It'd be great if the "tolerance" and "pluralism" my professor today mentioned as an essential part of social movements were the general consensus. The trouble is that between two or more distinct groups fighting for a cause, there is either a conflict in their ideology, their means, or the specifics of what they're fighting for or against, whether or not the general issues these groups are facing are one and the same. Social movements should transcend political dogmatism, and passion toward the cause shouldn't be a cult of personality focusing only on some b*****d who speaks like he's oozing with drama and passion. No one political philosophy is completely correct and completely applicable to an aspect of society and that includes social change and revolution.
To me, it’s a complete hypocrisy when the same people claiming to represent a group, whether it’s a student organization or a worker’s party or whatever it the theme is, are the same people who can’t go beyond their political leanings and in fact would rather create conflict with people of different views than conversing with them. These same people claim to be “calm, organized and all-inclusive”, but sometimes certain groups’ shows of radicalism are neither justified nor serve to invite people into their cause. In many cases, people who are actually passionate about their desire to create a change in the current system are used as puppets by those with political agendas and a thirst for higher positions in government. Their passions are misdirected, and they’re made to look up to people on their side who would throw them away the moment they realized that the aims of their “inspiring, charismatic leaders” are power and prestige, same as those in the system they’re going against.
I was once asked by a friend if I would ever join a movement that I thought had an effective means of cohesion and real potential for changing the social order; disregarding, of course, the cause. I said no. I’d give credit where credit is due, if their means are both effective and justifiable, it’s well to adopt them in other movements, but to say that I’d join them without reading the fine print is just silly. If it has nothing to do with me, but has a clear purpose that’s well-needed in the society I’m in, like, for example, the LGBT movement (I may be bi, but I don’t consider myself too involved with the problems faced by LGBTs), I’d gladly join and show my support, but if it’s a movement, for example, in electing some radical left communist, or perhaps a hard right elitist, or armed secession with the hopes of applying some backwards ideology that would starve people and the economy, then I wouldn’t go anywhere near it, and in fact, even oppose such a movement. That’s not to say that I’m in favor of the current system, but that if I were to change this system, I’d like to make sure the alternative isn’t something I’d regret.
Dogmatism, in both religion and politics, is one major problem of why social movements are usually frowned upon, even by some proponents of social change, and people who would otherwise want to move against the current status quo. This dogmatism towards the Left, the Right, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faith, even atheists (especially those who are at the same time leaning on the radical left), cause misinterpretations, and these misinterpretations of the conditions that manifest in reality are what cause many movements not to have a big following or to backfire completely. The left wants to create a system that inevitably leads to a stagnant, starving economy, and the right wants to create a system that will inevitably lead to monopoly controlled by elites. Those who identify with neither the left nor the right, such as anarchists without adjectives, free market anarchists, and voluntaryists are seen as jaded, incapable individuals by the two sides while they spar with one another for political positions. Instead of removing the shackles created by politics and political strife, these people would rather force into their movements their flawed ideologies. That’s so far only lead to more conflict, and manipulation from higher ups from either group.
What’s the point, then, if what were supposed to be agents of social change, in their effort to use the current status quo against itself, only serve to fan its flames? It only becomes a cycle of backstabbing, murder, exploitation, fascism and corruption that people with power, prestige, and resources can use to their advantage. If social movements can’t begin to go beyond the flawed and defunct political and philosophical dogmas that they tend to rely on, there will be no changing this status. There will only be new faces in power, new colors, new political parties, but the same, old problems will still exist. Lobbyists and corporatists will continue to ruin the economy, primitivists and communists will continue to misinterpret the oligopoly in the market for “capitalism” and force a shift in the system that doesn’t create a proper economic alternative, religious elites will continue to exploit their followers and cover up their crimes, celebrities with political connections will use media to get them in seats in the state and nothing ever gets solved. There needs to be a movement that does not identify itself with any political ideology but its own. It needs to be rational and calculating, getting people’s attention not only through radical displays but through showing a clearly practical alternative, even if it only begins to work long term. If it can’t dismantle the current system that’s ruining people’s lives, it can still work to shrink it. It should be a transition, not a sudden shift that will leave a vacuum that will only be filled in by some opportunist from either side of the spectrum which will begin the cycle all over again. It pays to THINK collectively and rationally before engaging in collective action. Social movements should transcend politics, those that don’t only end up being futile.
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