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Liberation Overview

Human beings are vulnerable to three kinds of hurts: accident (a broken arm), contagion (a hurt that one person passes on to another person), and oppression (the systematic one-way oppression of one group of humans by another group or by society). Humans can recover from all three types of hurts by using the natural process that we call “discharge and re-evaluation.”

As humans developed as a species we were extremely vulnerable. We were not able to use the discharge and re-evaluation process to completely recover from our hurts. We passed these hurts from generation to generation by the process of contagion.

No human has yet achieved complete freedom from distress patterns. We believe, however, that full recovery is possible. We have seen the process work for many, many people. We also have evidence that societies can recover from the effects of these hurts.

Every human combines two kinds of functioning. On the one hand, we are endowed with a genius-sized flexible intelligence and an unlimited ability to care for all other humans. On the other hand, we accumulate rigid patterns of fear, self-doubt, grief, hate, and greed—all tied up with our daily irrational and illogical thoughts, feelings, and actions. Our brilliance and our distresses exist in us side by side. We are not always aware of these two aspects of our functioning or able to keep them under our control, particularly in times of stress.

Approximately ten thousand years ago some groups of humans made a transition from being hunter/gatherers to agriculture and other more organized forms of meeting our survival needs. For the first time in our history we consistently had a surplus beyond our immediate needs that we could accumulate day by day.

As these early societies evolved, they contained many rigidities, including from earlier undischarged fears about survival. These unintelligent rigidities, rather than clear thinking, would largely determine how the new “wealth” was distributed.  The distribution of wealth became structured around one person’s or one group’s fears for survival, not what was good for any other individual or for humanity as a whole.

This is what we call class oppression, or classism. One person, or a small class of people, ends up controlling the resources and labor of the majority. The enslavement of people appeared early in the development of class societies as a means of accumulating wealth, and the selling of enslaved people played a significant role in the development of capitalism, the most recent form of class oppression. Even though there was increasing pressure from the exploited members of society, the ruling classes kept most of the wealth for themselves instead of using it to meet the needs of the people whose labor and natural resources made their wealth possible.

Class oppression was first maintained by violence and the threat of violence. However, as time went on, other manifestations of classism arose and were used to keep the great mass of people distressed, confused, and divided against each other. These include racism, sexism, anti-Jewish oppression, genocide, the oppression of young people, Gay oppression, and many more. Most of the harming of humans by humans is now caused by these other oppressions.

It is important to remember that humans, whether cast in the role of oppressor or oppressed, have always resisted these rigid patterns. Humans have steadily tried to end oppression and act humanly toward each other. However, as with most of our individual distress patterns, we have not yet been able to completely eliminate their effects from our behavior.

Re-evaluation Counseling is a theory and practice for eliminating the effects of distress on human behavior. We are in an excellent position to play a major role in eliminating oppression and all other forms of humans harming humans.

Re-evaluation Counseling has a one-point program:

The only program of the RC Community that is binding on all members is to use RC to seek recovery of one’s occluded intelligence and humanness and to assist others to do the same. All other activities undertaken by the Community are in support of this program. No agreement beyond consistency with this program and support of the Guidelines is required of members of the Community.

Though the elimination of oppression follows from our theory and practice, the organized work of liberation from oppression is not a requirement for anyone in Re-evaluation Counseling. RC teachers, however, are required to actively challenge these patterns in themselves in order for them to be able to think clearly about the people that they teach and counsel.

Dan Nickerson and others

Dan Nickerson is the International Liberation
Reference Person for Working-Class People.

Freeport, Maine, USA

Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00