Is Incivility Necessary?

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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby Windy » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:36 pm

AsamiSato wrote:I'm not primarily talking about extremists. I'm more talking about broad based social movements (that sometimes have a 'radical flank' that can give moderate leaders who are at the negotiating table more to bargain with). That describes what is happening today as well.


Are you sure you aren't talking about extremists? You hang out with communist activists. Communists are responsible for even more deaths than Nazis.

Like what do you think it means that police hang out in black neighborhoods and leave white suburban people alone?


The police only hang out in places with large amounts of crime. Coincidentally there's a lot of black neighborhoods that fall under this category.

If you are unaware of the ongoing issues POC face in the US, you should educate yourself.


Yes, the biggest ongoing issue is their rampantly high intraracial homicide rates and gang violence that kills a magnitude more POCs than those sensationalized news stories ever could.

I am fully aware that I could be painting a target on my back if this country goes in one direction that I think it could go in; I wouldn't be surprised if I am on some lists already because of my association with black lives matter and communist activists. I have already gotten creepy threats from white guys I knew in high school just for being politically outspoken on my Facebook page. And then there's this list: https://www.professorwatchlist.org/ At this point, we have not descended into complete madness yet, so most professors on this list view it as a point of pride. But the "it could never happen here" people are just deluding themselves.


Yes, crazy people and criminals will always exist. But they aren't the government, and we're not going to round POCs up and send them into concentration camps. Someday, you're going to have to stop living in the past. We're not in the 1940s anymore, and we aren't in the civil rights era anymore.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby AsamiSato » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:28 am

Marcuse wrote:There's actually a lot of examples of what feel like big steps forward in social policy being implemented by industrialists in Britain during the industrial revolution. I don't think you can credit people fighting and dying for a 5 day week for this one. In fact, it seems like literal old school top hatted Victorian industrialists convinced themselves of the efficacy of not working their workforce to death and implemented weekends on a voluntary basis. In places like Saltaire, a town created specifically to house people working in Titus Salt's mill, the entire place was designed to be a nice place to live specifically to escape the horrors of large industrial cities and the hideous living conditions therein.

Days of rest are common to all the Abrahamic religions, and it seems that the first five day working week in the US was actually instituted so Jewish workers wouldn't have to work on the Sabbath. Henry Ford was also an early adopter, but this wasn't enshrined in legislation until 1938.


First of all, the European context and the American context are very different. US capitalism was quite brutal back in the day. And just because a concept was created in Britain, that doesn't mean that people didn't have to fight for it to be implemented widely.

Politifact debunked the idea that Ford was the originator of the weekend: https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-mete ... ord-or-lab

Here's more on how the 8-hour workday was won (in case anyone is interested... tl;dr: let's just say it wasn't implemented from the top-down in many cases): https://www.pbs.org/livelyhood/workday/ ... urday.html



Also, @Windy- the communist activists I hang out with have no connection to Stalin or Mao or any of those people. And it is clear that dictators have used Marx's ideas as a shield to do terrible things. But none of that is inherent to socialism or communism.

Also, the reason black neighborhoods are crime-ridden is because they are impoverished and poverty is correlated with crime everywhere. The reason black neighborhoods are a) black and b) impoverished is because the government basically sponsored segregation and encouraged banks to lend to whites and not blacks To learn more, Google the Federal Housing Administration and redlining, Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton's American Apartheid, Black Wealth/White Wealth by Oliver and Shapiro document this as well.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby cmsellers » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:41 am

AsamiSato wrote:
Strategies
At the end of the day, for minorities who want to stop being trampled on, it's really not even about persuasion. It's about forcing people in power to make concessions. Public support is part of that, but honestly how people in the dominant group feel about the minority group's tactics is not that important. It's about making things so difficult/unpleasant for people with decisionmaking power that they see it in their interest to make change. Ultimately, repeated social conflicts across history show that groups need to create conflict and should not listen to people who are sympathetic but don't like the tactics. That doesn't mean they shouldn't reach out and build bridges with moderates... just don't take their strategy advice. There are missteps (I'm thinking in particular of Earth First getting a worker killed through tree spiking, which really hurt the legitimacy of their cause). But the existence of examples like that shouldn't lead activists to discard all confrontational tactics. Like, we didn't get 8 hour work day and the weekend because corporations were persuaded by the awesome arguments of union organizers. We got those things because people fought, bled, even died for it.

See what Marc said, plus I don't think that workers during the labor struggle really count as a "minority." When it comes to actual minorities, or even majorities in undemocratic societies like in Apartheid South Africa, the only real options are persuading the majority of the legitimacy of your cause or seizing power through force of arms. And the former is generally easier than the latter, and much less likely to lead to reprisals. Look at how determinedly the Alevis in Syria support Assad, for fear of violent reprisals. By contrast, in South Africa, neither insurgency nor global boycotts could achieve civil rights for the black majority and coloured minority, though international pressure did result in South Africa granting independence to Namibia. It took young people growing up exposed to the idea that Apartheid was wrong to end Apartheid in South Africa proper, and that's a country where the oppressed group was a majority.

AsamiSato wrote:
Fascism
Also, when we are talking about fascism, I firmly believe that calls for people being persecuted to be 'civil' should be studiously ignored. Because fascism is really is a case of one side (fascists) looking for blood and death and elimination and the other side (persecuted minorities) having a spectrum of understandable human reactions to that. I think in the US we are increasingly talking about fascism, despite the massive amounts of denial I have seen. People are being taken away... they're just people at the margins of society (generally undocumented workers) that white middle class people don't know/care about. One of my organizer friends is a Dreamer and she shared video footage of one of her leaders being dragged out of a courtroom (he was there for a completely unrelated issue) by ICE agents who refused to even show a badge or identification. It was like a kidnapping. And I imagine that many people will go to Thanksgiving this year and find that their Fox News watching relations are more radicalized to hate liberals than ever before...

A Facebook friend posted this article the other day that I think does a good job of articulating some of the issues around why civility is not the right response to fascism.

https://lithub.com/fascism-is-not-an-id ... -to-fight/

A good quote from this piece: "Only those safe from fascism and its practices are far more likely to think that there might be a benefit in exchanging ideas with fascists. What for such a privileged group is a matter of a potentially productive difference in opinion is, for many of us, a matter of basic survival. The essential quality of fascism (and its attendant racism) is that it kills people and destroys their lives—and it does so because it openly aims so."

While I agree that Trumpism has fascistic tendencies, I think that describing it as "authoritarian" is both more accurate and less loaded. As I sort of pointed out before, in civil rights issues, the defenders of that status quo are always far more "uncivil" than their opponents, and yes, this often involves violence. Unfortunately, the defenders of the status quo can get away with this in a way that oppressed groups cannot.

Look at how much praise the right-wing media sphere heaping on Brett Kavanaugh and Lindsey Graham for their unhinged outbursts. I don't think that many people outside the right-wing bubble thought that their reactions were justified, but that's still about 45% of the voting population. Can you imagine the reaction if Sonia Sotomayor and Maisie Hirono had had outbursts like that? It would have turned off not only the whole right-wing media sphere and those of us in the middle, but a lot of people on the Democratic side as well. At the end of the day, people have an easier time empathizing with the outrage of people who resemble them, which puts minorities at an inherent disadvantage.

I also think you fundamentally misunderstand what those of us who advocate debating fascism are arguing for. When it comes to actual fascism and other forms of authoritarianism, we don't think it has anything to teach us. We also don't think we can win over the fascists themselves. What we do say is that liberalism in the procedural sense is worth preserving; you don't become authoritarian to beat authoritarians. You defeat bad speech with more speech, not guns or censorship, and you counter fascist ideas to win over people who aren't fascist, but might be persuaded. The Spanish Civil War might have been lost regardless, but the moment the communists took over the Republic its fate was sealed. Hitler gained power because the parties in the center feared the authoritarians on the left more than the ones on the right.

AsamiSato wrote:Also: "The idea that we’re all in this together and that we must keep talking is dangerous, just as my commitment to friendship was, because we might find ourselves wasting time and anger on a fundamentally unbalanced dialogue, where one side is armed with ideas, and the other is armed with weapons."

You realize that Republicans have been making essentially the same argument about the left? #jobsnotmobs
Republicans could never persuade me through words that antifa and BLM are the equivalent of the alt-right, and I remain in support of BLM with its peaceful tactics, but antifa itself persuaded me that it is, if not as dangerous as the alt-right in its goals, pretty equivalent in its tactics.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby AsamiSato » Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:45 am

cmsellers wrote:See what Marc said, plus I don't think that workers during the labor struggle really count as a "minority."


Fair enough, I've just been trying to make my broader point about the need for confrontational tactics by drawing on examples from a variety of movements of the poor and people of color.


cmsellers wrote:I also think you fundamentally misunderstand what those of us who advocate debating fascism are arguing for. When it comes to actual fascism and other forms of authoritarianism, we don't think it has anything to teach us. We also don't think we can win over the fascists themselves. What we do say is that liberalism in the procedural sense is worth preserving; you don't become authoritarian to beat authoritarians. You defeat bad speech with more speech, not guns or censorship, and you counter fascist ideas to win over people who aren't fascist, but might be persuaded.


To be clear, I am not an advocate of guns or censorship and I am very annoyed in general with the parts of the left that think that policing speech is what they should be focusing on. I am for not giving racists more of a platform than they warrant (like the New Yorker absolutely should have disinvited Steve Bannon, they should not legitimize his ideas by putting their name by him speaking) but I don't think that hate speech should be made illegal or anything.

I think in some ways we just disagree on whether/how to engage with authoritarians and/or fascists. And perhaps that is as it should be; I imagine one good role for white moderates in the broader social change ecosystem could be to reach out and de-radicalize people.

Ultimately I just don't have great faith in liberal procedures alone (and by this I mean laws based on pluralism or a deliberative process) for fighting authoritarianism or for getting things for poor communities and communities of color. They have a role to play but the idea that liberal procedures are the only/best game in town just does not seem to be borne out by the history of social conflicts. Liberal procedures can just as easily be used as a tool to co-opt, channel, and suppress dissent.

cmsellers wrote:You realize that Republicans have been making essentially the same argument about the left? #jobsnotmobs
Republicans could never persuade me through words that antifa and BLM are the equivalent of the alt-right, and I remain in support of BLM with its peaceful tactics, but antifa itself persuaded me that it is, if not as dangerous as the alt-right in its goals, pretty equivalent in its tactics.


I am generally not in favor of violent tactics because I agree that the oppressed are much more easily demonized than "defenders of the status quo" as you say. And research indicates this as well. (citation: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics ... a-violence)
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby Windy » Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:03 am

AsamiSato wrote:Also, @Windy- the communist activists I hang out with have no connection to Stalin or Mao or any of those people. And it is clear that dictators have used Marx's ideas as a shield to do terrible things. But none of that is inherent to socialism or communism.


You can't kill millions of people under your ideology consistently in every country your ideology was implemented and then claim that it wasn't your ideology's fault. This is one of the reasons your protests aren't an analog to the civil rights movement. Someone who openly associates with some of the worst atrocities ever committed by humanity is not someone who fights for justice.

Also, the reason black neighborhoods are crime-ridden is because they are impoverished and poverty is correlated with crime everywhere. The reason black neighborhoods are a) black and b) impoverished is because the government basically sponsored segregation and encouraged banks to lend to whites and not blacks To learn more, Google the Federal Housing Administration and redlining, Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton's American Apartheid, Black Wealth/White Wealth by Oliver and Shapiro document this as well.


See, that's a real problem that actually exists. You should spend more of your energy on things like that instead of protesting the imaginary return of Hitler.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby cmsellers » Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:14 am

AsamiSato wrote:Ultimately I just don't have great faith in liberal procedures alone (and by this I mean laws based on pluralism or a deliberative process) for fighting authoritarianism or for getting things for poor communities and communities of color. They have a role to play but the idea that liberal procedures are the only/best game in town just does not seem to be borne out by the history of social conflicts. Liberal procedures can just as easily be used as a tool to co-opt, channel, and suppress dissent.

The Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act and Indian New Deal were all passed by Congress. Apartheid was ended by a vote among white South Africans. After WWII, decolonization happened fairly easily in liberal countries (except French Algeria), but it wasn't until the end of the Estado Novo that it happened in Portugal. East Timor only won its independence when Indonesia got democracy. Gay rights in Europe have mostly been passed by legislation. And courts play an important role in protecting minority rights as well, which is a key feature of liberalism. Gay marriage in the US, Brazil, and South Africa came through court rulings. Desegregation in the US came through court rulings.

It is true that legislatures and courts in liberal societies can and do make the wrong decision, though I'm sure I don't need to lay out examples for you. But the alternative to liberalism is illiberalism. Illiberal democracies such as Malaysia, Singapore, and pre-Erdogan Turkey were not exactly models of respect for civil rights: the very goal is suppression of social strife by harsh enforcement of conformity. And revolutionary states have an even worse record: they almost invariably become authoritarian states, not only suppressing human rights but throttle economic development as well.

The only way for a minority to have its rights respected are in a pluralistic liberal society, or in an oligarchy or dictatorship where it exercises complete control at the expense of the rights of the majority, as in Syria or Rhodesia, which is frankly worse. (I think of how Republicans insist that abolishing the Electoral College and Senate would lead to tyranny of the majority, as if tyranny of the minority is somehow better.) I cannot see any other alternative. Liberal democracy and pluralism aren't perfect, but they are the only system wherein everyone's rights can be respected.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby Deathclaw_Puncher » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:19 am

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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby sunglasses » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:52 am

DP, please type what you mean rather then put a picture stating that. The short image can come across as being dismissive and noncontributing to the conversation.

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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby cmsellers » Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:10 pm

It's also not remotely true. In fact I have already pointed out several examples where exactly that happened in this thread.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby IamNotCreepy » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:51 pm

Also, it's wrong. Gay rights in the US have developed over time due to people in general being exposed to LGBT people and being persuaded.

I, personally, have had my views changed due to an appeal to my moral sense, and my voting habits have changed because of it.

When BLM blocked the middle of the highway on my morning commute, it just pissed me off. I am conscientious and am much more likely to be persuaded by appealing to my moral sense, not by annoying me.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby Deathclaw_Puncher » Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:07 pm

IamNotCreepy wrote:Also, it's wrong. Gay rights in the US have developed over time due to people in general being exposed to LGBT people and being persuaded.

That's the problem right there, the need to be persuaded. Why not just be instantly accepting and on board with things? There's no use in resisting societal progress.

IamNotCreepy wrote:I, personally, have had my views changed due to an appeal to my moral sense, and my voting habits have changed because of it.

You really don't think you'd have been better off not having to have those views changed? Would it not have been better to just have the same attitudes you have now?
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby cmsellers » Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:08 pm

Yeah, as someone who once took part in a street-blocking protest of the Iraq War, it was pretty clear in the aftermath that the main effect was people complaining about how we blocked the street. On the other hand, the other protests I participated in got almost no coverage unless there were counterprotesters (the media loved covering the much smaller number of counter-protesters for some reason), so you could make the argument that if you're being studiously ignored, any publicity is good publicity.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby Marcuse » Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:38 pm

That's the problem right there, the need to be persuaded. Why not just be instantly accepting and on board with things? There's no use in resisting societal progress.


If you want to imagine the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever. Seriously, this is probably the most Orwellian thing I've ever heard. There are very well documented reasons why humans don't instantly accept new concepts and things, and it's really a very strange idea that we would be able to alter that.

You really don't think you'd have been better off not having to have those views changed? Would it not have been better to just have the same attitudes you have now?


What. Isn't this the precise opposite of the thing you said earlier? Clearly you can't be saying it would be preferable to have the attitudes of the future today, because that misunderstands how time works. Right? Maybe we really have always been at war with Eastasia Eurasia.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby Deathclaw_Puncher » Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:47 pm

I just don't want people to be hateful toward me. I also have, like, ALL the trust issues.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby IamNotCreepy » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:18 pm

Deathclaw_Puncher wrote:I just don't want people to be hateful toward me. I also have, like, ALL the trust issues.


I understand and sympathize with your feelings of needing to be accepted by society, but you have to temper those feelings with understanding of reality.

Major change does not happen instantly, no matter how badly you want it to. It takes time and hard work. Society is like a giant ship, and turning instantly would rip it in half.

I know this transition time is painful and difficult for you, but society is turning in the right direction. It will get better. There are others out there like me who are open to honest dialogue and who can have their minds and hearts changed.
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