Kimberlé Crenshaw joins This is Hell! to discuss her new book, #SayHerName: Black Women’s Stories of Police Violence and Public Silence (Haymarket Books).
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There’s a vicious circle, or cycle, eating its own tail in the West. Here’s the mechanism: people protest, civilly disobey, subvert, argue, and generally struggle against a status quo that oppresses them. The status quo reacts, overcorrects to prevent not just the change but even the possibility to struggle for change. The resistance has to rebuild, refashion its tools, explore new options for struggle. By the time they’ve almost clawed their way back to their former visibility and power, the status quo has reiterated so many outrageous lies against the resistors’ counter-arguments that it forces them to reframe the discourse. But eventually even the reframing starts to suffer from the law of diminishing returns.
Meanwhile the status quo has pounded home the argument that “everyone’s sick of the resistance” and weaponizes whatever public opinion they can along those lines. This makes the resistance fight harder, resort to more rigidly doctrinaire arguments, harsher tactics, ad absurdum, which the status quo in its turn uses to further discredit them in the zeitgeist.
By this time, though, the status quo has divided into two sides: on one side blandly ineffectual representatives of the resistors, funded by the blandly ineffectual “reasonable” rich who water down the true resistance’s arguments, aims, and strategies; and on the other side, funded by openly undemocratic wealth hoarders and corporations, the ferocious and exciting cutting edge supercool badboy violent authoritarians who take discrediting of the resistance to utterly insane lengths. For the lulz. And money. They accuse their “enemies” of the most sexually perverse varieties of violence in order to justify the violence they themselves want to use to extinguish them.
Maybe the violence turns into a war. Or maybe it subsides for a time, though the root problems don’t get fixed, or get half-fixed at best, keeping hostilities kindled.
We’re at a moment where everybody’s just damn fed up with each other. Those in various groups on the left are fed up because they can’t believe they have to fight the same battles all over again. They shriek louder and fight harder because they want to make sure once and for all their grandchildren don’t also have to fight the same battles all over again.
Groups on the right are fed up because... read more