Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/06/01/bernard-shaw-there-is-a-new.html
Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/06/01/bernard-shaw-there-is-a-new.html
So not this guy then:
I was briefly confused
sigh Pretty sure it goes back further than that…
(and hopefully it ends soon)
I am all for the passion and rage train, but this train actually needs to go somewhere. And by somewhere, I don’t mean in some nebulous “movement”; I mean in actual real and specific policy legislation. Everyone’s eyes are on this. A bunch of states need to quell unrest. This is the moment when a couple dozen Democratic governors and a Republican or two and say they all talked it over, and they have this awesome piece of legislation that that will for the first time put oversight on the police. With this awesome piece of legislation, when a cop kills someone or there is a complaint, a person that actually cares about the truth investigates. If the cop is guilty of a crime, they got to jail. If they are incompetent, they get fired.
This is the moment. I’m ready to have my socks knocked off with the legislative fix. Any second now the governors are going to announce this, right?
This is the fucking problem. The politicians will latch on, we will here some poetic or rage filled words, and they will do absolutely nothing. They could introduce legislation (even if it is shot down) right now, and they won’t. I couldn’t even tell you why. Is it incompetence? Stupidity? Conflicted interests? Fear of cop unions? I don’t know.
I just know that the only thing I see is people rolling around the emotions of this, and basically no one talking about actual policy fixes we can pass right now, this very second.
He meant the start of the US Slave Trade, though you are correct; there were enslaved people on American soil before then, both African and Indigenous.
Pretty chilling to see the press being herded away while listening to that.
‘There is a new movement being born right now.’
I f’ing hope so. That’s probably the most we can expect to come out of this, but it would be something at least. It’s going to take a long, sustained effort to change things and a new movement would help make sure that happens.
Unfortunately, no, that really wouldn’t help. It’d be nice if there was a neat little legislative solution, but the problem is too complex to be so easily addressed, nor just with state- or national- level legislation. Not just because racism and racist cops are endemic to police forces, but because the problem is a result of a web of self-reinforcing systems which exist from the local to the federal, and many of which are resistant (if not immune) to democratic oversight. Any real solution is going to be equally complex and require action at the city/county level all across the country:
Qualified immunity in particular seems like it is going to be a fucker to tame - especially now that Trump has packed federal courts with extreme right-wingers who will be in there for decades to come.
No, that’s about right. Race (and especially systemic racism) as we think of it is a modern construct in the grand scheme of things. Other categories of power were far more important, like one’s class status, religion, or place of origin.
Yes. The systems of what become the racial caste system began in the mid-17th century, and was firmly in place by the revolution.
There are people talking about solutions. Jo Ann Hardesty, in Portland, for one. Talking about codifying the relationship between police and the community. Talking about going right on up the justice system, so that equality includes prosecutors and judges. Talking about making it so that police who are fired for incompetence and malfeasance can’t just go to the next city or next county and get a fucking promotion after being fired for racism. And talking about how the media shows black faces when reporting on looting, when it’s skinny white guys breaking the glass.
The cities that are under protest have all the tools they need to quell the protests. They just need to fix their own police departments, as the first step. The burden isn’t on the protesters; they’ve been beyond patient. The first step needs to come from those in power, and unfortunately, they aren’t doing it. Governors need to send the National Guard in - to protect the protesters from the police, instead of the other way around.
You name it, and there’s a “ism” for it.
This is EXACTLY what the governors should do… if only.
Yeah, so true. The impediment is, it’s political poison, the kind of problem that politicians absolutely don’t want to deal with - something that’s incredibly difficult and messy (completely reconstructing police departments and process by which police get hired), dirty (nasty fights with powerful police unions that may make them unelectable in the future) and then any fruits of their labor won’t be obvious until they’re out of office, so it doesn’t advance their political careers (or get people who want quick and easy solutions to vote for them).
So unfortunately politics as usual won’t get it done, even the purely political part. Sustained pressure by a committed movement (who make it political poison to not do the work of continually addressing the issues) and politicians that arise out of this movement are going to be necessary.
That’s the point, though. Any politician that can’t read this environment, that the sleeping giant has been awakened, is really bad at their job. They think police unions are powerful; have they seen how many people are out protesting; or serving food to the protesters, or supporting them in one of a thousand ways? Police unions are a speck compared to the power that has been awakened. Local politicians - mayors, governors - need to open their eyes to survive what’s coming. What’s here.
Aye, the message is resonating louder and louder:
The social contract that we’ve long known as our society is undeniably broken.
“Legitimacy is based on three things.
First of all, the people who are asked to obey authority have to feel like they have a voice - that if they speak up, they will be heard.
Second, the law has to be predictable. There has to be a reasonable expectation that the rules tomorrow are going to be roughly the same as the rules today.
And third, the authority has to be fair. It can’t treat one group differently from another.”~ David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
Was listening to a Dave Eggers interview where he talked about the insanity of how only about 1 percent of the population is a dues paying member of the NRA and yet this ramshackle organization on the verge of internal collapse is seen as a juggernaut that cannot be stopped.
Police union members are way smaller, a speck compared to the masses of people tyranized by them.
If a movement is forming, let it be about waking up to the power we already have, joining in solidarity for justice.
Where are the leaders of this movement? Who is going to help guide all that righteous and important anger at the state of our racist world into viable action? Because right now it’s a lot of energy being spent in grief and rage, and the government is responding by starting riots and cracking heads. This movement won’t sustain itself on raw emotion alone.
The only person I know of who might be able to rally people is Obama, and he’s not leading. He’s supporting from the wings, but he’s not out there in the marches, leading folks. That’s what this needs. A figurehead who can speak eloquently about the issues that are being protested. Someone to rally around. We can argue about whether or not he’s the right choice, but this moment needs someone of his caliber of leadership, and his calming presence.
Movements die from lack of leadership. If this movement is going to evolve into real, necessary change, it needs some. Otherwise, it’ll be co-opted and mutated like Occupy did and become much ado about a lot of things, and will eventually evaporate.
Google Murray Bookchin.
Not because I think the protests are Communalist in nature but because there are other ways of organising than traditional hierarchical structures. Rojava has shown that for most of this decade.
Thanks, I’ll look that up. I admit I’m probably too fixated on the “great person” model of change. But I watched Occupy fade out, and other recent movements failing to gain traction, and it appears to me it was due to a lack of charismatic leaders who could bridge the gap between the anger and the politics, and forge them into something sustaining.
Occupy was doomed when they let Ron Paul supporters in. Before that there was a chance that liberals, Marxists, anarchists and DemSocs would find common ground but the AynCaps destroyed that.
ETA: There’s nothing wrong with having spokespeople going on stage or speaking to the press, but they shouldn’t be more than that. Leaders can be a weak point, plenty of movements have fallen apart after the arrest or murder of a leader.
America’s most recent valid president posted an essay on this theme yesterday.
I had to stop watching the video in the OP, because while the sentiment is OK, it’s still reifying sentiment as the answer. And it feels to me like that idea is sort of exactly the problem. It’s part of the 20th-century social contract where everyone surrenders their agency in return for material comfort (even if many people don’t want to surrender their agency, and many get stiffed on the material comfort), and “politics” is a matter of which sanitised corporate-media framing of your own existence you choose to subscribe to.
The reason corporate media is so happy to feed you tales of apocalypses, messianic leaders, historical destinies, and violence as a solution is that these fantasies disempower the audience. The propaganda genius of the regime is that it encourages you to fantasize about its overthrow; it just makes sure you fantasize about it in impotent terms. A regime that weaponises comfort does not fear violence (which is self-defeating), or messiahs and destinies (which are fairy tales), or speeches and banners (which are void). The only threat to such a regime is people taking responsibility for each other’s comfort on a boring, day-by-day level.
I think that’s the point Obama is making, albeit elliptically, and with way too many adverbs. No one needs to “become aware” of racism and police brutality, and joining a movement isn’t doing something about it. Nothing will happen because you applaud CNN for airing a feel-good monologue. The only way your rage makes a difference is if you take it to a long boring city council meeting and try to persuade the other human beings in that room to do something about the police murderers whose paychecks they sign.