stand in solidarity with your society


One big thing I argue for repeatedly on the Mastodon fediverse is to not disengage from the social systems and big institutions. They are required for a high-complexity society such as ours, and one of the major keys to keeping them working is engagement and accountability, so that you can trust them, because you're involved and because you can believe in the accountability structures.

A canonical error of thinking is the Occupy Wall Street-style thinking of "the elites hate us", or the "elites want to oppress us". That's not how it typically works outside of very unusual confluences of history. Thinking that the 1% are out to get you is conspiracy theory thinking.  The elites are not a homogeneous force. They are human, with all the fractiousness that implies. They have an interest in maintaining the status quo. But, many elites throughout history understand the balance between their interests and the interests of the total society. Britain in the 1800s, for instance, transitioned from a monarchy to a Parliament, and by the time World War One had ended, the king had no power. This took a lot of work - a lot of protests and social tension - and many people had to be persuaded - or outmaneuvered - but it happened. The aristocracy chose (in total) to allow change rather than, like Tsarist Russia, suppress change.

Now, that is not to say there aren't groups working to discredit and damage Western society and your particular small group. There are significantly organized nasty actors out there. To name a few.... Hoover's FBI. Some CIA. Some FSB. AQ. AfD. KKK. ISIL. Etc. Disorganizing and disengaging from your society and becoming insular or non-participatory gives them power to coopt your society. The TV show South Park is a poison in this regard - it discourages participation, and gives a handy narrative to mock people who care about their place.

The last 30-40 years of Boomer and Gen X disengagement and cynicism have given us Trump and the alt-right/alt-light/KKK resurgence, because many of the chaos people - the Chaotic Neutral, the Chaotic Good, the Neutral Good - they walked away, because '60s dogma said "be yourself". That was a terrible mistake. The people left over in power are more authoritarians, you see. You can't just be yourself and encourage everyone else to be their own cell. That's not how societies work. There are family structures, justice structures, plumbing structures. By walking away from organizing, collective action, and institution building, you both make yourself vulnerable and make your society worse. One human, one individual is an assailable island.

Solidarity is a big deal, folks. Unions are built out of that principle. So are armies. A company is a group of people in common purpose. Think about that, and the power of mass action. 

Engage, fight for accountability, fight for your principles. Demand transparency. Remove corruption, even when it benefits you. 

Tags: #society #politics #solidarity