This Valentine’s Day, I’m thinking about how a hope for a more loving world sustains us in these testing times. 

This week, with scenes in Rafah and the continued attack on Palestine, it’s been hard to stay hopeful. Times have been hard and realistically, an end to it all doesn’t feel like it’s within touching distance. Losing faith in a better tomorrow is easy, especially when we witness multiple genocides, from Palestine, to Sudan, to Congo, which continue to go unchallenged by politicians. 

While we’re filled with rage and despair, there is hope and love to be found too. I think it’s more important than ever to organise in community with each other, which is an act of resistance in itself in many ways. I became an abolitionist through rage at the current systems, but it’s the desire to be part of a more loving world that has sustained me. The love remains when the anger tires me out. 

Hopelessness is natural in the compounding disasters over the last few years – from Covid-19 and its continued impact, especially on immunocompromised and disabled people; rising transphobia and rampant misogyny; draconian laws; climate change or the dire state of the economy. And while many of us may have found hope in previous elections, that’s no longer the case when the governing and opposing political party leaders seem to be two sides of the same coin.

These compounding issues of the last few years remind me that capitalism is working exactly as it’s designed to – serving the minority, eroding our sense of community and exhausting us so we can’t fight back. All these disasters listed above are interconnected, and it’s not a coincidence. I like to think more of us are aware of this than four years ago. 

In some ways, perhaps being more aware of how interconnected these issues are leave us in a stronger position to consider the infinite prospects of what a better world could look like. It’s not just eradicating capitalism and state violence, but creating the systems that we don’t have. Kwame Ture highlighted that revolution isn’t about destroying, but about creating. 

This loving world is one where we centre care, and support, rather than criminalisation and other punitive measures. It’s a world where we’re implementing more caring practices and nurturing spaces, and where people’s worth, and people’s lives aren’t shaped by capitalism (because capitalism wouldn’t exist anyway). It includes children being treated with love, as equals, rather than being made to respect their elders.

Mariame Kaba said “Let’s ask ‘What can we imagine for ourselves and the world?’ If we do that then boundless possibilities for a more just world await us.” To me, this looks like everyone having shelter and enough healthy food to feed them, regardless of their economic circumstances. This includes places where people with severe mental health issues can turn to if they need help without risk of being sectioned; includes people having somewhere that they can go to safely consume, or receive help, for drug addiction without being criminalised further; includes a safe place for minoritised groups, such as immigrants, to turn to if they face danger, without risk of deportation. All, or some, of this may seem impossible, or unlikely to happen in our lifetimes, but as Kaba points out, there are boundless possibilities.

Currently, pieces of this world are being filled and practised by community workers and radical organisers, often with busy lives, families and other commitments. This includes groups such as  Abolitionist Futures; Anti-Raids; Aya Afrikan Learning; Books Against Borders; BLM UK; Copwatch; Mutual Aid/Distro groups; No More Exclusions; The Rights Collective and many more. 

These are just some of the many groups in the UK working to create the better, more radical world we need, whether that be through helping people to be better protected and informed against state violence; providing financial support and relief;  and furthering education and knowledge in digestible ways. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all roses and kumbaya; Franz Fanon, James Baldwin and Assata Shukar all have some wise words on this. But perhaps it’s the hope, community and love for something bigger than ourselves and those in our immediate circles, that will keep us going.

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