Here’s a metaphor: in martial arts, I was taught not to over tighten my fists when striking, not to tense up on the sword when cutting, as both can cause more damage to your body than to your opponent as the force is transferred through your strike and into your body.
Additionally, the constant tension of making a fist can lead to further injury down the line. My sensei advised me to keep loose until striking, and not to strike with an overly tight fist, grip, or appendage. I learned this the hard way, dislocating a pinky.
My students learned this the hard way when their tension on the sword exhausted them during practice, and when their arms began to ache from blocking with the weapon.
I’m gonna translate this to actvism: if we are too tight, too much like the over tight fist, we injure ourselves striking a blow against the facist dictatorship our country has become. We may not notice in the moment, but we’ll exhaust ourselves.
Calls of “fuck your despair, keep fighting” are like this. You are asking people to be clenched fists at all moments, without recognition of the way striking a blow has damaged them. And, to be clear, there is no one who doesn’t take damage when striking.
Some of us, however, are less able to strike a blow than others; some of us are more damaged by the blows we strike, however effective; and some of us don’t know how to strike without hurting ourselves. All of these things go into punching and resisting.
We need to be conscious of how some folks are more damaged than others by the act of resisting, of fighting, as opposed to demanding that folks punch till their hands are pulp.
Finally, no fight is an unending series of strikes: each strike requires time to recover. That’s why we have combinations, that’s why we hold the distance, thats why we have footwork. “Fuck your despair, fight!” ultimately asks folks to forego recovery from the last strike.
It asks them to stay tense, to keep punching and punching without being conscious of how and where and what you’re striking. And, sure, in some fights, you might have to keep punching until the opponent withdraws; some fights might be so desperate that we have to risk the damage.
But that’s not every fight, that’s not every fighter, and that’s not every activist. And this is why, as @SaraNAhmed says, we link arms to form an army, because the fight demands we preserve ourselves, and one another, otherwise what are we even doing?
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