[permaculture] Movement thinking (was Designing a, Movement)
k.skvorak at gmail.com
Fri Aug 20 11:25:48 EDT 2010
please let me try one more time! (this is getting a bit more difficult than
i had imagined!)
I (almost) completely agree with you! and we are precisely engaged in a
good example of talking past each other here.
I do not (and never have in these posts) believe it is a good ethical
decision to " refuse to work with -someone- in the armed forces."
i would never refuse to work with - someone- in the military.
but that has always been my point! we are not talking about individuals
here. we are talking about working with institutions, and the specific
risks that come with working with the institution of the US military. (some
of those risks have already been articulated, and there are MANY risks)
our mission, should we chose to accept it! would be to analyze the risks vs
benefits in terms of systems - not in terms of individuals
so please toby, and all the people taking the same line. it is ok w/me if
you all disagree with me, but at least stop reframing the "debate" every
post! ok! many thanks!
here is perhaps a somewhat useful examination of liberalism vs radicalism.
i don't wholeheartedly endorse it, and personally simultaneously hold
political views that are liberal and radical, but it hopefully offers some
more insight into what i think is going on in these discussions (thanks
"I think it's crucial to understand what differentiates liberalism from
radicalism. I think we can avoid a lot of useless discussions and group
traumas by understanding the underlying philosophical currents in various
approaches to social change. One cardinal difference is idealism vs
materialism. Liberalism is idealist; the crucible of social reality is
placed in the realm of ideas, in concepts, language, attitudes. And
liberalism is individualist. The basic social unit is the individual.
In contrast, radicalism is materialist. Radicals see society as composed of
actual institutions--economic, political, cultural--which wield power,
including the power to use violence. The basic social unit is a class or
group, whether that's racial class, sex caste, economic class, or other
grouping. Radicalism understands oppression as group-based harm.
So for liberals, defining people as members of a group is the harm. Whereas
for radicals, identifying your interests with others who are dispossessed,
developing loyalty to your people, is the first, crucial step in building a
liberation movement. Liberals essentially think that oppression is a
mistake, a misunderstanding, and changing people's minds is the way to
change the world. That's where you get this tremendous emphasis on education
as a political strategy. So for instance, instead of identifying the
institutions that destroy communities of color and strategizing how to
dismantle them, we're supposed to go to Unlearning Racism workshops and
confess to being racists. Please don't misunderstand, this is not an excuse
to avoid examining whatever privilege we have. And if we've behaved
dishonorably, we need to make amends. My point is that however important
personal accountability is, it's not political action."
On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 4:46 AM, Toby Hemenway <toby at patternliteracy.com>wrote:
> Why would you be surprised that another human being has biases? Of course I
> do. I don't pretend to speak for, or to, the whole world. I speak from my
> own limited experience. And I find these conversations where we're talking
> past each other tiresome. A conversation requires a genuine effort to
> comprehend the other.
> Since you're a smart guy, I can only think that your missing my point is
> deliberate, for whatever reason. I hope this is clearer: Step outside your
> door, wherever you are, and start asking people if on ethical grounds they
> would refuse to work with someone in the armed forces. Start reciting to
> your neighbors Patrick's or Nicholas's litany of the crimes committed by the
> US, or Britain, or whatever imperialist country you live in. See how much
> sympathy you get; how soon the first door is slammed. Or are you really
> unaware of what a tiny minority we--most of those on this list--are,
> politically, in comparison to the people we are surrounded by? I'm from a
> city that voted 81% for Obama, but most of my neighbors are far to the right
> of me and would quickly slam their doors. I 'm not under the illusion that
> the whole world, or even my neighbor, thinks like I do. If a majority of our
> compatriots really hated corporatism, there would be far less of it. That's
> why I think permacultur
> e, if we teach it as a political movement, has gone and will go pretty
> much nowhere. Presenting permaculture through a radical-left bias is a
> completely pattern-illiterate approach. I object to it on the same grounds
> that I object to making students hold hands and sing about Earth devas. It
> won't make anyone a better designer, and it will alienate anyone not in the
> choir. The material is transformative in itself; we don't need to treat
> people like they are lost sheep in need of saving.
> For every successful movement, there are a thousand failed and forgotten
> ones. I don't like those odds, and think there are smarter ways to present
> permaculture to people.
> On Aug 19, 2010, at 1:58 PM, kevin skvorak wrote:
> > Me too Toby,
> > I must say i emphatically disagree here as well (and am myself surprised
> > the bias that seems to still peek thru even in your explanation):
> > On Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 9:39 PM, Smith Mill Creek
> > <smithmillcreek at gmail.com>wrote:
> >> Hi Toby-
> >> I think I disagree on a number of points (which surprises me).
> >>> From: Toby Hemenway<toby at patternliteracy.com>
> >>> "If we look at permaculture as a movement, it's in the quite
> >>> Earth-worshipping, hippie-descended, middle and upper middle class,
> >>> etc, region, with a modest number of outliers included. A narrow slice.
> >>> else would even be arguing about working with the army?
> > Toby c'mon now- you are honestly asking: " who else would be arguing
> > working with the US military?"
> > you really want anyone to answer that for you? how about relatives of
> > millions & millions, literally, of folks killed by US forces in the last
> > 40yrs. Few of them hippies, i imagine.
> > i mean, cmon now....
> > best,
> > kevin
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