I cannot count the hours I have spent trying to figure out what stalls a movement. Certainly I have spent many more working on advancing a movement. Obviously the answer to the first contributes to the success of the second. I have yet to find a discussion on resolving these two – which are scientific measurable entities in quantum society – why not fix them?
These are not opposites as opposites interact with one another, irritate one another, work in direct action with one another; oppressor/oppressed. That combination is the flint of active direct action. Sparks fly when the oppressed refuse to cooperate in such a way as to expose the intention and means of the oppressor. That is tested, practiced and documented.
The question I struggle with is what is stopping progress which could be identified and corrected within the oppressed? Why waste any energy, time, or organization with things which could be fixed within the oppressed. Why aren’t we correcting anything, everything which is on our road, within our reach, that will advance the liberation of the oppressed? I want to KNOW and get it beyond it.
First, there is no reason to do anything that does not unite us. That flows through to its opposite = don’t do things which divide us. For example, I have refused to speak against either of the two ERA strategies. They are both in Congress. They each have their flaws. Both have the same end, the ratification of the ERA. I considered speaking for one and against the other at one point and then I meditated on it, prayed about it, slept on it and took a shower to arrive at the smart insight; ALL HANDS ON DECK. There is nothing to be gained by speaking against either of them. It is not just a waste of time but creates a negative stance. Why spend a minute in NO when you can spend two minutes in YES.
That same idea applies in the Queer Movement. There is nothing to be gained by speaking against any of the orgs that are working to advance Queer Liberation. If we consider what each person can do in the context of their life; there is an org for everyone to be brave, to find camaraderie, to travel as fast as they can. Though I find the most radical group a bit slow, I have an HRC sticker on my car because I live in Orange County, CA where that is the recognizable sign for “gay friendly,” better that than something no one here knows what it means.
Second, there are tiers of understanding, of conscience, of action and all people do not operate on all tiers. This is a fundamental fact which many do not embrace. It leads to terrible division, a division which is both optional and destructive. We have just so much energy and should use it to expose the oppressor. That is not to say that I agree with every feminist org, every LGBTQA org, every progressive org but I am saying that activist hours would be best spent advancing the movement, identifying the oppressor, unifying the movement. As I am apt to advise, solve the problem in front of you which can expand to say, join, support, advance the organization and agenda that feels like YOURS. Do the work with the spotlight held steady on the oppressor.
Third, why organize in such a way that does not expose the intention and means of the oppressor. For example, I have advised people considering a political fast to back it into a calendar event such as a legislative vote. A general or private fast is an action that benefits the faster but it is not advancing the movement, per se. It could be purifying a person or group but name it as such so it can and should be labeled a success immediately. If you are going to go to the trouble of creating an event, name the mission and make sure the action is tied into it.
Four, differentiate actions which are for the healing, safety and wellbeing of the oppressed from those which are political actions. This is important to build strength within a suffering group. For example the rules of rehabilitation and recovery are not the same as the rules of engagement in the kumete of political action. Every organizer and activist knows exactly how this applies. The Movement cannot be forged by ones who are at high risk, bad health or need to protect their privacy. The frank separation of inner and outer actions is profoundly important.
There is no doubt in my mind that if all of the fissures, differences, judgments, hierarchies within the oppressed could be put aside on the Liberation Highway, the trip would be faster, stronger and, actually, unifying. In fact, priorities would shift entirely as organic leadership would rise and the sole, shared oppressor would be outnumbered, out maneuvered, shit out of luck.