Posts tagged ‘love’

October 24, 2012

Back in the Philippines

by Melissa

Cultivating freedom in the world means experiencing the pain of choice, the limits of actually knowing what makes us free.

This is my newest mantra.  A clear thought towards letting good things go-  despite love, despite a shared future dreamed over many years and many beautiful moments…

It’s posted now on the wall on a square of green paper beside the last one:

What you are loving together is truth: everything real has to be shared; everything else has to be dismantled (this is William Pennell Rock care of Eric Francis, astrologer extraordinaire)

Long distance love relationships, anyone??


The last couple of weeks have been about readjusting to the pace of life here in the Philippines.  The traffic and the sexual tension (gendered curiousity?) (ok, I know that’s pretty presumptuous but still…)

So much happening.  My thesis defense! Going to Saskatoon! My sister is pregnant! And coming back to the Philippines, on a more indefinite timeframe, ‘for work’.  And I live here too! Of course so much is happening politically too.  The cybercrime bill, the US election, the beginnings of electoral politics in the Philippines (oh I have a lot to learn), the plastic bag ban in QC, the amazing street demos in Europe….       How does it all fit together?  How does it make a common sense?

I don’t have all the answers or even all the questions.  Focus, Melissa!  A friend at UP has invited me to participate in a reading group on Graeber’s Debt.  Yes! I hope we can manifest theory and make at least some connections between current crises affecting the Global North and the state of the Philippine nation- call centers, unemployment, massive migration…    And what to do?!

I struggle with patience and endurance.  This blog, for example.  But I suppose fits and starts is better than silence.  A friend told me I should write about the everyday too, not just the politics.  I should, I’ll try.  I guess it’s about trying to be honest about my everyday too-  my embodied living (rather than being an abstract theorist commenting on ‘life’ as an object).

Today I feel… vulnerable.  I have to steady myself to go into the world.  I ride my bike along the same roads most days.  It’s hot and I’m sweating all the time.  Its somehow important to me though.  Carving out the space to bike here, even though its not necessary or normal.  I do it because I love to bike.  Because I believe in biking.

I think the endurance question also applies to the theme of this blog. risklove.  Risk is something of a commitment.  Its not just invoked in the moment.  Its something we cultivate for a possible future.  Being here in the Philippines is a kind of risk for me, based on a shared future.  I want her development like I want my own.  I know I should write about this.  About why I want to be in the Philippines.

Next time…   😉

Picture care of Rexy (my second cousin)

November 13, 2011

risk love

by Melissa

So far in this new writing space i’ve been very focused on making connections about debt crisis across time and space….  the role of the banking sector and the investor class in creating public debt… the impact of debt on genuine democracy…

I want to take a step back and try to explain the name of this blog.  Why risk love?

Part of my preoccupation with Wall St’s role in debt crises (then and now; here and there) stem from a desire to unpack the extent to which the investment mechanism effectively decides what a society does and how.  How should we understand investment in an era where financial investment (foreign direct investment, sovereign bonds, business loans, venture capital etc. is implicitly the lifeblood of society?  The irony of the bank is that it pools all our money and invests in against us!  But maybe an investment doesn’t have to be this way…

i watched a video yesterday one academic makes the point that pension funds are working class investments (in fact withheld wages) being channeled for capitalist accumulation… i think in a sense this kind of thinking is fruitful… is the way to go- to walk this weird road of how to really invest in (ie support with money, time) the things we love and do it keeping the value of labour at the centre.

The debt hold is one way that the current investment mechanism works against us.  We are beholden to bankers because they have managed to convince us that the only way forward (development, progress, growth, security) is to take their money now and pay them back on their terms.  Their terms include forced economic restructuring, market-based (read: wildly fluctuating) interest and exchange rates and other conditionalities that make it almost impossible to pay off.  Moreover, paying off “our” debts requires further borrowing.

My project here on remittances (money im/migrants send home) and the banking sector  is also an attempt to understand how investment works in the Philippines, who benefits from this capital flow, how development is being defined…

How are  the ways we assess risk (a migrant family, for example, may not be eligible for a loan because she doesn’t own enough) undermining our ability to invest with love in the things we value?  How is the concentration of wealth undermining our ability to go out on a limb for something visionary, progressive, and pro-people?  (Why would a bank that also owns real estate, telecommunicatons, and giant retail course “its” money into agriculture?)

Occupy Wall St-  has begun to collectively ask an important question:  what is the role of banks in society?  I hope that as we continue to probe this question,  we take the opportunity to define our values and build an investment infrastructure that can effectively put our money (among other resources) where our heart is.