The Common Core of Being
Tod Desmond and Boyce Brown
In the Republic, Plato describes the sequential degeneration of the ostensibly ideal regime of the philosopher guardians headed by the philosopher king (which he calls aristocracy) through four subsequent regimes: timocracy (rule by the warriors), oligarchy (rule by the wealthy), democracy (rule by the people), and tyranny (the mirror opposite of aristocracy). We argue that these five regimes roughly correspond to the four images of the futures Dator delineates (2006). The overall goal of narrowing the wide-ranging conversation about the futures of Common Core through the filtering lenses of Dator's theories and Plato's Republic is to provide a focused starting point for future (nonpartisan) dialogues that tie contemporary academic theories with the original template of academia itself, when the philosophers strolled through the groves of Athens and along the peripatos beneath the Acropolis. The ultimate goal of the education system for the ideal state in the Republic is to open the eye of the students' souls to the idea of the good and the spiritual light of the eternal forms, or ideas. Later in this series, we will demonstrate how Plato's theory of the idea of the good and the other eternal forms are similar to current cosmological concepts of the gravitational singularity, the Big Bang, and black holes. Citing experts, we will also demonstrate parallels between the cosmology in Plato's Republic (especially the cave allegory and the near-death experience recounted in the myth of Er) and holographic string theory, which may be able to reconcile the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.
The Internal Struggle
Battling Oppressive Tendencies in Radical Spaces
One of the main factors in excluding marginalized groups, in my experience especially with German activists, is the massive amount of unchecked privilege. This is especially true for activists who have entered Anarchism not to institute any meaningful social change, but to be part of a scene they consider a cool and edgy place to be in, i.e. they are not into it to build a better society, but to raise their own social status. These people (usually of the white, cishet, male, able-bodied/minded variety) then tend to establish dominance within their groups by all means available, including loads of oppressive behavior, especially shouting down and talking over more marginalized voices. Here in Germany, they have managed to successfully appropriate the concept of privilege, which is now considered a strictly individual property and not a result of structural inequality (e.g., people talk endlessly about the white privilege of individuals, but refuse to acknowledge white supremacy). Some even believe that, if they talk about their privilege a lot and in scene-approved terms, they can unilaterally rid themselves of said privilege, which leads to results to white men shouting down (white) women who raise topics like misogyny with shouts of "Check your white privilege" (white privilege can be interchanged with every other privilege here that is not male privilege). Another major issue here is in my experience sub-culturalism. The confinement of Anarchism to a very narrow subculture is a major contributor to Anarchism's current state as a white boys club.
Violence is Violence?
Inter-Generational Strife, Self-Defense, and the Black Lives Matter Movement
The Bible is brimming with instances of people waiting for a prophet or movement only to have that person or mobilization arrive and go unrecognized or, worse yet, be violently suppressed because it doesn't conform to the expectations of the waiting masses. Since I started working and/or living in radical Christian settings seven years ago, I have heard elders wax nostalgic about the civil rights movement. I have watched older folks who lived during the end of the Jim Crow era weep when discussing their own recognition of that important historical and cultural shift. I have also watched elders chastise young folks, sometimes rightfully, for failing to care about this history; the nonviolent tactics employed; and the ways hearts, minds, and institutions were forever altered. I write about a lot of issues with the marginal confidence of a generalist. But if there is an issue on which my nerve consistently fails it is on the generational tension and resulting divide as it exists in the radical Christian left. This issue of generational conflict feels close…maybe too close. I have watched the "old guard" in established Christian communities push out younger folks for misunderstandings that boil down to generational politics (i.e. democratic socialism vs. anarchism). I have watched young people leave established churches to start generationally homogenous churches of their own. And, of course, I have seen so many people under 40 leave parish ministries and take their seminary training to chaplaincy work or academia.
Gangs of the State
Police & the Hierarchy of Violence
December 15th,after the killings of Officers Liu and Ramos of the NYPD, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted "When police officers are murdered, it tears at the foundation of our society. This heinous attack was an attack on our entire city." On July 18th, the day after Eric Garner, a longtime New Yorker and father of six, was choked to death by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, the mayor of of the Big Apple had only this to say: "On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Eric Garner." In his condolences there was no mention of a "heinous attack" against the actual people of New York City. There was no mention of the "tearing at the foundation of our society" either. Still further, in the case for the police officers, de Blasio went as far as to use the word "murdered" long before a shred of evidence was provided. Yet in the face of video footage (that pesky thing called evidence) of Eric Garner's actual murder at the literal hands of an NYPD officer, de Blasio showed no "outrage," only platitudinous sentiment. Such reactions are typical, but there is nothing shocking about them when we understand that our society operates on a clearly defined, yet often unarticulated, hierarchy of violence, and that the function of politicians and police is to normalize and enforce that violence. Thus, as an institution, police act as state-sanctioned gangs charged with the task of upholding the violent, racist hierarchy of white supremacist capitalism and, whenever possible..