An Oppressor’s Fantasies of Liberation
I don’t want to present any blueprints. I’m not even sure whether radical change is possible. But there are certain things I fantasize about.
I fantasize about egalitarian communities with no masters and no oppression, with no individual or group or human-made system ruling over others by means of coercion and violence; communities, in which we sit in circles facing one another rather than in rows staring at a stage.
I see before me societies without patriarchy, without divisions between rich and poor, without nation-states and racism, without hierarchical religions and civilizations, without bosses and capitalist corporations.
However, I do not (or no longer) fantasize about a heavenly kingdom, a utopia, a paradise where everything is perfect.
I see before me, in the midst of all that is amazing and beautiful, ongoing conflicts, catastrophes, accidents, sickness, hunger, misery, and death. But I fantasize about societies where all of this can be handled without resorting to oppression.
I fantasize about societies based on face-to-face communities, small enough for everyone to know everyone else, and relating to other communities without violent hostility.
Goodbye to the blank and unknown faces on buses and yellow pages. Goodbye to army bases, signals intelligence, gas chambers, and water boarding.
I fantasize about communities rooted in tales of strength, solidarity, and liberation, in sagas, myths, and spiritual traditions.
I fantasize about dynamic, free, and equal relationships beyond the gender binary and national citizenship, where differences and the development of individual and collective potentials are affirmed without leading to static hierarchies and competition for status.
Goodbye to TV talent shows and their juries, to gold medals and Nobel banquets.
I fantasize about unarmed means of conflict resolution, shared by all, and about an understanding of one another and the world around us in which the respect for life is central and our empathic impulses are not restrained.
Goodbye to logging machines, drones, and automatic weapons. Goodbye to iron ore mines, uranium prospecting, and river dams. Goodbye to barbed wire and yellow rubber mattresses in cold jail cells.
I fantasize about many different forms of sustainable gardening.
Goodbye to pesticides, Monsanto, and agricultural fields without end.
I fantasize about a simple lifestyle based on the principle of “everything for everyone”.
Goodbye to bank managers, money printing machines, walls, and keys.
I fantasize about societies phasing out electricity and high technology.
Goodbye to Facebook, apps, remote controls, and high-speed trains.
I fantasize about societies and groups where food mainly comes from non-animal sources and sentient beings are respected.
Goodbye to animal factories and macho hunting parties.
I fantasize about societies where play, song, and social relations are more important than work.
Goodbye to workfare, national exams, and performance anxiety.
I simply fantasize about societies that are very, very different from the ones we know today. Worlds without oppression and oppressors.
These are my fantasies – and to a certain extent they are already realities. I have sensed them in the eyes of others. I have caught glimpses of them in individuals’ and communities’ empathy, solidarity, and resistance. I have felt them so many times in the form of small flashes, brief tastes, and modest cracks in the walls that I cannot dismiss them as mere illusions. This alone seems reason enough to embrace them.
It is quite possible that my fantasies will never be fully realized; and if they are, this might happen a long time after you and I are gone. It is also possible that they need to be revised.
Maybe they will never be more than beautiful, enticing dreams and/or threatening, meandering ghosts.
Then again, dreams and ghosts must not be underestimated – that much, we have learned.
Hello, my name is Jonas, and I am an oppressor. An enslaved oppressor. With dangerous fantasies of liberation.
Who are you?
(From the book En förtryckares frihetliga fantasier, 2014. Translation by AAP.)