We do not live in a democracy. In an interview between Professor Eddie Glaude Jr. and Benjamin Dixon they revealed that we are living between two specific neoliberal paradigms resulting from the culmination of a 40-50 year campaign to stifle our radical energies and imaginations. The suffering of black, brown, indigenous, poor, and other vulnerable communities are made invisible while the elite and privileged of their communities use their struggles for freedom to front for a toxic brand of American Exceptionalism.
This brand of exceptionalism embodies corporate interests and ethos that are defended by our political parties and intellectual elite to separate certain segments of society by a value gap. The gap is dominated by mostly homogeneous and white social networks that think alike and pass opportunities on within themselves. It is protected by invalidating the anger of the oppressed so that the privilege can espouse polite rhetoric that directly contradicts the rotting state of vulnerable communities. It is fueled by devaluing the hard work of the oppressed so that they become disposable and can almost never attain any economic mobility. Finally, it is held together by the fear that, since we have nowhere else to go, we shouldn’t expect anyone to deliver on any radical policy agendas so we must lower our expectations, limit our discourse, and preoccupy our energies with these neoliberal paradigms. Therefore, we must address the value gap and create a society with a robust conception of the public good.
Transforming and healing the soul of our nation requires that we acknowledge our own fears, but not be ruled by them, else we won’t be able to take the necessary risks that can create fundamental change. We must create a Revolution of Values that revives our nation’s spiritual traditions of striking a blow for freedom to reassert and uplift the radical energies and imagination of everyday people.
The members of the Progressive Army would like to start this conversation off by proposing the following set of values:
Create our own tools to free and to heal the soul of the United States of America
As we reassert our radical discourse to create fundamental change, we have to be much more savvy with our resources than those who wish to silence and limit us. This means that we need to use the system’s tools, use grassroots tools, and start being innovative and come up with some of our own tools in order to achieve that change.
“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” – Audre Lorde
“Oppression and inequality are imbued in The Constitution. The expansion and progression of modern America (Manifest Destiny & capitalism) is imbued with the blood and oppression of others, even today” – Anoa Changa
- Protest, mobilize, petition, and debate
- Use social media, the internet, and mobile platforms to spread our message and connect and engage with others.
- Build our own social network to encourage and help each other work through our mistakes, failures, and hurdles (because there will be many) so that we can hold each other accountable and keep each other focused.
Be active and engaged in the system
We cannot be passive and overindulged in the current process. We must become a powerful and reliable voting bloc and community that is able to cause a “civic power outage” if the system fails us.
- Talk to your friends and family about what issues they believe are important and how they want them addressed.
- Get involved with your local communities and grassroots movements.
- Get involved, record, and live stream events that affect our political process like party meetings, committee meetings, conventions, and etc.
- Align ourselves with causes, not political parties, and hold each other accountable to those causes.
Be consistent, truthful, and fearless
Dealing only in truths and being consistent makes us fearless which helps us breed reliability and empowers us as a community. We need to constantly exert pressure on the parties to yield to our demands and we must work together for a single cause, whether it involves how we vote, not voting at all, how we organize, or how we move forward. It is only by taking risks that we will be able to create the radical and fundamental change needed to heal America.
Always be inclusive and intersectional
Be passionate and encourage vigorous debates on issues, ideas, and practices while promoting a critical understanding of your peers and respect for their personal autonomy.
People of different economic, racial, and cultural backgrounds have vastly different life experiences and they behave and respond to a wide variety of different contexts. So conflicts will arise when these different people interact without considering or respecting these contexts. We need to address our own ignorance, not wallow in it, and understand the needs, wants and expectations of others so that we can strive for an inclusive and intersectional community that fosters a truly diverse coalition of individuals that represent the public good, our values, and causes.
Be wise, smart, and efficient
Our responses to injustice and oppression must be proportional our available energies and resources so that small issues don’t monopolize all our time and efforts. Our emotions should not be invalidated and are often justified. Our responses must be balanced, measured, and respectful or the defenders of this neoliberal paradigm will try to, once again, limit our discourse. It is one thing to preach and demand respectability politics but another thing to be respectful of our personal autonomy. To this end, we must avoid yellow journalism and be well informed on the issues or invite and uplift the voices of others who are more informed or directly affected by certain issues.
We look forward to any and all discussions and conversations on these values or topics of interests.