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Activism during Covid

Posted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:33 am
by tomatopotato
So I'm currently in Germany where the pandemic didn't hit so hard compared to other countries. There are a lot of environmental protests now and in the upcoming two months, and while they are very important to me, I am pretty afraid to engage in them - due to The Covid mainly. Those protests involve body contact and masses of people and are nessecary to protect forest from being destroyed. I feel guilty for not wanting to engage in them because I fear getting infected so much, at the same time protests can't wait and it's getting even worser with climate change. I don't really know what to do, I know that I only have the options to stay home due to privilege - on the one hand, staying home is crucial to prevent my virus anxiety, on the other hand it prevents me from fighting for change, since I am kinda having a long distance relationship with my political community :D I am supporting them online, doing writing and stuff but it's not my favorite thing to do, I miss organizing in a group and I can't concentrate well, so I mainly feel like I'm failing anyway. I'm also with immuncompromised flat mates which have to work, so there's a risk of getting the virus anyway. I feel like avoiding political stuff for my own and their health is "an excuse". Additionally, all my friends kinda don't care about the virus or have to work and I feel heavily uncomfortable to meet them in person, on the other hand I really miss hanging out.
So at the moment I am kinda split between feeling like I am betraying my own political ideas and taking risks for change.

Re: Activism during Covid

Posted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 8:49 am
by Sam W
Hi tomatopotato,

If nothing else, I can certainly say you're not alone in how you're feeling. Practically everyone I know is running a similar calculus in their heads about their own Covid risk level, the risk groups of the people they live with, the degree to which things like structural racism or climate change are as large a threat to them as the pandemic is, and so on. I will say that avoiding in person protest out of concern for your health or your roommates health doesn't strike me as an excuse. It more sounds like someone weighing the risks to themselves and others and opting for the choice with less risk of exposure, which is a completely understandable and responsible approach to take.

It also sounds like you're still finding ways of actively supporting causes you believe in, which is awesome! You mention you miss organizing in a group. Are there opportunities to meet and organize as part of a digital group, or as part of something like a mutual aid network? I ask because while that may not feel the same as meeting in a big, in-person group, it might get closer to that feeling.

With your friends, it can be so rough when the people you want to see have a risk tolerance around the pandemic that's different than your own (or where their work requires them to be in those risky positions). Have you talked with any of your friends about what kind of precautions would need to be taken for you to feel okay meeting them in person? Are there even precautions that would make you feel safe in the first place, or does it all still feel very off limits?

Re: Activism during Covid

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 6:31 am
by tomatopotato
Hi Sam,
thank you for your kind response!
I am currently with a group digitally, and yes, it does not feel the same, but it is still good to support my group with background work etc.

All my friends live in different cities and meeting them would require taking the train and sleeping at their place, which is currently off limits for me. And while I stated my boundaries, I feel like they do take them seriously but I still had to remind them when I was hanging out with them. I need to be more confident about my boundaries! They're okay to have, even when I'm more strict about them as other folks with theirs.
As long as I don't read the news I am fine, but when I am having the danger on my mind, I want to cocoon in my bed all alone. I have had a lot of contact last month, and the three weeks afterwards were so distressing to me due to Covid Anxiety, I don't really want to experience again when there are other people who are willing to risk their health.
IDK; I can do important work from home, but I am still griefing a little bit since I wanted to explore different kinds of political action which I can't do now, and that's really sad.

I really hope that the whole situation is going to be better soon!

Re: Activism during Covid

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 7:39 am
by Sam W
You and me both; this situation is exhausting and scary for so many people and I hope it improves soon. And it sounds like you're actually doing a pretty good job making your boundaries clear to your friends. Right now, a lot of people are having to figure out how to navigate or create boundaries in situations where they never thought they'd need them, which can definitely feel weird on your confidence. If you ever feel like you need some help feeling more confident in them, this article is a useful starting place: Be Your Own Superhero: Learning How and When to Stand Up for Ourselves.

I'm with you on avoiding the news. And, honestly, I've been advising a lot of people to limit their news intake recently. Not because it's better to be uninformed, but because often there's only so much useful information out there. Once you're aware of the risks and situation in your area and circumstances, staying steeped in Covid news usually makes the very understandable anxiety many of us have even worse. I actually went into more depth on that here, and some of the advice might be helpful for those times when your anxiety is flaring up: ... ng_covid19.