Quick thoughts about internalized oppression and hegemony…

This is my first time writing a post on a mobile device, while waiting for Glendi to get out of a meeting.  So it’ll probably be short.

I just started rereading Eli Clare’s Exile and Pride, and while I was waiting for that to arrive I read Richard Wright’s Black Boy/American Hunger (perhaps one of the most stunning and beautiful books I’ve yet read), and both of these have me thinking about the profundity of internalized oppression/privilege, and the implications for organizing.  When the structures and cultures around us have so strongly defined what normal is, and what our desires are supposed to be, how do we, collectively, transcend those limits and live liberated lives?  How does that not feel so scarily unfamiliar, so uncomfortable, that we actually prefer it to the familiar pain that we’ve grown into?

There are lots of smart responses to these questions, from Gramsci and counter-hegemony, to somatics practices, even some observations on the transformational power of insurrectionary activity.  For me, this stuff is so fun and important to think about.  But I think the starting place for any attempt has to be a recognition of the depth and complexity we’re dealing with here.  Eli Clare’s metaphor of the mountain, and the earnest reflections on the conflicted desire to climb it, Wright’s poignant and rich analyses of a variety of white and black internalizations of white supremacy…they have hit me hard with the miniute details of how the system seeps into us.  That doesn’t wash out easily.  Our names and identities are tied into it.

This is why it kind of frustrates me when thoughtful revolutionaries seem really tied up with predominately institutional solutions.  That’s fine, but the concrete, soulful practices are truly where we consistantly make the most mistakes and where we have the most to learn.

More on this at some point, in some way.

Currently Reading:

-Dispersing Power by Raul Zibechi