MANIFESTO OF CARES
- contribution by Élodie Mugrefya & Constant
Commitment to Cares, Why to commit to care?
We are a group of intersectional trans* feminists coming together in the context of Collective Conditions, a worksession organised by Constant, in Brussels the winter of 2019. We gathered around the notion of cares to further
understand our relationship to cares in our shifting contexts. We are concerned with the urgency of this moment because we have noticed that many in positions of power are doing little to enact cares. As for us, we are in
positions where we can enact contextualized cares and we want to revive our commitment towards cares as critical practices. We need to talk about cares, not because they don't exist, but because cares are not distributed equally,
and because to 'take care' can have multiple meanings depending on positions of privilege, context and who and what we're dealing with. This manifesto is a demand towards those subjects within institutional frameworks to reflect
on their relationship towards the giving, taking, receiving cares, to question well worn patterns of cares, and how they can be re-inscribed. This manifesto reaches out to people who haven't thought about the social economical
racial gendered implications of cares, and is also for the people who wish to reinvigorate their cares patterns.
- • active concern, mindfulness and commitment towards all living and non living entities.
- • attention to entangled environments: physical, digital, interpersonal, ecological, and those we share them with.
- • attention towards individuals and communities.
- • not presuming and asking for different needs.
- • time and the understanding of time's multidimensional nature.
- • actions, not expected services.
- • deep listening.*
- • patience.
- • courage and responsibility.
- • multiple interpretations and possibilities.
- • ... not knowing what caring might mean.
- • to be taken seriously and to take seriously.
- • acknowledgement.
The state of cares
- • Caring is deeply entwined in power relations and not equally distributed.
- • Caring is currently hegemonic: some have the agency to impose a constricting meaning and practice of cares, on behalf of others.
- • Caring is subsumed within capitalist frameworks that create the conditions for care workers to have less agency and not be represented in what they are employed to do.
- • Caring is in a false dichotomy of productive/reproductive labour.
- • Caring is chronically undervalued.
- • Caring is deeply entwined in institutional engagement or lack thereof.
- • Our society produces vacuums of cares in places where they are needed.
- • Caring is underdeveloped in institutional contexts.
- • Caring is something that cannot be outsourced.
Caring is not a tool.
Cares cannot be instrumentalised.
Cares cannot be generalized.
Cares cannot be constricted by normativity.
Caring cannot be conditional.
Cares are antimanifesto.
Outlook of cares
If things stay this way.…
- • the tyranny of self-help models of survival will undermine the formation of solidarity and collective power.
- • we'll be suspended in precarious modes of surviving which capitalizes on our failures.
- • caring will continue to be performed by those who are exploited by contemporary slavery.
- • slavery will continue to be reproduced as the insidious institution that it has always been.
- • the continued burning out of those who do the caring will exhaust the possibilities of cares that still currently exist.
- • there will be a proliferation of ego-centric hedonists and hoarders of goods, wealth, status and power.
- • we risk to all become facsimiles of whiteness: greedy, extractive and exploitative.
- • the logics of extractivism will continue to intensify, spurring man-made ecological disasters disproportionately impacting certain geographies, geosystems and ecosystems.
- • persons, groups, ecosystems, identities will continue to be subjected to the violence of categorisation, victimization, commodification and marginalisation.
- • the end of humanity and the destruction of the ecosystems is inevitable.
Challenging the current trajectory of cares, we demand now a future in which .…
- • all living and non living entities are acknowledged as valuable and worthy of care.
- • the emotional, physical, philosophical and social realities of all living beings have abundant expressions.
- • living matters will have space to discover their own agencies.
- • trees, plants, lands, oceans, river, water, rocks, mountains are acknowledged in reciprocal caring relationships
- • there is committent to the work of making ecologically conscious decisions
- • nation states, borders and advertisement will be abolished in the service of equal opportunity for all living and non living entities.
- • value is shaped in do-it-together (DIT) collective bottom-up modes.
- • institutional, governmental, corporate agents of power will be transformed into self-determined agencies.
- • desire, love, sex, relationships and cares are liberated with modes of enthusiastic consent and freedom to abstain./li>
- • consent is not presumed and crucial to all relationships
- • touch implies addressing consent
- • cares are mutual, shared across groups, individuals, beings and entities according to varying needs, skills, capacities and possibilities.
- • caring roles exist outside normalised power dynamics
- • notions of cares continue to be discussed, to change and to be adapted.
Crafts of Cares
- • Cultivate curiosity; to care is to be curious, curious enough to ask.
- • Be humble, humble enough to abandon assumptions.
- • Cultivate gentleness, gentle enough to be asked.
- • Move towards disassembled and loosely structured, interchangeable meshwork of enacted communities.
- • Acknowledge and deconstruct privileges.
- • Be open about failures.
- • Cultivating practices of abundance rather than hoarding.
- • Value those who do the caring.
- • Pay salaries to those who do the caring.
- • Value / pay for restorative care to heal deficits of cares.
- • Value/pay those who do domestic work.
- • Value/pay those who do the child rearing.
- • Value/pay those who do the teaching.
- • Value/pay those who are the caretakers of spaces.
- • Illegalise shareholder models and corporations.
- • Denormalise existing structures and power relationships.
- • Root power directly within communities to counter historic hoardings of power.
- • Multiply agencies for new interpretations of cares.
- • Commit to activist, sensitive lives; nurturing and facilitating each other's talents and dreams.
*About deep listening: https://www.csh.umn.edu/education/focus-areas/whole-systems-healing/leadership/deep-listening