A Primer for Today and Tomorrow
A Primer for Today and Tomorrow
It is most important that we do all that we can to help depolarize the divide and actively confront the serious threats that we face.
My world is both very complex, and really simple underneath its layers. I see:
- powerful elites (primarily wealthy, white, Christian, heterosexual men) using racism, sexism, classism, and homo/lesbian/trans phobias systemically to manipulate and control most other people.
- an immediate critically important clash between two strongly opposed world views.
- a serious danger of a right-wing takeover of power which could easily happen as soon as this year.
It is not crazy at all (for me) to fear a Fascist State where:
- My wife being Black could be in danger because she is Black and not invisible,
- My Black, gender-fluid step-child — could become another “statistic” — in a world where their life expectancy already is only 36,
- Me being Jewish, or “radical” or even Autistic — could make me face potential institutionalization or even death.
For many white people a “zero sum world” of Blacks (and others) is encroaching and threatening their falsely perceived safety. If a Black Person does better, inevitably a white person — like them will lose at least the other’s gain.
Sally Hemings - Thomas Jefferson - Slave/Mistress
I live in a world of increasing diversity. BIPOC (Black and Indigenous People of Color), women, and others such as Queer/gender non-conforming people are leading important movements towards positive change for all of us.
Today, January 6, 2022 — one year to the day our Government was almost “overthrown” — it is most important that we do all that we can to help depolarize the divide and actively confront the serious threats that we face.
SO WHAT’S THE POINT?
Our country was founded by wealthy, white, male landowners taking the lands of Native People for themselves.
“MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
When and how was The United States great?
Example: “We saved the world fighting for freedom in World War II”.
When the Nazis set out to legally disenfranchise and discriminate against Jewish citizens, they weren’t just coming up with ideas out of thin air. They closely studied the laws of another country. According to James Q. Whitman, author of Hitler’s American Model, that country was the United States.
“America in the early 20th century was the leading racist jurisdiction in the world,” says Whitman, who is a professor at Yale Law School. “Nazi lawyers, as a result, were interested in, looked very closely at, [and] were ultimately influenced by American race law.”
In particular, Nazis admired the Jim Crow-era laws that discriminated against Black Americans and segregated them from white Americans, and they debated whether to introduce similar segregation in Germany.
We have a history that includes much that is horrible related to racism, sexism, classism and other “isms”. The key problems related to this are the systemic nature of the problems and how they are interrelated.
Classism and other Isms are also hugely important! Often horrifying numbers on rape and sexual abuse show a lot — please see:
WHAT’S THE THREAT ? AND WHY NOW?
A right-wing takeover is a realistic possibility!
ORGANIZING, ORGANIZING, ORGANIZING
Those opposed to a right-wing takeover are not united! Our major unifying force is simple opposition to Donald Trump. This is far, far too little to build an effective movement upon.
HOW DO WE NEED TO ORGANIZE?
BIPOC Americans, particularly Black Women, have often been the core of major organizational efforts. Their six and one half percent (13% including men) of our total population — can’t and won’t drag us white people ahead.
The 2020 election results point to the importance of white people, most particularly non-college graduates. Men are the largest opposition, though women aren’t that far behind.
Very active people will always be a relatively small proportion of the population. A highly motivated 5–10% of the population can make a great deal of difference.
Those interested in organizing work should work on the issue(s) you feel is/are most important. Supporting other causes is also important. I focus upon:
a. organizing men supporting Reproductive Justice work of women,
b. trying to get concerned white men supportively talking with each other (see: http://www.caringwhitemen.com/ ),
c. pushing activist white men to cooperatively be politically active (see www.owmcl.org) ,
d. my local Mutual Aid Work.
It is also very important for me to support issues like climate change, as well as supporting Palestinian Justice.
- Our Messaging — is Most Important! Feelings and Fears — affect us all most deeply- As soon as I call you: “racist” or “sexist” — you won’t substantively hear anything that I may say. Ian Haney Lopez (see above) brilliantly addresses these issues.
- We need to build with potential allies — not reinventing the wheel — Men 4 Choice (https://www.men4choice.org/) is excellent at reaching male college students who support reproductive justice, helping them build their work together. Our reproductive justice work needs to follow the directions and leadership of women lead groups, as well as complementing the work of Men 4 Choice,
- We also need to reach out, meeting others — where they are at. They need options as to how they can join and/or support us,
- Our work is challenging. To make it most fulfilling, it is helpful where we:
a. reach out and take risks, knowing that we will make mistakes,
b. learn how to repair our faux pas — which are not the end of the world,
c. look towards the long-term — avoiding short-term burnout
d. be in our hearts — recognize our needs to move beyond our “head space”,
e. have balance — in our lives — taking the time to relax and recover, when we need a break,
f. be serious while having lighter/fun parts in our work (such as singing together),,
g. work as team players — being a cooperative partner — the cause is most important.
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) www.surj.org is the most significant white anti-racist group in North America. It has many local chapters.
Organizing White Men for Collective Liberation (OWMCL) www.owmcl.org began as a result of men steadily disappearing from SURJ three years ago. It is still getting fully organized. Its strength has been the internal/personal work of its members.
It is important that we do what we can — individually. We learn from each other. Your way isn’t my way — and that’s okay! Thanks!