david on science of people

David Graeber twitter thread on black science of people ness

via https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1277184227734425600.html

The first major activist movement in the US after independence were the Abolitionists & I wonder sometimes if they set the tone for US activism – it’s peculiar characteristic puritanism – in ways we rarely acknowledge1/

Most Abolitionists were puritans of some sort; I still remember a quote from a newly enslaved African when he first met a bunch of them – “they were all singing, which suggested a festivity, but none of them seemed to be having any fun. Actually they seemed rather depressed.” 2/

puritanism is all about one’s internal moral state, the inevitability of sinfulness, & competitiveness, where – to put it cynically – heroic white males compete over who’s best because they are most aware of their fallen nature, their inevitable internal corruption 3/

the particularly US take on identity politics is basically puritan, in that involves endless awareness & contemplation of one or another sort of privilege, which is often (I hate to say this) prioritised over concrete action that might benefit those that don’t have it 4/

I remember when I’d just come to UK being at an anarchist debate over violence/non-violence, & someone started saying “well there’s the elephant in the room we’re not talking about: we’re all middle class & have been sheltered from violence as children” – & the room exploded 5/

everyone started going on & on about their middle class privilege, agonising, joking, theorising, seriously debating … on and on. And I thought “oh so this must be what it’s like to be the one Black guy in a white activist group in the US” 6/

because I’m not from a middle class background I’m from a working class background & got the shit kicked out of me all the time as a kid. And as such, I can’t think of any topic I’m LESS interested in than how some middle class guy feels about his privilege. I don’t care. 7/

the thought occurred to me, is there some way to neutralise this puritanical narcissism? Which also of course involves the urge to be wannabe cop & identify a sin in would-be allies one can use to condemn them & tacitly establish one’s superiority, the uglier side of same 8/

where the supposed to’s.. of school/work comes from ..and perpetuates the coming from ness

and yes.. there’s a way.. ie: 2 convers as infra to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature

from humankind: ”my own impression’ writes rebecca solnit in paradise built in hell.. gives a masterful account of katirna’s aftermath.. ‘is that elite panic comes from powerful people who see all humanity in their own image’.. dictators and despots, governors and general – they all too often resort to brute force to prevent scenarios that exist only in their own heads, on the assumption that the average joe is rules by self interest, just like them’..t

science of people/whales in sea world

one thought passed through my head, tho even saying it feels dangerous: what would happen if we redefined racism, sexism, class privilege, not in moral terms, as bad elements of your soul, but as some kind of external disease you need to be cured of to be your real self? 9/

ie: cure ios city

humanity needs a leap.. to get back/to simultaneous spontaneity ..  simultaneous fittingness.. everyone in sync..

and the means for that leap begs a simultaneous detox embed

it’s inspired a bit by Kurdish revolutionary practice, where old Maoist self-criticism has been totally transformed into a collective process to show individuals how their actions are not really they’re own, but caused by structures like patriarchy they’re unaware of 10/

wilde not us law

it’s all framed as “you cannot be a truly free individual, doing what you really feel is right, until you understand those structural forces coercing you by, e.g., making you feel others will see you as less of a man… We need to free you of this so you can be yourself” 11/

science of people/whales in sea world

we have no idea what we’re capable of.. what is already in us.. et al

humankind ness: ‘most people deep down are pretty decent’ – but it has to be all people.. (and not just pretty decent.. rather good).. or that freedom is lost/compromised

across the board [to get to the roots of healing.. it has to be all of us]

imagine a turtle et al

when I described this to a lot of leftist friends & wondered about extending the logic their first reaction was instinctual rebellion against the idea they had a deep self that WASN’T guilty. I thought: wow. Christianity runs deep. 12/


and why we can org around something already in (and now missing from) each one of us.. ie: maté basic needs


1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b free people

key what we keep missing.. is that it has to be across the board [to get to the roots of healing.. it has to be all of us]

which means we have to get the conditions where people grok what enough is .. and then trust everyone.. (trust as unconditional)

devijver assume good law.. i know you ness.. et al

so.. practically.. we need to listen & connect to undo our hierarchical listening ie: 2 convers as infra

perhaps we really can have tech w/o judgment ie: tech as it could be

and since we keep missing this.. we keep perpetuating the tragedy of the non common.. the lord of the flies myth.. et al



this is huge @davidgraeber .. and/but begs a global reset (w/a detox embed to set/keep us all free).. which may seem crazy/impossible.. until we experience some rare global pause


@Chomskyter it even happens in circumstances which have nothing to do with structural inequality. I’ve met individuals who are just kind of mean & rotten to others, who seem to think if they at least hate themselves for it, that makes it better. No. If anything it makes it even worse.
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/1277209343679660033


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love it