Tragedy & Choice

Content Warning: Everything going on right now. On January 31, 2021, I wrote an essay entitled “5 Years Ago in Reno” in which I reminisced about my second-ever union organizing drive. In that essay, I explained that at one point during that campaign, helping the workers at a small rehab hospital in North Bay win their union, I worked “28 straight 14-hour days.” I wrote that I had “never worked so hard in my life” and that “a week prior [to my 28 14-hour-a-day sprint], I had crashed my car in pure exhaustion, falling drowsy at the wheel.” I wrote, … Continue reading Tragedy & Choice

The Dream I Had Last Night: Amor Fati

So, as I start typing this, it’s 5AM in the morning. I’m typically not awake this early — particularly not in the wee morning hours of a holiday. I don’t even typically remember my dreams. But I’m awake right now because about half an hour ago I awoke very suddenly, jolted by the realism, vividness, and intensity of the dream. I’ll be up front, and consider this a content warning: My dream ends with a bunch of pissed off guards violently dragging my good friend into a room and shooting him in the head. I debated whether to write this … Continue reading The Dream I Had Last Night: Amor Fati

The Ontology of Organizing: My Fundamental Philosophy

— 1 — A few weeks ago, I spoke at the ten-year anniversary of the pepper spray incident at UC Davis. The anniversary event went without a hitch. There were various activities throughout the afternoon: kids screen printing t-shirts, music, food. Various organizations were tabling at the Memorial Union: Cops Off Campus UC Davis; the student arm of AFSCME 3299; and even the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) at UC Davis. I got real happy when I saw the YDSA. In the months and years following the pepper-spray incident, a few student organizers and I came together to create … Continue reading The Ontology of Organizing: My Fundamental Philosophy

On Maturity & Responsibility, Part 2: The Beautiful Burden

I’ve been talking with lots of millennial Democrats recently as part of my job, so allow me to borrow one of the millennial Democrat’s favorite phrases: I am a man of “privilege.” I am under no threat socially, politically, or materially; I have more than enough money to survive and even thrive with my expensive videography hobby; and while I am not white, I am indeed a cis-gendered dude. And since I can only speak truthfully from my experience, it has not been lost on me — not one bit — that my privilege has largely come from my career … Continue reading On Maturity & Responsibility, Part 2: The Beautiful Burden

On Personality & Belief

In my last Facebook essay-rant, I observed that in order to become a Leftist, one has to have the ability to “abstract out” a ton of intuitive information that is not the easiest to abstract out. I said, “It takes many levels of abstraction to take political action: 1. my life’s experience is connected with oppression, 2. that oppression is connected to large societal structures, 3. the way societal structures change is if thousands of people come together in an organization and take action, and 4. as an individual of many collectives I should take action and talk with other … Continue reading On Personality & Belief

On Abstraction & Real Empathy

Leftists are different in many ways — some are more extroverted, some are more introverted, some are more interpersonally contrarian, some are better mediators. But something that almost all Leftist share — in their non-stop sharing of Jacobin-like articles, endless discussions with one another, etc. — is their ability to take information and then use that information to “abstract out” deeper meaning. That may seem like a “like, duh” observation, but I think the ability and capacity of abstraction is something Leftists take for granted. As in, not everyone can abstract deeper meaning from information. And the inability to abstract … Continue reading On Abstraction & Real Empathy

What Organizing Can Do, What It Cannot

The Left means so much to me, in the way that the deepest things cannot be described through written language — words diminish the meaning. Suffice to say, when I first discovered organizing I was a hollow shell of a person. Constantly anxious, had a hard time relating to even my closest friends, much less total strangers. I felt alone. I was in so much pain. And organizing allowed me to find community, discover an analysis for the world’s social systems that made sense to me, and gave me a sense of purpose. Here’s a list of what organizing is … Continue reading What Organizing Can Do, What It Cannot

On Pursuing Mastery, Part 3: Authenticity

I caught myself this morning noticing myself in bliss. I’ve been feeling this way for the last six hours: this almost complete euphoria. And it is the sort of euphoria that I did not chase or will myself into being. True euphoria is actually quite the opposite. True euphoria is almost like the absence of thought: a total fusion of “will” and “being” that doesn’t do, it just is. Unconsciously. And then I noticed it, a few moments ago, like, “Woah, I guess this morning I’ve been in a state of euphoria.” And now I am writing about it. Let … Continue reading On Pursuing Mastery, Part 3: Authenticity

On Pursuing Mastery, Part 2: Humanity

I’d think that as an organizer I’d be somewhat OK at listening, particularly when I’m in a car with a coworker who’s all hyped and excited and passionately telling me about his wild romantic pursuits — it’s not like he isn’t being interesting or engaging. But I can’t follow more than a sentence or two of anything he’s saying. Frankly (in retrospect), I’m probably not even paying attention to the road either. I’m hyper focused on strategizing how to steer the conversation towards asking him how much he weighs, what his body fat percentage is (if he knows), and whether … Continue reading On Pursuing Mastery, Part 2: Humanity

On Pursuing Mastery, Part 1: Being

I’d be emotionally dishonest with myself if I didn’t acknowledge that, over the last couple of months in my health and fitness journey, I’ve often felt deep embarrassment. Even accounting for that I’m relatively short for a male, my ability to lift weights is far below average, especially for a 25 year old in his hypothetical physical prime. When it comes to cardio, I do have surprisingly good will-power, but I’m huffing and puffing within minutes, while others around me seem to be fine for much, much longer periods of time. The most shameful thing, I think, is that the … Continue reading On Pursuing Mastery, Part 1: Being

7 Years Later & a Spiritual Shift

I never figured out what happened to that jacket haha. It’s hard to personally conceptualize that it’s been seven years since the incident. Over the last seven years, I’ve managed to write and post an essay on my FB about once a month. For the first two years, most of those essays were about the nuances and contradictions of the radical Left. The next three years’ essays centered around organizing theory. And the last two years’ essays have largely been about trying to understand how the social world and the emotional world interact with each other and how the social … Continue reading 7 Years Later & a Spiritual Shift

Start with Experience, Not Ideology

Main point: Many people filter their experiences into representations of their (oftentimes political) ideology. Don’t do that. That’s bad. Instead, follow your experiences and integrate that into who you are. 1. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who knows me. When I was a teenager, I spent about four to six hours a day debating philosophy, theory, and politics on an online debate forum. I made 1000s of posts on there. (You know these long rant-like pieces I do here on my blog? I can read many of my first manifestos — which had way, way worse writing, and … Continue reading Start with Experience, Not Ideology

Union Organizing toward a Meditative Energy

I touched on this topic in a post a year ago, where I explored in detail how inner beliefs (such as self-love) affected one’s subtle behavior, and how putting effort into changing one’s inner beliefs could, thereby, actually create a massive improvement to one’s organizing results. I’m quite proud of the theory I proposed in that post. A year later, though, I want to expand on that topic, but this time, to go even further: to explain how the best union organizing requires a deep investigation of one’s emotional being and how complete presence (i.e., existing without much thought or … Continue reading Union Organizing toward a Meditative Energy

Against Pure “Authentic” Organizing

David Letterman has this new show on Netflix called “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.” The first episode has now been released, which features an hour-long interview with former President Barack Obama. Sad and drunk on a Sunday night, I’ve been crying for many more minutes than I’d care to admit — weeping hard at about the 29 minute mark of the interview. Obama is now a historical figure who’s greatest life’s work are definitely behind him. He has nothing to prove, nor any outcome or effective agenda at this point in his life or for the rest of his … Continue reading Against Pure “Authentic” Organizing

An Exposition on Mental Health & Organizing, Part 3: On Self-Worth, Authenticity, Organizing, and Existential Paradoxes

Summary of Previous Chapters PART 1: My Story In Part 1 of this series, I outlined my personal journey with mental health and organizing, concluding that using organizing to build my ego was an endlessly futile struggle, and that ultimately — if I continued on the path I was on — I was going to continue to feel more and more empty on the inside. Instead, I concluded that I needed to “try to derive happiness, self-worth, meaning, and social fullness totally from the inside.” In other words: I needed to stop basing my self-worth on organizing, and instead, learn … Continue reading An Exposition on Mental Health & Organizing, Part 3: On Self-Worth, Authenticity, Organizing, and Existential Paradoxes

An Exposition on Mental Health & Organizing, Part 2: The Subtle Ways Your Soul Makes a Profound Impact

A month ago, I posted this:  An Exposition on Organizing & Mental Health, Part 1: My Story. There’s a lot, a lot, a lot of stuff in that post to unpack, but for now, I want to expand on this central idea: if you are using Left organizing to bolster your sense of self-worth, you will necessarily create a co-dependent relationship with Left organizing, since there will always be more campaigns to win, it will never be enough, and you will always still feel perpetually incomplete (as I’d found through many years of personal experience). Instead, if you learn to … Continue reading An Exposition on Mental Health & Organizing, Part 2: The Subtle Ways Your Soul Makes a Profound Impact

The Organizing Conversation

Sadness is immobility. “What is wrong with me? I can’t do anything.” Turn that into Anger. Then Rage, which is the magical stuff of which organizing is made. Fuck the world. Fuck the systems that coerce our identities — both our personal and collective identities. Turn that Rage into Hope. Through a real Plan to Win. That’s the stuff collectives grow with and develop under — the stuff that will make the world crumble under our revolutionary boots. Organizing is thus: Sadness, to Anger, to Rage, to Hope, to Action, to the Heavenstuff — a puddle of mud turned into … Continue reading The Organizing Conversation

Golden Rule of Left Organizing

General rule of thumb: the more Left organizers want to talk with me about anything but politics and organizing, the more I trust them. They care about me as a person; naturally, that makes me care about them too. Yes, rapport building is important for organizing. But importantly, rapport building not for the sake of organizing. That’s the wrong frame. You give a shit about other people, period. Also then organic relationships help politics and organizing. The world is too dark for anything else. Continue reading Golden Rule of Left Organizing