Personal Growth and Integrity on the Left

Personal Growth and Integrity on the Left

Originally published January 26th, 2021

I’ve been thinking a lot about how important personal growth work is in the left. Like specifically if we want to create futures based on cooperation and mutual aid, we need to be highly aware of ourselves, our values, our needs and limitations, and we need to be skilled in interpersonal conflict.

We tell people with privilege to listen to people who are marginalized but we don’t emphasize forming and clarifying your own ethics nearly as much as we should. You cannot have one without the other and achieve liberation.

Forming and clarifying your own ethics without listening to the most marginalized can align you with with cultures of domination. Taking uncritical direction from people who happen to be more marginalized than you (which by the way is a form of tokenization) without clarifying your own ethics is first of all only going to lead to a lack of solid direction because no group is a monolith and people will be saying different and potentially contradictory things, but it’s also not going to help you define a clear set of ethics for yourself that can guide you.

We really cannot be relying on other people alone to tell us what is right. That kind of giving away of our power primes us for abuse and manipulation which is rampant on the left and which hardly goes effectively addressed.

Not to mention it shouldn’t be other people’s job to tell us what to do and think. No bosses, right?

If a future without a state, a future based on co-operation and direct democracy is something you’re striving for, personal growth work is mandatory.

Compulsory deference, a sign of codependency, is not how you build consensus. You build consensus through coming together as individuals with clear sets of personal ethics, a strong sense of personal identity, commitment to integrity and commitment to fostering true inter-dependence rather than codependence.

For instance, my ethics are rooted in cooperative/democratic self-governance, in valuing human life, in destroying all structures based on domination and exploitation.

I value strategies that are aware of context, effective, and most likely to achieve my desired result. Being in my integrity means that I assess situations from my ethics and when something is directly challenging my values,

I confront it.

To be in my integrity means I need to know how to soothe my anxiety around confrontation enough to do what’s right. It means I need to be ready to really stand behind my values. Having a personal sense of what is right because you are guided by your own values is always going to be stronger than doing something because you think you’re going to be ridiculed if you don’t.

Personal Growth and Integrity on the Left

Originally published January 26th, 2021

I’ve been thinking a lot about how important personal growth work is in the left. Like specifically if we want to create futures based on cooperation and mutual aid, we need to be highly aware of ourselves, our values, our needs and limitations, and we need to be skilled in interpersonal conflict.

We tell people with privilege to listen to people who are marginalized but we don’t emphasize forming and clarifying your own ethics nearly as much as we should. You cannot have one without the other and achieve liberation.

Forming and clarifying your own ethics without listening to the most marginalized can align you with with cultures of domination. Taking uncritical direction from people who happen to be more marginalized than you (which by the way is a form of tokenization) without clarifying your own ethics is first of all only going to lead to a lack of solid direction because no group is a monolith and people will be saying different and potentially contradictory things, but it’s also not going to help you define a clear set of ethics for yourself that can guide you.

We really cannot be relying on other people alone to tell us what is right. That kind of giving away of our power primes us for abuse and manipulation which is rampant on the left and which hardly goes effectively addressed.

Not to mention it shouldn’t be other people’s job to tell us what to do and think. No bosses, right?

If a future without a state, a future based on co-operation and direct democracy is something you’re striving for, personal growth work is mandatory.

Compulsory deference, a sign of codependency, is not how you build consensus. You build consensus through coming together as individuals with clear sets of personal ethics, a strong sense of personal identity, commitment to integrity and commitment to fostering true inter-dependence rather than codependence.

For instance, my ethics are rooted in cooperative/democratic self-governance, in valuing human life, in destroying all structures based on domination and exploitation.

I value strategies that are aware of context, effective, and most likely to achieve my desired result. Being in my integrity means that I assess situations from my ethics and when something is directly challenging my values,

I confront it.

To be in my integrity means I need to know how to soothe my anxiety around confrontation enough to do what’s right. It means I need to be ready to really stand behind my values. Having a personal sense of what is right because you are guided by your own values is always going to be stronger than doing something because you think you’re going to be ridiculed if you don’t.

Or because someone said it’s what you’re supposed to think or do and you took that at face value without examining it thoroughly to see if it for one thing, stands up to reason, and for another stands up ethically.

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