Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
How far Right do we have to be pushed / lead – or attempts made with that goal in mind – before being dismissively, derisively labeled “fringe” when we don’t follow? Personally, I’m in support of fringy-ness. No doubt in part that’s because quite a few people seem to consider me in the fringe territory (the section pejoratively, or fondly, known as the “dirty old hippy” region), but it’s also because on our national political continuum, I actually am in status quo definition of fringe territory. Mostly that’s anywhere that isn’t safely within the comfort of the Rightly shifting Duopoly. And as the political / social Rightward slide continues, I’m thinking more and more people could find themselves in the general fringy region.
If more of us do occupy the constantly Rightly-redefined-to-fit-Corporate-purpose fringes, will we finally reach the point where there will be a revolution of some kind? An Occupy the (Left) Fringes advance, perhaps? Or, along with the Electorate in general, will we simply give up and say, “they won,” and spend more and more of our time distracted by Duopoly games and fighting among ourselves about who we should trust the most/least to disperse the increasingly fewer “keep them quiet” scraps thrown our way?
Looking for insight – and honestly, probably for some distraction from 2012 boredom – I’ve turned to a number of people, quoted below. I’d really like to hear from you, both your thoughts – feel free to quote yourself, please – and those of some of the people to whom you turn when you’re in need of clarity or wisdom, or maybe some sanity, or even just a laugh. I need more laughs.
Vast Left, in an FB comment at an American Extremists post: “Liberals, this November the choice is clear: vote for the candidate who more-subtly opposes your values.”
Marketing with finesse, not just bombast, is indeed noteworthy, and Vast Left’s American Extremists comics are excellent at calling attention to antics on the liberal / progressive side, from subtle to heavy left-handed.
Emma Goldman: “No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution… revolution is but thought carried into action.”
Which, of course, is one big reason the Electeds and the Elites for whom they work really don’t want to hear what anyone who doesn’t agree with them is thinking.
Cornel West: “King’s response to our crisis can be put in one word: revolution. A revolution in our priorities, a reevaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and ordinary citizens.”
Excellent. And have you ever noticed how quickly and often the attempt is made to turn the use of a word like “oligarchy” or “plutocracy” into something bad about the person using them? It’s a classic “change the subject and make this something negative about the person with whom I disagree, rather than what that person is talking about” kind of tactic.
Audre Lorde: “Without community, there is no liberation.” And, “Revolution is not a onetime event.”
Yep. Revolution (or just changes) toward liberation, is a process, and it absolutely requires people working together, supporting each other. So, of course, efforts from Electeds and Elites are to divide us.
Abbie Hoffman: “The only way to support a revolution is to make your own.”
We each have to figure out what “making it our own” means, if we choose to be supportive, but without “making it our own,” it remains an abstraction.
Gore Vidal: “Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.”
For an example, see: Elections 2012.
Alice Walker: “Activism is my rent for living on this planet.”
And no doubt I’m late on rent. Again.
Albert Einstein: “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”
I think that’s another “Rent is Past Due” notice.
Martina Navratilova: “Just go out there and do what you have to do.”
Okay, that sounds like it comes from a (in this case, world class) athlete, but Navratilova has been an off the tennis court activist for many years. And thinking about this statement, what comes to mind is that “doing what you have to do” includes few, relatively speaking, “big wins.” When those do come, it’s because “what you have to do” is keep at it, day after day, election after election.
Jane Wagner: “Our ability to delude ourselves may be an important survival tool.”
In the (relatively thinking) short-term, Wagner is probably right. But eventually, delusion fails, and damn, there’s reality, staring us Right, and Left, in the face.