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Tea Party leader, Ray ­­­­­Warrick, and Black Lives Matter leader, Hawk Newsome, shared the same platform at the Better Angels convention, June 21, 2019. David Blankenhorn, co-founder and president of Better Angels, moderated their discussion.

In RE: Polarization 1 I shared how Cornel West, an ardent Leftist intellectual and activist, would approach somebody with whom he had extreme political disagreement. Two examples were explored: an hypothetical  KKK member and Louis Farrakhan. In both cases he would use the same approach: come out of love and seek to understand them in order to find common ground for dialog.

I struggle to genuinely listen to people who say things that either piss me off or that I deeply disagree with, especially when I experience it as a personal attack. At the same time I have spent the past 40 years working on how to listen in order to understand the other. I have accomplished a lot, but feel like Sisyphus a lot of times. To make things more complicated I am writing a book about democracy in which listening to understand the other is one of the main themes. At the same time, going from the frying pan to the fire, I am immersed in very polarized situation.

I am sending a link to a TED talk. Unusal for me. This one is really unusual. If you watch the first two minutes or so, you will probably have to watch the whole thing.

It's about the core of democracy and our cooperative/solidarity movements far more than any scaling up efforts could possibly be. Everything we do needs to burn gently and fiercely with this, and that includes changing ourselves.

 

This piece involves a bit of an epiphany about myself. You know, like when you are surprised into seeing yourself a bit more as you really are. Some background is necessary to lead into how this unfolded.

Since Trump’s election I have become a democracy-freak. Writing a book about it in fact.  And that is taking me on a new journey within myself and across our political spectrum. Here is the opening of my draft Introduction:

I just posted a book review, Oh, Trauma! How Little We know Ye. It's a good novel about sexual trauma, but I review it from the perspective of it being very relevant to social change. Both personal and social trauma play major roles in our lives and we have very little understanding of how that works. We get significant insights into it through the novel. The author, Steve Wineman, has been an activist and mental health worker for over 30 years.

If there is anything human I would label “evil,” it is shame, with guilt being a close second. Both are at the heart of moral righteousness.

I need to say some more about the thinking I expressed in my earlier blog. My main point was and is that our most meaningful and effective protests have their source in sharp strategic thinking that is free of moral righteousness. Full of passion grounded in our values and concerns for a world that can work well, but not in moral righteousness.

Our alt/Right, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, etc. are a form of resistance to the profound cultural, political, and economic changes that are happening globally.* They are hopelessly fighting a losing battle. In fact, the intensity of their moral righteousness is the measure of their hopelessness. Even Steve Bannon says this: “Ethno-nationalism—it's losers.

Naomi Klein has an interesting article in the latest issue of the Nation, Daring to Dream in the Age of Trump. I recommend it. Much to appreciate, disagree with, and discuss. I want to focus on two features of it, one I find quite surprising and one that is so typical and so disempowering of the Democratic Left.

Culture Eats Structure 3                                                                         

 

CULTURE EATS STRUCTURE 1                                                                                                                      

A few days ago I submitted a long essay to The Next System contest that proposes a different kind of movement building strategy, one that emphasizes culture building. It is a three-part essay that is a fairly substantial expression of my basic thinking about our movements for deep democratic change. Below is an overview of the whole piece.

I received this wonder offer from John Curl in my email box today. I asked and he said send on to all of your readers.And thanked me! This man walks his talk.

 

Free EBook Overthrowing Capitalism, Vol. 3, Next 5 Days

Friends,

Nathan Schneider's piece "Curricular Cop-Out on Co-ops" was published yesterday in The Chronicle of Higher Education. It's a good one, but will go behind the pay wall in less than a month. 

Here's the link: 

EMPOWERMENT and LOVE 7.

The depth and intensity of anyone’s commitment to any relationship is dependent on many factors. I have recently become very clear on two of them for myself.

EMPOWERMENT and LOVE 6.                                                             

I ended my last blog on a somewhat chilling note: 

EMPOWERMENT and LOVE 5.                                            

I trust the thinking of people who respond with some clarity and complexity in the midst of a muddled situation, such as the one Nate Parker is in and, as a consequence, many, many others also find themselves in, directly and indirectly.

Empowerment and Love 4.    

Anti-racism and anti-sexism are dead ends. Fix-it policies, too.

The only way out of our racist nightmare is through it. Together. Whites from all classes will have to leave their cocoons of privilege, and allow blacks to begin leading them through it. If our blacks are not willing to do this, not capable of moving beyond their traumas, rage and despair, then there is, indeed, no way out.

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