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Video excerpt from SAL/UER workshop on racism at the Global Climate Action Summit

Draft Program on Climate Change, for your comments (updated March 5, 2019) (short version now available)

 

Men

Men in RC have made great strides in the recent period. We are more able to use the discharge process—it has become easier for us, and we work more productively on our early lives. For many of us this took decades to accomplish. More of us are closer to the center of our Communities, participating actively and committed to regular sessions. Men coming into RC today are met with a resource unimagined in men’s work a decade ago.

We have come a long way in our ability to look at and discharge sexism and male domination. At men’s workshops, participants routinely say that their highlight is our work on sexism. This is a significant development. It is the result of building our collective resource and rejecting the internalized messages that say we are bad, “not worth the effort,” alone in the world, and other such nonsense.

Men’s workshops now appear consistently on many Regional calendars. These workshops help us remember that we, and RC, are worth the effort. They contradict our discouragement about each other and the possibility of building a liberation movement. In the last period, in addition to general men’s workshops, there have been workshops for Jewish men, Black men, Gay men, and Catholic men. A small group of us have attended Contemporary Women’s Issues Workshops, at which we’ve gotten closer to other men and strengthened our commitment to ending sexism.

Men’s support groups offer us a regular chance to build closer relationships. They go best when the participants also attend weekly RC classes. Support groups alone do not offer enough contradiction to our isolation. Men’s work needs to be part of the larger project of building RC Communities, not a “safe” separate activity. Men’s leaders are most effective when they are connected to other leaders in the RC Community and have a good working relationship with their Area Reference Person.

Every man can benefit from the decision to build a place for himself in the RC Community. It often goes more slowly than we would hope, but working in this direction reliably leads to interesting challenges, closeness, and an increasing ability to think about ourselves and others.

MEN'S OPPRESSION

We can now clearly describe men’s oppression and the role that it plays in sustaining an unworkable economic system—one that is in conflict with the long-term survival of life on our planet.

Men’s oppression is designed to serve and uphold capitalism. Men lose their lives in defending this oppressive system, and that leaves all of us men with the message that we are expendable. At the same time, we often feel reactively proud, defensive, and self-important.

Like all oppressed groups, men are blamed and scapegoated for the effects of our oppression, and the legal and prison systems remind us of what happens if we fail to keep our hurts hidden.

The U.S. prison system disproportionately targets and punishes men of color, poor men, GBTQ men, and men at the margins of society. It also threatens any man who would challenge the oppressive society in any significant way. And it supports the false distinction between “good men” and “bad men.”

Systematic punishment is central to our oppression as men. Older boys mistreat younger boys in schoolyards. Organized sports channel a desire to play into institutionalized bullying. Male domination patterns are passed on as men try desperately to climb out of the victim end of male domination.

As capitalism becomes more obviously unsustainable, efforts are increasing to keep men isolated and confused. Ever more violent sports are being promoted as entertainment. Violence of all kinds is being normalized. Pornography is being made more easily available to younger and younger males, while also generating ever more debasing substitutions for reality. Drugs and alcohol are being promoted as fashionable and necessary.

A widespread effect of men’s oppression is that the population as a whole feels discouraged about men’s potential. The world situation requires that we challenge this discouragement. It is inhibiting our efforts to reach for people, and there is no basis for it other than our own undischarged distress.

PLAYING AN ACTIVE, TRANSFORMATIVE ROLE

As men we have particular leverage due to our position in society. People expect us to work in our own interest. When we take visible stands in support of all people, against all oppression, it contradicts the oppression of every group, including our own.

We need not be better. We are good enough. Our feelings of victimization come from early hurts. We can face and discharge our separateness and no longer act on it. Our long-standing fears of being blamed or targeted should be tested in the present. We can play an active role in transforming our own lives and society as a whole.

Steve Thompson 

Seattle, Washington, USA

and Chris Austill, Goof Buijs, Lorenzo Garcia, Karl Lam, Rudy Nickens, Joel Nogic, and Gerry Pechie

(Present Time 188, July 2017)


Last modified: 2017-07-19 18:45:56+00