Overcoming Burnout

Organising with others for human, animal and earth liberation can be one of the most empowering experiences alive. Yet frontline resistance comes with risks to our physical and emotional health that can lead many people to burn out and abandon social movements altogether.

This book is about overcoming burnout, linking the author’s journey of recovery with wider systemic forces such as classism, sexism and power dynamics in groups, poverty, chronic illness and ableism, as well as grief and trauma from prison and state repression. It is a call for models of mutual aid and collective care. Simultaneously deeply personal and acutely political, for anyone involved in grassroots organising, it is a must read.

The Importance of Support: Building Foundations, Creating Community, Sustaining Movements – Anonymous

Hackers attack KKK and briefly bring down main websiteHow do we develop anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist movements that are capable of maintaining and expanding over the long haul? The infrastructures we create in the course of our political work are key to unlocking the answer. If our infrastructures are to succeed and deepen our movements, we need to abandon the pervasive separation between politics and “personal” life and ground our movement activity in everyday practices of mutual aid and support—both in times of happiness and in times of hardship. This article looks at the latter of these: reflecting on how we can develop models for providing each other with compassionate, nurturing support through tragedy, trauma, and hardship.

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Burn Down the Psych Ward – call for an abolitionist approach to psychological emancipation

270 best images about The Insane Asylum on Pinterest ...The American plantation relies on the mental distress of those it oppresses. As revolutionaries, we seek the liberation of people in bondage, both in prisons and psych wards. In order to eliminate patriarchy, capitalism, gender, and anti-blackness, we must address the significant psychological damage these forces inflict.

The trauma caused by social isolation, psychological manipulation and physical oppression is felt by all of those who are locked up, enslaved and otherwise targeted by the barbaric enforcers of white supremacy. The rampant psychological distress we are accustomed to is the effect of living in a depraved world. It is not possible to address “mental illness” without addressing the overwhelmingly reactionary nature of American society.

Psychological Emancipation for Revolutionary Abolition seeks to create ways of dealing with psychological distress which build up the revolutionary relationships that are needed to help people stay free. We must not only be supporting our fellow revolutionaries in their time of psychological need, but developing the patterns and practices of social cohesion that create strong bonds more capable of withstanding state repression, dealing with psychological distress, and undertaking militant action.

The skills, ideas and methods of organization proposed in this call for a revolutionary abolitionist approach to psychological emancipation will beuseful to anyone seeking to overcome the psychological barriers to securing their own liberation, but the ultimate goal of PERA is to destroy locked psychiatric treatment, prisons, and the state itself. This means that to truly succeed PERA requires support from and coordination with a broader abolitionist network, the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement.

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This is Anarcha-Herbalism: Thoughts On Health and Healing For the Revolution

My medicine chest is a council of bioregions, with representatives gathered together as I make my way around the world west of the Rocky Mountains. The Coptis root was picked out of the churned-up scar left by an excavator, at the retreating edge of the Idaho wilderness. The tiny amount of Pipsissewa leaves came from an ancient grove above the Klamath River just feet away from where the District Ranger sat on a stump talking about his plans to cut it all down. I am drying Nettles from the California creek where salmon die in the silt left after a century of industrial logging.

Every jar holds a story (often a ghost story of dying ecosystems and places gone forever). I am honored to have known the plants in their home places and to have studied their uses as medicine. But for people not lucky enough to roam throughout the wilds, purchased herbal preparations such as tinctures may be the link back to this sort of healing.

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Radical Mycology an SLF Primer

Mushrooms tend to get a bad rap amongst many foragers because of a fear poisoning and/or a fear of the unknown. Radical Mycology demystifies mushrooms, explaining how they grow, different types of mushrooms, how to cultivate them, and how to preserve them. The authors also included a lengthy section on identifying common edible wild mushrooms.

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Primitive Toothcare

Primitive Toothcare: a DIY Guide to Uncivilized Oral ...Subtitled “A DIY Guide to Uncivilized Oral Hygiene” this zine is an exploration of dental care without relying on large corporations or even smaller and unnecessary “green” companies. There’s ideas for alternatives to use for toothpicks, general tooth care, herbs for cleaning teeth, etc.

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Home Remedies for Common Maladies

home remedies for common maladies zine coverThis zine provides a basic introduction to herbalism alongside a collection of home remedies for common health problems. The information is organized into broad categories based on body parts (head, abdomen, etc) and then from there conditions and symptoms. It’s easy to use and a good introduction to DIY healthcare. There is also a lengthy suggested resources section that recommends additional sources.

The zine was published by Rosehip Medic Collective, a street medic collective out of Portland, Oregon.

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Edible, Medicinal, & Utilitarian Plants: Vol. 1

https://www.sproutdistro.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/edible_medicinal_plants.pngThis zine is a great introduction to identifying, foraging, and using what the authors term “weeds” and “common plants.” The authors wrote it to be an introductory-level guide for anarchists to get more acquainted with the land. It has tips on all sorts of different plants from the well-known dandelion and yarrow to more obscure things like wild carrot. The authors explain how to use parts of easily identifiable trees. For example, you can make a tea out of pine needles that is packed with vitamin C.

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An Herbal Medicine-Making Primer

https://www.sproutdistro.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/herbal_medicine_making.pngThis zine is an excellent introduction to making your own herbal medicines with plants that you forage yourself in the wild. It features an essay explaining the importance of making our own medicine and then outlines how to make several different types of herbal medicines. These include infusions, decoctions, salves, syrups, infused oils, tinctures, glycerites, etc.

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An Activist’s Guide to Basic First Aid

https://img1.etsystatic.com/000/0/6245275/il_fullxfull.282092717.jpgBlack Cross Health Collective is an affinity group of health care workers who live in Portland, Oregon. We formed after the WTO protests because we saw a need for medical care that is specific to the radical community. We think our needs as radicals are different, and that groups like the Red Cross don’t give us the skills we need to keep ourselves and each other safe in the streets. So we called upon our own medical experience (as nurse practioners, nurses, EMT’s, clinical herbalists, and more), as well as our experience in demos and direct actions, and formed Black Cross. Since then, we’ve done first aid trainings in Portland and around the country, provided medical support at local and national demos, and are conducting trials looking for a way to neutralize pepper spray.

We believe that health care is political. The kind of care we do or don’t receive, where and how we receive that care, who provides that care, who has access to training to provide care, and what kinds of trainings are smiled or frowned upon, all involve inherently political issues.

We believe the system needs to be changed… the health care system right along with all the others.We’ve put this zine together mostly to go along with a first aid training. While doing the trainings we realized there was way more to say about first aid than we would have time to say it in. So we thought a little reading would maybe be helpful to y’all.

Remember the most important words you can ever learn to say are “I don’t know.”

Fight the power, do no harm.

– Black Cross Health Collective

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Activist Trauma Support zine – Issue One

Version 1 of the Activist Trauma Support zine, 36 A5 pages in PDF including Editorial, Avoiding Burnout at Climate Camp 2006, Total Eclipse, International Groups, Out of Action in German for G8, Report from Israeli T-Team, ATS Trauma Briefing, 2 Minute Relaxation, My Experiences Post Stirling, Callout for more articles.

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Mindful occupation rising up without burning out

Mindful Occupation: Part I | Alchemical MusingsWe believe that there is an urgent need to talk publicly about the relationship between social injustice and our mental health. We believe that we need to start redefining what it actually means to be mentally healthy, not just on an individual level, but on collective, communal, and global levels.

We know that many people at Occupy sites around the country are struggling to figure out how to build spaces of support and healing. We also know that police violence and the stresses of street protest can have very real mental, emotional, and energetic effects that are all too often not taken seriously.

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Descending into Madness – An Anarchist-Nihilist Diary of Anti-Psychiatry – Flower Bomb

“Like all governments, presidents, and authority, psychiatry never gave me freedom. Assigned psychiatric labels didn’t help me – they only filled me with an internalized sense of victimhood and inferiority. Medication didn’t ‘cure’ or ‘fix’ me – only damaged me, numbing me to my own senses in order to create an emotional void between me and the fuckery of civilized life. So instead, with nihilist celebration I descend into madness, taking aim at social order and civilization. With armed animalism I realize now that there was  to fix ­ my natural contempt for domestication and social control reminds me that I was never ‘broken’ to begin with.”

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The Mass Psychology of Misery – John Zerzan

Quite a while ago, just before the upheavals of the ’60s-shifts that have not ceased, but have been forced in less direct, less public directions — Marcuse in his One-Dimensional Man, described a populace characterized by flattened personality, satisfied and content. With the pervasive anguish of today, who could be so described? Therein lies a deep, if inchoate critique.

Much theorizing has announced the erosion of individuality’s last remnants; but if this were so, if society now consists of the thoroughly homogenized and domesticated, how can there remain the enduring tension which must account for such levels of pain and loss? More and more people I have known have cracked up. It’s going on to a staggering degree, in a context of generalized, severe emotional disease-ease.

Marx predicted, erroneously, that a deepening material immiseration would lead to revolt and to capital’s downfall. Might it not be that an increasing psychic suffering is itself leading to the reopening of revolt — indeed, that this may even be the last hope of resistance?

And yet it is obvious that “mere” suffering is no guarantee of anything. “Desire does not ‘want’ revolution, it is revolutionary in its own right,” as Deleuze and Guattari pointed out, while further on in Anti-Oedipus, remembering fascism, noting that people have desired against their own interests, and that tolerance of humiliation and enslavement remains widespread.

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High Time for Anarchism in Mental Health – Itay Kander

The mental health system, despite all its complexity, can be described as a drainage hole for human suffering. Mostly, the pain that flows into it seeps into the groundwater, but occasionally it will reverse course and erupt into “normal” life as if from a geyser.

Reducing a wide collection of psycho-social phenomena into one generic mold of “human suffering” without committing a grave injustice to the diversity of voices within the “patient” community, voices that yearn to be differentiated and heard, is extremely difficult. Nevertheless, my experience has shown that a certain pattern or structure does underlie most interactions in the mental health system — often, the pain encountered in its bounds combines a type of Hurt, the conviction that something wrong and unjust has happened to me, with some kind of Silence, indicated by a paucity of language in the interpersonal space and in some cases, the actual inability to put one’s experience into words. These two features — Hurt and Silence — usually merge and become inseparable. Thus, in the interaction with the “consumer,” the mental health “professional” can either reinforce the foundation of Hurt and sentence the “consumer” to continued silence or, alternatively, work toward the disentangling of these two elements.

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The Prisoner’s Herbal

Prisoners all over the world commonly experience medical neglect and a dehumanising separation from wild places. However, weeds come up through the concrete cracks. This book contains detailed profiles of ten plants that are commonly found in prison yards. It is based on my use of plants during my own 3.5-year prison sentence, with suggestions on how to prepare medicines in prison with limited resources.

It also includes tips and tricks for making the most out of foods, spices and condiments available from the prison canteen (commissary), as well as sections on how to connect with plant allies emotionally and how to care for wounds in a prison environment.

For readers on the outside, it provides practical advice about how to work with common weeds in simple and direct ways and will inspire solidarity across the walls.