Panic at Activist Organizations
about internal injustice
Now, as never before, because Trump etc., progressive activist organizations need to be effective so they can fight injustice. And yet, progressives worry, today's activist organizations are becoming totally ineffective. Said a progressive organization head:
[there are] millions of people depending on these [progressive] organizations to stave off the crushing injustices coming our way.
But, it's as if the right wing had deliberately succeeded in sabotaging them.
Progressive leaders cannot do anything but fight inside the orgs, thereby rendering the orgs completely toothless for the external battles in play. … Everyone is scared, and fear creates the inaction that the right wing needs to succeed in cementing a deeply unpopular agenda.
This is in an article by Ryan Grim at The Intercept about how progressive advocacy groups are so embroiled in making the organization itself a just place -- and free from racism, etc. -- that they have abandoned their sacred duty of making the world a better place. He starts with meetings at the Gutmacher Institute, the pro-abortion research organization in the wake of George Floyd.
Heather Boonstra, vice president of public policy... talked about the role systemic racism plays in society and the ways that Guttmacher’s work could counter it. Staff suggestions, though, turned inward... Staffers suggested additional racial equity trainings.. With no Black staff in the D.C. unit, it was suggested that “Guttmacher do something tangible for Black employees in other divisions.”
In other words, the cancel, safetyist, self-care culture is not just ruining the effectiveness of our schools and colleges and woke corporations, but the very social justice organizations that are trying to create a better world. It has resulted in "wrenching and debilitating turmoil in the past couple years" in organizations like "The Sierra Club, Demos, the American Civil Liberties Union, Color of Change, the Movement for Black Lives, Human Rights Campaign, Time’s Up, the Sunrise Movement." Oh no!
But my interest in the article was really the taken-for-granted idea that progressives today are fighting like never before against a tsunami of injustice.
In the wake of George FLoyd progressives were united in "a reckoning with racial injustsice".
In mid 2021 the Biden administrations program of "transformational change" stalled as organizations broke down into "internal strife and internal bullshit" instead of fighting for "reproductive justice, or jobs, or fighting climate change."
"Trump’s shock victory sharpened the focus of activists and regular people alike... A period of mourning turned into fierce determination to resist."
"The ACLU alone collected almost $1 million within 24 hours of Trump’s election and tens of millions more over the next year."
Know what I think? I think that when social justice organizations are as focused on the internal justice of an organization it means that the threat of injustice from those monster racist-sexist-homophobes of which you've heard tell is not that urgent.
That's the way humans are programmed. When there's an emergency, and our lives are threatened, we all come together and we subordinate ourselves selflessly to the self-appointed leaders.
But when the emergency recedes a bit, then we start to want to renegotiate our place in the hierarchy and demand that the boss is nicer to us. And whatabout that promotion he promised in return for a job well done!
Which goes to prove that the existential threat of injustice is not quite as bad as we've been told.