The street was where people learned who to be, growing up with hopes of owning a house on the street, and, if not, one nearby, a place where you felt that the street was closeby, and closeness translating into comfort, feeling that your allies were a block off, waiting for something to sound off. Comfort went with your belief that you knew everyone really well, because you had heard stories about them. There was hate from the cities- how you couldn’t find meaning in a box store, how the nuclear family, and monogamy, failed everyone, in the end, etc- but they didn’t understand what it meant to play on teams and grow up with the same set of people, on the same street, where you felt safe, because you knew who everyone was.
People dissented. Fled: Moved to streets with roofs of different shingles, with shrubs carved to different polygons- or, none at all. They lead movements for the people of their new streets, outraged against things that happened to them, these others, things that they had never seen back in their street. They became leaders. Their voices thundered in town halls, over tiled floors.
One for all, and all for one!
It slid, after some time, to one for the most of us!
This sounded less attractive to all the people, sure, but it was still good for most, and there was still that enthusiasm, and promise, of change.
One for all of us at the meeting! brought some questions from those in the audience, and then one for whoever doesn’t really have money problems at the meeting! accidentally flattened the voices of the all, and the most… but with good intentions: You could only be radical for so long. When your basement apartment turned into the whole house, to the condo overlooking the street, a distance between you and the street helped to provide space for you to think. The time- consuming-sludge of needing to work low-paying, benefitless jobs, or those hours imprisoned for walking on the wrong street, only clogged the gears of a leader- and every movement needed its leader. Every movement needed a leader who stood up from the crowd, able to talk for everyone, so long as race was put aside, along with this idea that people had varying amounts of money, and that having money somehow impacted your survival in a society based on money.
Student protesters became politicians; white feminists who had fought against sexism left it on their CV when it bought them blazers; people oppressed for their sexuality demanded fairness for whites- things were really moving. When you’re a long way from home, things that bring you comfort take priority. It’s impossible to know how everyone lives on the street because you can’t exactly see through the walls of their apartment.
word by Liam Lachance
colour by Steven Orner
these words were inspired by the work of bell hooks