social-transformation

Where do people get the idea that Knock Out is a popular, socially well-adjusted mech? He has literally one friend. His idea of a party is street racing and running people off roads into ditches. His attempts to join groups are awkward and presumptuous. He goes to movies alone. He parries personal questions with wisecracks and keeps his emotional self closed tight as a fist. He sees nothing wrong with dropping off the map when it suits him. He’s aloof but touchy, confident but standoffish, helplessly competitive, adamant about his independence yet desperate for acceptance and respect. He’s an eccentric and an underdog, not a social butterfly.

There is a lot of conversation about ending mass incarceration, but almost all of it is focused on changing how we respond to non-violent and low-level crimes. The problem is that more than half of people in state prison are incarcerated for violent crimes, so we will only end mass incarceration if we deal with the question of violence.  

This Issue Time conversation will deal with the question of violence, and will discuss whether mass incarceration actually makes us safer and what else could make us safe instead.

ASK OUR PANELISTS A QUESTION!

Danielle Sered envisioned, launched, and directs Common Justice. She leads the project’s efforts, locally rooted in Brooklyn but national in scope, to develop and advance practical and groundbreaking solutions to violence that advance racial equity, meet the needs of those harmed, and do not rely on incarceration.

Fatimah Loren Muhammad is the Director of Equal Justice USA’s Trauma Advocacy Initiative, which, in its pilot stage hosts weekly, half-day collaborative workshops bringing over 250 members of the Newark Police Department together with African American community leaders and public health practitioners to discuss issues of race, trauma, violence, policing, and mass incarceration. She is a Senior Fellow at Humanity in Action and a recipient the Leeway Foundation 2010 Social Transformation Award. 

Ryan King is a senior fellow in the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where he works on sentencing and corrections issues with a focus on mass incarceration. His objective is to produce high-quality empirical research on the impact of sentencing and corrections policies at the state and federal level; and to work with policymakers, practitioners, and community advocates to identify strategies that assist in the pursuit of a fair, effective, and rational criminal justice system.

Glenn E. Martin, is the President and Founder of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), an organization dedicated to cutting the U.S. correctional population in half by 2030.

Our panelists will begin answering your questions on Monday April 17th.

#WednesdayWisdom

5 Of The Most Dangerous Lies We’re Told From Birth 

These lies have been told for generations in the interest of pushing the agendas of those in power. These lies disempower us and cause us to believe that our lives are meaningless. Acknowledge them for what they are - distractions from your true purpose.

1. Grades = intelligence. Your grades in school determine your ability to take memory tests, true intelligence comes from your ability to understand yourself and the universe. The schooling system is designed to prevent us from questioning our reality to prepare us to work jobs - rather than teaching us how to create our own realities. Education without knowledge of self is incomplete.

2. Death is the end. This lie encourages us to live through the ego & pursue material things to make the physical existence seem more real - which makes the ego feel safe. There’s no such thing as death because energy cannot be created or destroyed - it is only ever transformed.

3. Social status. Those in power want us to believe that we are beneath them because they hold more money than us - this is separation in one of it’s more obvious forms and separation is the illusion. The CEO, janitor & doctor came into the world the same way and will all reach the same end.

4. You have no power. We’re told that life just happens to us & we have no control over what it brings but we have the power to create the life we want to live. If we all knew this to be true we would all experience much less conflict and would find it easier to work together to build a better world for all of us.

5. Creativity is a waste of time. If you were told to put the paintbrush down and “get a real job” just know that this is because creativity has been discouraged to disempower us. Being creative gives us time to reflect on the way we see the world and question our understanding of it - which is why it’s so important for all of us to express ourselves creatively.

The truth shall set you free.

Peace & positive vibes.

National Coming Out Day: I always interpret social events from an abolitionist framework - racism, xenophobia, and gender roles can all end in their entirety. And likewise, I dream a future where we can abolish “coming out.” As someone who has identified as every letter of the LGBTQA acronym at one point or another, I have experienced both the limitations of coming out and the exciting potential for instead imagining a queer future. Many trans and rural queer people like myself (along with POC, disabled people, and many other categories) do not always have the luxury to come out at the times we want to. Outness will always mean violence or targeting. Coming out will then always be a western, metropolitan fantasy of a singular event, when it in reality is an ongoing process of social transformation for us all. Instead of glorifying coming out, we should instead focus on creating a future where sexuality is accessible, intentional, and radical: a queer future for everyone

But as Ann Swidler (2001) argued, culture develops in response to institutional arrangements. Without change in institutional arrangements, efforts to change cultural beliefs are undermined by the cultural commonsense generated by encounters with institutions.

Armstrong, Hamilton, and Sweeney, B. 2006. Sexual Assault on Campus: A Multilevel, Integrative Approach to Party Rape

AP Literature Horoscopes

Aries: “his looks are my soul’s food”

Taurus: Lucetta, a likely lesbian

Gemini: an insignificant small bird trying to be significant

Cancer: a victim of Godfrey Gauntlet’s A1 chastisement

Leo: Mr. Pickle’s sword

Virgo: a beautiful woman unfortunately given the name Hetty

Libra: believes pugs are monkeys

Scorpio: will not share their air w anyone bc ppl lie when they say that music is universal 

Sagittarius: a nasty ass cord of maple decaying in the swamp woods that nonetheless is pretty thicc, considering it is a massive 4x4x8

Capricorn: an option for the third FRQ

Aquarius: desperately wishes that Babamukuru will take them away to transform their social standing

Pisces: is harassed by an insignificant small bird that thinks they want its feathers

@shixpe and I were talking about 12x05 “The one You’ve Been Waiting For”, which, God, terrible episode in my opinion, but not the point.

To the people that want to say there is no performance Dean and that Dean is straight and is exactly how he often overcompensates and acts….

Dean admits to performance Dean in the episode, so I am therefore confused.

Sublimation is the act in which socially unacceptable impulses are transformed into other, more acceptable, behaviors.

Sam: Dean its called sublimation.

Dean: Yeah. Yeah, it’s kinda my thing

And yet?? Like, it’s not even context and subtext, Dean admits to it. Has admitted to it multiple times that he puts on a facade. he literally confesses to it to a priest, then comes out and puts back on the mask, leaving the truth a kept secret. Heck, he admitted back in S5(?) to having tried on a girls satin panties and having kind of liked wearing them- his reasons why bar none, he did, with little persuasion, and admittedly liked them, but of course, would never indulge the impulse because he has a stereotype and toxic masculine expectation to mold himself to. Kind of like how often he checks out or even flirts with other men. Note, not saying there’s correlation between clothing options and sexuality, as this about his personality as well. He refuses to admit to liking things he thinks he shouldn’t, unless done in a way he feels safe with. Like Taylor Swift, like Dory, like dozens of other things from canon. The bravado immediately comes out. Because of this toxic mindset he has always felt he had to conform to, though he’s gotten better over the years, he still does it, some days worse than others.

[Sublimation] It’s kinda my thing.

It could even be taken as far as admitting on the sly to being in the closet, yet in a way he feels safe that Sam won’t understand. Y’know, as closeted LGBT people often do.

I haven’t really seen anyone discussing this particular canon. @mittensmorgul? You are a major advocate for the canon of performance Dean that people want to dispute.

It might at first seem attractive to say things like “Marxism can’t explain everything and although it is useful in its particular domain it’s not enough to explain the experiences of xyz, etc.”—but there’s a few things that people forget or don’t realize when they say that.

First, people mistake Marxism for a specific set of conclusions. When we realize that certain issues like racial or national oppression cannot be strictly analyzed through the lens of some pre-existing categories within the Marxist “canon,” we may be tempted to say that Marxism has reached its limit here. I must insist in contrast that, while i certainly feel many of the conclusions typically associated with Marxism are correct, all of these conclusions could actually be wrong and Marxism would still be “true” in the sense that it is most fundamentally a revolutionary way of approaching problems and enacting social change

Second, what is particularly insidious about the idea that Marxism “doesn’t apply” to this or that is the broader implication—which is quite consistent with postmodern theory in general—that different “domains” of life require us to use different approaches, different methodologies, different systems, etc. Wittgenstein, for example, was one of the people who most rigorously argued this, and he held that different domains of life were playing different “language games” which each had their own logic. One conclusion that follows from this is that no domain of social life is really poised to evaluate the validity of the others or appeal to universal truths. This can seem like a compelling line of reasoning, especially since it aligns with the dominant ideology of late capitalism. But it begins to fall apart when one realizes that, to even be able to distinguish where different domains of social life lie and what separates them requires a “global” logic by which you make the distinctions. Proponents of the notion that there can only be “local” theoretical and political systems tailored to the specific conditions of different “domains” do not at all escape appealing to universals; they simply leave the universal principles upon which they base their conclusion completely unsaid, which i feel is extremely dangerous. At least with the liberal humanists, although they simply assert universality from on-high and base their notion on the most vague of abstractions, you know what their assumptions are.

So the question is, what do you hold to be universal? Because without universality, the notion of specificity literally has no meaning.

What do i think? Well, i think Marxism as a theoretical and political practice does have boundaries, but it is able to evaluate where its own boundaries lie utilizing certain principles which are universal. To be precise materialist dialectics contain statements about the very nature of existence which are of necessity global. The fact that materialist dialectics are the product of a concrete practice—namely, taking the standpoint of proletariat in the realm of theory—does not jeopardize their universal “reach.” In fact, i would say that the proletariat, a force which occurs at the point where the various contradictions of society fuse, is particularly poised to access the universal.

Further, the boundaries of Marxism as assessed under the framework of materialist dialectics are larger than many people assume. Remember that Marx does not simply presuppose social class and then analyze society through that lens. Marxism is ultimately interested in the social formation as a whole and in particular in the transformation of that social whole. Marx arrives at the concept of social class as a result (not as the point of departure!) of the study of the social formation in its entirety (which is also why he really only began to concretely articulate the concept of class near the end of his life). So, Marxism is immediately relevant whenever we are talking about the revolutionary transformation of social life. And i am convinced that it remains the best tool for catalyzing revolutionary change there is. After all, it is not a coincidence that the most successful revolutionary movements around the globe have either been explicitly communist or have at least tried to appropriate certain elements of Marxism to suit their purposes.

Long story short, Marxism as a whole “package” may have limits, but they are broader than most people assume, and within Marxism there are universal principles, without which it is impossible to even distinguish what is specific. 

  • Main political compass test: We strive to be the most accurate two-axis political chart around! =)
  • Main political compass test: *has no questions related to unions, private property vs common property, or organizational class aspects over the means of production; frames every question within a capitalist overton window so that the politically-advantageous lie about the Left (that it merely supports redistribution and regulatory checks to corporate power, rather than a full social transformation that would render those things unnecessary) is held in place; biased in favor of social liberalism in such a way that most people taking the test end up in the libertarian left quadrant when in reality they'd be situated closer to the center or in the authoritarian right quadrant (as is the default ideology with regard to capitalist liberal democracy)*
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction … The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
— 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation.”

“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.”

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”

“As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love. Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. Always avoid violence. If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.”

“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”

That last quote was from he was given the Nobel Peace Prize. 

If you’re advocating for violence, you’re showing the other side that their methods are socially acceptable.  You’re creating an environment for them to thrive.  You drew them out by giving them attention they never deserved, so let’s take that away from them.  The only thing we should be giving them is indifference and ridicule. 

Capitalism has facilitated democracy, fascism, state socialism, theocracy, militarism, human rights, religious revivals; it processes and transforms all social organisation into its social organisation. Every political aspiration is compatible with its productive relativism. You propose the counter culture? Capitalism will commodify it, instigate it, reproduce it, and sell it. There is no outside of the loop.
—  anarchists must say what only anarchists can say, monsieur dupont
  • Propertarian: The founding fathers were willing to start a revolution over unjust taxation =) my heroes =) revolution is my jam =)
  • Socialist: Cool, here's more revolutionary potential in industrial unionism, community self-defense for marginalized groups, antifa, militant protests, strikes, etc. -- ya know, actions that will transform social relations for the better in the long run. That's revolution.
  • Propertarian: Wait no =/ not like that =\

Native Man Denied Visa To Receive Award

Mariano Gomez is a 23 year old Native Tseltal from Abasolo, Chiapas and a member of the Ik’ta K’op Collective as well as an elementary school teacher; he was being given an award by the Internet Society for his work creating a wireless Internet and Intranet network that provided connectivity and access to information to his community, which has no telephone or radio service but was not able to attend the awards in Los Angeles because the US embassy had denied him a tourist visa.

Thanks to his efforts, the village has taken a step towards connectivity with the arrival of a strong internet network which he was able to build, harnessing a signal and directing it through a set of satellite dishes. Beginning his project in 2010, Gomez has made it possible for 800 homes in five separate communities to have a wireless connection as well as an intranet in local high schools for educational purposes. “This is more about communications than entertainment.” said Gomez. “People used to go to a phone booth and pay 50 pesos (US$2.80) for a five-minute call to talk to family in the U.S. Now they go online.” He added that with this improvement, they are now able to afford the same advantage for US$11.33 per month.

Mariano was one of the “25 under 25” recognized for making the internet a social transformation tool. The awards were on September 19 in Los Angeles, California.

He traveled 16 hours by bus to Mexico City to arrive in time for his visa appointment, paid US$160 to begin the tourist visa process then had to wait another day only to be denied shortly after having to take the bus back home.

He wrote an open letter to the Internet Society

The explanation they gave me for why I could not apply for a visa was the following, first: they failed to identify my address, this is because I live in an indigenous community in which the streets have no names ; the second: I do not have bank accounts with a lot of money to show that I have a high economic status, which in that model of the world, “he who has no money is worth nothing” and third: I am a young man from a marginalized community in a region that’s considered to be one of the places most migrants travel from to go to the United States illegally (and many die trying). Even in the interview when they asked me if I speak two languages, I proudly answered yes. My mother tongue is Tseltal, descendant of the Mayan language and my second language is Spanish.”

“It is the reflection of a society with stereotypes in which being part of an indigenous people is considered as inferior, in which not having a bank account and large economic resources is synonymous with nothing. Racism is clearly visible, society ranked by skin color, language, religion and economic status to define a world model.” he said.

He requested the funds reserved for his transportation to Los Angeles be donated to the Ik'ta K'op Collective, of which he is a member, to continue his mission to give back to his community.

anonymous asked:

I never said you said people can't enjoy KS. Never even hinted at it. What I find stupid, is the fact you actually believe fiction has a hold on people's minds. When Harry Potter came out no one thought they were wizard, no one attempted to do spells or find hogwarts. When The Hunger Games came out, nobody got in a ring to fight their friends to the death. Should I go on? Wanting 2 characters to have sex or be together doesn't mean you're making a fetish or a goal out of the relationship...

There’s a reason that during political regimes, certain books are banned and why books are sorted by age categories for the content within it. Repeated exposure to a subject can lead to desensitization towards its subject matter. Though studies have not found that kids who play violent video games significantly demonstrate violent behavior, studies have shown that kids who play violent video games are less affected by violence in media. 

Constant exposure to fetishization of a social group, be it ethnicity or a same-sex relationship, without critical thinking on the reader’s part reduces the reader’s ability to recognize fetishization as a problem in reality as well due to internalized normalization of the content. There’s a reason why fetishization of Asian women (’yellow fever’ is such an ugly term) and desexualization of Asian men is so prevalent in the current, real world, and it’s all to do with the works of fiction and basically fictional accounts of the Western world about the Orient. 

If you’re going to make it easy for me and bring in the big works like Harry Potter, I don’t even have to pull out my psych book - I can just link you the studies. First of all, no one may have thought they were a wizard or attempt to do spells, but the number of kids who waited for their Hogwarts letter is more than you might think, and that’s only approaching the issue in the way you have narrowly defined it.

Fiction has social, transformative capabilities. Here’s a piece in the New York Times about how the themes present in Harry Potter has been influential to an entire generation. Here’s an article in the Scientific American about how the series instills empathy in children. Here’s the NPR’s on a study that claims reading Harry Potter leads to more positive social attitudes in children. Johns Hopkins University wrote a whole book on the subject. The Conversation also touches on this, and further, links to other studies on how fiction influences audience thinking.

Those are just the big-name publications I could link on Tumblr. The number of scholarly sources I can access through my university’s database is astronomical. Everyone wants to write their thesis on Harry Potter, I suppose, aha.

The Hunger Games has not been around for as long as Harry Potter nor comparably internationally successful, so there aren’t as many studies completed, but there is still this article from the Huffington Post with quotes from students remarking on real-world connections to the story and this Daily Dot piece on the series’ cultural impact. Oh, would you look at that. No one got in a ring to fight to the death, but there’s been an uptick in archery lessons for girls.

And to address your last point, no, wanting two characters to have sex or be in a relationship does not mean you are fetishizing them. It depends on why you want the characters to have sex or be in a relationship and how you portray it, and with Killing Stalking, it’s all too easy to get it wrong. 

If the primary reason you want the characters to have sex is because ‘it would be hot’, it’s fetishistic, and not just in the case of LGBT relationships. However, it is more damaging to LGBT people because proportionally, there are fewer LGBT sex scenes in media, so proportionally, there are fewer LGBT sex scenes done without a fetishistic gaze. If the primary reason you want the characters to be in a relationship is because you find it titillating, then it’s fetishistic, and it’s more damaging to LGBT people for the same reason: There are fewer LGBT relationships in mainstream media. 

Real-life lesbians have to deal with men who think they can butt in with a threesome, an idea popularized by pornographic fiction. Real-life gay men have to deal with gay-ship fangirls who tactlessly ask, “Which of you tops?” without realizing that asking about someone’s sex life might be intensely intrusive, thanks to yaoi culture. Bisexual and people with low sex-drive in general all have to deal with people who think that they can be the ‘exception’ and change their mind once they have sex, thanks to a lot of damaging fiction and ‘no means yes’ fiction written in the past.

Fiction can very much exert cultural and social influence, and trying to claim otherwise is a discredit to many great storytellers of the past and an offense to many aspiring storytellers of the future.

Music tells us things — social things, psychological things, physical things about how we feel and perceive our bodies — in a way that other art forms can’t. It’s sometimes in the words, but just as often the content comes from a combination of sounds, rhythms, and vocal textures that communicate, as has been said by others, in ways that bypass the reasoning centers of the brain and go straight to our emotions. Music, and I’m not even talking about the lyrics here, tells us how other people view the world — people we have never met, sometimes people who are no longer alive — and it tells it in a non-descriptive way. Music embodies the way those people think and feel: we enter into new worlds — their worlds — and though our perception of those worlds might not be 100 accurate, encountering them can be completely transformative.
—  David Byrne, How Music Works, 2012
2

Les Mis Groupwatch Presents:

La Commune (Paris, 1871)

So, if you don’t know about the Paris Commune, it was a radical revolutionary socialist movement and government that seized control of Paris for a few months in 1871. It was exciting and joyous and characterised by a feverish activity, with initiatives to feed and clothe and educate everyone, to self-organise systems of food distribution and social support, to transform what it meant to be a citizen and a worker in Paris. 

Then the Versailles government swooped in, killed 20,000 people, and imprisoned or deported a few thousand more. 

“Oh hey shell” you’re saying “this is kinda resonating with this other story I know”

[in fact one of the Communards, Louise Michel, would go on to have a substantial correspondence with Vicky Big himself in which she signed her letters ‘Enjolras’]

[short-lived as it was, the Commune has inspired countless people with its template for a worker-run utopia, including a couple of Best Bros called Marx and Engels]

This is an epic five-and-three-quarter-hour exploration of the Commune and its people; it’s interesting in about a gazillion different ways. The central premise is that the people of the Commune are being interviewed for a documentary. With modern TV equipment. Thus you get scenes like this:

If you’re not already excited about this I don’t know what to tell you, frankly.

The essential stuff:

  • The date and time is Saturday August 19th at 4pm GMT which is 5pm if you’re in the UK, because of summer time
  • We’ll watch it over the course of three weeks
  • This week we’ll be the first two hours, and we’ll have a break in the middle
  • This film is in French with English subtitles
  • The meeting “place” is the group watch Slack team (Team Shoujo Cosette)

Group Watch FAQ is here if you have more questions (or you can just ask)

And as usual: EVERYBODY IS WELCOME!

[A]lthough we need norms in order to live, and to live well, and to know in what direction to transform our social world, we are also constrained by norms in ways that sometimes do violence to us and which, for reasons of social justice, we must oppose.
—  Judith Butler, Undoing Gender (206)

Taking she social out of social constructionism–What is perhaps most fascinating about postmodern theory is that for all the talk about how things are socially constructed they forgot the implications of “social" in social construction. After their supposedly new insight that nearly everything is socially constructed, they do not advocate much for transformation at the social level, ie. for changes in institutions, social norms, social structures such as the family, etc. Instead there is mush attention to individual acts of transgression of conventional social norms as a way of highlighting that social norms are constructed and not natural or inevitable. This kind of rebellion in postmodernism is a very isolated activity—it consists of individuals taking it upon themselves to fight battles all alone. There is not an emphasis among postmodern theorists for building a critical mass of people united in a social movement which could begin to effect change at the social level. There is instead a very superficial understanding of how social forces work—a naive and libertarian emphasis on individual actions and choices as though the cumulative effect of each isolated individual choice or action will effect largescale social transformation. The net effect of such an atomization of individual activities serves to prevent rather than foster social change.

The curious timing of postmodernism


What is most interesting about postmodernism is not what postmodernists sayabout it, but how it functions in the real world (and I’m assuming there is one) in terms of social change. The effects of the intimidating and obfuscating writing style, of inhibiting generalisations and so the formation of commonalities between people, of ruling out binary thinking, and so eviscerating impassioned convictions, and of overemphasizing individual rather than collective action is to cream a multilayered system of disconnection, silencing, and disempowerment.

What is also interesting is the timing of the advent of postmodernist theory. As Somer Brodribb and Barbara Christian point out in Radically Speaking, postmodernism came into vogue in academia just when the voices of women and people of color began to assert significant presence there.

I suggest that postmodernism is nothing more than the new relativism and that relativistic theories emerge as a new line of defense when power structures are becoming threatened. It is a very insidious and crafty defense because it mouths the words of liberation while simultaneously transforming them into meaninglessness. The real agenda is masked in clever obfuscation— to preserve the status quo by rendering dissent meaningless and ineffective, unable to gather any social or political power. Notwithstanding postmodernism’s purported intention to deconstruct social norms and by so doing, make way for changes, its actual effect is to atomize peoples’ experiences, obliterate the potential for solidarity, silence articulate and forthright speech, and render passionate convictions meaningless. It leaves us unable to condemn anything as wrong or oppressive with clarity, certainty, or conviction. Furthermore, nearly all of the so-called insights of postmodernism are simply rehashed and depoliticized versions of radical feminist ideas. Postmodernism is a theory which denounces the act of theorizing, it is speech that silences voices, it is writing that stultifies and obscures, it is a position which advocates no position at all, it is a politics which refuses to take a stand on anything. And we must see the politics of that—it is a viper that women’s studies and English departments have nursed to their collective bosoms. It is a theory, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. It is a stealth theory that contains a virus which, once incorporated, explodes all possibility of impassioned righteous collective action for changing the conditions of our lives.

by karla mantilla