I am going through a huge transition right now, as far as my own politics are concerned. I still have the same political beliefs as I have been writing about for the past two years, but whereas I used to take on every way that I could think of to try and put those beliefs to action and work towards some kind of meaningful change, I have become withdrawn. I don't want to be a stereotypical academic leftist that does nothing to contribute to change, but I need to negotiate how much of myself I can give before losing myself entirely... here's why.
I have been engaged in union work for a few years now in various capacities. Our local just had a CA ratification vote, and I was entirely against the proposed agreement. I feel as though tactics that were used to pass the agreement were very questionable, such as requests for a general membership meeting before the vote being denied and the vote itself being held only a few weeks before the membership returned from various activities making it impossible to reach many of them. The vote itself did not contravene the law or union constitution in any way, but in my opinion, the process was unethical. And the more I spoke out about it, the more I felt as though I were being pushed away, quieted, left out of further decision making processes... which only made things worse. So now I have to decide whether I want to continue to be involved in this type of work.
I have been putting off the decision this month. I have been on sick leave for medical issues that are not necessarily related to the past month's events but were likely exasperated by them. I have spent the month watching television, reading novels, napping... trying to take care of myself and get my health back together. I am still not allowed to drive or ride a bike, which makes it difficult to get anything done.
But now I am getting to a point where I am ready to start facing the question of how I wish to proceed with my activism in the immediate future. Sometimes I have felt as though I am one of the only people in a room being critical of certain things (such as by not fully endorsing the NDP at union conventions) and that feeling of fighting alone is exhausting. I do have allies, there are other activists in my area with similar beliefs, but mostly, any activities seem to fall back to NDP cheerleading or liberal rhetoric, such as notions of 'choice' or 'trust'. I don't have the energy to call these publicly every time they occur anymore, but I feel that these ideas do need to be challenged and built upon to create something bigger.
I was hoping to find this community when I move for my PhD, but it looks like I might be putting that off for a year. I could be here for as much as 2 more years, so I need to work some of these things out. I need to find ways to use my energy to do things that will be meaningful and won't feel like I am trying to fight a losing battle or compromising my own beliefs.