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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Howard Zinn on Outreach

I thought this was relevant to our recent discussion with Chris Sciabarra on outreach to the Left (and, I would add, to the Right). Although I disagree strenuously with much of Howard Zinn's assessment of current problems, and probably most of his proposed solutions, the following is right on the mark:

What does it take to bring a turnaround in social consciousness...? We desperately want an answer, because we know that the future of the human race depends on a radical change in social consciousness.

It seems to me that we need not engage in some fancy psychological experiment to learn the answer, but rather to look at ourselves and to talk to our friends. We then see, though it is unsettling, that we were not born critical of existing society. There was a moment in our lives (or a month, or a year) when certain facts appeared before us, startled us, and then caused us to question beliefs that were strongly fixed in our consciousness--embedded there by years of family prejudices, orthodox schooling, imbibing of newspapers, radio, and television.

This would seem to lead to a simple conclusion: that we all have an enormous responsibility to bring to the attention of others information they do not have, which has the potential of causing them to rethink long-held ideas.


Blogger Deleted said...

When I was bartending and I wanted to get a difficult person to stop acting a certain way, I'd listen to what he was saying, ask pertinent questions, swallow whatever reservations I had about him until, eventually, I could empathize enough to know what to say that would get him to question the way he was acting.

I think swaying opinion leaders, the way marketers target the "alpha consumers", is a poor idea. Opinion leaders are too remote from the people they lead.

February 17, 2005 12:38 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

And most of the time, the other person's realization that his behavior's been bad is enough to take away most of the anger in response to him. A great deal of our anger at people's bad behavior is frustration at their failure to see themselves as others do.

February 17, 2005 4:24 PM  

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