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Impeachment Won’t Save Our Democracy | Yes! Magazine
If you look at successful mass movements throughout history, they share one central characteristic: Specific goals are clearly articulated. Today, protesters in Hong Kong have already achieved one of their key demands, when the territory’s leadership withdrew a bill that would allow Hong Kongers accused of certain crimes to be extradited to mainland China for trial. Organized protesters in 1989 looking to bring down the Iron Curtain forced their governments to do so and hold new elections...In today’s United States, the lack of a focused, cohesive opposition has created a situation in which Trump and his supporters have had a free hand to shape the narrative surrounding his actions. Even with an impeachment forthcoming, the Democrats’ approach can best be described as “procedural” and “without fireworks.” Democrats are still playing the game by the rules we’ve had for the past 200 years.
democracy  dissent  activism 
21 days ago by altoii
Wendell Berry’s Lifelong Dissent  | The Nation
“At a time when political conflict runs deep and erects high walls, the Kentucky essayist, novelist, and poet Wendell Berry maintains an arresting mix of admirers. Barack Obama awarded him the National Humanities Medal in 2011. The following year, the socialist-feminist writer and editor Sarah Leonard published a friendly interview with him in Dissent. Yet he also gets respectful attention in the pages of The American Conservative and First Things, a right-leaning, traditionalist Christian journal.

More recently, The New Yorker ran an introduction to Berry’s thought distilled from a series of conversations, stretching over several years, with the critic Amanda Petrusich. In these conversations, Berry patiently explains why he doesn’t call himself a socialist or a conservative and recounts the mostly unchanged creed underlying his nearly six decades of writing and activism. Over the years, he has called himself an agrarian, a pacifist, and a Christian—albeit of an eccentric kind. He has written against all forms of violence and destruction—of land, communities, and human beings—and argued that the modern American way of life is a skein of violence. He is an anti-capitalist moralist and a writer of praise for what he admires: the quiet, mostly uncelebrated labor and affection that keep the world whole and might still redeem it. He is also an acerbic critic of what he dislikes, particularly modern individualism, and his emphasis on family and marriage and his ambivalence toward abortion mark him as an outsider to the left.

Berry’s writing is hard to imagine separated from his life as a farmer in a determinedly traditional style, who works the land where his family has lived for many generations using draft horses and hand labor instead of tractors and mechanical harvesters. But the life, like the ideas, crisscrosses worlds without belonging neatly to any of them. Born in 1934 in Henry County, Kentucky, Berry was but the son of a prominent local lawyer and farmer. He spent much of his childhood in the company of people from an older generation who worked the soil: his grandfather, a landowner, and the laborers who worked the family land. His early adulthood was relatively cosmopolitan. After graduating from the University of Kentucky with literary ambitions, he went to Stanford to study under the novelist Wallace Stegner at a time when Ken Kesey, Robert Stone, and Larry McMurtry were also students there. Berry went to Italy and France on a Guggenheim fellowship, then lived in New York, teaching at NYU’s Bronx campus. As he entered his 30s, he returned to Kentucky, setting up a farm in 1965 at Lane’s Landing on the Kentucky River. Although he was a member of the University of Kentucky’s faculty for nearly 20 years over two stints, ending in 1993, his identity has been indelibly that of a writer-farmer dug into his place, someone who has become nationally famous for being local, and developed the image of a timeless sage while joining, sometimes fiercely, in fights against the Vietnam War and the coal industry’s domination of his region.

Now the essays and polemics in which Berry has made his arguments clearest over the last five decades are gathered in two volumes from the Library of America, totaling 1,700 tightly set pages. Seeing his arc in one place highlights both his complexity and his consistency: The voice and preoccupations really do not change, even as the world around him does. But he is also the product of a specific historical moment, the triple disenchantment of liberal white Americans in the 1960s over the country’s racism, militarism, and ecological devastation. In the 50 years since, Berry has sifted and resifted his memory and attachment to the land, looking for resources to support an alternative America—”to affirm,” as he wrote in 1981, “my own life as a thing decent in possibility.” He has concluded that this self-affirmation is not possible in isolation or even on the scale of one’s lifetime, and he has therefore made his writing a vehicle for a reckoning with history and an ethics of social and ecological interdependence.”



“Throughout his work, Berry likes to iron out paradoxes in favor of building a unified vision, but he is himself a bundle of paradoxes, some more generative than others. A defender of community and tradition, he has been an idiosyncratic outsider his whole life, a sharp critic of both the mainstream of power and wealth and the self-styled traditionalists of the religious and cultural right. A stylist with an air of timelessness, he is in essential ways a product of the late 1960s and early ’70s, with their blend of political radicalism and ecological holism. An advocate of the commonplace against aesthetic and academic conceits, he has led his life as a richly memorialized and deeply literary adventure. Like Thoreau, Berry invites dismissive misreading as a sentimentalist, an egotist, or a scold. Like Thoreau, he is interested in the integrity of language, the quality of experience—what are the ways that one can know a place, encounter a terrain?—and above all, the question of how much scrutiny an American life can take.

”All of Berry’s essays serve as documents of the bewildering destruction in which our everyday lives involve us and as a testament to those qualities in people and traditions that resist the destruction. As the economic order becomes more harrying and abstract, a politics of place is emerging in response, much of it a genuine effort to understand the ecological and historical legacies of regions in the ways that Berry has recommended. This politics is present from Durham, North Carolina, where you can study the legacy of tobacco and slavery on the Piedmont soils and stand where locals took down a Confederate statue in a guerrilla action in 2017, to New York City, where activists have built up community land trusts for affordable housing and scientists have reconstructed the deep environmental history of the country’s most densely developed region. But few of the activists and scholars involved in this politics would think of themselves as turning away from the international or the global. They are more likely to see climate change, migration, and technology as stitching together the local and global in ways that must be part of the rebuilding and enriching of community.

The global hypercapitalism that Berry denounces has involved life—human and otherwise—in a world-historical gamble concerning the effects of indefinite growth, innovation, and competition. Most of us are not the gamblers; we are the stakes. He reminds us that this gamble repeats an old pattern of mistakes and crimes: hubris and conquest, the idea that the world is here for human convenience, and the willingness of the powerful to take as much as they can. For most of his life, Berry has written as a kind of elegist, detailing the tragic path that we have taken and recalling other paths now mostly fading. In various ways, young agrarians, socialists, and other radicals now sound his themes, denouncing extractive capitalism and calling for new and renewed ways of honoring work—our own and what the writer Alyssa Battistoni calls the “work of nature.” They also insist on the need to engage political power to shape a future, not just with local work but on national and global scales. They dare to demand what he has tended to relinquish. If these strands of resistance and reconstruction persist, even prevail, Wendell Berry’s lifelong dissent—stubborn, sometimes maddening, not quite like anything else of its era—will deserve a place in our memory.”
wendellberry  2019  jedediahbritton-purdy  dissent  climate  climatechange  agriculture  farming  kentucky  amandapetrusich  activism  writing  christianity  violence  land  communities  community  anticapitalism  individualism  left  humanism  morality  life  living  howwelive  environment  environmentalism  interconnectedness  us  ecology  economics  labor  ronaldreagan  inequality  growth  globalization  finance  financialization  politics  storytelling  mining  stripmining  pacifism  collectivism  collectiveaction  organizing  resistance  mobility  culture  popefrancis  wholeness  morethanhuman  multispecies  amish  localism  skepticism  radicalism  radicals  jedediahpurdy  innovation  competition  hypercapitalism 
5 weeks ago by robertogreco
Rebecca Solnit: How Change Happens | Literary Hub
We live inside ideas. Some are shelters, some are observatories, some are windowless prisons. We are leaving some behind and entering others. At its best, in recent years, this has been a collaborative process so swift and powerful that those paying closest attention can see the doors being framed, the towers arising, the spaces taking shape in which our thoughts will reside—and other structures being knocked down. Oppressions and exclusions so accepted they’re nearly invisible become visible en route to becoming unacceptable, and other mores replace the old ones. Those who watch with care can see the structure expanding so that some of those who object or ridicule or fail to comprehend will, within a few years, not even question their lives inside those frameworks. Others try to stop these new edifices from arising; they succeed better with legislation than with imagination. That is, you can prevent women from having access to abortions more easily than you can prevent them from thinking they have the right to an abortion.
change  activism  dissent 
6 weeks ago by altoii
A Walk in Hong Kong
Maciej: "The helmets come off and we again join the ranks of the lawfully assembled, the train system effortlessly absorbing a surging crowd that would turn BART into a mass tomb."

https://www.nytimes.com/video/world/asia/100000006664889/we-may-die-we-may-be-jailed-on-the-frontlines-with-hong-kongs-protesters.html
dissent  world  story  wild  violence  politics  watching 
8 weeks ago by ingenu
NLG in Coalition Across Movements | Guild Notes
As the latest attack on the right to protest neoliberalism and imperialism gains in strength, the Guild and its members have been instrumental in forming alliances to challenge efforts to quell dissent. In 2017, we began writing about a wave of anti-protest legislation introduced in state legislatures by conservative Republicans. These bills sought to increase penalties for common protest activities such as picketing, obstructing traffic, wearing masks, boycotts, disrupting hate speech, and performing acts of civil disobedience near “critical infrastructure.” The number of these bills continues to grow and the monetary interests behind them have been increasingly exposed. Since 2016, we have seen a total of 100 bills introduced in 35 states.
dissent  civil-disobedience  legislation 
10 weeks ago by altoii
Bike Stats in Comix form
"To save lives, cities need to design roads for people—not cars" -Vreni

https://www.stillvreni.com/ Vreni Stollberger
comics  dissent  bicycle  city 
11 weeks ago by ingenu
Civil rights leader presses for more open legislatures | Facing South
The arrests are part of a broader crackdown on dissent. Since widespread demonstrations against the Trump administration in early 2017, several Southern legislatures have considered laws to make it harder to engage in protests. For example, Tennessee made it a crime to take part in a protest that blocks traffic. Louisiana and Tennessee recently stiffened penalties for protests at oil and gas pipelines. And after striking West Virginia teachers flooded the state capitol in 2018, the legislature passed a law that limited the liability of capitol police who harm or kill people while dispersing "riots and unlawful assemblies."
dissent  states  open-government 
june 2019 by altoii
Secret Service interferes with White House protest | ThinkProgress
“There is a phrase that says, ‘We need to be woke.’ But I want to add something to that, that said Nina Simone said. Nina Simone said, ‘It’s not the waking, it’s the rising.’ You can be woke and still in the bed. You’ve got to get woke and get up, out of the bed, out of the apathy.”
awakening  dissent  citizenship 
june 2019 by altoii

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