"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Feb 14, 2011

Caste Divisions

...typing while I slowly go blind, musing on the functions of spectacular media -

Wikileaks: splitting feminists from other leftists over rape, patriarchy and apologia. Further alienating civil libertarians from funding institutions and media friendly treatment.

Egypt: splitting marxists and revolutionary leftists over the proper roles of factions and parties in a foreign land in which most of them have never lived; cleaving leftists further from liberals on the outcome vis a vis the efficacy and standing of the Obama Administration and democratization.

Borders/immigration/outsourcing: separating members of the laboring class, according to arbitrary but powerfully symbolic definitions of national membership; dividing labor over the ownership of jobs which capitalists have to "give."

Austerity: dividing skilled and unskilled labor according to state and corporate issued merit certificates and membership in already crippled protective associations.

Drug war: dividing members of the same class, by the race and region, according to the unequal and oppressive enforcement of drug laws to curtail minorities with a history of agitation and organization; separating also sympathetic parties outside of urban areas from those within them; devastating also in rural communities which have lost single industry plant capacity, or exist near to now abandoned depleted resource sites, creating subcastes of permanently criminalized families and kinship groups.

Any others?


Anonymous said...

Jack, thanks for your recent spate of thought-provoking posts! Good stuff.

My additions come at treetop levels but are under the same notion of Division, Caste style, subtle variety:

Meritocracy, which drove Obama into office (along with that bizarre pull of the exotic) despite his obvious corporate-stooge track record, because of all the merit in his resume (college prof parents, Ivy schooling, law teaching, "community organizer," etc), which people have been sold as good for them -- while it's actually good for Corporate America and bad for the "consumers" ...who used to be citizens with actual civil rights.

The whole fleet of Bailouts were sold as "good for the economy" despite their obvious bias: siding with those who created the problems, not with those who actually were/are hurt by the problems.

Intervention in Afghanistan was sold as being done to "promote/protect women's rights" while that wasn't even remotely close to being a motivation... the real motive being oil/gas transit across the land, rendering it strategically valuable.

I'll think of more to be sure. Great project.

David K Wayne said...

Entertainment marketing:

Dividing 'demographics' according to age, race, class, region, education level, sexual attitudes and religious belief.

Fashion and consumerism packaged as 'identity'. The strange idea that watching HBO drama is inherently more 'progressive' than watching Fox news. Or Apple is for 'creatives' while Windows is for office drones.

Totally on the money regarding 'meritocracy' - it's produced some lasting, damaging prejudices here in the UK.

Jack Crow said...

Thank you, folks.

fish said...


A cleverly disguised credential system that gives the appearance of a meritocracy, but stratifies the population by income (with a few token cross-overs).

C-Nihilist said...

fashion/objectification/unequal pay: separate women from men across class levels who experience the depredations of power in different ways.

Anonymous said...

Health Care Reform is about enriching the doctors, lawyers, hospitals, investors, Rx mfrs, med device mfrs, HMOs, TPAs and most of all the insurance companies, at the expense of the populace, while pretending this metastasizing of a bureaucratic tumor will provide decent, affordable health care for all Americans. It's as big a sham as No Child Left Behind or the Healthy Forests Initiative -- just another example of where the Fed Govt is giving things away (as in the Bailouts) to the people responsible for the problems supposedly addressed by the legislation/regulation reforms.

Jack Crow said...

This is good stuff. I'm beta testing a game, for most of the day - but thank you all, so far.

Walter Wit Man said...

Ron Paul/right-wing libertarians:

Splitting those that want to end American Empire. The progressives have worked especially hard to demonize any left alliance with people like Ron Paul.

Hillary Clinton:

Splitting feminists from liberals who would otherwise give up on the Democratic party.

Anonymous said...

I think you've misunderstood the Ron Paul group, Mr Wit Man, but your sentiment voiced is very familiar, even if inaccurately rendered. I might wonder whether you've ever been a Republican, in earnest.

Walter Wit Man said...

I have never been a Republican, Mr. Oxtrot. Thanks for speculating.

And how have I misunderstood the Ron Paul group? As with any group, there is a wide variety of goals and agendas and it may be hard to generalize, but let's assume Mr. Paul's repeated and stated policy goals are sincere and reasonably shared by his "group". What do you take issue with? That the reasons for ending empire are more selfish than liberal reasons for ending empire? I won't even grant you that because I have indeed heard Mr. Paul make moral arguments as equally forceful as any liberal and just the other day (or yesterday--I don't care enough to verify it) the Ron Paul group chanted "war criminal" at Dick Cheney! I don't even think liberals have the courage to do that anymore.

So you may be demonstrating my point rather than refuting it.

Anonymous said...

I may be. Maybe I misunderstood your point. I gathered you didn't like the splitting, but it seems with this later answer, you aren't objecting to it. "Splitting" is a negative in my book, not a positive, because usually it's done to distract, diffuse and de-fuse otherwise useful drives to change or repair problems.

I would have said "breaking from" rather than "splitting" in order to avoid the negative connotation.

I think we probably agree. I've done 2 posts in the last week on how disaffected Dems (frustrated with libs and pwogs) and disaffected Repubs (frustrated with neoCons and moralists) have more in common with each other than with their nominal parties.

fish said...

I think WWM means that traditional libs are splitting the anti-empire coalition by demonizing libs that work with Paul et al.

zencomix said...

Older People collecting or about to start collecting Social Security, and Younger People no where near collecting.