Sunday, January 30, 2011

Atomization of society

Seattle Transpartisan Alliance is developing quite nicely now running several interest groups. It is great to see people concerned about the future not only of themselves but of their country. There has been a Chautauqua style meet a few months ago and recently I managed to get involved in the Changing the Game/System group. Sadly I must say I have not been involved as much as I would wish - principally because of being occupied with my own life. This leads to the subject of this post.

People in the interest group on Changing the Game/System met up in a coffee shop a few Sundays ago and had a bunch of lively and friendly exchanges not very coherently leading in a direction but intending to work it out. So the task is to post some ideas and meet up again - I suppose two weeks from now. However the exchange of ideas has been reduced much to the discussion about where and how to meet - if we are going to use a library, sadly they are not open very late, a noisy coffee shop with or without a conference room, with ample parking, whether people will be able to get there by bus or car? In short the group has been swamped with consideration of various technical difficulties and inconveniences of getting together. There are forces and influences that may keep us from organizing. This was called back in my days in communist Poland - atomization of society. Keeping everybody separate so that their power is diminished with respect to the power of the state. Atomized people have little in terms of support network should they become targets of some government inquiry, and have no sense that there might be others who would back them in a difficult situation. Atomized people have no sense of a social backbone supporting their political grievance.

Of course the Transpartisan Alliance is trying to precisely develop this sort of social support network for politically engaged citizens. Engaged beyond the fixed political constellation of power in the US. The forces to keep us atomized are not necessarily coming from the government - probably not at all. They are in ourselves and in the individualist nature of Americans. We have our goals, jobs and careers and our homes and private lives. We cannot devote a lot of time and energy to banding together with others, spending a lot of hours debating. The effort might claim too much of our energy or it might be just inconvenient. Parking might be difficult or bus ride too long. Don't you feel a pang of shame when it is not dangerous but inconvenient to gather and talk and listen and support each other, when it is not dangerous but inconvenient to dig for the truth in independent media.

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