If you didn’t already know, I have complex PTSD. It’s a daily struggle to keep the nihilistic, often cruel, brain weasels that chatter some of the most hateful self-talk you will likely experience. So I have to actively work to keep them at bay. One important way I’m able to do that is by countering those weasels with Revolutionary Optimism.
Revolutionary Optimism can be generated by learning to understand and identify why our world operates the way it does, and then working in solidarity with others to build dual power systems that meet community needs outside of the Capitalist/Colonialist Establishment.
For me, this looks like:
- Learning and sharing history that’s been deliberately obfuscated or outright hidden by the Capitalist ruling class
- Learning sustainable growing/harvesting/preserving practices, putting those into practice, seed saving and sharing with others, and sharing resources and knowledge
- Working with our local cadre to support our mutual aid organization and other orgs when I’m able
- Engaging with other comrades to discuss history, theory, current events and our personal experiences
My Revolutionary Optimism grows stronger as I see why things are the way they are, and how I can – especially in solidarity with others – make helpful material impacts on behalf of the working class.
Revolutionary Optimism is not like what most Westerners think of when they talk about optimism. The socioeconomic system we live under in the US, Capitalism, is rooted in the philosophy of Idealism, which argues that reality is just a mental construct instead of a tangible, material existence.
Most USians associate optimism with “changing your perception,” rather than changing any of the conditions that have diminished or destroyed a person’s capacity to experience it. “Perception is reality! Happiness is a choice!” they like to squawk at anyone who isn’t utilizing their “manifesting positivity” brand of magical thinking. Most of the people who’ve adopted this mindset don’t realize it has its roots in the post-WW2 McCarthyist Evangelical Revival movement, which was coordinated by Capitalists attempting to prevent USians from seeing the benefits of Socialist socioeconomics. The Positivity Movement also requires its adherents to make heavy use of cognitive dissonance, because they must ignore and deny horrific things happening around the globe (most of which are rooted in US hegemony) while they enjoy the privilege that allows them to demand “Good vibes only.”
Once you see behind the curtain, it’s impossible to experience that type of bogus optimism. But the good news is, it opens us up to being able to experience the genuine joy of Revolutionary Optimism, because now we can see what is to be done find our role in the revolution. Contributing to measurable helpful impacts in our communities improves my mood and outlook, not empty platitudes.
I also treat my cPTSD with therapy, medication, getting support from family and friends, and self-care. Combined with the optimism I build through revolutionary work, I’m able to manage my symptoms fairly well. I occasionally suffer from triggers, hypervigilance, meltdowns, but I’m able to recover and not get stuck in the despair those can cause, thanks to my supports and Revolutionary Optimism.
I share my perspective in hopes of being helpful to others. Please share this with anyone who you think may benefit. Thank you!