What Are Your Intentions?

Noah Tesfaye
3 min readDec 18, 2022

What are your intentions?

It’s a question that is worth asking in everything we do. What are my intentions with getting out to campus today? What are my intentions when at work? What are my intentions in surprising my family with some pastries? These are very inconsequential things to consider when we’re moving about daily life. But how often do we make these questions conscious? It’s sort of implicit when we answer these even when we do ask them ourselves. “I’m going to campus to get to class so I can get my attendance points” or “I’m here to make money” or “I just wanna get some good eats for the fam.” Those are all great, sincere responses. But do they really get at what my intentions are?

I was giving myself the chance to really ask these questions this past week. I was at an event my local comrades put together, and one of the speakers was talking about a question related to people being employed while doing movement work. What types of occupations prohibit or enable you to continue to do uncompromising organizing and stay principled? Is there a specific career in that you can ensure that you are the best organizer possible? The speaker responded with the clearest rhetorical answer: “What are your intentions?” It’s not that people aren’t capable of staying principled within the movement. His point was rather asking us how we properly reconcile contradictions about paying all of our bills and actually being honest about what we want to do in the movement. Are we working towards supporting our families to better contribute more towards our organizations, or are we working for self-serving interests, to only build wealth for those in our immediate circles?

These are necessary contradictions to consider as I attempt to really find out how to best mobilize towards sustaining my efforts in organizing. I have to ensure that I recognize the lifelong commitment to struggling for the liberation of African peoples from the boot of imperialism and colonialism and capitalism in all of its forms. How can I ensure that I do not become reactionary and ensure that my intentions remain clear? Isn’t that what this is all supposed to be moving toward after all?

I don’t have any clear answers, but I think that I am content knowing that I must seek to build out a framework for my development and consciousness-raising. I…

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Noah Tesfaye

Just someone trying to share my story and find who I am, one post at a time