Consciousness Rising, World Fading

Our stories of awakenings — whether moral, intellectual, religious, artistic, or sexual — are tricky. Honest self-reflection doesn’t come easy, and self-satisfied accounts are the norm; we love to be the heroes of our own epics.

That’s true of accounts of political awakening as well, especially for those of us born into unearned privilege as a result of systems of illegitimate authority. Not only do we love to tell stories in which we come out looking good, but we know how to decorate the narrative with the trappings of humility to avoid seeming arrogant.  We use our failures to set up the story of our transformation; even when we speak of our limitations we are highlighting our wisdom in seeing those limitations.

So when I got a request from a researcher to tell my story about how my political consciousness was raised, I was hesitant. I don’t like feeling like a fraud, and something always feels a bit fraudulent about my account, even when I am being as honest as I can. But, like most people, I feel driven to tell my story, mostly to try to explain myself to myself. So here I go again:

As a teenager coming of age in the 1970s in mainstream culture in the upper Midwest, I missed the United States’ radicalizing movements by a decade and several hundred miles. I developed conventional liberal politics in reaction to the conventional conservative politics of my father and his generation. But in a more basic sense, I grew up depoliticized — like most contemporary Americans, I was never taught to analyze systems and structures of power, and so my banal liberal positions seemed like cutting edge critique to me. After college I worked as a journalist at mainstream newspapers, which further retarded my ability to think critically about power; reporters who don’t have a political consciousness coming into the field are unlikely to develop one in an industry that claims neutrality but is fanatically devoted to the conventional wisdom.

The raising of my consciousness began when I started a journalism/mass communication doctoral program in 1988, a time when U.S. universities were somewhat more intellectually and politically open than today. After years of the daily grind in newsrooms, I felt liberated by the freedom to read, think, and talk to others about all the new ideas I was encountering. My study of the First Amendment led me to the feminist critique of pornography, which at the time was an important focus for debate about the meaning of freedom of expression. My first graduate courses were taught by liberal defenders of pornography, who were the norm in the academy then and now. But I also began talking with activists in a local group that was fighting the sexual-exploitation industries (pornography, prostitution, stripping), and I realized there was a rich, complex, and exciting feminist critique, which required me to rethink what I thought I knew about freedom, choice, and liberation.

As a result of those first conversations, I started reading feminist work and taking feminist classes, and I kept talking with folks from the community group, which led me to get involved in their educational activities. I didn’t make those choices with any sense that I was constructing a radical philosophical and political framework. I was just following the ideas that seemed the most compelling intellectually and the people who seemed the most decent personally. Those ad hoc decisions changed my life in two ways.

First, they opened up to me an alternative to the suffocating conventional wisdom, in which liberals and conservatives argue within narrow ideological boundaries. This exposure to feminist thinking, especially those people and ideas most commonly described as radical feminist, allowed me to step outside those boundaries and ask two simple questions: Where does real power lie and how does it operate, in both formal institutions and informal arrangements?

Second, they helped me realize the importance of always having a political life outside the university. Instead of putting all my energy into my teaching and research, I was anchored in a community project and connected to people who weren’t preoccupied with publishing marginally relevant research in marginally relevant academic journals. Although I had to publish scholarly articles for my first six years as an assistant professor, once I got tenure and job security I immediately returned to community organizing and ignored the pseudo-intellectual pretensions that dominate in most of the so-called scholarly world in the social sciences and humanities. I had developed respect for rigorous and relevant scholarship but had come to realize how little of it there was in my fields in the contemporary academy.

From those first inquiries into the sexual-exploitation industries and the role of a pornographic culture in men’s violence, I continued to think about how power is organized and operates around other dimensions of our identities and statuses in the world. After opening the gender door, it was inevitable that I would have to open the race door. From there, questions about the inherent economic injustice in capitalism and the violence required for U.S. imperial domination of the world became central. Finally, I began thinking more about how human domination of the living world is destroying the ecosphere’s capacity to sustain life as we know it.

All of those inquiries led me to the same conclusion: We live in a world structured by illegitimate hierarchies and based on a domination/subordination dynamic. For those of us with unearned privilege, the rewards for ignoring this conclusion are whatever status and money we can squeeze out of the system, while the cost of capitulation to power is a surrender of some essential part of our humanity. More than 20 years after embarking on this investigation, I can see that clearly. But when I first started confronting these issues, I only knew that the conventional wisdom seemed inadequate, that the platitudes uttered by people in power seemed empty, and that the rationalizations offered by the intellectuals in the service of power seemed self-serving. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew I didn’t want that kind of career or life.

All that seems clear to me now, but it wasn’t at the start. The researcher’s query that prompted this essay asked about my “earliest consciousness-raising memory.” I have no simple answer, because my awakening was such a gradual process. But there were some moments along the way, such as the day I read Andrea Dworkin’s 1983 speech entitled “I Want a Twenty-Four-Hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape,” in which she asked men for “one day in which no new bodies are piled up, one day in which no new agony is added to the old.”1 In that speech she pointed out that feminists don’t hate men, but instead “believe in your humanity, against all the evidence.” 2

I also remember the crucial role of one friend in the anti-pornography group, a white man who was older than I and was a part of not only the feminist movement but the civil-rights, anti-war, and environmental struggles. He provided me with a model for how someone with privilege could contribute to radical politics in a principled fashion. In my book on pornography, I wrote about one particularly important moment with Jim Koplin, when we talked about my motivation in volunteering with the group:

“If you want to be part of this because you want to save women, we don’t want you,” he said. At first I was confused — wasn’t the point of critiquing the sexual exploitation of women in pornography to help women? Yes, Jim explained, but too many men who get involved in such work see themselves as knights in shining armor, riding in like the hero to save women, and they usually turn out not to be trustworthy allies. They are in it for themselves, not to challenge masculinity but to play out the role of heroic man in a new, pseudo-feminist context. You have to be in it for yourself, but in a different way, he said.

“You have to be here to save your own life,” Jim told me.

I didn’t understand exactly what he meant at that moment, but something about those words resonated in my gut. This is what feminism offered men — not just a way to help those being hurt, but a way to understand that the same system of male dominance that hurt so many women also made it impossible for men to be fully human. 3

Jim challenged me to ask myself why I was there and what I hoped to gain, and I came to understand that my interest in feminist politics was driven in large part by my own alienation from traditional definitions of masculinity. For me to tell a simple story about doing the right thing, implying nobility on my part, wasn’t going to cut it.

More than 20 years later, I’m still wrestling with these questions about why I make the choices I make. I am a man who is part of a feminist movement and a white guy who critiques the white supremacy deeply embedded in mainstream culture. I am an American who opposes U.S. imperial foreign policy and a middle-class academic working with a local group that organizes immigrant workers. For these efforts, I get attention and praise that is disproportionate to my effort and ability, a fact I point out as often as possible. People sometimes listen to me not because I’m smarter than feminist women, but because I am a man. My writing on race is not better than the work of non-white authors, but I’m appreciated because I’m white.

This is the tricky part of my awakening story. I was lucky to learn to see the world from the point of view of those who struggle against power, and I’m rewarded in many ways when I speak, write, or act in public in these movements. But I recognize that those rewards are unfair, and so my professed humility becomes another mark of my alleged sophistication. Yet if I were to refuse to use my privilege — if I dealt with this angst by fading into the background — I would be throwing away resources that come with my position in the world and which I can offer to these movements.

I am trapped, yet I am trapped in a system that makes my life relatively easy. Even when there is some threat of punishment for my political activities, such as during the fallout from critical essays about U.S. war crimes that I wrote after 9/11, I have so much support from outside the power structure and so much privilege as an educated white guy that I never really felt threatened. Even if I had been fired from my university position after 9/11, I likely would have landed on my feet.

I realize not all who adopt a critical perspective, even those in privileged categories, fare as well as I have. But in recent decades in the United States, in which dissent by people who look like me is mostly tolerated, there has been no widespread repression of people in the privileged sectors. People in targeted groups (particularly immigrants, Muslims, Arabs) have had to be careful, and there’s no guarantee that a more widespread repression won’t return to the United States, especially as U.S. power continues to decline around the world and elites get nervous. But for now, white men with U.S. citizenship are pretty safe. We may risk losing a job, but that’s trivial compared with the fates suffered by radicals in other eras in U.S. history or in other places today.

So, here’s my consciousness raising story summarized: I wandered through the first 30 years of my life mostly oblivious to the workings of power, protected by my privilege. For the past 20 years I’ve been struggling to contribute to a variety of movements for social justice and ecological sustainability, getting my consciousness raised on a regular basis whenever I seek out new experiences that push me beyond what I have come to take for granted (lately for me that has been happening at 5604 Manor, our progressive community center in Austin, TX). Although I love teaching and put considerable energy into my job as a professor, my community and political activities are just as important to me — and a greater source of intellectual vitality. If consciousness-raising is an ongoing project, it’s not likely to happen in moribund institutions such as universities but will come through engagement with people taking real risks in political work.

That’s as accurate an account as I can offer about how I became, and continue becoming, the political person I am. But telling this story always makes me a bit queasy; I have yet to find a way to describe my political development that doesn’t sound self-aggrandizing, as if I am casting myself as an epic hero.

That longstanding discomfort in telling my story is further complicated by new concerns in the past few years. More than ever I’m aware that no matter how high anyone’s consciousness in the United States is raised, there may be very little we can do to reverse the consequences of modern industrial society’s assault on the living world. I don’t mean that there is nothing we can or should do to promote ecological sustainability, but only that the processes set in motion during the industrial era may be beyond the point of no return, that the health of the ecosphere that makes our own lives possible may be compromised beyond recovery.

In contemporary left/progressive organizing, we typically focus on those small victories we achieve in the moment and on a vision for social change that sustains us over the long haul. With no revolution on the horizon, we pursue reforms within existing systems but hold on to radical ideals that inform those activities. We are willing to work without guarantees, bolstered by a faith that, as Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” 4 That’s supposed to get us through; even if our movements don’t prevail in our own life time, we contribute to a better future.

But what if we are no longer bending toward justice? What if the arc of the moral universe has bent back and the cascading ecological crises will eventually overwhelm our collective moral capacities? Put bluntly: What if homo sapiens are an evolutionary dead-end?

That’s the central problem with my consciousness-raising story. When I was politicized 20 years ago, I made a commitment to facing the truth to the best of my ability, even when that truth is unpleasant and painful. My ideals haven’t changed and my commitment to organizing hasn’t waned, but the weight of the evidence suggests to me that our species is moving into a period of permanent decline during which much of what we have learned will be swamped by rapidly worsening ecological conditions. I think we’re in more trouble than most are willing to acknowledge.

This is not an argument for giving up on or dropping out of radical politics. It’s simply a description of what seems true to me, and I can’t see how our movements can afford to avoid these issues. I’m not sure I’m right about everything, though I am sure this analysis is plausible and should be on our agenda. Yet it’s my experience that most people want to push it out of view.

In trying to make sense of my political consciousness-raising, I try to avoid the temptation to cast myself as an epic hero who overcomes adversity to see the truth. That’s a struggle but is possible when one is part of a vibrant political community in which people hold each other accountable, and for all my fretting in this essay, I think I’ve done a reasonably good job of keeping on track. We can overcome our individual arrogance.

More difficult is facing the possibility that the human species has been cast as a tragic hero. Tragic heroes aren’t characters who have just run into a bit of bad luck but are protagonists brought down by an error in judgment that results from inherent flaws in their character. The arrogance with which we modern humans have treated the living world — the hubris of the high-energy/high-technology era — may well turn out to be that tragic flaw. Surrounded by the big majestic buildings and tiny sophisticated electronic gadgets created through human cleverness, it’s easy for us to believe we are smart enough to run a complex world. But cleverness is not wisdom, and the ability to create does not guarantee the ability to control the destruction we have unleashed.

Not every human society has gone down this road, but we live in a world dominated by those who not only exhibit that arrogance but embrace it, refusing to accept the reality of decline. That means our individual awakenings may be taking place within a much larger dying. To face that is to live in a profound state of grief. To stay true to a radical political consciousness is to face that grief.

  1. Andrea Dworkin, Letters from a War Zone: Writings 1976-1987 (London: Secker & Warburg, 1988/Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books 1993), pp. 170-171 []
  2. Ibid., pp. 169-170. []
  3. Robert Jensen, Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity (Boston: South End Press, 2007), p. 9 []
  4. Where Do We Go From Here?” (annual report to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference), August 16, 1967 []

Robert Jensen is a professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center in Austin. His latest book is We Are All Apocalyptic Now: On the Responsibilities of Teaching, Preaching, Reporting, Writing, and Speaking Out (Monkey Wrench Books). Jensen is also co-producer of the documentary film Abe Osheroff: One Foot in the Grave, the Other Still Dancing (Media Education Foundation, 2009), which chronicles the life and philosophy of the longtime radical activist. An extended interview Jensen conducted with Osheroff is online. He can be reached at: rjensen@austin.utexas.edu. Twitter: @jensenrobertw. Read other articles by Robert, or visit Robert's website.

29 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on February 25th, 2011 at 9:05am #

    jensen:
    “All of those inquiries led me to the same conclusion: We live in a world structured by illegitimate hierarchies and based on a domination/subordination dynamic.”

    yes, all societies i know of are structured not only in layers, but in cliques also.
    with highest econo-military-governmental power of the top layer decreasing dwn to near zero or actually zero for some tiers.

    thus, divided, 12 cosa nostra members [padrones, or onepercenters] cld easily rule mns! i do not know why people don’t hyphenate politics with economy, money, laws, governance, military, cia, fbi, media, ‘educators’ in order to show that we are dealing with one entity with many aspects of it? tnx

  2. bozh said on February 25th, 2011 at 9:12am #

    jensen:
    “So, here’s my consciousness raising story summarized: I wandered through the first 30 years of my life mostly oblivious to the workings of power, protected by my privilege.”

    for me it has been more like 50 yrs before i began casting the widest look possible.
    however, always with help from many educators.
    thus, nearly everything i posit comes from ages and sages from all four quarters of know world. tnx

  3. bozh said on February 25th, 2011 at 9:25am #

    MLK:
    “We are willing to work without guarantees, bolstered by a faith that, as Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”.

    this generalization is true for some people at sometimes and untrue for most people of the upper classes for most of the time.

    just look what bush-obama&co, gaddafi, al-maliki, netanyahu, barzani, mubarak do to be convinced that they don’t bend to justice, but mayhem, murder, torture, etc.
    bear in mind that MLK had been a priest; thus, probably spoke from all four corners of his mouth!
    has he ever spoken in favor of equal pay for equal needs? or said anything about the structure of society?
    btw, has jensen? tnx

  4. Gary S. Corseri said on February 25th, 2011 at 2:34pm #

    Beautifully felt, thought, written.

    Robert Jensen’s wrestling with the angel of doubt can do more to inspire honest and continued commitment to higher ideals than all the poppycock spewed by presidential hopefuls (like Obama then, and a coupla dozen lying hypocrites now). The challenge Jim Koplin made to Jensen decades ago–don’t do this good thing to save women, or save others; do it to save yourself, your humanity–is still, and ever, the touchstone challenge for all those endeavoring to raise their political consciousness–and to act upon their insights.

    Especially poignant in this essay is that Jensen has read enough, thought enough, felt deeply enough to understand the nature of the astonishing challenges that confront our species in this eco-ravaged century. He’s not sure we’ll make it–and that’s a cause for “grief.” This is not the sort of “happy warrior” heroics such as Vice President Hubert Humphrey would engage in; not FDR’s “only thing we have to fear… is fear itself” hogwash. It’s not the battlefield “glory” of some brain-washed kid charging the enemy’s machine guns; nor that of our modern army facing sniper fire in a land where they have no right to be. This is informed dissent–dissent at the risk of personal harm to one’s reputation, career, etc.

    I would quibble with Jensen on the point he makes in passing that the loss of a job in our society is not tantamount to the risks others have taken in other eras and places. The risk of a job or career in America can be devastating–an acute matter of survival–and it has been one of the most effective means for silencing opposition to, or even questioning of, the power elite. And this is precisely why the battles now in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states concerning workers’ right to collective bargaining is so pregnant an issue–one that involves us all.

    Thank you for sharing your story, Mr. Jensen.

  5. Josie Michel-Bruening said on February 26th, 2011 at 11:16am #

    Yes, I do want to thank Robert Jensen also!
    I share his opinion and enjoyed his story very much.
    Nevertheless, I share bozh’s consequence and that of Gary S. Corsery too.
    The power elite seems to regard nowaday’s circumstances just as an opportunity to continue in making their own fortune as long as they can while performing a kind of dancing upon the Vulcan.
    If the long “arc of the moral universe” will bend to justice, this will depend on how much people will be like Martin Luther King or like Robert Jensen. They need not to be priests or religious at all, but longing for love and the joy of life.

  6. Don Hawkins said on February 26th, 2011 at 6:04pm #

    I began thinking more about how human domination of the living world is destroying the ecosphere’s capacity to sustain life as we know it.

    For those of us with unearned privilege, the rewards for ignoring this conclusion are whatever status and money we can squeeze out of the system, while the cost of capitulation to power is a surrender of some essential part of our humanity.

    I didn’t understand exactly what he meant at that moment, but something about those words resonated in my gut. Robert Jensen

    Well Robert I have had many of those words that resonated in my gut. When I write that I mean once in a great while someone would say something and I said to myself that’s right and I always’ remember what was said. Let’s see a man 30 years ahead of me in age said Don remember wherever you go there you are. My Father said to me once don’t forget to wash between your toe’s and then dry yourself off good. My grandmother on my fathers side if she said it once she said it a thousand times, do the right thing, do the right thing and the one I really remember is if your so smart how come your not rich. That last one always’ helped me when I would wake-up behind a dumpster with maybe a little wine left. Anyway we live in very strange day’s indeed is it the best of times the worst of times I don’t think so more like reality and unreality of course many academics will say what really is reality, aha just maybe we are answering that question, questions while of course still hearing 100% pure bullshit. When I write that I mean the bullshit coming from the wise old owl’s who in reality are Vultures in the best of times.

  7. Don Hawkins said on February 26th, 2011 at 6:38pm #

    When I wrote that above comment I asked my wife how do you spell really not reality you know what really is it all about. My grandson who is nine from the kitchen said Grandpa didn’t you go to school? I said yes but was self taught and always’ thought spelling was a waste of time kind of like Bozh. My grandson then said who’s Bozh? All I said was he is a very wise man. When I say stuff to my grandson like that he just look’s at me and is probably thinking I’ll remember that as a light wind is coming from the West.

  8. Deadbeat said on February 26th, 2011 at 9:50pm #

    This article is full of mindless sentimentality. Jensen pats himself on the back yet writes this …

    but the weight of the evidence suggests to me that our species is moving into a period of permanent decline during which much of what we have learned will be swamped by rapidly worsening ecological conditions. I think we’re in more trouble than most are willing to acknowledge.

    Even though Jensen broke out of the Liberal/Conservative limitations he has clearly planted himself firmly in the pseudo-Left and offers NO analysis of Zionism and very little critique of Capitalism.

    I guess the revolutions in the Middle East are not inspiring to Jensen since they just happen to be the most POPULAR confrontation to Zionism in years. You didn’t hear a peep from Jensen here about that yet he has the AUDACITY and the NARROWNESS of thought to indict ALL humanity. I’d say that Jensen still UNCONSCIOUS having a great deal of American hubris to expel.

  9. penelope l.m.s. kelly said on February 26th, 2011 at 11:36pm #

    bozh : “MLK .. has he ever spoken in favor of equal pay for equal needs? or said anything about the structure of society?”

    is the question seriously whether or not martin luther king jr. ever said anything about the structure of society ? truly ? is that your question ? surely a simple on-line search of his work would answer your question, if you are sincere in your inquiry. are you actually seeking information or merely a platform for your ideology ?

    of course, you post incessantly .. since you have so much to say, about other’s work, i wonder that you don’t submit your own article to this blog. however, these thoughts aside, i want to
    thank you for the reminder that democracy, and freedom of speech means that even the least informed among us, or those whose opinions seem absurd, also have the right to speak, and i have the obligation to be polite. thank you for this reminder.

    i am obliged to you for being such a sterling example of this principal of tolerance.

  10. Don Hawkins said on February 27th, 2011 at 5:40am #

    It’s Oscar night the red carpet and all that I wonder what the theme will be? Oh my God look at that dress the colors are amazing that’s her alright early abyss that would be a good theme. Maybe we will see about half way through the show a special table I’ll bet they could do it with the help of central casting yes a very special table indeed Elvis, Anna Nicole Smith, Michael and heck put some others like Charlie maybe Randy a big table about 20 people should do the trick. Then they could all stand up and at the same time say we’re back. Then start walking into the room and touch people on the shoulder Oh my God there coming to our table. Maybe on stage the host could say American exceptional ism for all to hear the host could look like Qaddafi another nice touch. What is the difference between Qaddafi and those people not much they both are good at using prop’s and telling people how much they love them as they drive away in a big white limo. If that isn’t enough heck on Monday watch Ellen or Oprah to really gain some in site into how the World work’s. Later in the day watch Glenn Beck remembering who he work’s for and go down the yellow brick road with him while trusting in God and don’t forget to buy gold his new book and sign up for his new’s letter. I’d better stop before I get myself in trouble oh heck one more Qaddafi has the oil and yes prop’s Hollywood has corporate American, prop’s but are really rebel’s maybe on Monday I’ll watch wheel of fortune help’s with my spelling.

    I began thinking more about how human domination of the living world is destroying the ecosphere’s capacity to sustain life as we know it. Robert Jensen

  11. Don Hawkins said on February 27th, 2011 at 7:23am #

    In Hollywood do they run with the fat cat’s from corporate America but of course the fat cat’s just love hanging out with the Star’s makes them feel even more special then they already are.

    “This highway leads to the shadowy tip of reality: you’re on a through route to the land of the different, the bizarre, the unexplainable…Go as far as you like on this road. Its limits are only those of mind itself. Ladies and Gentlemen, you’re entering the wondrous dimension of the unknown…………….”

    How quickly they forget. By all means people keep looking out that window where you see reality and unreality at the same time and watch those crack’s in the road.

  12. bozh said on February 27th, 2011 at 8:31am #

    penelope l.m.s. kelly said on February 26th, 2011 at 11:36pm #

    “thank you for the reminder that democracy, and freedom of speech means that even the least informed among us, or those whose opinions seem absurd, also have the right to speak, and i have the obligation to be polite. thank you for this reminder.”

    my dear, to me, no opinion is absurd. an opinion cannot ever be evaluate right or wrong.
    u have the right to call an opinion any name u like, it does not elucidate or teach.
    it make sno didd to me whether and the label used is dysphemistic, euphemestic, pejorative, etc., it still only tells us about the user of such labels.

    we, of course, cannot avoid labeling!

    i am retired; so, i have time to post. i post on DV often. i am sure that DV owners welcome that.

    u seem not to? deeming by the pejorative “incessant” [and whatever annoyance or ill feeling led u to use it] u feel bad. please be nice to self and use healthy
    words; never sick ones! tnx

    btw? i do not evaluate as true everything wikileaks sez.

  13. bozh said on February 27th, 2011 at 8:37am #

    i forgot to reread my post.
    ” it makes no difference to me whether the label used is dysphemistic, euphemestic, …” tnx

  14. Deadbeat said on February 27th, 2011 at 11:28am #

    Don Hawkins writes …

    What is the difference between Qaddafi and those people not much they both are good at using prop’s and telling people how much they love them as they drive away in a big white limo.

    There clearly is a HUGE difference Don and to put Qaddafi on par with Hollywood celebrities is to spread the Zionism/Western lies and hubris like Jensen is doing when he indicts all humanity rather than provide insightful and useful analysis.

    Here’s some of the things that Qaddafi has done that Zion-wood will never do for Arabs:

    Libya: Scratching beneath the surface…
    [http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/24-02-2011/117000-libya_surface-0/]

    Colonel Muammar Gathafi’s social and welfare programmes in Libya are far greater than those implemented in neighbouring countries. Modern infrastructures have sprung up in recent years which aim to attract investment and bring added wealth and sustainable development to the citizens of Libya; Gathafi’s literacy programme has seen universal education become reality and since he took power in 1969, the life expectancy of Libyan citizens has risen by twenty years while infant mortality has decreased sharply.

    Gathafi represents the control of Libya’s resources by Libyans and for Libyans; literacy reached ten per cent of the population when he came to power. Today it is around 90 per cent. Women, today, have rights and can go to school and get a job. The standard of living is around 100 times greater than it was under the rule of King Idris I. The conclusion, therefore, is that Gathafi’s Libya is a different ball game from Tunisia and Egypt.

    Please do more research Don and you’ll avoid Jensen’s sentimental and drippy fallacies.

  15. bozh said on February 27th, 2011 at 11:44am #

    penelope:
    “of course, you post incessantly .. since you have so much to say, about other’s work, i wonder that you don’t submit your own article to this blog. however, these thoughts aside, i want to”.

    i thought that one needs to go to university in order to learn how to write an article of several thousand words.

    there is spelling, grammar, punctuation, and most importantly, a politico-journalistic language to learn; the one that no houseperson speaks nor understands.
    one has to learn typing. i type mostly with one finger and still make mistakes.

    besides, nearly everything i posit, had already been said; in all lands and thruout the ages.
    people who hate what we posit put the ancient ruse on unwary people: they marginalize or attribute the ideas facts a i posit to one person.

    thus an individual like galileo is a lunatic or is the only one who maintains that the earth circles the sun.
    apparently that happened to giordano bruno, semmelsweis, columbus, and many others.
    regarding semmelsweis, doctors laughed at him for saying that the reason there were so many infections and deaths in hospitals, was the fact that doctors did not wash their hands. tnx

  16. Deadbeat said on February 27th, 2011 at 11:57am #

    Robert Jensen writes as Don Hawkins sites …

    From there, questions about the inherent economic injustice in capitalism and the violence required for U.S. imperial domination of the world became central. Finally, I began thinking more about how human domination of the living world is destroying the ecosphere’s capacity to sustain life as we know it.

    This is Jensen only mention of Capitalism in his entire article and then he follows it by what he labels as “human domination”. What is remarkable is how Jensen on the one hand can speak to Capitalism’s violence and then indicts “human domination”. Jensen’s contradiction is quite obvious and it is surprising that of the commentators on this thread heaping Jensen with praise miss or avoid critiquing this terrible article.

    First second-wave feminism which Jensen used as his foray into so-called “consciousness raising”, wasn’t all that liberating for women. What it did was to force primarily white women INTO the Capitalist labor force increasing COMPETITION among the sexes rather than liberate both. Clearly there were progressive social attitude changes but on the fundamental questions of race and class, second wave feminism sought to create WHITE female identity as a class in an attempt to obscure race and class antagonism among women and thus became a useful tool to divide the working class.

    Second, Jensen tendency to blame “humanity” fall flat on its face when he mentions capitalism. The contradiction is that Capitalism itself is anti-humanity. It seeks to create a tiny class of humans that dominates over ALL humans. So to blame humanity is to blame the victims of Capitalism.

    Unfortunately Jensen’s rhetoric seems to be the use of sentimentality to offset any analysis and any deeper thinking. In other words, leave your brain at the door while being mesmerizes by soothing words that integrates axioms, bromides and cliche.

  17. bozh said on February 27th, 2011 at 2:01pm #

    jensen:
    …”but the weight of the evidence suggests to me that our species is moving into a period of permanent decline during which much of what we have learned will be swamped by rapidly worsening ecological conditions. I think we’re in more trouble than most are willing to acknowledge.”

    yes, i agree with this observation. i cld even evaluate parts of it as factual.
    i’d like to add to this observation the fact that in civility-civic affairs we long ago became [pardon the extremity] animalistic to one another and also to an ‘alien’ folk or group of people.

    i said we became animalistic. in fact, we were converted by religion to another: into animalism or animalistic behavior. and we never left it!
    if a-bombings of innocent people [innocent even by u.s. definition of innocence] do not prove how inhumane a people can get then i do not know what else cld u.s. do to prove it!
    ok? we can discount one mn dead, 4mn refugees in iraq as a proof, since it can and will be topped, so we can await it and use it as another proof that an admixture of people and cults in a region called u.s. can behave bestially.

    and vast number of americans appear totally oblivious of these facts.
    in fact, 99& of them just voted for more of the same.

    but even most journalists-contributors and on all sites i have thus visited seem to underestimate the perils which some voelken and people face from u.s. supremacists.
    so, jensen is right in saying that! u.s. evil is awesome!!! tnx

  18. Deadbeat said on February 27th, 2011 at 2:42pm #

    bozh writes …

    i said we became animalistic. in fact, we were converted by religion to another: into animalism or animalistic behavior. and we never left it!

    I have to agree with penelope l.m.s. kelly comments about your remarks. Your remarks which consumes a great deal of bandwidth here are in severe contradiction. It would be one thing if your comments remained consistent but here you go saying that you agree with Jensen’s stereotyping of humanity.

    On the one hand you claim to be against “supremacy” which is a recognition of power imbalances (just like Jensen acknowledgment of Capitalism) but on the other hand you go on to say… we were converted by religion to another: into animalism or animalistic behavior what ever the hell “animalism” label means.

    As far as I know animals have never set up commodities arrangements that interfere with their natural interactions but Capitalists imposed this relationship on humanity and the vast majority of human beings are not Capitalists.

    Thus what you and Jensen have in common are contradictory rhetoric that fill up useful space for serious analysis and discussion. That both you and Jensen can argue two entirely CONTRADICTORY axioms — supremacy and blame the victim demonstrates how so called “thinkers” are really verbal charlatans who waste precious time shifting the focus and obscuring rational analysis of real problems that are in vital need of radical solutions.

  19. Deadbeat said on February 27th, 2011 at 2:56pm #

    Another thing bozh you have a serious problem of Zionism in Canada so before you blame 99% of Americans you need to get figure out how to do some serious analysis about confronting Zionism in Canada before it completely consumes your society.

  20. Don Hawkins said on February 27th, 2011 at 3:48pm #

    Do the people in Hollywood know about that light wind coming in from the West most do but like the very world they live in much to inconvenient as they have more important things to do like tonight what to wear how to act or not or not wait one little minute here is not all the world a stage and all the men and women merely players. So they have no choice it’s all an act just on the off chance the old ones were correct. Someone said today that the people in Hollywood for the public put on a liberal face but in private are a little more conservative. Probably more on the lines of sold there very soul to the system the system what the heck is that? To me the Matrix movie the first one came close.

    Morpheus: The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.
    [Neo's eyes suddenly wander towards a woman in a red dress]
    Morpheus: Were you listening to me, Neo? Or were you looking at the woman in the red dress?
    Neo: I was…
    Morpheus: [gestures with one hand] Look again.
    [the woman in the red dress is now Agent Smith, pointing a gun at Neo's head; Neo ducks]
    Morpheus: Freeze it.
    [Everybody and everything besides Neo and Morpheus freezes in time]
    Neo: This… this isn’t the Matrix?
    Morpheus: No. It is another training program designed to teach you one thing: if you are not one of us, you are one of them. Matrix

    Yes came close but no cigar and this man smoked a pipe and nailed it.

    A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

  21. bozh said on February 27th, 2011 at 4:14pm #

    DB:
    “On the one hand you claim to be against “supremacy” which is a recognition of power imbalances (just like Jensen acknowledgment of Capitalism) but on the other hand you go on to say… we were converted by religion to another: into animalism or animalistic behavior what ever the hell “animalism” label means.

    “converted to another religion”. the word “converted” to another religion may have mislead some people.
    however, if the statement wld be put in the context of everything i said thus far in this regard, it wld be clear to each of my readers [if they cld remember everything i said about sacerdotal class] that the usurpers of a irreligious class of life, were at first sorcerers, followed by magicians, wizards, shamans, and finally priests.

    by being impious i mean to say that our ancestors of 10-15 k yrs ago may have believed in god or whatever; however, had no organized religion.

    once organized religion [and structured just like an army; proclaimed infallible] was set up, the hell broke loose on our heads.

    i think i have only said thousand and one time that i do not blame the victims, say, in most lands, 98% of people.
    the victimizers are solely priests and the ‘nobility’. these people are the greatest criminal minds.
    i am positively surprised that some sites don’t delete just what i have said now!

    the reason that the ruling class in u.s. gets more votes than in any land [about 99%] is because of the fact that it controls almost totally curriculum, education, information, entertainment, etc.

    about my use of “animalism”, it was a poor choice to describe how we behave.
    i often use the words “inhumane”, “criminal”, etc. in its stead.
    but, look no label wld suffice anyway! tnx

    so the question wld arise regarding labeling and the fact that it does not elucidate any situation is to ask the writer: after what facts u label, say priests, “the greatest criminal minds”?

    alas, i have listed their crimes hundred of times. if people read my posts with anger, hostilities, etc., or blitzread and blitz understand, it is not my fault.
    there are just too many bellicose and uncivil people also on this site.

    i do not always understand what is written. on occasion, i have to reared a paragraph more than two times before i grasp it. on other occasions, i just give up but seldom attack the person or person’s writing when i do respond. tnx

  22. bozh said on February 27th, 2011 at 4:36pm #

    DB, i do not know if u deliberately put in my mouth the word “supremacy”.
    i do not use that label. i use the words “personal supremacism” and often add to it cult, national-ethnic-cultural supremacism.

    supremacy may also mean high or total control by military means of some areas.areas!
    religious supremacism invokes tacitly also etern infallibility.”we were converted by religion to another: into animalism or animalistic behavior what ever the hell “animalism” label means.

    ‘we were converted by religion to another: into animalism or animalistic behavior
    what ever the hell “animalism” label means.’

    ‘whatever the hell “animalism” label means’ is urs. i didn’t say that. why such misrepresentation?
    u’r mad, right.
    i think that if u continue to misrepresent what i actually say. i’ll flag u for that and see if DV wld remove such dishonest behavior. tnx

  23. penelope l.m.s. kelly said on February 27th, 2011 at 5:25pm #

    bozh -
    i fear sir, you have given up the game. your courtesy, wit, and sagacity has done in your former posture. your note – February 27th, 2011 at 11:44am – was of thoughtful and astute construction: clearly you could write articles of wide interest if you wished to do so.

    “besides, nearly everything i posit, had already been said; in all lands and thruout the ages.
    people who hate what we posit put the ancient ruse on unwary people: they marginalize or attribute the ideas facts a i posit to one person.”

    i finished reading this post and i and i was laughing in surprised pleasure. . your note was astute, interesting and frankly, to my mind, very divergent in content and style from your usual manner of address.. i salute you in friendship and thank you for your post.

  24. bozh said on February 27th, 2011 at 6:20pm #

    DB,
    i said that 99% of voters casting a ballot approve of what u.s. does. i did not even tacitly mete out any blame to these people.
    actually, i’d rather not read nor respond to ur response to what i say. but i have to point out to people when u misquote, misunderstand, put ur conclusions in my head, find contradictions where there isn’t any, call me names, etc., almost in each reply to me. tnx

  25. Deadbeat said on February 28th, 2011 at 1:59am #

    bozh writes the following threat …

    ‘whatever the hell “animalism” label means’ is urs. i didn’t say that. why such misrepresentation?
    u’r mad, right. i think that if u continue to misrepresent what i actually say. i’ll flag u for that and see if DV wld remove such dishonest behavior. tnx

    OK. In each of my critique of your commentary bozh I have never level a personal attack or THREAT like you’ve done here on Dissident Voice. Now you boldface attempt to deny your labeling of humanity as “animalistic” yet you wrote right here the following …

    bozh said on February 27th, 2011 at 2:01pm #

    i said we became animalistic. in fact, we were converted by religion to another: into animalism or animalistic behavior. and we never left it!

    So before you engage in ANY threats bozh you better have your facts straight otherwise it is yet another one of your many CONTRADICTIONS that I often site as evidence of your many fallacies.

  26. mary said on February 28th, 2011 at 2:05am #

    Don Re Oscars, A total bore and totally irrelevant to our present condition. I am sick to death of the ‘King’s Speech’ and of all those who were involved in the production from writers to actors. It has been over hyped. What is not mentioned in any of the rave reviews is that the film inadvertently reveals the necessity for the warmongers at the time to have a credible ‘voice’ to encourage a greater sacrifice of blood and lives in WWII.

    I have not seen the film and have no intention of doing so.

    What would the late King have to say about his sleazy grandson Andrew? When he is not being rude and obnoxious to the lower orders (as he perceives them to be) as he travels round flogging arms and weapons, he is keeping this type of company.

    {http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1361039/Prince-Andrew-girl-17-sex-offender-friend-flew-Britain-meet-him.html}

    PS The best speech ever given at the Oscars was this pne of ‘non acceptance’ by the beautiful Sacheen Littlefeather on behalf of Marlon Brando.
    {http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QUacU0I4yU}

    That’s what I call style and poise.

  27. Don Hawkins said on February 28th, 2011 at 2:51am #

    I watched the red carpet last night and about 30 minutes of the big show from the city of lost angles and lost is a good word. I saw the set up for the Governors ball after the big show such a waste of time and energy. I see they were going to have King crab probably while talking the King’s English. I’ll bet many feel somewhat heavy this morning if they ate to much. Now history and today here in the States the media kind of like stars will do there best to keep people in dreamland and the so called leaders will be back with there brand of illusion and of course on the financial channels tell us why we need them and it’s ok to privatize profit and socialize losses on somewhat of a grand scale but they love us very very much. DB I saw your above post so did a little more research. The lesser of two forms of illusion as the Qaddafi kid’s a million dollars for four song’s from a few from the city of lost angles. Then of course the palaces you would think one would be enough and must have been interesting growing up and now they sure look all grown up. Going to prison with my Son today we just finished one and now another floors carpet tile is your friend please open door A6, B2 can you open door E1 a juvenile detention center and the last one we did I noticed they gave the kid’s crayons and coloring book’s so I showed one kid how to draw from scratch his own picture he might remember and yes many of those kid’s will not make it kind of like a few we saw on the red carpet last night cup of coffee nice game of checkers look the Sun how far is that from Earth a trillion miles?

  28. Don Hawkins said on February 28th, 2011 at 3:00am #

    {http://www.bom.gov.au/gms/IDE00035.latest.shtml}

    There’s a light wind coming in from the West and yes Australia is in big trouble first so is America the king of oil, oh we are the king of something alright.

  29. mary said on March 3rd, 2011 at 1:39am #

    Randy Jorgensen (perhaps well named?) extends his seedy empire to the Caribbean.

    Canadian “Porn King” Randy Jorgensen’s tourism “development” projects are stirring up conflict and destroying afro-descendant Garifuna communities in Trujillo on the north coast of Honduras

    Jorgensen, president of the Canadian pornographic video store chain Adults Only Video through his real estate development company Life Vision Properties plans to convert a beautiful coastal area of Trujillo into a large scale tourism project that includes a series of vacation home developments and a cruise ship dock, displacing and destroying indigenous Garifuna communities.

    /…..

    http://www.pej.org/html/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=8620&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0