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How to Escape the Great Bamboozle and Achieve Political Unity

By       Message David Weiner       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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In a recent article, Teodrose Fikre, founder and editor of Ghion, described how U.S. citizens are conned by both political parties.

"Standing too close to either elephants or jackasses prevents one from seeing how both parties are using the same blueprint to divide the nation and reap political boons. Sadder yet is that people on both sides end up fighting each other instead of uniting to defend their common interests. As I noted in the past , if you strip away politics, most liberals and conservatives would agree on the core issues. " https://www.truthdig.com/articles/americas-never-ending-southern-strategy-and-urban-bamboozle/ No doubt about it! However, I would suggest adding one factor to his analysis that reinforces a significant number of people's accepting what he calls a great bamboozle. I refer to White Supremacy as a social contract offered by the elite to working-class white males dating from the Populist era. This contract has assured us of preferential political and economic treatment so long as we promise not seriously to organize in opposition to the interests of U.S. oligarchy. In short, we get to bully people of color with permission of the elite, and with their assistance, however only as individuals not as truly organized communities. Some pretense of white-warriorship is allowed within the context of a narrow sort of Christianity, but even this is highly monitored by oligarchy As a consequence, our allegiance to ethnocentrism, accurately noted by Fikre, has a deep, sad, and profoundly debilitating psychological root. To accept his invitation to unify we must acknowledge how our ethnocentrism has masked our opportunism in a way that fills many of us with guilt and self-disgust. Guilt at accepting status as black Cinderella's favored white sisters, self-disgust at not defying our evil stepmother, U.S. Oligarchy, for contextualizing family in such an obscene fashion. In the final analysis we do choose to get ahead as bullies rather than as players, however, we must also acknowledge that oligarchy is extremely powerful, and that its influence began when we were kids. Defiance would have been terrifyingly risky. If many white males are socialized to express racial prejudice from an early age, whether they feel it or not, and are meaningfully threatened with social ostracism should they defer, this is not to suggest that as adults we should disclaim responsibility for our past actions. But as we begin to feel compassion for those we harm we must also reject self-disgust in favor of compassion for ourselves. Actually, these actions are intertwined. Without both we can do neither. Clearing away the psychological debris we can perceive how acceptance of White Supremacy has weakened our ability to address the destructiveness of oligarchy --fascism-- to the detriment of all of society, our own demographic as profoundly as others. Fortunately, those we have bullied in the past will for the most part welcome our transformation. They will define us not as incorrigibly evil, but as woken. As Fikre puts it, we're all in this soup together. We thrive in unity or collapse in conflict.

 

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David Weiner received his doctorate in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1964 and subsequently taught at SUNY/Buffalo and The University of Houston, where he received a Teaching Award. He currently teaches community college (more...)
 

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David Weiner

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Citizen unity is essential when preponderant evidence suggests that we now live not in a world where elite-controlled empire is collapsing, with consequences likely to dwarf those attendant upon similar events in the past.

Submitted on Sunday, Apr 29, 2018 at 12:43:40 PM

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BFalcon

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Incorrect.


The unity can be achieved by proposing the right solutions and they are not proposed.


Any other 'unity' is a mirage.

Submitted on Sunday, Apr 29, 2018 at 2:54:06 PM

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David Weiner

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Sorry, I thought this was either clear enough of implicit enough. The goal is to undo current trends toward the degeneracy of our nation and the world, and conceivably the near creation of a state of chaos that might last a very very long time. The right solution both locally and globally is to create a truly powerful citizenship of the non-elite members of society, not so much committing to eliminate the latter French Revolution style, as firmly but as gently as possible (and gentleness may not be possible if the process doesn't begin very soon) removing them from power. I'm talking about a citizenship that does not simply vote every now and then, but one that stays engaged to support their politicians in carrying out citizens' agendas, and removes them when they do not. A citizenship that strategizes collaboratively to set goals. In my view, the first should be either single-payer-health insurance, because vast numbers of citizens of every political stripe, ethnicity, color or religion can embrace this goal. But to accomplish it dwill require a much more sophisticated and committed citizenry than presently exists. Another, more important goal, but somewhat more difficult to sell and a good deal more difficult to implement -- but by no means impossible -- is heavy taxation of the wealthy. Of course only people convinced that human survival is threatened by current trends consistent with the policies of our and other oligarchies' power elites will embrace such a solution as I propose. So a second part of my solution is to undertake diligently to spread the word that nearly all scholars and scientists today subscribe to: no longer can empires destroy those who are inconvenient to their rule or their plans, without the great likelihood of more devastating consequences than ever in history. The neo-conservative/neo-liberal community of wealth propagandizes aggressively in opposition of insight, but eventually nearly everyone will get it, and fascism will fade as a viable alternative to a society based on full inclusion and social justice. But it would be well to speed up this process as much as possible. I hope I'm being specific and comprehensive enough. If not tell me what I'm missing.

Submitted on Sunday, Apr 29, 2018 at 11:07:10 PM

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In this comment you are both comprehensive and specific but I believe that you were far less in the article.

My disagreements:

I don't believe that today's conservatives and liberals would agree on most issues. The divide is real and it is not both parties that equally did it.

Republicans have pushed a wrong narrative since Reagan: Greed is good, government creates problems, social problems don't work and create morally deficient class of social parasites. Free business of 'unnecessary' regulations, lower the taxes, especially on 'leaders' (read rich).

Democrats were more and more a party with no ideas, unwilling to formulate solutions and unable to mount offense. Even today, they advocate 'fighting for Social Security' but refuse to hear suggestions other than old and unpleasant (I know since I tried time and again to get traction for one proposal). They are either too busy or too relaxed, fighting in emergency or going on vacation.

I disagree with your choice of the issues to be tackled. I would like the issue to be tackled to be simple, easy and with a clear strategy. One example is the proposal about the Social Security that I mentioned, another curing hepatitis C. Focusing on one issue, winning and moving on should help build the momentum. After all, if we solve a problem a month we will run out of problems within one administration.

Submitted on Monday, Apr 30, 2018 at 2:52:04 AM

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I think we have to move beyond the liberal/conservative paradigm. It sets up a false analysis of the real causes of social degeneration at work in our society.

Submitted on Monday, Apr 30, 2018 at 9:59:47 PM

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Let us just keep an eye on the issues.

Who wants to cut the social programs?

Who wants to decrease environmental protections?

Etc., etc.

Submitted on Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 7:30:04 AM

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Both of the two major political parties manipulate and defraud the people. The Republicans have used the Southern Strategy (obviously racist) to gain the white vote (and not limited to the slave states). The Clinton administration made a fateful decision to abandon progressive policies in order to obtain campaign money from the 1%. However, in order to win elections, the Democratic Party must continue to pretend to be a progressive party because it cannot win without the vote of progressives. I am 74 years of age and have witnessed the complete capture of "our" political/electoral system by the 1%. It is now complete. They have won. There is no functioning democracy in this Country. Both parties are beholden to, and servants of, the 1%. Of course, this has not happened against the will of the party elites. No, it has indeed worked out very well for them. The Clintons did not amass a 9 figure fortune by serving the people while doing their "public service". I am a former member of the Democratic Party. I did not vote for Hillary Clinton and will not vote for any other neocon/neoliberal. No more "lesser evil" for me. Rebellion and destruction of the corrupt system must be the priority of the 99%. Perhaps it would be possible to rebuild some semblance of democracy and justice. However, the prospects are not encouraging.

Submitted on Sunday, Apr 29, 2018 at 6:41:11 PM

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David Weiner

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I completely agree with you. Many current trends predict disaster. But perhaps they're not inevitable. I agree with Herbert Marcuse and Jurgen Habermas that people can awaken if they choose to. However only Habermas was really optimistic about this likelihood. I was impressed by Becky Bond and Zac Eckleys book Rules for Revolutionaries. They seemed to grasp that political process is not about electing well appealing politicians, but about publics becoming fully involved in political process on a day to day, month to month, year to year, decade to decade basis. Most of the millennial movements right now still seem stuck in event activism, however, and both Bond and Eckley are apparently expending most of their energies in this fashion. But perhaps I'm missing something. I am encouraged by what I observe in my students now as compared to ten years ago. I'm 8 years older than you are.


Submitted on Sunday, Apr 29, 2018 at 9:02:06 PM

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