I’ve always said, “Pace yourself, pace yourself.” I would tell my wife and say, “Every fight is not your fight. Pace yourself.” And I would say it to the young people and others sometime, “Don’t get in a hurry. Our struggle is not a struggle that lasts for one day, one week, one month or one year or one lifetime. It is an ongoing struggle.”
I knew within my own soul that it was going to be a long haul and I believe that. But you don’t change the world, the society, in a few days, and it’s better. It is better to be a pilot light than to be a firecracker
there may be setbacks, there may be some disappointments, there may be some interruption. But, again, you have to take the long, hard look. With this belief, it’s going to be OK; it’s going to work out. If it failed to happen during your lifetime, then maybe, not maybe, but it would happen in somebody’s lifetime. But you must do all that you can do while you occupy this space during your time.
Excerpts from the article below. My comments in [italics].
'“The problem, the personal problem, was not what our enemies did, but what our friends did. Friends ‘coordinated’ or got in line.” And this coordination was not necessarily due to the “pressure of terror,” said Arendt, who escaped Germany in 1933. Intellectuals were particularly vulnerable to this wave of coordination. “The essence of being an intellectual is that one fabricates ideas about everything,” and many intellectuals of her time were “trapped by their own ideas.”
People rejected the uglier aspects of Nazism but gave ground in ways that ultimately made it successful. They conceded premises to faulty arguments. They rejected the “facts” of propaganda, but not the impressions of it. The new paradigm of authoritarianism was so disorienting that they simply could not see it for what it was, let alone confront it.'
'Hitler, as a political figure, was the embodiment of this hack theory. While many rejected Hitler’s anti-Semitism and bellicosity, his deep sense of having been wronged by Germany’s surrender in World War I ― a war in which he fought ― gave him authenticity.'
'In today’s United States, the suggestion that illegal immigration is the cause of the economic struggles of working-class whites is an American Dolchstoss. Mechanization, globalization and the decline of unions have affected working-class whites to a far greater extent than illegal immigration ― or immigration of any kind. And this is not an obscure fact or liberal talking point. Yet many who supposedly reject Trump’s scapegoating of illegal immigrants seem willing to concede it.
The debates about how or what, if anything, workers can do to combat this reality are endless, but the claim that immigrants are to blame is the talking point of the demagogue, not a reflection of economic reality.
When the decline of working-class jobs was perceived as a problem for African-Americans primarily, the neoliberal and conservative positions were much less sympathetic. According to William Julius Wilson’s 1996 book, When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor, “Between 1967 and 1987 Philadelphia lost 64% of its manufacturing jobs; Chicago lost 60%; Detroit 51%.” This meant hundreds of thousands of jobs lost, disproportionately affecting African-Americans. The solution from conservatives? “Migrate” was black conservative Shelby Steele’s prescription. “Get new skills,” said others. And even more popular was “behave more like Asians.” Yet whites need an entirely new mythology, even if that mythology hurts prospects. According to a recent Politico article by Dana Goldstein, “America: This Is Your Future,” “Rust Belt cities that are attracting immigrants are in better shape than those, like Dayton, Ohio, with fewer foreign-born residents.” Yet, “the people who are upset about immigration live in areas where immigration has had very little impact. A lot of the upset is symbolic.” The symbolism and the propaganda form a kind of feedback loop, each reinforcing the other, regardless of the underlying truths ― or lack thereof.
In his 1940 book, Germany: Jekyll and Hyde, Haffner explains this relationship between impression and propaganda, even for those opposed to the Reich. He writes, “Outside of Germany people often wonder at the palpable fraudulence of Nazi propaganda, the stupid incredible exaggerations, the ludicrous reticences concerning what is generally known. Who can be convinced by it? They ask. The answer is that it is not meant to convince but to impress. It addresses emotion and fantasy. Nazi propaganda seeks to create in our minds tenacious ideas and fantasies.”'
'Trump’s propaganda about Mexican rapists and Muslim terrorists operates in a similar way. The informed listener knows that most rapes are committed by perpetrators that are known to the victim. They know that most terrorist attacks in the United States are committed by non-Muslims, but the impression that those groups are not to be trusted ― that to trust them is taking an unnecessary risk ― remains.
The impressions born of the propaganda give birth to discussions that worsen the problem. Commentator Van Jones, for example, debated CNN panelists recently about discrimination against Muslims. To support his argument that Muslims are not the enemy, he cataloged many of the positive attributes of the Muslim community as if Americans that are hostile to Muslims are acting in good faith based on bad information rather than cherry-picking incidents to support their underlying prejudices. Jones reminded viewers and other panelists that Muslims have low crime rates, high educational achievement and high rates of entrepreneurship. The fact that it needs to be said demonstrates the relative power of the people asking the questions to those who must answer. It morphs questions about Muslims into a kind of Muslim Question that exists not to seek answers but to emphasize the otherness of the Muslim community and to limit its rights.
While on the campaign trail in February, Trump urged followers to “knock the hell” out of protesters, promising to pay their legal bills if they were arrested and charged. That same February in Fort Worth, he promised a crowd that he would “open up our libel laws” so that news outlets can be sued for writing “false” or “purposely negative” articles. In July, he urged Russia to interfere in the election on his behalf, later saying he was joking. In September, he urged still other supporters to “monitor” polling stations. In October, he promised when victorious to throw his rival, Hillary Clinton, in jail. And just recently he advocated revoking the citizenship of Americans who burn flags.
So, in the last year, Trump has flirted with or, maybe more his style, groped and pawed at totalitarianism, yet the advice from many is to “give him a chance” ― or to coordinate.
The participants could only see what they expected to see. Their minds coordinated. [This is why it is so essential to teach and practice critical thinking and creative process.] For many Americans, the expectations of the game are divided government, stability and continuity regardless of what the candidate promises. However, if the new regime has embraced authoritarianism, then there will be trick cards in the deck that have to be identified correctly and challenged.
“Patriotism” became a trick card in Klemperer’s memoir and study of Nazi language, The Language of the Third Reich. Klemperer wrote of a Jewish neighbor, Frau K, who continued to speak with pride about Germany and the “Fuhrer,” despite having been deemed subhuman by the regime. [Like the women who voted for Trump.] Patriotism and deference to leadership ― respect for the office of the president, as we call it ― might have elevated Frau K in the old paradigm, but in the new one it worsened her condition.
'Joachim Fest writes in his memoir Not I, “At first, the countless violations of the law by our new rulers still caused a degree of disquiet. But among the incomprehensible features of those months, my father later recalled, was the fact that soon life went on as if such state crimes were the most natural thing in the world.” ' [This is how people lived 'normal lives' on a quiet neighborhood street with a concentration camp at the end of it.]
'We should not waste our time or imaginations trying to reconfigure Trumpism to explain why all of the “good people” supported him. It is more important to see it for what it is and resist. Hopefully, they will join us. If not, it will not be necessary to call them names, they will have named themselves.'
Civil Conversations from OnBeing
From On Being
by Macushla Robinson
In his recent book Capitalism in the Web of Life, David W. Moore draws on an old distinction between capitalism’s ‘exploitation’ of paid labour and ‘appropriation’ of unpaid labour. The capitalist system appropriates various forms of unpaid labour and energy that support the employed workforce and make capitalist exploitation possible. Women’s work is appropriated by capitalism to first give birth to, then feed, clothe and otherwise care for the waged workforce. Borrowing from feminist critiques of capitalism, Moore invokes the phrase ‘social reproduction’ and then extends it to the natural world, asking ‘where does the ‘social’ moment of raising children end and the ‘biological’ moment begin?’ Just as capitalism relies on appropriating the socially reproductive capacities of women, it also relies on appropriating the biologically reproductive capacities of non-human agents such as rivers, minerals, oil mined from the earth.
Where men have historically been associated with intellect, logic and technology, women have been associated with nature...Since it is always culture’s project to subsume and transcend nature, if women were considered part of nature, then culture would find it ‘natural’ to subordinate, not to say oppress, them. (Sherry Ornter)
Ecofeminism often attempts to invert a hierarchy, asserting the importance of nature over humankind and our dependence on it, and mobilising the traditional alignment of women with nature as a feminist project. As Sarah Milner-Barry writes, the ubiquitous phrase Mother Nature ‘has come to represent the twinned exploitation of all that patriarchal society considers to be inferior to men. As such, both are expected to be perpetually available to them, and to be accepting and accommodating of their desires’.  The understanding of women as close to nature is behind the fact that women’s work is undervalued.
We justify paying domestic labourers so little because care work is a female dominated industry, and we still think of women as biologically predisposed to love. As Hochschild says, first world employers believe immigrant women ‘to be especially gifted as caregivers: they are thought to embody the traditional feminine qualities of nurturance, docility, and eagerness to please’. The capacity for love, it seems, is cheap.
'"The way kids speak today, I'm here to tell you." Over the course of history, every aging generation has made that complaint, and it has always turned out to be overblown. That's just as well. If the language really had been deteriorating all this time, we'd all be grunting like bears by now.'
'Critics always want to make the next generation seem more alien than it actually is, like anthropologists reporting back from a field trip to Youngster Island.'
'Prince and Bowie were living arguments that there is no one way, and no correct way for a man to dress, to move, to decide what he values, to choose who he loves or where he stands in relation to that person.'
'It’s true that in recent years, the Super Bowl halftime show has often been a showcase for women in the midst of a clash between men... Prince’s appearance on the Super Bowl stage in 2007 was an argument, at this particular worship service dedicated to traditional masculinity, for a vastly huger range of possible ways for a man to command the nation.'
'The male ideal of chivalry had one cardinal stipulation: to defend the weak with courage and loyalty. The weakness of women was thus contained in a cultural system in which it was acknowledged and glorified because it transfigured male power and female frailty into lovable qualities… Women’s social inferiority could thus be traded for men’s absolute devotion in love, which in turn served as the very site of display and exercise of their masculinity, prowess, and honor. More: women’s dispossession of economic and political rights was accompanied (and presumably compensated) by the reassurance that in love they were not only protected by men but also superior to them. It is therefore unsurprising that love has been historically so powerfully seductive to women; it promised them the moral status and dignity they were otherwise denied in society and it glorified their social fate: taking care of and loving others, as mothers, wives, and lovers. Thus, historically, love was highly seductive precisely because it concealed as it beautified the deep inequalities at the heart of gender relationships.' https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/03/22/why-love-hurts-eva-illouz/
"Women have become habituated (and I include myself in this) to playing the role of scold and moral corrective and standing on the mountaintop while at the same time, at least for heterosexual women, desiring men as partner, lovers, fathers... It's just very conflicting because we very much disapprove of men and want men to be different than they are and also want a man to be with."
"We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity becomes a small, hard cage and we put boys inside that cage. We teach boys to be afraid of fear. We teach boys to be afraid of weakness, of vulnerability. We teach them to mask their true selves."
"What if both boys and girls were raised not to link masculinity with money?"
"But by far the worst thing we do to males by making them feel that they have to be hard, is that we leave them with very fragile egos... And then we do a much greater disservice to girls because we raise them to cater to the fragile egos of men. We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, 'You can have , but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man. If you are the breadwinner in the relationship with the man, you have to pretend that you are not, especially in public, otherwise you will emasculate him.'"
"Why should a woman's success be a threat to a man?"
"What if we simply decide to dispose of that word - emasculation."
"A man who would be intimidated by me is exactly the kind of man I would have no interest in."
"Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I'm expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important."
"Why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don't teach boys the same."
"A woman who hasn't married at a certain age, our society sees it as a deep personal failure. And a man of a certain age who is unmarried, we just think he hasn't come around to making his pick."
"We teach females that in relationships, compromise is what women do. We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are."
"We teach girls shame. 'Close your legs! Cover yourself!' We make girls feel as though by being born female they are already guilty of something. As so, girls grow up to be women who cannot see they have desire. They grow up to be women who silence themselves. They grow up to be women who cannot say what they truly think...They grow up to be women who turn pretense into an art form."
"The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are."
"The first time I taught a writing class in graduate school I was worried. I wasn't worried about the material I would teach. I was worried about what to wear. I wanted to be taken seriously. I knew that because I was female I would automatically have to prove my worth and I was worried that if I looked too feminine I would not be taken seriously. I really wanted to wear my shiny lipgloss and my girly skirt, but I decided not to. Instead, I wore a very serious, very manly and very ugly suit. Because the sad truth is that when it comes to appearance we start of with men as the standard, as the norm. If a man is getting ready for a business meeting, he doesn't worry about looking too masculine, and therefore not being taken seriously. If a woman is getting ready for a business meeting, she has to worry about looking to feminine and what it says and whether or not she will be taken seriously."
"Many men do not actively think about gender. That is part of the problem of gender. Many men say that everything is fine now. Many men do nothing to change it [the current inequalities]"
"Gender and class are different forms of oppression. I actually learned a lot about systems of oppression and how they can be blind to one another by talking to black men. I was once talking to a black man about gender and he said, 'Why do you have to say "my experience as a woman"? Why can't it be "your experience as a human being"?' Now, this was the same man who would often talk about his experience as a black man."
"Bottom power is not real power at all. Bottom power simply means that a woman has a good root to tap into from time to time - somebody else's power."
"Let me just set something out from the outset: Unconscious bias is not the same as conscious discrimination. I'm not saying that in all of you, there's a secret sexist or racist or ageist lurking within, waiting to get out. That's not what I'm saying. We all have our biases. They're the filters through which we see the world around us. I'm not accusing anyone, bias is not an accusation. Rather, it's something that has to be identified, acknowledged and mitigated against. Bias can be about race, it can be about gender. It can also be about class, education, disability. The fact is, we all have biases against what's different, what's different to our social norms."
"There is a problem in our community with lack of opportunity, especially due to unconscious bias. But each and every one one of you has the potential to change that. Diversity is magic. And I encourage you to look past your initial perceptions because I bet you, they're probably wrong."