Its not racism. Its wealth inequality.
The persistent and professional hate industry is so well funded and dendritically infused throughout the country that I have few hopes for a more peaceful society any time soon.
This is a great article, attempting to focus beyond cosmetic changes, to understand and organize to make changes to fundamental systems that underpin racism in the USA. Alexander is right to assert that profound struggle will be required, to achieve the "profound shift in our collective consciousness" required.
i think Alexander's views dovetail with Vandana Shiva's article also posted here today. Alexander has brilliantly analyzed systems and histories of white supremacy, police and prisons, the "domestic military at war with its own people" in the USA. Shiva seeks the roots of the global ecological and social crisis in patriarchy, colonialism, and the fundamental metaphors of war, supremacy, superiority and "dead matter" that underlie "Western" civilization.
We need a comprehensive understanding of the whole paradigm of dominance and control, and a holistic vision of a systemic transformation to a healthy society in balance with a healthy ecology.
We need to understand: Everything is connected. We cannot keep the system of corporate dominance, while "decolonizing" and undoing white supremacy, because they are the same system, and have the same roots.
We need to understand: Decolonizing is indeed about a profound shift in consciousness, but that is necessarily intertwined with profound transformation of the material economy. Decolonizing requires utter transformation of "ownership" and "wealth" and "land" in the real economy, not simply stopping the horrific land-grabs that are taking place right now, but unwinding the entire system of land and ownership and wealth that have been constructed upon all the land-grabs and genocides and enslavement that have been ongoing for centuries.
Is this even imaginable? My experience is that most of us do not want to, or do not see the need to, or do not see any possibility of, going there, to recognize that the entire economy remains rooted in, and necessarily reproduces, ideological constructs of supremacy, looting, and genocide.
Ending racist policing, racist violence, and systems of white supremacy in the USA, and unwinding 600 years of colonialism at the root of corporate industrial "genetic engineering" and global land-grabs underway, are truly the same fight. Not simply because black people and brown people are having their lands stolen today by the modern corporate neo-colonialists world-wide, while black and brown people are murdered with impunity by police agents of the state in the USA, but because they are truly manifestations of the same paradigm.
As with the wars of aggression being pursued, currently being pursued to the brink of nuclear war. It all must be seen at its roots, understood systemically, and dismantled and replaced intentionally.
Oh, come on.
The two are hardly mutually exclusive so they don't need to be posited as "either-or" on some kind of one size fits all quiz-test.
Like I say to the forum's learned Marxists, issues pertinent to women's rights and Black rights existed before the onset of Capitalism.
For all of patriarchy's reign, societies have been structured on the basis of hierarchies (except for Indigenous Tribes who follow a more circular, and thus egalitarian model). That meant those at the top--church elites/the Vatican, Kings, Queens and noble families, and any others possessed of wealth or influence ruled over the masses.
Michelle Alexander makes many fine points. This one is relevant here:
"This nation was founded on the idea that some lives don’t matter. Freedom and justice for some, not all. That’s the foundation. Yes, progress has been made in some respects, but it hasn’t come easy. There’s an unfinished revolution waiting to be won."
White guys, never having to think twice about their skin color or gender, think the only thing that matters is who's got the most cash (i.e economics--i.e. capitalism).
The mosaic of human interaction, need(s), perspective, predilections, and opinions is FAR more complex. Discounting the very real LIVED experience of women and persons of color does NOTHING to improve the collective consciousness that Ms. Alexander aptly addresses.
You've offered a profound comment and within it I see points I frequently raise about the segue ways between militarism, the treatment of women, and how the great Earth Mother is perceived and thus treated. (And Vandana Shiva is one of the most lucid speakers on these topics and their intersections.)
Earlier today I was reflecting on the fact that many who post in these threads focus on people they know and what the INDIVIDUAL is doing.
When I talk about the systemic roadblocks to instituting meaningful change, they turn that observation falsely into the ruse that I take people "off the hook" or excuse them for doing nothing.
I realized what bugs me about the way that counter-narrative is always pushed. It's the issue of relative power.
While the Hundredth Money phenomenon may well work, and thereby amplify the futuristic, holistic actions taken by a few members of a community... the process, stretching out across Western societies would (by that route) require a lot of time.
However, when societies are formatted to follow top-down commands (in the family, it's usually the father; in the business world, the boss; in school, the teacher or principal; in everyday life, laws enforced by government and sometimes its uniformed officials), the most EFFICIENT way to institute change is through policies taken by leaders.
So many people put so much effort into showing up at the Paris COP. Indigenous people weren't even allowed in which is reminiscent of the way Dr. Flowers wasn't allowed a place at the table when Obama Care was being negotiated; or the way that U.S. citizens (were it not for Wikileaks) are not permitted to know what's in the secret TPP and TIPP agreements that will have profound impacts on their lives and upon global ecosystems.
It works the same way with media.
To create cohesion across great distances, there has to be some galvanizing coalescent process. If the U.S. media were not in corporate hands, the same ones who lied forever about global warming and lie about so many other things like claims to safety around drugs and gen-tech "foods" that just haven't had their harms proven yet... then mass media would be the LOGICAL and most efficient mouthpiece for creating a movement and the solidarity that provides it with momentum of a lasting sort.
Basically I am saying that each individual can do some things to downsize but that ultimately, if these types of behaviors are not directed from centers of central authority, there won't be enough validated information or enough people motivated.
Human beings are social creatures and many will jump onto just about any bandwagon if "everyone else is doing it." How to get "everyone else to do it" is a feat when there isn't a communications or leadership INFRASTRUCTURE in place to instill the VALUE for such things.
When you use the argument that people you know don't see the need, is that another chorus line for the "sheeple" hymnal? Or do you recognize that people learn from the contexts in which they find themselves. And if "experts" are lying about global climate change, or lying about the purported safety of fake food and chemically laced drugs, and pretending there is no urgency... why would most people stop to change their lifestyles?
If people were rewarded (on many levels) for moving out to the suburbs and there IS no public transportation out there, should fault be laid upon those who thought it would be a great place to raise their families, or those who designed a world based upon full dependency on OIL?
There are some things that individuals can do, but they HARDLY a substitute for meaningful action that stems from the head. This is all the more true in a world of 7 billion people with most influenced by media narratives that focus on the supposed social benefits of owning "thus and so."
They are not mutually exclusive. An element of the patrairchy and of sexism is that many males truly believe they should make more money than women and a lot of males can not handle the thought that a female co-worker makes a higher salary than they do.
The same is true when it comes to race. If a Black man is making more money than that racist white man the white man will be offended.
There are rich black people and they are hauled by the cops on a regular basis because of the meme "if a black man is driving an expensive car he must have stolen it".
Here's my comment from her Facebook page. Only thing I'll add besides this introduction is a link to an article with more of the history of the multiracial underclass. And that the shift I am calling for is possible because it is natural, it springs from truth, it springs from out own hearts. The link: http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/the-whiting-of-euroamericans-a-divide-and-conquer-strategy/
"A profound shift in our collective consciousness must occur, a shift that makes possible a new America." I agree. What we are dealing with is as you say, old; we do need a new paradigm.
One thing I think would help is more attention and publicity paid to the times when white folks are crushed by the system. As you note, from the beginning, this nation was founded on the notion that some lives don't matter as much -- and many of those were white indentured servants. Today, the rates of homicide by police and otherwise among african American men in particular is a national tragedy, bordering on a genocide. Yet there are more whites killed by police, even unarmed whites, and somehow to mention this is often seen as a distraction from black rights instead of the deeper human rights issue it is. The paradigm has to be more inclusive, not less I think. Not the same lines in the pigment. I don't think we can fix things for black folks while leaving them broken for many whites.
Just in the last few days, video surfaced of police killing an unarmed white man after a traffic stop in California (Dylan Noble). (Another was killed in the small town where I live last November. Video was available on CNN for less than a day, almost no other coverage. No dialogue.) Part of that new paradigm i think requires being able to hold these tragedies in our heads and hearts too. Ending the long practice of elite-enhanced division and racism among the lives that matter less. Why is it that of the larger number of police killings of white people, so few get attention by corporate media? Why does the same media promote Trump, fund Clinton, and spurn Sanders? Hype incidents when there are white victims of terrorists, not so much when the vics are brown? The deeply entrenched system of racial control has always had a number of whites under its heel too.
MLK Jr. began that shift in consciousness, the paradigm shift, in my opinion especially when he embraced white folks who were also crushed by the system. Not just the better-off ones who were supportive from their nice suburban homes. The Poor People's Campaign ... might have, like bad policing, had an impact on a greater percentage of black folks, but a greater number of white folks. So even if the goal was primarily to improve life and remove restrictions on black people, the means was inclusive.
A paradigm based on heart. An identity based in the heart, as often as possible, on the notion that we are all interconnected. Yes, what happens to black men and women at the hands of the police or each other matters to me, affects me in a real way. So too does what happens to white folks, hispanic folks, asians, jews, muslims -- this all affects me and my happiness and suffering and quality of life. So too does the suffering of white folks affect you and every other african American, in many ways.
How do all of us combine to "dismantle" this terribly unjust, injurious to humans and the rest of the earth's creatures, system? As Marx said (I think it was Marx) "What is to be done?"
I have been a peace and civil rights activist, advocated for climate justice, for change in the US military overreach and oppression, and against corporate control since I was a late teen. Been in "how can we change the system" study groups, worked at Community Action anti-poverty programs--but still don't know a good approach to this need to "dismantle" the dominant paradigm. Most people are just trying to stay above water--our politics is circumscribed by self-and corporate interest. Your words are eloquent, but please say what you think IS TO BE DONE. I admire her words and agree with Ms. Alexander--something new has to happen, not just the demonstrations, (one of which I am attending tomorrow, in my area), about these latest killings, or community controlled police review boards-- But what?
That applies to all downtrodden ethnicities.
While this is a deeply racist country, the issue is far bigger. Fundamentally, it's a profoundly mean spirited and violent country. We're back to letting a person's house burn down because they have not paid the fire department tax (TN). This unwillingness to offer basic generosity and goodwill to one's fellow human being, speaks to me of a deeply ingrained bitter resentment and hostility. And we seem primed for violence as the only solution we know to our problems. That, or withdrawal into separation and isolation. I don't know where this has all come from, and I do understand the political tactic of using rhetoric of minority oppression as a means to press this issue; but I don't think we're looking at the problem head on.
Not to downplay the violence that has occurred but it's going to become much worse if the Democrats actually do nominate Clinton.
"...Police are ...a mirror reflecting back to us the true Nature of our Democracy."
"...if we're serious about having Peace Officers and not a Military at War with its Own People - we're going to have to be honest with ourselves about Who our Democracy Actually Serves and Protects."
"We cannot "fix" the Police without a Revolution of Values and Radical Change to the basic structure of Our Society."
And that is why the Democratic Primaries are being Subverted to the point of Obviousness, the Entrenched Powers That Be fighting dirty, tooth and nail, to prevent the Exact Revolution Bernie represents from Happening.
Since they have not done so as of yet and can not do so until the convention then yes, if.
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No simple, or easy, answers. Thanks for everything you've done so far! Here's what i wrote in the Vandana Shiva thread:
"How?" We don't know exactly how, but we work in solidarity with people everywhere who are resisting; we take personal risk and speak truth to expose these endless wars, wars against Nature, wars against peoples, wars against species, war as central organizing paradigm; we promote and practice Earth-care and agroecology in our own communities; we stop feeding the beast in every way possible, and do not buy what they sell us, materially or psychologically (especially automobiles and airplanes and the vast infrastructure of death that they require); we do everything we can to take care of each other, feed each other, and align our lives and our communities with life, against the machinery of illusionary engineered "supremacy."
Here's what i just wrote in another thread:
With these matters of outrageous corruption, at the highest levels, literally placing ecology and human civilization at risk of collapse in service to blind greed and power, the key questions for the rest of us are:
Will We the People organize and engage to dis-empower the utterly corrupting economic and financial oligarchy, remove "their" looted wealth from their control, and dismantle the "legal," political, military and economic systems that have been built to serve them, before the complete breakdown of society, economy, and ecology goes past whatever final tipping points have not already been passed?
In these final days of these horrific systems, what will each of us do to stop feeding the utterly corrupted systems that are killing everything, and instead use our lives, work, and money to feed the living systems of the Earth that sustain us all, and to feed human systems that are not constructed on foundations of dominance, division, exploitation, and "endless growth" but on foundations of ecology, solidarity, and humility?
The answers to the second question, add up to the answer to the first question.
i'd add two things that i've asserted numerous times:
Talk to your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors with forthright honesty about what you see, and what your options are. Try to come up with ways to work together to take care of each other, and to face the rampant systems of destruction that seem so powerful, but are also vulnerable since they rely on supportive social participation;
Plant and nurture trees, especially food trees; make compost and build soil; grow food and share it; and share the skills and practices of planting trees, building soil, and growing food.
Finally i'd add, that organizing and working together, we coalesce into organized non-violent mass direct action and non-violent civil resistance campaigns, with specific demands to reorganize economy and society along ecological and humanistic lines.
Struggling like everyone,
Thank you for posting this. I've been feeling very much the same way.