such magnitude. That what we do won’t possibly matter in the grand scheme of things. But as we’ve seen throughout history, the action we make locally catalyzes change that spreads further and more deeply than we can imagine. Getting to zero-waste isn’t a dream, but a future we can work towards every day.
Today, reflect on how waste shows up in your life, and why that is.
Divest Day 9: From Productivity to Rest
Do you feel like you have a million things to do, a never ending list running through your mind of what you need to accomplish? We live in a war economy culture that tells us we must be productive every moment of our day. In the U.S., being busy is seen as a status symbol, and simply doing nothing can make us feel uneasy - we often think, I should be doing something right now.
Today, reflect on your relationship to “being productive” and any feelings that come up when you picture you just chilling out and resting.
In the beautiful world you want to grow, will people be stressed out as much as they are now? How relaxed will they be? What can you do today to take a small step towards peace?
Divest Day 10: From Either/Or to Both/And
How often do you see situations as “either/or”? They are good or bad, right or wrong and politically correct or not.
This sort of thinking is extremely popular in our war economy culture, as it divides people and sets us up in competition with each other. It also keeps us from developing the kind of imaginative solutions that are needed to meet the moment we’re in.
There’s an alternative to either/or thinking: “both/and”. In the world of both/and, we start to open up the possibility that we don’t have to choose. This mindset asks questions like: how can we take care of our personal needs AND the needs of our whole community? How can we acknowledge differences AND still get along?
The words we use every day play a huge role in shaping our reality. Some words are filled with possibility - words like “and,” “also,” “what if” and “yes” - and words that are filled with restraint and limitations, like “but,” “can’t,” “doesn’t,” “no” and “however”. Cultivating an ability to use words that can create, not destroy, while still being honest, straightforward and to-the-point will greatly help us on our way to growing a peaceful world.
Today, notice when words of separation show up in your vocabulary. Practice substituting “yes, but” with “yes, and”. “I am right, and you are wrong” with listening to what they are saying and finding points of connection and difference and finding a way to include it all.
For example, instead of saying “What you’re saying makes sense, but there are some pieces I would add for consideration,” try, “What you’re saying makes sense, and there are some pieces I would add for consideration.
Does your connection with others open up when you try this? How does it make you feel?
Divest Day 11: From Reactionary to Investigative
Have you been feeling frustrated by mainstream media lately? We at CODEPINK can relate. CBS’s award-winning “60 Minutes” just conducted an interview with Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salam ahead of his US tour, praising the repressive kingdom’s minor reforms as “revolutionary” while completely glossing over his massive war crimes in Yemen. And while the media loves dissecting all the latest belligerent Trump tweets, most of the American public has no idea that there have been around 2 million Iraqi deaths since the U.S. invasion in 2003.
The war economy thrives as mainstream media fails to 1) tell the truth, and 2) talk about what really matters. When corporate elites control the media, which depends on clicks for revenue, certain stories won’t be told and those that are are designed to elicit strong immediate reactions with little care for thoroughness.
In other words, mainstream media relies on us being reactive, mindless consumers. And that’s what we’ll divest from today!
Instead of swallowing what the media feeds us, practice investigating what’s presented by asking thoughtful questions like whose interests are represented. Invest in quality programming - our staff recommends a daily dose of Amy Goodman and Democracy Now!
With the rise of social media and livestreaming, any of us can do on the ground reporting as well. You can follow local community leaders and organizations on Instagram and Twitter that give a heads up when ICE raids, police shootings, etc go down. Where are the resources in your community?
How do you pivot to what nourishes your intelligence instead of owning it?
Divest Day 12: From Us vs Them to All of Us
Do you ever find yourself struggling to feel compassion for “the other side”? For the racist and misogynistic Trump fans, for Democratic Senators who take money from weapons companies and vote to continue bombing Yemen, or for the BP Oil executives? I know I have. I’ve thought many times: these people are just evil. They’re greedy and stupid. They are the enemy: if we defeat them, everything will be okay.
From an early age, we are fed the good guy vs bad guy narrative. Have you noticed that in most movies, the solution to the problem is to kill the villain?
The trouble with hating the villains is this: when we dehumanize the other, we create the conditions for war. When we see our opponents as subhuman in their morals, conscience, or intelligence, we believe we have to defeat them by force - and force is the weapon of the war economy. And as Audre Lorde says, the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.
The same hate that “the other side” acts out is the same hate we sometimes exercise in response: it is hate that covers up a deeper pain. In different ways, we’re all suffering because we’re all victims of the same war economy.
We are all in this together, and compassion is the way forward, not hate. This doesn’t mean that we should withdraw from political conversation, but to speak hard truths with love, as we strive to embody here at CODEPINK.
Today, picture a person or group of people you struggle to relate to, and ask with genuine curiosity: what is it like to be you? See if you can imagine the combination of circumstances that brought them to where they are. Can you see the world from their eyes?
Divest Day 13: From Limitation to Imagination
What is the world you envision?
For many of us, this question can be difficult to answer. When we are immersed in the war economy, we put our attention on resisting oppression from the powers that be, surviving in dehumanizing workplaces, and avoiding the corporate vortex of consumerism. The system’s ultimate goal is to eradicate our creativity.
As adrienne maree brown says, we are in an imagination battle. Trayvon Martin and Renisha McBride and now Stephon Clark are dead because, in some white imagination, they were dangerous. Imagination turns Brown bombers into terrorists and white bombers into mentally ill victims. “I often feel like I am trapped in someone else’s imagination, and I must engage my own imagination in order to break free.”
We have to imagine beyond those fears, into new ideas and values - into a beautiful world beyond borders and bars, where all of us are visible, valued, and free. Imagination is where the revolution begins, because people will not go somewhere they have not traveled to first in their minds and hearts.
Today, take 5-10 minutes to write down a description of the world you envision. Paint a vivid picture in your mind: what are the common values and cultural norms? How are needs met? What do work and play look like? How do people solve conflicts? How does it feel?
If you want to invite others into this exercise, after you’ve written your descriptions you can share them out loud, highlight commonalities, and create a communal vision board - I did this with my friends a few nights ago and it was incredible.
Afterwards, reflect on how this exercise felt. How can you embody and practice these ideals in the here and now?
Divest Day 14: From Restraint to Pleasure
Yesterday, we conceived the beautiful world that we envision. Love, laughter, aliveness and joy weaved strongly throughout my vision, and I’m guessing it did in yours as well.
As the folks at Movement Generation say in their Just Transition framework: what the hands do, the heart learns. We must practice what we want to create. If pleasure is something we feel a lot of in our ideal world, how do we connect with pleasure in the here and now?
Sometimes we forget that our major drive as human beings is pleasure - it’s what guides us towards the fulfillment of our needs and desires. But the war economy has trained us to deny pleasure, and instilled a strict code of self-discipline and moderation in us instead. This training numbs us enough to keep performing the unpleasant tasks that turn the gears of the machine.
Meanwhile, we’re made to believe that our deep needs for belonging, connection and service can be filled by material goods and status symbols - ultimately pale substitutes for the real thing.
Do you ever find yourself thinking that feeling pleasure in the midst of so much suffering is selfish? I know I have. But I’ve come to realize that my joy, my aliveness, is good for the world. My best, most authentic writing always comes only after I’ve left the computer to run on the beach, singing with my activist posse or laughing hysterically with friends - it comes when I honor my joy. And when I organize with others based on what feels good and right to us, that’s when the most possibilities light up, when the most visionary work comes to the surface.
The war economy shakes in its boots because the things that bring us joy and pleasure are free and abundant: a secret they don’t want you to realize.
Today, reflect on what your relationship to pleasure and restraint are like.
What would you be doing with your time and energy if you made decisions based on a feeling of deep, erotic yes?
Divest Day 15: From Control to Empowerment
From Ferguson to Parkland, youth around the country are rising up to demand an end to gun violence, criminalization, and the senseless killing of their peers by a system of oppression that they will no longer tolerate. Today, many of us join them in a powerful March for Our Lives to say #NeverAgain to the powers that be.
Throughout history, youth have always been on the front lines of movements for radical change, from Civil Rights and Vietnam to Occupy and Black Lives Matter. It is the youth who have the imagination to see beyond the roles society imposes on them, the tenacity to take to the streets, and the faith to pursue a vision that many would consider impossible to enact.
Empowering those who have not yet been blinded by the war economy is our best hope for the future, but unfortunately, our society pushes a comprehensive program of control over young people. Parenting often turns from care to overprotectiveness, and schools force students to submit to authority figures who determine success through arbitrary standardized tests and send “rebellious” youth down the prison pipeline.
Even though I’m relatively young (I’m 27), I can see that the high school and college youth are miles ahead of me in their understanding of everything from the gender spectrum to intersectionality. At the same time, I recognize my egoic tendency to believe I know more than them because I’m older. Working with youth in a horizontal relationship that combines the best of imagination and experience is a balance I want to always strive towards.
Today, as we honor the courage and vision of the young people leading us into the streets, reflect on what your own relationship to youth is like. How are you supporting their vision for a more beautiful world of peace and justice?
Divest Day 16: From Scarcity to Abundance
Do you ever find yourself thinking I don’t have time or I can’t afford to? Scarcity defines much of modern life. We fight wars over scarce resources like oil, one in five children suffer from hunger, and governments and people around the world are cutting back because money is scarce and promoting austerity.
But when we look closer, we see that much of this scarcity is made up. This is largely because the war economy takes what has always been free - food, water, land, entertainment, etc - and monetizes it, making resources available to only those who can ‘pay’ for it. We have more than enough food for everyone in the world, but economic poverty makes people go hungry.
Our culture of scarcity tells us that there will never be enough money, time, etc, compelling us to guard tightly what we do have. It tell us that more for you is less for me, making us feel envy. It causes us to make decisions from a place of fear and lack.
But since we know scarcity is largely imagined, we can shift into a new story - that of abundance. When we act from abundance, we believe there is always enough, we freely share with others, and we are optimistic, visionary, and trusting. That kind of mindset can transform our lives and the world around us, and it starts with each of us.
Today, practice cultivating an abundance mindset by looking around at what you have, and seeing what you can give away or share with others. Do you really need all the clothes in your closet? What about your books, games, kitchen stuff, etc?
If you don’t have material things to give away, how can you share your time, skills, and passion to help your community?
Divest Day 17: From Plastics to the Planet
Do you believe humans are separate from nature? Superior to other animals? I know that I entertained this belief for most of my life. Like many people in the U.S., I haven’t had much of a relationship to nature - I’ve been too busy staying indoors, plugged into my computer and phone and TV. I’ve been taught to see the earth as a “natural resource” to take from. That’s certainly the mentality that drives us to destroy forests, drill into the ground for oil and gas, and cage animals in factories for mass slaughter.
The war economy relies on our apathy and disconnection from nature - that’s the reason we consume its plastic goods that destroy the planet, which could have supplied whatever need that drove us to purchase them.
Our planet creates and sustains all of life all on its own - the sun’s energy grows the plants that feed us; the trees give us oxygen and shelter. Monsanto, factory farming, and fossil fuels are sold as indispensable, when really, they create death instead of life.
Observe where these are in your life. How often does an alternative that is contributing to climate change seem like the only choice?
How often are you connected to nature in your day? When was the last time your toes were on the soil? How can you change that and change it for those in your community?
Divest Day 18: From Urgency to Wisdom
(Note: this post was guest-written by Jess Rimington, an activist, strategist and entrepreneur working to eradicate inequity that dehumanizes. Check out her work here!)
We live in a society that propels us to think everything is urgent, all the time. Why? Because we’ve been raised and trained in an economy that values humans for their labor and production capacity, and not much else. It’s easy to get tricked. It’s easy to be fooled into thinking all we are worth is our productivity —to measure our days by how many widgets we created, or emails we sent, or to-do list items we checked off. In fact, structures in our consumerist society are set up to make you feel as though this productivity is wrapped up with your self worth!
It’s an easy jump to think: well if I produce more, and faster, I’m worth more! When we are surrounded daily by colleagues, and sometimes even family members, who are bought into this way of thinking, we create entire cultures in our organizations and home lives where there’s a sense of constant urgency…urgency to prove something…but to whom?
When we act with a sense of urgency, we often make decisions from a place of fear rather than a place of intuitive, grounded wisdom. When we act from a place of time abundance versus urgency, we often act with greater calm, awareness and wisdom. There is something about turning one’s attention to the impacts possible across long spans of time that creates this grounded decision-making effect. To act with mindfulness towards the long run means that many decisions no longer make sense: like war or oil, for instance.
What would it look like for individuals and even whole societies to only make decisions from a place of intuitive, grounded wisdom?
Today, notice when you feel a sense of urgency. Ask yourself: where is it coming from? To whom might I be trying to perform for or prove something to?
Sometimes things are actually urgent. If your self-reflection provides a satisfying answer as to why this must get done now —then by all means proceed! If not, then stop what you are doing for some time. Take a few deep breaths. Remind yourself of the big picture, and imagine how the actions you are doing today will extend to create ripple effects for the week ahead, the month ahead, the year ahead, and even (if you can go there) 100 years ahead. Now, assess what is most important to do.
Notice the difference of what it feels like to act from a place of time abundance, calm and therefore with greater clarity.
Divest Day 19: From Consumption to Creation
Sometimes I marvel at how much time I spend in the role of the consumer. Whether it’s scrolling through Instagram, reading the news, shopping, or watching TV shows, I consume a lot - and a lot of it is mindless. It makes sense, when you consider that the purpose of the war economy is the accumulation and enclosure of wealth and power, and consumerism justifies this purpose by getting us to buy into the idea that the measure of our own worth is our mini-accumulations. The only way to be happy is to buy happy.*
Indulging in mindless consumerism is easy and comfortable, and it makes me feel like I’m being productive. But in fact, my mindless consumption is not actually doing anything for the world, and it gives me a sense of dissatisfaction - kind of like how I feel after eating junk food.
It’s a lot better if the information we consume is high-quality, but we also need to do something with it in order for it to be effective. And that means we must balance our consumption with creation.
We all have an inherent desire to create, to contribute. It’s what makes us feel most alive and fulfilled. Since recognizing this, I’ve started to swap scrolling my newsfeed with journaling, listening to recorded music with singing, eating out with cooking, and watching TV with friends to creating our own games. And I wonder: what would happen to the war economy if all of us stopped feeding its addictive cycle, and grew our powers of imagination instead?
Today, reflect on 1) how often you find yourself in the role of consumer versus creator, and 2) the quality of the content you consume and create.
Identify one or two places where you mindlessly over-consume, and replace that time with creating something meaningful for you and your community.
*thanks to the folks at Movement Generation for this analysis!
Divest Day 20: From Accumulation to Sharing Resources
(Note: this post was guest written by Paula Kahn, a consent and anti-oppression educator and founder of CosmoVisiones Ancestrales. Check out her work here!)
Yesterday, we reflected on how we can transform our participation in consumerism into acts of regenerative creation. This had me thinking about how we live in a culture that individualizes ownership and consumption, which means we are constantly exerting energy to preserve what we “own” and to make purchases to accumulate more for ourselves and those we share resources with… but what could life be like if our ownership and consumption models were coordinated collectively with those in our community?
Living in a student cooperative in Berkeley with 124 inhabitants showed me that shared resources created a culture of mindful, intentional consumption. Sharing resources and purchasing food together, for example, taught us to exercise moderation and practice communal accountability so that everyone could enjoy a slice of the pie! Can you imagine how collective-cooperative models could transform our local water or gas consumption?! How about local transportation?!
Let’s visualize what we have, what we need, and what we desire (material and non material). What is it? Can your objects of desire be enjoyed collectively or individually? Visualizing what we desire is important for what comes next!
Next, let’s contemplate our capacity to give up something we have to expand access to collective enjoyment. What can you trade in or share with others? How does this play out in your learning or work environments? What does it look like in your family or friendship structures, especially when we replace the material with the behavioral? What powers do we have that we are willing to give up to equalize the spaces we co-inhabit? How does sharing material resources teach us to move away from power-over to power-with?
Divest Day 21: From Repression to Revolution
Here we are at the end of 21 Days of Divesting from the War Economy. However way you engaged with these posts over the last three weeks, we thank you for coming along for the ride. Where do we go from here? Making these changes takes community. Get your family, friends and neighbors together to explore deepening these concepts - from activating your imagination and creativity to cultivating an abundance mindset, the possibilities are endless.
Consider: What is your revolution? With love.