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Thread: "Why Don't The Poor Rise Up?"

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  1. #1
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    Default "Why Don't The Poor Rise Up?"

    So! I'm slated to speak on a panel for the launch of a new book called "Why Don't The Poor Rise Up?" - a significant chunk is available to read *for free* on Google Books.

    The premise is, in some ways, straight forward. However, there's room for some more nuanced explorations around questions like, "How are the ways in which the poor are already rising up made invisible?" and "What is the relationship between the left's understanding of 'the poor' and our understanding of 'rising up'?" and so on.

    I only have 8 minutes to speak, so I'll have to be succinct, but . . . I'd love to hear all y'alls thoughts, even if at best I'll be conveying a sloppy synthesis.
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  3. #2
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    They don't rise up as they are constantly disarmed by the establishment. Trade Unions used to be able to drive countries to a standstill if the government tried to screw over the worker, but now, the Unions kowtow and quickly go back to working for the government. This applies to all unions pretty much, regardless of the sector they 'stand up' for.
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  5. #3
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    I read the introductory section. I find it odd that it spends more time advocating a course of action as opposed to answering the question that it puts forward in its title but maybe there's more of that in the assembled pieces. It also struck me somewhat as a little odd where it would take a somewhat negative perspective of those it called 'state socialists', such as Marx, whilst quoting positively the likes of Amilcar Cabral and Frantz Fanon but whatever.

    Talking about Fanon, the topic reminds me of a part in 'The Wretched of the Earth' where he's talking about all the things that prevents individuals from having the confidence to rise up and he says, "In capitalist societies the educational system, whether lay or clerical, the structure of moral reflexes handed down from father to son, the exemplary honesty of workers who are given a medal after fifty years of good and loyal service and the affection which springs from harmonious relations and good behaviour - all these aesthetic expressions of respect for the established order serve to create around the exploited person an atmosphere of submission and of inhibition which lightens the task of policing considerably. In the capitalist countries a multitude of moral teachers, counsellors and 'bewilderers' separate the exploited from those in power. In colonial countries, on the contrary, the policeman and the soldier, by their immediate presence and their frequent and direct action maintain contact with the native and advise him by means of rifle-butts and napalm not to budge. It is obvious here that the agents of government speak the language of pure force." In other words, all these traditions and this pervading ideology of capitalism does more than any police baton could to suppress dissent. In fact, an iron fist only reveals the truth of the situation to the person it strikes which is why some white workers, who have never experienced police oppression, cannot comprehend the frustrations of black workers in regards to police oppression. It is definitely something that I feel rings true in my own thoughts about the question 'why don't people just rise up?' or however you want to word it.

    I would be interested to hear what your own thoughts on the piece and what you're thinking about talking about.
    Modern democracy is nothing but the freedom to preach whatever is to the advantage of the bourgeoisie - Lenin

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  7. #4
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    'in what ways is revolt made invisible' and in what ways is revolt kept separated to avoid continuity

    how does the draw towards social activity or commune or w/e get used to draw people back to the society that broke and cast them out to begin with
    "whatever they might make would never be the same as that world of dark streets and bright dreams"

    http://youtu.be/g-PwIDYbDqI
  8. #5
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    The question is premised on a false binary: rising up or lying down. Reality is much more complex. In the first place, the "poor" is not a homogeneous group. As we know from basic intersectional theory, there are many different vectors of oppression at play at any given time with a single person. The "poor" are not just economically oppressed, we can suffer from any number of other oppressive systems at the same time. Thus, to ask why "they" are not "rising up" is a shit question in the first place. Many of the poor, if we want to speak generally, are rising up and have been for centuries.

    The real question, and the one I'd raise if I was on this panel, is why we feel the need to ask this terrible question in the first place. Perhaps it has to do with a fundamental disassociation between those who ask and the subject of their question. Do those who ask consider themselves poor? If so, are they rising up? If not, then why are they asking?

    Questions like the OP can be reformed to make a point: why don't black people just obey the law and not get shot? Why don't women wear less attractive clothing to avoid sexual assault? Each of these questions carries a misunderstanding of structural systems built into it as a premise.
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  10. #6
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    The question is premised on a false binary: rising up or lying down. Reality is much more complex. In the first place, the "poor" is not a homogeneous group. As we know from basic intersectional theory, there are many different vectors of oppression at play at any given time with a single person. The "poor" are not just economically oppressed, we can suffer from any number of other oppressive systems at the same time. Thus, to ask why "they" are not "rising up" is a shit question in the first place. Many of the poor, if we want to speak generally, are rising up and have been for centuries.

    The real question, and the one I'd raise if I was on this panel, is why we feel the need to ask this terrible question in the first place. Perhaps it has to do with a fundamental disassociation between those who ask and the subject of their question. Do those who ask consider themselves poor? If so, are they rising up? If not, then why are they asking?

    Questions like the OP can be reformed to make a point: why don't black people just obey the law and not get shot? Why don't women wear less attractive clothing to avoid sexual assault? Each of these questions carries a misunderstanding of structural systems built into it as a premise.
    So to the more nuanced aspects brought up, in what ways is our species at war with the totality, and how does that remain invisible. The panel spot could spin the notion that there has been some specific expectation of rising up. Refusal is revolt, crime is revolt etc,..
    Last edited by Ele'ill; 15th September 2017 at 17:50.
    "whatever they might make would never be the same as that world of dark streets and bright dreams"

    http://youtu.be/g-PwIDYbDqI

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