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Building a mass movement

Written By: - Date published: 3:13 pm, January 19th, 2016 - 61 comments
Categories: capitalism, equality, gender, identity, Left, political alternatives, political education, racism, vision - Tags: , , , ,

Republished by request, and permission from Stephanie Rodgers at Boots Theory

[Content note: mentions of transphobia, sexual violence and violence against people of colour]

This was a line of thought which fell out of yesterday’s post, but that was getting quite long enough.

The article I quoted from, with its laundry list of stupid, trivial, oversensitive, left-destroying complaints, went on to lament that we’re not building a “mass movement” on the left. It’s a common question: post the glory days of compulsory unionism, how do we get thousands of people to march on Parliament and demand social change?

I have a question in response, though. How on earth do you folks expect to build a mass movement when you insist on ignoring – or not just ignoring, deliberately rejecting – issues faced by the majority of people in society?

“But we’re not!” they protest. “We just want to focus on things that really matter, material issues!”

As I’ve blogged about a lot previously, there are two problems with this “analysis”.

In no particular order, the first is that many of these “symbolic or linguistic” issues do really matter. It does really matter to trans people that they can be outed by airport security scanners, and that their bodies are publicly described as “anomalies” when it happens. The choice is: Travel, and be outed. Travel at the expense of being physically assaulted by strangers. Or refuse to travel, and lose your job or never see your family or go to Disneyland or do a hundred other things which cis people would consider “living a normal life”.

It does really matter to people of colour that ingrained, unconscious attitudes affect whether or not they get shot walking through their own neighbourhoods or arrested entering their own house.

It does really matter to women that society reduces us to sexual objects and promotes attitudes which allow our rapists or abusers to walk free – and to have those attitudes reinforced in a hundred different ways every day.

The second problem is that identity is a material issue. The labour of women and people of colour is undervalued – deliberately. Queer and trans people are marginalized in order to reinforce capitalist norms about heterosexuality and child-rearing.

Karl Marx and Friedrich bloody Engels had this stuff figured out.

And to get personal for an instant? When high-profile leftwing men call me crazy or irrational, or stroke their chins musing whether I’m a liability to the organisation I work for, damn straight sexism is a material issue for me.

Class is an identity. Identity is inextricable from class. The working class in New Zealand isn’t just a row of white dudes in cloth caps any more. It’s Pasifika women cleaning office buildings on the graveyard shift and Maori men and women in the meatworks and young people on zero-hour contracts at fast-food restaurants.

We have to treat them – and everyone else – as people. People with lives and families and interests and needs. Not just “workers” whose existence begins and ends at the shop door.

It’s not easy. But what should be easy, for people who are committed to fairness and justice and who can see that the imbalances of power in our society have to be overturned, is to be aware of the fact that life isn’t simple. Capitalism isn’t a one-dimensional foe. And if we’re open-minded to change and willing to acknowledge we’re not perfect and have plenty to learn, maybe people will start to see the left as a relevant political project again.

If that isn’t step one in building a mass movement, I don’t know what is.

61 comments on “Building a mass movement ”

  1. Bill 1

    This comment is the gist of one I left at Boots Theory this morning.

    For me, the idea of a movement is inseparable from notions of democracy. But for as long as people are wont to view politics as existing on a left/right spectrum, we’re going to struggle with that. Peoples current political perspectives tend to be contained within, and political habits determined by, a context demarcated by statism (the ‘left’) and corporatism (the ‘right’); Both are decidedly anti- democratic.

  2. just saying 2

    I think we are all to some degree sexist, heterosexist, racist etc. I know I am. Liberation is freeing ourselves of bullshit defaults that we might not even be aware of, – being open to listening and not being so defensive.

    We weren’t puppies – walking in two weeks, ready to be separated from our mothers in six, full grown in two years, we were children. Our brains developed in conjunction with about 20 years of intense social conditioning, including complex conceptual and abstract language, formal and informal education – of taking how things are or were as being how the world (including humanity) actually is. Political awareness is coming to challenge those assumptions when we are still children, and then later, making the decision to deliberately make the effort to think, read, listen, and change in accord with our values, in light of new information.

    Some of the ideas and beliefs that are hardest to let go of are the ones that allow us to enact unfair privilege such as are bestowed by gender ethnicity etc. People who have been kicked around a bit by life, every bit as much as the elites, want to believe that some sort of privileged group identity reflects innate superiority and a higher entitlement and position relative to others, even if we wouldn’t want to express those beliefs and assumptions bluntly, but rather than as rationalisations for the “moderate” beliefs that reflect them. But it’s not just the “winners” of those lotteries who, at some level, believe the lies. It can be really hard to overcome internalised prejudice and stigmatisation. And it makes us, the majority, so easy to divide and conquer. We have a greater vested interest in solidarity, especially as things get shittier with the clusterfuck of catastrophes the world is undergoing.

    It seems to me that we have two choices – coming togther in a new way or retrenching into familiar and narrow groups in competition with each other.

    • “Liberation is freeing ourselves of bullshit defaults that we might not even be aware of”

      This is a great point.

      imo There is no equality if another group still suffers inequality. we all get there or no one does.

      The beauty of the ‘left’ is that everyone has a passion, a particular inequality or inequity they are working to address. I cannot say my particular issue is more important than someone else’s issue. It isn’t, therefore for my issue to advance requires other issues to advance and I will support those other issues just about as much as mine or to the best of my ability.

      and i find it difficult to understand contrary opinions on this.

  3. Thinking Right 3

    I see a headline, “Building a Mass Movement” and then I read the body of your post bewailing ill treatment of people primarily because of some subgroup they belong to.

    Is this a Part 1 of a series?

    How does eliminating the likes of racism enable a left wing mass movement?

    • weka 3.1

      Google intersectionality. Or try following the links in the post, it’s all there.

      If on the otherhand you just want to take a potshot at the main point of the post (which to be honest is spelled out pretty clearly), without putting up an actual argument, you do realise the conversation will quickly descend into you being called a troll (not sure if you are new here or not). Being immediately derogatory of the post and the people its discussing doesn’t exactly suggest good faith debate.

      • Thinking Right 3.1.1

        Not trying to troll anyone.

        I read the headline and thought ok sounds like someones got a good plan to herd the cats of the left into moving in one direction politically which is what the headline suggests to me.

        I then read the body of the post and its primary point is that because of the existence of racist/xenophobic/homo phobic views amongst some on the left this is preventing the left from uniting.

        There just seems a disconnect from the one to the other.

        Also I can’t imagine accusing others on the left of being racist/xenophobic is a good way of helping to unite the left – more likely to get the hackles up of those who feel so-accused.

        Is the author hoping that all the left will aspire to a certain level of pc purity and this will engender a mass political movement – all I say is good luck with that.

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          I then read the body of the post and its primary point is that because of the existence of racist/xenophobic/homo phobic views amongst some on the left this is preventing the left from uniting.

          Not quite. It’s because some on the left want to exclude the politics of so many people until later that the left can’t unite. Too many people don’t agree with the basic premise that economics is the base of all evil in the world and that once that is solved the other -isms are also resolved.

          Also I can’t imagine accusing others on the left of being racist/xenophobic is a good way of helping to unite the left – more likely to get the hackles up of those who feel so-accused.

          I don’t think that’s what she did, that’s your framing.

          Is the author hoping that all the left will aspire to a certain level of pc purity and this will engender a mass political movement – all I say is good luck with that.

          No, she’s saying that the people calling for a mass movement are blocking the very thing they want by their own actions.

          If you want to make the argument that so called identity politics is in fact just an attempt at PC purity, please try. Because at the moment you look like you are either misinterpreting the points, or deliberately skewing them.

        • cogito 3.1.1.2

          “I read the headline and thought ok sounds like someones got a good plan to herd the cats of the left into moving in one direction politically which is what the headline suggests to me.”

          That’s what I thought too. Then by the end I was totally lost.

        • just saying 3.1.1.3

          Also I can’t imagine accusing others on the left of being racist/xenophobic is a good way of helping to unite the left – more likely to get the hackles up of those who feel so-accused.

          Which is why I suggested that all our brains were soaked in the prejudices of the prevailing culture as they developed, and that being open rather than defensive might be part of the answer.

          And why do you think that the feelings of those who would behave abusively towards others matter more than the feelings of those being abused?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2

      How does eliminating the likes of racism enable a left wing mass movement?

      The trick is to get people to notice that racism, stupidity, and right wing political beliefs all come from the same cesspool.

      • Thinking Right 3.2.1

        Does racism include publicly highlighting and discriminating against certain people because their surnames appear to originate from a particular Asian ethnicity?

        Also, would members of that same Asian ethnicity not be part of the left wing which the poster is trying to unite in a mass left wing movement – if some of them are, how would a public attack on them make them feel included/united as part of the same left wing movement?

        Does that mean that Phil Twyford qualifies for coming from that same particular cess pool?

        • weka 3.2.1.1

          Labour’s actions in that case were racist IMO. The left aren’t saints, and I’m not sure that Labour in that case were being particularly left wing anyway. They’re not actually that left wing so much as centrist a lot of the time.

          I would hazard a guess that OAB would say that Twyford was indeed pulling ideas from a RW cesspool, but myself I’d say that neither the left nor the right have moral high ground when it comes to racism and it’s better to view racism as existing independently of the left/right spectrum, not least because OAB’s framing just entrenches stupid left/right arguments that go nowhere. See if you can avoid getting caught in the trap eh?

          • Sacha 3.2.1.1.1

            Sure wasn’t the left they were dogwhistling with that foul stunt. How many of Winston’s supporters did it earn them in the end?

        • Chris 3.2.1.2

          “Does that mean that Phil Twyford qualifies for coming from that same particular cess pool?”

          Yes, and most of his Labour MP mates, and before anyone asks most National, NZF, Maori Party, some Green MPs, too, and no doubt a whole bunch of others.

  4. This may be of interest in a ‘plus ca change’ kind of way.

    “Beyond the Fragments” was a pamphlet, an influential conference and then a book from the late 1970’s that covered the issues that Stephanie is writing about now. Sheila Rowbotham, Lynne Segal and Hilary Wainright were the editors and though the content shows that there was no Golden Age which synthesised the strands of feminism, collectivism, class and issues of concern to LGBTI, minority ethnic communities into the broader progressive movement the questions and the way they were being framed at that time might be useful for thinking about and as a reference point.

    What forms of political organizing can adequately reflect the personal experiences of marginalized and oppressed groups without dismissing these experiences as secondary to class struggle, or as something to be sorted out “afterwards”? How is it possible to link up local organizing with national campaigns and movements? What’s the relationship between unions and smaller initiatives? Between feminism and the state? How to link up participatory forms with representative forms, and representative democracy with direct participation?

    the book asked.

    This article is from the Jacobin magazine but the book was republished in 2013 and all three women are still working on these issues so there are a number of related articles from the last few years reprising the conference and the issues of that time and relating them to current circumstances. Hilary is at Red Pepper magazine. and the other two are academics in what I think are now emeritus roles. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2013/10/back-to-the-fragments/

    • Sacha 4.1

      Thank you. And good to see you here.

    • Sacha 4.2

      This from the magazine seems pertinent:

      “when the reactionary rhetoric of Tory ‘freedom’ can evoke such a groundswell of working-class support, socialists need to ask a few questions about our inability to translate the awareness of a vanguard of socialist activists into any lasting change in mass consciousness.”

      Hearts and minds.

      • Jan Rivers 4.2.1

        Thanks – belatedly.

        I was taken by the idea of prefigurative politics although it’s rather oddly described in the article – as no hierarchy, no meetings and no separation between personal life and political work. I had thought of it more as ‘being the change you want to see’ in which respect it speaks of including people who are marginalised and disadvantaged and their issues and concerns in the building of a more just and a sustainable economic framework. Here’s the Wikipedia entry on it – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prefigurative_politics

  5. The lost sheep 5

    what should be easy, for people who are committed to fairness and justice and who can see that the imbalances of power in our society have to be overturned, is to be aware of the fact that life isn’t simple. Capitalism isn’t a one-dimensional foe. And if we’re open-minded to change and willing to acknowledge we’re not perfect and have plenty to learn,

    Be aware life isn’t simple?
    Admit Capitalism is complex?
    Be open minded?
    Acknowledge we are not perfect?
    We have something to learn?

    Asking the Left to take those concepts on board?

    Houston, I think we have a problem.

    • weka 5.1

      Have you come back just to troll? Because I can’t see any point to your comment other than to poke a stick into a nest of lefties to irritate them. Plus, making out that all lefties think and act the same is a form of prejudice (and boring to boot).

      • The lost sheep 5.1.1

        Stephanie said, “and if we are open minded to change”…

        So who will put their hand up an say “I can/ do / want / need to change?

        You Weka?

        • weka 5.1.1.1

          Lots of people here have already put their hand up. I find your original comment and its follow up disingenuous. If you want to pick a fight, go ahead, just don’t expect any respect.

          • The lost sheep 5.1.1.1.1

            I agree with Stephanie that change is necessary on the Left before “people will start to see the left as a relevant political project again.”

            You say lots of people have put their hands up for that, but I see no evidence that enough have done so to have a positive effect on the ‘relevance’ of the NZ political Left.

            If anything, I see the the overall perception of the left going backwards, with an increasingly negative conspiracy tinged narrative emerging, and an ever widening philosophical schism between the hard and middle.

            To my dismay, after 6 years of watching the Left fail to react effectively to their lack of ‘relevance’, I don’t believe the change Stephanie believes is necessary will occur. Maybe JK winning the next election will finally prompt it?

            • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes, we know you “see” that. By a staggering coincidence, it exactly matches worn-out attack lines authored by Tory shills well before you ever started commenting here.

              Congratulations, you’re Fisiani’s little helper 🙄

            • weka 5.1.1.1.1.2

              Thanks for explaining. I have to agree with OAB though, what you ‘see’ probably won’t be of much use to this conversation. You’d have to provide some evidence, or some more credible theory. Your personal opinion as a centrist rightwinger isn’t going to mean much otherwise. You’ve been here long enough to know that 🙂

              For example, I would say the fact that the standard is continually growing and is the largest left wing blog in NZ and has a substantial readership is not only an example of people stepping up and doing the work, but is also an example of how the left and the political culture have changed. Only a couple of years ago social media was still being written off as irrelevant. Now it’s acknowledged as a critical part of the political scene. That’s in part thanks to the people who run the standard (and the commenters).

              That’s a theory and I can provide some evidence to back it up.

              You have some ideas about the left and are quite critical, which is fair enough (many people here are too). But to use that criticism to basically write off everyone here and what they do comes across as personal shitstirring rather than making political comment. I’m suggesting you up your game.

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    I’m not sure that making the elimination of racism/sexism/trans or other phobia an obligate precursor to progress on the left is desirable. It asserts ‘identity politics first’.

    There was some obiter dicta around the development of negligence law – that the law did not require that people love their neighbours, only that they not harm them.

    Is it not sufficient that the left find common economic ground, common enemies, and a shared belief in and support of democratic principles? This creates an environment in which identity politics can make some progress – but if identity politics asserts primacy many people will not trust that it is not Blairism revisited.

    • just saying 6.1

      If we are to work together we have to treat each other with respect.

      If we try to recreate hierarchies with with assumptions about “inferior” groups shutting-up and deferring to the interests, desires and worldview of a new elite, we will fail. Our picture of the world is crumbling with our ecosystems. We need a new picture, not the old one with the faces of those front and centre cut out and replaced by new faces.

      • Stuart Munro 6.1.1

        Well I think you’re getting it wrong.

        We work together by starting to work together. If someone treads on your sensibilities you have a quiet word with them – and if your relationship is positive they’ll listen to you.

        • just saying 6.1.1.1

          You do get how hierarchies work, Stuart?

          Quiet words, being extra nice, and winning over elites has never ever worked.
          Doesn’t matter if it’s a working class elite or the .0001 percent.

          • Stuart Munro 6.1.1.1.1

            We’re not talking about winning over elites – we’re talking about rebuilding a popular movement. If you want to play post-modern linguistic warfare with folk who would otherwise be your allies, you won’t have any allies.

            • just saying 6.1.1.1.1.1

              If you want to play…linguistic warfare (or any other kind of oppression games) with folk who would otherwise be your allies, you won’t have any allies.

              Completely agree

              There are many kinds of elitism. The left is far from immune.

              • Stuart Munro

                I’m afraid I doubt you know anything important about either oppression or hierarchies.

        • weka 6.1.1.2

          Stuart, the point is that many people are not being listened to no matter how they phrase things, they’re being told to shut up for the good of the cause.

          It’s gobsmacking that in the 21st century a quiet word about sensiibilities is seen as a solution to institutional and entrenched racism, sexism etc.

          btw, I don’t think this is about making identity politics a primacy and your interpretation in that way suggests you don’t yet understand what is being said.

      • Bill 6.1.2

        If we try to recreate hierarchies with with assumptions about “inferior” groups shutting-up and deferring to the interests, desires and worldview of a new elite, we will fail.

        Yup. And for as long as we hang on to a view of the political landscape as something extending from left to right on a continuous spectrum with some notion of Boshevik Russia as the left and (say) Mussolini’s Italy as an example of the right, then we’re going to habitually recreate hierarchies.

        Our basic problem is that where we see examples of separate and implacably opposed beasts (Bolshevik Russia versus Hitler’s Germany or Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain etc), what we’re really looking at is two heads of the same beast.

        Communism is diametrically opposed to fascism and is built on the concept of democracy . But the example we throw up as being communist, or as a route to communism, was never any more communist than those other regimes I’ve named above.

        We need then, to get our heads around the fact that all of the left right spectrum we use as a guide is, in reality, fundamentally anti-democratic; drop it all in the dirt and move on.

        For the more ‘moderate’ among us – the committed social democrats who would have it that they stand at the sensible point between hard left and hard right – Nope. They’re positioned between two variants of fascism…state and corporate.

      • Magisterium 6.1.3

        If we are to work together we have to treat each other with respect.

        Then I’m not interested. Some people are fucking stupid and I’m not going to respect them just because some dogma says I “have to”.

    • just saying 6.2

      By the way, Stuart, how does treating everyone as being equally important and worthy of respect put identity politics first? Why is it a problem for you?

  7. Jason Simmons 7

    This identity politics shit is nonsense, it’s ripping the left apart. Take this horsecrap to the electorate and they will reject it, because it is stupid. Quit why you are ahead.
    See people as individuals, see them as who they are, not what they are. Honestly, this identity politics crap would be MLK spin in his grave. Focus on economics, or you are doomed.

  8. Ad 8

    Anyone here going to the Big Gay Out?

    If anyone can help me with why Nikki Kaye and Louisa Wall get on so well I might understand ‘intersectionality’ better.

  9. Lucy 9

    Good article Stephanie as someone around in the 80s and was able to see the left when they were able to pull large amounts of people onto the streets. I would say that back then the world was different, to get a living wage for the household was not relying on 3 – 4 jobs, students were not having to spend 5k per year for their degree. And there was a great deal more underground media – posters, varsity rags. Nowadays all the alternate media is online which a vast majority do not access.

  10. Michael 10

    Completely agree.

    There exist not one, but three, forms of oppression: class, race, and gender.

    Surely progressives movements should fight for all disadvantaged and marginalised groups – whether it is fighting for women’s equality, racial justice, or trade union rights.

  11. Grim 11

    Bollocks there is only one form of oppression, those that seek to have power other others; regardless of class, race, gender or religion.

    Those with power oppress those without.

    The only way you can address this by becoming powerful.

    Individual groups that work only to address their own oppression, seek power for their group, and join the powerful, without raising the majority out of oppression.

    Individuals and special interest groups don’t seek equality, they seek power.

    They want their will to be obeyed. They become the oppressor.

    • Stuart Munro 11.1

      Dead right.

    • RedLogix 11.2

      The only way you can address this by becoming powerful.

      There is another way. To elevate the ‘service to others’ as a higher value than ‘power for myself’.

      Most people at the moment are still too fearful to be willing to try it. (It’s also why alcohol remains such a popular drug.)

  12. Incognito 12

    This post, the comments, and other recent discussion threads here on TS made me think.

    We all seem to be guilty of linear one-dimensional and dichotomous thinking (not: reasoning) from time to time. The kind of you’re wrong-I’m right black & white thinking. In principle, there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with this.

    Do you think it is possible to be Left and Right at the same, politically speaking? This seems like a stupid question, doesn’t it? Of course, you cannot; you’re either on the fence or on either side of the fence, right? However, you could also briefly pause and think about this seemingly simple and straightforward question. You may then come to realise that there may be, or better: could be, more to the question. You may, for example, realise that by simple left-right polarised thinking you limit the number of possible different viewpoints (e.g. from above, or below) and miss relevant context. In short, it limits your thinking options and thus your decisions & choices.

    Again, I think there’s nothing fundamentally ‘wrong’ with this way of ‘viewing’ things but my point is that it is not the only possible way.

    Why is it so hard to take different viewpoints and possibilities into consideration? Well, it takes time to think things through, from different angles, and we don’t want spend time on something unless it is really (!) important … But I think another major reason is that we’re not used to this kind of thinking; we haven’t been taught and we have learned it. A third and possibly the biggest reason is that we resist it. We’re attached to our (single-minded) views, we associate with like-minded folks and this defines who we are, our identity; the way we view ourselves and others and how we’re viewed by others. This is not a huge step away from Identity Politics, is it?

    Because we tend to limit our viewpoint & thinking it is much harder for us to acknowledge that other people have different views, and respect let alone consider these. In fact, we might fear them, the other views and thus the other people. Or we may fight them because they upset our cosy little world and threaten our identity and fragile little egos that could shatter at the slightest. More often than not we simply swat them away saying that they’re wrong or that something is impossible.

    Similarly, we reject ideas about ourselves outright as impossible or ridiculous without really examining them or giving them due consideration. All this can lead to a self-limiting and/or self-defeatist attitude as well and we’ve only got ourselves (our thinking rather) to blame (or our parents or teachers, of course).

    A tell-tale sign of this kind of thinking is the use of those nasty ‘sticky labels’ and ‘narrow small boxes’. You know what I mean?

    By choosing a single point of view we don’t give ourselves a chance to gain better understanding of or deeper insight into an issue or other person’s thoughts and feelings; there will be much less room also for empathy and compassion and there seems to be a shortage of these while ‘demand’ is rising (no, the prices won’t go up because these are priceless).

    I believe this will also hamper calls such as “building a mass movement” or “unite Labour” or “unite the Left” or “a non-partisan approach”, for example, or creating (!) a socio-economic & political system that will provide better outcomes than the current one. It is like herding wild cats. My thesis is that this is largely due to our limited & limiting ways of thinking, about (political) issues, about others, about ourselves. Unless we change our ways I believe we will continue to face ongoing as well as reoccurring uphill battles and not just here in NZ.

    So, where to start? I don’t think we can expect or force others to change their way of looking at things; this would not be a real change from the ‘old tradition’ of “my way or the highway”. To affect a change we have to change ourselves, start with ourselves, and become more open-minded about other viewpoints. We would not lose our identity, nor would we become spineless or soft, weak, flip-flop or a lesser person or anything else that we might consider negative or ‘bad’. On the contrary, we would become ‘a bigger person’ with much less ‘investment’ in and attachment to personal idiosyncrasies and therefore more free to choose from a smorgasbord of options & possibilities that we would never have known about – because we were blinkered, blind & deaf – or even contemplated previously.

    I’d say: try a different viewpoint, look at things from a different angle, literally and figuratively. It doesn’t mean you must or will give up your perspective or your opinions even but I reckon you just might do that occasionally – would that be such a bad thing?

    What do you reckon?

    PS Apologies for the length of this comment

  13. + many. Now you’re talking – this could go up as a post? Holding positions can be a real trap and cuts down the opportunities for exploratory thinking. There is some interesting work on “positions, interests, needs” as a way of cutting through dogma and groups elsewhere working on ‘community dialogue for change’ to help communities work through delicate and intractable problems as a couple of starters.

    • Incognito 13.1

      Thank you! As was recently explained to me in a comment the submission process for Guest Posts has or takes low(er) priority than keeping TS running (smoothly). I am more than happy to have this go up as a Guest Post though since the take home message is very basic & simple but also very important (IMO) and impacts on pretty much everything we think, say & write, and do.

  14. Perhaps Stephanie would be prepared to host a discussion along these lines on Boots Theory if it’s problematic for the Standard. It could go on the public good website but the audience is relatively small and it’s an important discussion.

    It seems to me the realpolitick ‘winner takes all’ approach in some of the comments above is also problematic. That has been ably addressed by you, Redlogix, Grey Warbler, Marty Mars and others to good effect but to add to that there is Audre Lorde’s observation that “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change”.

    If I can help to make this conversation happen and steer it to some positive results get in touch via http://www.publicgood.org.nz or text me on the number there.

    Jan

    • Incognito 14.1

      Hi Jan, my apologies for the late reply.

      I can see a number of potential problems with my comment being posted as a Guest Post here on TS:

      1) No appetite;

      2) Not high enough priority relative to TPPA and related stuff;

      3) lprent is too busy.

      If you think it is worthwhile to post or discuss it somewhere else (?) by all means go ahead; you have my permission but I don’t know how this works in relation to TS since it first appeared here as a comment. Hopefully, one of the Moderators and/or lprent may respond. If not, just go ahead with proper ‘acknowledgment’ to TS to avoid stepping on their toes. That said, it might still go up here on TS.

      Please let me know if I need to contact you anyway via Public Good.

      • RedLogix 14.1.1

        I’ve just spotted this conversation. I’m happy to put it up as a guest post tomorrow morning if you like.

        Is that ok?

        • weka 14.1.1.1

          could probably do with some editing to get people to read it right through. Good topic though.

          • Incognito 14.1.1.1.1

            Not sure what you mean by “editing” and whom you were addressing though it was RedLogix I assume.

            I did write it as a comment but that said, intentional (and sub-conscious) subtleties can easily get lost in an editing process. And as you can tell, I think language with all its nuances is very important.

            But if it needs tweaking so be it.

            • weka 14.1.1.1.1.1

              I haven’t read all of it yet. I think if you want to get more people reading all of it and commenting appropriately there is more chance of that if it’s edited down to less words. Not that that has to happen, just that people seem to read and comment on shorter posts. However, I appreciate that editing doesn’t always improve a piece, so it’s just a suggestion to consider 🙂

              • Incognito

                Thank you for your helpful suggestions, which I will take to heart.

                Yes, you’re right that shorter is more appealing and easier to digest. Unfortunately, I terribly struggle with getting my thoughts on paper in a concise way. The reason is that my writing and thinking occur simultaneously, more or less, and it takes me ages to draw the line. This is another reason why I failed as a blogger. I write as much for myself, possibly more so, as I do for others. That said, it is very satisfying, in a reaffirming way, to get feedback even if it is only from one person and the briefest of brief 😉

                • weka

                  It’s good it got put up as is (it looks less long as a post than it did as a comment!). I really liked it, and appreciate the topic being opened up for discussion. Interesting that it’s happened the same time as McFlock’s one too.

                  Congrats btw (is that your first guest post?).

                  • Incognito

                    Thank you!

                    I don’t want to display false modesty but much of what I wrote was stimulated by Stephanie’s excellent post and the very good associated comments. I get a lot of inspiration from reading TS and thinking about it. I should also thank Jan Rivers for being the catalyst for this, my second, Guest Post!

                    My first Guest Post appeared in much the same way: Employment and Unemployment.

                    I also submitted Guest Post to TS on 28 Dec entitled Utopian Musings: Companionship, Community, Compassion, Passion, which will hopefully see the light of day here as well.

                    And I have another long-ish comment half-written for Fisiani Gets it Right but that may have to wait for another time and I’d better pay some attention to my Guest Post.

                    So many things to do and so little time …

        • Incognito 14.1.1.2

          Yes, that’ll be great, thanks!

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