Are you working? Because I see you dedicate your time to protest. What about your stuff? Rent, bills, utilities, food, clothes, etc. etc.? While you protest who pays your bills?
That is the question I and many other radicals in resistance have confronted for a long time. It is tiresome but it is challenge given to us from our family, coworkers, critiques and often passerby at actions. “Liberals with no jobs just whining and complaining about the world only to make the rest of us late for work.”
I make time and try to organize my life around resistance and study. I try to be available to help others.I defy capitalism by my time to defeating it. I still need to buy minimal security from capitalism and all its ills. I pay rent, buy food and transportation. I hardly make enough to live but I do make more than some of my cousins back home for the same job.
Capitalism doesn't accommodate people in resisting it, you must accommodate yourself to resistance. We may have different priorities when it comes to free time, we may very well have different needs, Still, assuming that someone in protest and is organized, focused and hard working for liberation of others as well as themselves does not have a job is insulting. Or is it?
I try to take it as a call for help. The message for me is more like. “ I am envious that you can be out here fighting against the system that crushes us both, but how do I know you are real? How can you even make a living and fight capitalism? Are you rich or something, or on a trust fund, to leach off of social services. I want what you have. I want your freedom. How dare you flaunt it in front of me when I can not afford it.”
The answer for me is that i steal time and my agency. I am poor so I do not have much bills anyways,because I can not afford to have much in the first place. I do every thing I can to fix things that break so not buy it new. I pan my day out and organize around my work schedule. If I need things I ask my comrades and friends. I also try to volunteer my time and labor to those that need it. I try to prioritize the people, things and projects I care about and even those I don't know.. Some folks take vacations, some people go out drinking, some stay home to stream movies or tv shows. I don't have a car so i can not go very far, i try not to drink and I think i have seen a everything in my queue. Mostly, I chose to help people the best I can and feed my mind. I enjoy long car rides when they are possible, I like spending time with folks, or just reading.
I like to be spending my time on what i think is an emergency. Boriken is being sold of bit by bit and so are the people, Afrika as a continent is being stolen by imperialist and capitalist forces, people in the philippines that need rice get bullets instead, children in Palestine for being too close to a wall, friends near me suffer from depression and are in danger just because people think their genitals matter, the environment is being destroyed to feed the trust funds of the elites, I am living in a crisis. I can numb myself or I can fight it but I can not ignore it, I refuse to ignore it all. I do what i do because standing by and watching hurts me. I resist because I have agency and will not work the fields only to end up feeding the fields for the benefit of a master.
You can get mad, you can curse out, flip off or just ignore some one that says that to you. Or, if possible, you can tell them that you work and it is because you work you feel the urgency to fight against the system that exploits you for your labor. You can tell them it is hard, maybe even harder than your square job because you make no money but run many risk. Working against capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism has required me to study, take notes, wake up early, stay up late, interact with hostile people, clean, serve food, plan projects write emails, run fundraisers, provide security, plan systems, write articles, my resume gets fuller and fuller every month.
As a radical worker I have to take some emotional abuse, do conflict resolution, check my own behavior and words, work with people I don't like, and get harassed by crappy people in authority. The only difference between my square job and my activist work is that I as an activist i chose my projects and production level. I chose without being threatened with hunger and homelessness.. I feel I must do the work because I love the people in my life and want them to live a decent life without being exploited.
You owe nobody an explanation but try to take the opportunity as one for learning and relationship building. Do not appease to the person's logic but to their values. If their values are escaping or numbing themselves from capitalized all its ills then just let them. But maybe just maybe some of those folks are scared and want an alternative. Capitalism trains us to be in competition with each other, against each other. Capitalism teaches us to distrust not just others but ourselves. Capitalism clouds our minds with easy to understand lies and small empty gestures. Not all of us are awake and resisting, some of us are just awake but don't care. All of us started asleep or scared, some of us still are.
Don't be ashamed to work a square job, don't be ashamed if you are unemployed. Take pride in your acts of resistance and share power with people. Demonstrate if you find you can not convince people. Sometimes someone needs to see what you are doing and why you do it.
Resisting capitalism an organized way is hard work. Helping people around you is work. It can be very hazardous the more effective you are in dismantling a system of oppression. It scares some and makes other envious. Capitalism, keeps you late for work, capitalism threatens you with poverty, hunger and illness. Capitalism steals your tax dollars, ruins your schools and wrecks the environment. Capitalism keeps you depressed and unhealthy. Capitalism will dispose of you when you can not produce and eat your children. Resist capitalism in your free time. Do it on lunch, on breaks, before work after work, Friday to Sunday Monday to Friday.