Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
Slavoj Zizek manages to get the whole message out, without getting lost, in this rather short video (for him): the Left doesn’t have a plan. It’s a very similar message to the second video by Naomi Klein, based on her latest book, No is Not Enough. I haven’t read the book yet, but she ends the video with the same kind of empty phrases that Zizek says are the weakness of Left activism: hollow memes about social justice without a plan. Hopefully her book, No is Not Enough offers some kind of viable strategy not just for the Left but for a significant portion of Americans.
Recently, I’ve had my fill of resistance movements mostly because they don’t accomplish much. They can sometimes stop really bad things from happening, but they suck up so much energy and resources that they don’t leave anything for creating the kind of world we do want.
Perhaps more importantly, at the root of a resistance mentality is often a victim narrative that externalizes the locus of control. That is, “You, the Other group, Dominator, Oppressor, System, are the cause of my oppression and until I can change You, the Dominator, Oppressor, System, I will continue to be oppressed.” The externalization narrative locates the balance of power in the Other and thereby leaves us relatively powerless. The Dominator, Oppressor, System, will never change, therefore, we are forever the victim, the oppressed.
In truth, the Dominator, Oppressor, System cannot be changed, it can only become obsolete by being replaced with a better alternative, the world we want to live in. The internalization of the locus of control is a narrative in which we stop being a victim and we start creating the world we want to live in. It is self-empowerment.
The current social justice paradigm has little to offer as a replacement to a dominator system. I’ve looked at many alternatives; what looks most promising is the autonomous municipalist movement that creates communities based on the Law of The Commons, cooperative, sharing ecologies, peer-to-peer networks. Though they are started at the local level, they network regionally and globally. They are systems and components that do not ‘scale up’ vertically into hierarchy; rather they ‘scale down‘ horizontally into ubiquity. That is, they achieve counter hegemony by spreading everywhere as quickly and cheaply as possible, becoming indispensible or the way its done everywhere.