Personal - Political copy

The Personal and the Political

Widdershins is all about trying to do things differently from the way we are doing them now.

And the Widdershins approach to politics, specifically, consists of separating between the “political stuff” and the “personal stuff”. And being very clear not to mix the two.

I swear one day this approach will be a book. (If you’re a publisher and you’re interested, get in touch)

For now, let’s see if I can explain the basics to you.

What do I mean by political stuff?

Oh, the usual: Feminist analysis, the Left, Marx, Environmentalism… all that jazz.

And by personal stuff?

I mean the stuff that’s all about *you*. You, as in, *insert your name here*. Your past, your traumas, your experience, your baggage, your history on this planet. Your relationships, your “issues”… And how you heal from all this. Using “spiritual-woo-woo self-help-ey”techniques which help *you*.

The reason for separating between the two is this: if you have experienced some kind of horribleness in your life (and if you’re alive, you probably have), you need to heal from it. And the “tools” for self-healing are very different from the tools you need to analyse and fight patriarchy and capitalism.

And here’s the key: you can’t go from one set of ideas to the other. In other words:

  • you can’t use “personal” self-help-ey tools to change the world
  • and you can’t use the “political” tools to question Capitalism and Patriarchy to understand and heal yourself.

That’s why we keep the two separate.

I’m talking about a completely new system for dealing with politics and personal stuff, one that I had to come up with by myself when my life hit the fan and things had to change, and fast.

I didn’t want to give up my feminism and my leftism… I still felt they were “right”.

But I needed to learn a whole new set of ideas to heal all the trauma I had gone through, so I could stand a chance of stopping or reducing the amount of trauma life was inflicting on me (or I was inflicting on my life).

Now I can pass this “system” to you, so you can use the tools to heal your personal life without having them conflict with your Feminism, leftism, or whatever brand of political activism you adopt.

Example!

If you experience some kind of horribleness, you need to:

* hit the breaks * retreat inwards * mindfully find out what is going on, as best you can * take action to  heal yourself.

It does not help to go and analyse all the ways patriarchy and capitalism have made this horribleness possible, all the ways “men oppress women”, all the ways in which “the elites oppress everyone else”, etc, etc.

Political analysis is for later, once you are healed. Right at the moment when you’re in pain, yourself needs *you*. All your energy and attention is needed to heal yourself, and focusing on politics gets in the way.

I’m not going to pretend this stuff is easy. It’s not. For one, it’s taken me years to figure it all out. For other, the system in itself requires tons and tons of bravery and guts.

That said, I believe it is the best way for us to engage in political activism without losing our marbles.

Now is when I ask for your opinion…

In order to get better at explaining this system, I need to know where people stop following it.

Do you have any questions as to how all this works? I’d love to hear from you.

And yes, you can totally e-mail me if you don’t want to leave a comment.

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “The Personal and the Political

  1. I’ve found that understanding how oppression works is enormously helpful in dealing with it on a personal level. In fact, none of the other things I tried, like counseling, self-help, etc. were really all that effective compared to understanding the framework – because that’s crucial to not taking woman hatred personally. I don’t think healing can begin until at least the bare bones of the framework are understood – at least that’s been my experience.

  2. Interesting…
    It’s certainly true for me that I was well versed in politics before I approached the “spiritual woo woo self-help-ey” stuff.
    That said, politics only helped me so much, and I ended up in pretty horrible situations, radical feminist awareness and all.

    Perhaps political awareness does help us in some way and I haven’t quite figured out how?

  3. Hmm. I do think political awareness helps us to understand our experiences, and that can help *as part of* healing. E.g. if it helps a woman to understand that being sexually assaulted, or being discriminated agianst at work, wasn’t her fault.
    So yes where you say ‘it only helped me so much’ I agree. It’s only part of the healing process. It’s not possible to heal *just* from understanding, in fact, can lead to the anger at patriarchy, capitalism etc you discuss in the other post which isn’t helpful. Understanding on the intellectual level is one thing but feelings are different and need to be healed on the individual level.

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