[OSList] on context [was Open Space in Charlottesville]
Michael M Pannwitz via OSList
oslist at lists.openspacetech.org
Fri Sep 8 00:33:25 PDT 2017
I updated your World Map profile with the new picture you just sent,
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across the street.
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Have a great day
Am 07.09.2017 um 16:59 schrieb Michael M Pannwitz:
> Dear Raffi,
> reading your last two lines it seems you are out of cents!
> Good to hear from you and from Birgitt at just about the same time.
> For 60 years I have been reading "The Progressive"... and for many years
> I have the yearly "Hidden History of the United States" calendar on my
> desk. Yesterday, it tells me, Jane Addams was born (1860), today the
> Women protest Miss America Pageant took place (1968) and tomorrow the
> Delano, CA, grape workers strike began (1965) which I vividly remember
> as a consumer boycotting table grapes in my neighborhood Safeway in Los
> Angeles (there is a writeup on the Delano grape strike in wikipedia
> So, thats my context, at least part of it.
> Having lived in Europe again since 1972 I am amazed about the
> rediscovery of regional and local context... some of it age old but
> attaining new attention and concrete shape such as currently in the
> secession movement in Spain which the central government is trying to
> stop with all means available.
> From an ost point of view, looking at the preconditions for a favorable
> climate for selforganisation to unfold, I think - among others - of
> "diversity". Regularly, I observed that ost events that I was a part of
> benefited in often amazing wayys when diversity was high. Of course,
> folks planning such events were sensitive to this aspect.
> Different contexts being part of (any) event are very beneficial if not
> necessary. That, and the other preconditions, make ost events not only
> unique but successful. As far as I can tell, there is no substitute or
> Back to your books etc.: Whatever happens anywhere, it needs those
> different contexts, such as the "11 different regional cultures" in the
> USA or the 12 City Districts of Berlin, or the influx of migrants (a
> centuries old characterictic of Berlin, for instance) --- without
> differences the systems we create evaporate.
> Greetings from Berlin
> Hope you make it here some day
> PS: Please have a look at yourself here in the World Map
> You are hard to recognize! With the selforganized Content Management
> System you can have a new picture in the Map, in a jiffy.
> Am 07.09.2017 um 15:22 schrieb Raffi Aftandelian via OSList:
>> Hi Lucas, hi all!
>> I´ve been following this conversation with interest and my curiousity
>> is taking me in a different direction, hence a changed subject line-
>> ¨On context.¨
>> First off, hats off to you, Lucas, for initiating these conversations.
>> Much needed!
>> One question that comes up for me when these types of public
>> conversations are offered is if the matter of context needs to be
>> visited, and if so how is best to do so.
>> I think there can be many, many assumptions- uncovered assumptions-
>> that may end up not being aired. Assumptions like- ¨this is a
>> democracy, we lost our way, and we need to find our way back.¨ Or,
>> that Rodney King line, ¨Can´t we all get along?¨
>> On this question of context- as to who are we (here in the USA) and
>> where are we, there are two points I´d want to make.
>> The first one-- by way of a story-- Back in my college days, I took a
>> course in Soviet history. Our main text was a book titled Utopia in
>> Power by dissident historians Nekrich and Geller. All (or many?) of
>> the darkest chapters of Soviet history were right there, in gory
>> detail. I remember thinking at the time- oh, those poor Soviets, too
>> bad they don´t know the truth of their own history. And in my time
>> living in Russia, I had the sense that most people- even educated
>> people- had little knowledge of this history.
>> Fast forward twenty-five years. My book club read a work titled
>> American Nations (by Colin Woodard) late last year- and as the
>> coincidental timing would have it- we discussed the book the day after
>> the election. Woodard identifies 11 different regional cultures in the
>> USA, each with its own distinctive values, often clashing with those
>> of other regional cultures. While I was reading the book, I realized
>> how little I knew of ¨my¨ own country, how little I knew its history,
>> how little I understood the cultural and value context of each of
>> these regions, and gained a much clearer sense of why we these
>> so-called culture wars and other kinds of social and political
>> conflict. My takeaway was that it really didn´t make sense for all of
>> these cultures to exist under one flag. I also realized that, no, we
>> *can´t* get along (if couples can divorce, why can´t
>> states/cities/communities divorce from the USA???)
>> So, the book had me flashing to that Soviet history class-- and in a
>> way, I had my own comeuppance- ¨us poor Americans, if we only really
>> knew our own context! I really wish that book - for all its own
>> shortcomings- had a wider audience as it could really help us
>> understand our own context much more clearly. And without a
>> consideration of context, we are having these conversations without
>> unpacking what *are* our respective worldviews anyway. And they are
>> quite different.
>> The other aspect of context is surfacing assumptions about our current
>> political system. As best as I can tell, the USA never was a
>> democracy, nor even a republic. The best way I could describe it is as
>> an inverted totalitarian apartheid state with a not insignificant
>> amount of democratic window dressing.
>> Let me unpack this. Sheldon Wolin, a political philosopher at
>> Princeton, who passed a few years ago, coined the term ¨inverted
>> totalitarianism¨ to describe the political system we have here-- a web
>> of corporations and other entities together exerting total control on
>> the political system without the need for a person at the top (no need
>> for a Stalin or Hitler). Journalist Chris Hedges breaks this concept
>> down in an engaging three hour interview he gave to C-Span (it´s
>> online) in 2012.
>> And, historian Gerald Horne in his recent Counter-revolution of 1776
>> makes a strong argument that the so-called Revolution of 1776 was
>> really a counter-revolution, a reactionary attempt to maintain the
>> institution of slavery. He states that really the US was the first
>> apartheid state.
>> And others would say that slavery never really ended, it just
>> evolved...(I first heard of the institution of neo-slavery that
>> existed from the end of the Civil War until the end of World War II
>> and still don´t know much about it) So, when people say, ¨That´s not
>> who we are (we aren´t racist, sexist, etc.)¨-- I find that maddening.
>> We are all those things!
>> So, to be an inverted totalitarian apartheid state with a not
>> insignificant amount of democratic window dressing isn´t bad. But, it
>> would be too bad, I think, not to recognize that this is our base
>> point. And what´s important is that there is some democratic window
>> dressing-- there is some space to change things, some space for
>> conversation, but perhaps not in the ways we would like to think.
>> So, I don´t know how or if what I´m bringing up here is useful. But, I
>> do believe it needs to be part of these conversations somehow.
>> My two kopecks/rials/dinars/pesos,
>> What blocks gratitude in this moment?
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Michael M Pannwitz
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