Changing the Oppressive Society

Tim Jackins, at a teachers’ and leaders’ workshop in Hebron, Connecticut, USA, May 2000

Question: I was wondering how the work of eliminating classism is going in the RC Communities.

Tim Jackins: The big thing that will help is when the stock market goes all the way down. (laughter) That will change a lot of perspectives very quickly. People won’t be able to pretend about “the rising tide lifting all boats” or whatever someone is saying that year to pretend that things aren’t harsh on a lot of people.

This society doesn’t offer us anything we really want. It does offer us bribes and pretense. For example, a lot of our parents believed that if they just tried hard enough, we could move up to the middle class and life would be good for us. They sacrificed themselves in lots of ways. Some of us are now in the middle class, but “It didn’t work, Mom and Dad. We’re not happy. This is not a good life here.” Nobody gets a good life in an oppressive society. We don’t get to be human anywhere in this society. That’s why we have to change it. Only distress patterns are committed to its persistence. It’s not in the interest of anyone.

Some of us are scared to move to change it because we think we’re small and powerless. Some of us feel that the harshness of it is our fault and that we’ll be killed if we try to change it. We’re all scared to make it change, even though it’s in everybody’s interest to do so. It’s an odd situation. Changing the society isn’t us against anybody else—it’s us against the phenomenon of distresses becoming oppressions that are inflicted on all of us. If we can ever get a sizable proportion of us clear about this, we can move and make things different.

How do we keep from being confused? How do we get in enough contact with reality? How do we get others in that contact? How do we ask the questions that make people not just settle for the way things are?

Much of it is sitting down with people and getting them to notice that somebody else is there, so they can stop and feel and think. Then in spite of all the distresses they’ve picked up along the way, they have a chance to notice what life is really like.

We need a collection of people who can think well enough to put out good policies—policies that interrupt what is happening. Just setting out such policies will raise the issues and make people face distresses. We also need situations in which people get to discharge on the policies instead of just arguing about them, so that they can think new thoughts and remember that they care about things being better for everybody.

I think that’s the way we’ll have to go. I suspect we’ll have to do it without the mass media.

Tim Jackins

(Present Time 186, January 2017)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00