Reciprocity in Action | by Sophia Rose
This is a recent beautiful artilcle written by my friend Sophia Rose of La Abeja Herbs that I found crucial to share here with my readers. My hope is that this article inspires us all, consumers and business owners alike, to shift the self serving and “ instant gratification" mentality we are conditioned to dwell in. At the bottom of this page you will find a link to Sophia’s website where you can read the full article.
Reciprocity in Action
or how to survive late capitalism with your dignity intact and help others to do the same
By Sophia Rose of La Abeja Herbs
“The principal horror of any system which defines the good in terms of profit rather than in terms of human need, or which defines human need to the exclusion of the psychic and emotional components of that need – the principal horror of such a system is that it robs our work of its erotic value, its erotic power and life appeal and fulfillment. Such a system reduces work to a travesty of necessities, a duty by which we earn bread or oblivion for ourselves and those we love. But this is tantamount to blinding a painter and then telling her to improve her work, and to enjoy the act of painting. It is not only next to impossible, it is also profoundly cruel…”
A u d r e L o r d e
I am an anti-capitalist business owner. Capitalism is a highly dysfunctional and destructive system which perpetuates both the oppression of humans and exploitation of natural resources. It damages the human spirit to be essentially forced to participate in capitalism for our survival. And yet, here we are, all having to do our best within an inherently flawed and unjust system. I truly believe that we are all doing the best we can with what we know. Until we see a more generous and equitable way of doing anything modeled for us, it can be difficult to imagine that it is possible.
We all need to be able to feed, clothe, and shelter ourselves to a reasonable degree. For each of us this looks different, and these standards of living are yours alone to define for yourself. But once we’ve met whatever we believe to be our basic needs and we have disposable income, it is essential to give back as much as we can to those who lack the privileges we hold, or who do not even have access to the basic necessities of life. This includes not only those persons who experience oppression, but also our more than human kin: plants, animals, and ecosystems.
Power, resources, and access to capital are extremely unfairly distributed in our society based on race, class, gender, and sexuality. Reciprocity is the practice of acknowledging this fact and actively leveraging whatever privilege one holds, to shift power and resources into the hands of those who are systematically oppressed.
Reciprocity is foundational to the work that I do through both La Abeja Herbs and Garden Party. And for a long time, I didn’t think anyone else needed to know about it. In an age where nearly everything is subject to the harsh criticism of the online sphere, it just felt easier to manage this aspect of my work quietly and privately. But recently, I’ve realized that this was mostly out of fear — fear of being challenged, questioned, or perceived as being a performative ally. My choice not to share this aspect of my work publicly was actually a form of white silence and not something I wanted to perpetuate.