From:   Jon Good <>
Sent time:   Sunday, October 23, 2011 6:51:33 PM
Subject:   Re: [september17discuss] On racism, sexism, oppression

While all of this is true, John, it's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about the ways that women and people of color, whose voices, opinions, and ideas are essential and necessary for the success of this movement, keep getting brushed aside and talked over by those who are louder and more assertive. 

Your above email comes across as sounding like "well your issues aren't the real issues, I know what's best for you, so let's just do what I'm telling you is in your best interest." I know that's not what you mean, but that's how it gets seen. 

We need to trust that others do in fact know what's best for them, and they do see what's going on, even if we disagree with how they say it.  The consensus on how to proceed must be a result of everybody, not just what's forced through by the loudest and the most sure that they're right. 


Jon Good

On Oct 23, 2011, at 5:33 PM, wrote:

(Once again jem,the middle class white guy, can't keep his mouth shut):  Racism, sexism, and all of the other isms are very painful.  I had my own ways of sticking out when I was a kid and took a lot of abuse, so I have some idea of what the pain is like.  I also had a lot of opportunities that other people didn't have because in some ways I fit in.
But the 1% is not about color it is about pure power.  Divide and Conquer is their most effective weapon.  The richest guy in the world is a Mexican named Carlos Slim Helu.   No U.S. racist would identify him as "white."  The sixth richest is Lakshmi Mittal, and the ninth is Mukesh Ambani.  Then there are the Kwok brothers, lee Shuan Kee, Prince Assaud,...  Aliko Dangote is a Nigerian with $13 billion.  I won't say that whites are not over represented in the billionaires club, by my assertion is that the people that are there are the ones that are most ruthless, and power hungry, not the whitest.
Jay Gould one of the richest financiers of his time said, "I can always pay half of the working class to kill the other half."  These divisions are tools, used by the 1% to get rich and stay that way.  Look at how the Republicans are using anti-gay bullshit to get elected so that they can write laws destroying voting rights so that the poor can't vote.  If we want to end these divisions we need to educate people about how they are being used and abused.  How many people of color are prejudiced against each other?  How many make fun of people a few shades darker than themselves.  There is no scientific basis for any of this nonesense, we are all genetically the same.  But it is convenient to tell poor white people that poor hispanics are taking their jobs, while the jobs are really being shipped to Bangladesh.
Occupy Wall St needs to find a better way to fight this disease, that is spread through our communities by hate-mongerers, than to divide up into little blocks of identifiers.  This is what they want.  This is how they work. This is how they stay on top.  Be the change you want to see.  Meet prejudice with creativity. 

Power Survives by standing on your back

Power won’t educate you

Power wants you to drugs

Power wants to distract you

Power wants us to blame the weak

Power has no color

Power wants dealers to die killing cops

Power wants us to hate each other

Power is afraid of peace

Power is afraid of change

Power isn’t afraid of violence

it’s afraid of Love


-John McGloin 1991

On 10/23/11, grimwomyn<> wrote:
Absolutely agreed, especially as facilitators

On Sat, Oct 22, 2011 at 10:48 PM, rob hollander <> wrote:
Might start by having non white facilitators/stack keepers etc. at the GA. The facilitators etc. at the handful of GA's I've attended have been 100% white. Is that a misleading characterization?

On Sat, Oct 22, 2011 at 10:33 PM, Jon Good <> wrote:
To me, the most insidious part of privilege and institutional oppression is that those committing oppression don't even know they're doing it.   I'm not excusing this behavior but am trying to name it, as it's a BIG problem at Liberty Plaza (not to mention in the rest of the world).  When folks in positions of privilege interrupt or talk over others, or use their physical stature to enforce the point they're making, or just think that , they don't understand that people from less privilege backgrounds have a lot more social pressure not to interrupt, not to be overbearing, and not to offer their opinions on absolutely fucking everything. Or that the ways which white dudes act is not necessarily the way that everyone should act. 

So how can we address this problem?  Should we start every GA with a 2-minute crash course on practical ways to curb your privilege and oppression?  Make pamphlets and distribute them constantly? Have announcements over the human mic several times a day?  Keep on ignoring the people who try and bring it up for serious discussion?

Almost everybody (perhaps, 99%?) is well-meaning and doesn't *want* to be racist, but when they're called out for acting racist,* their typical response is "that's bullshit! I'm not racist!" which is about the most frustrating thing they could possibly say.  In my experience (granted, it's as a white, cisgendered male), I've had success bridging the gap between intention and understanding by leading with "That thing X that you just did was racist/sexist/homophobic because of Y and Z", like rubbing a dog's nose in the steaming, racist turd it just did on your carpet.  I understand, however, that I have the privilege of having little emotional and societal stress on me because I'm not the object of that racism.  

Anyhow, I agree with Shaista and the others (forgive me for not remembering who) that are saying that we need to deal with this problem seriously, and I would be super, super enthusiastic in pitching in with efforts to undermine, attenuate, and/or stop this shit from happening. (I fully acknowledge the possibility that the best way for me to help would be to not talk so much, and if so, I will remain equally enthusiastic about shutting the hell up).

And as far as overt, deliberate, intentional racism, will somebody get that guy handing out the "Wall St. Jews" flyers out of the fucking park?



Rob Hollander
Lower East Side Residents for Responsible Development
622 E 11, #10
NYC, 10009