A culture of care, a utopia or a meaningful social solution? Sometimes the word care can alienate people who are into action activism. Someone fighting for justice many times is not associated with the term care. But this is an illusion patriarchy has created. From the belief that men are not crying to the statement that people that are engaged with radical social change can not be caring and vulnerable. Unfortunatly care in this context many times becomes a tabu.
In this article we will see how the exact opposite is healthy and necessary. Because if those who are in the most active in the protests etc do not accept the care, they end up running out of strength and stamina and they burn out. But that’s how the movement becomes less powerful and stops its activity. There are certainly other psychosocial reasons why the movement is experiencing a decline, but also the fatigue and the lack of care is a very basic reason.
What is the Culture of Care?
The Culture of Care is a concept that has emerged in Europe in recent years. Firstly we see it in the field of workplace psychology When we talk about a Culture of Care we mean a culture of life based on care. Not based in competition. Not based on the ego. But in the awareness of our needs experienced through respect for existence. It is manifested through how we behave to ourselves and to each other. It is the attempt to build a caring relationship with everything that surrounds us. It is the warmth we feel in close relationships. But also the warmth we can feel in the workplace as well as in activism, through the love of what we do, within a context of safety and softness.
Why is Culture of Care important for activism?
When you fight for your rights, that fight takes strength. It is necessary that you trylly believe what you claim. And it needs solidarity. If you don’t have a good relationship with your teammates and you fight each other, the team will break up and your effort/project will collapse If you and your companions do not have the energy you will not be able to bring about the upheaval you want. The system has strong defending psychological, sociologial and physical mechanisms. And the most powerful one is that through the egoism it cultivates, it creates discord. That’s where all our efforts break down. Capitalism and patriarchy live within us. And it comes out unconsciously by being abrupt and abusive to our companions. This is exactly why the Culture of Care is needed. To bring another way of perceiving and functioning each of us, of our groups and societies.
This is how, our wellbeing can become the cause of our actions. We want a better world and we claim it! But this can not be sustainable if we don’t take care of the transition from one world to the other. Having care and wellbeing means that we are capable to deal with the crisis of the change we create. We do want the change but we need to see what is the next step after the change. When we act though the Culture of Care this is possible. As the world we want is based on the ideas of solidarity, authentic expression and authenticity. And to be present and support each other in our daily life. Without taking care all of the above this is not posible. In the same way you want to take care of your garden so it flourishes.
Empowering Activism, is a workshop for empowerment and care.
Empowering Activism – Healing into Resilience is a workshop that has the goal to empower and give care to the activists. It is based on theory but mainly gives practical tools on how we can take care of ourselves and our teams to be able to continue the struggle. We will see together how to protect ourselves and create a frame of safety on a personal and collective level. Will be given the psychological first aid kit, how to emediatly act on psychological crisis such as panic attacks etc. Αλλά και το πως να επαναφορτίζουμε μπαταρίες για να συνεχίζουμε τη δράση.be given
The theory is inspired by positive psychology, and the field of social and workplace Psychology, of sociology. Also will be given tools inspired by art therapy, body-focused psychotherapy but also mindfulness techniques.. The first time we came into contact with the Culture of Care was at the Ulex Center, of Ecodharma in Catalonia in the workshop Sustainable ActivismA very important experience was Soma (a libertarian group experiment using body and play to inspire collaboration) with Jorge Goia, which Valeria and Felix had on theatre Embros in 2019. Also we have personal experience in being as members and facilitators for groups. This is how why and how this workshop was created.
We will be happy to see you this weekend in our workshop!
„Men and women will only respect the environment if they learn to respect themselves. The ethic that destroys nature is the same one that justifies social domination and the exploitation of one person by another.“Soma: An Anarchist Therapy – Roberto Freire & João da Mata (1997)
This article was written by the facilitators of the workshop: Empowering Activism: Valeria Koudoumogiannaki και Felix Metzger.