Asking the Question of Oppression

[This is another blog derived from a post to TGV_Advocacy email list.]

It seems rather arrogant to dismiss the struggle(s) of all those who subscribe to this list–at the very least it is a very broad stroke–that all the “most radical trans advocacy” is happening in Spanish, elsewhere.

It is interesting you hold up for admiration Venezuela and Ecuador, both countries that have elected progressive, if not radical presidents in direct opposition to the wishes of their media, their elites and against the wishes of the United States, its leadership and its elites. Nicaragua, of course, felt the heel of the US when it elected the Sandinistas. One might also include Cuba, which has made quite startling advances in recent months for transsexual people–and is also Spanish speaking.

There is one, dramatic, political economic difference between these countries and the US; they elected presidents who kept their word regarding radical change.

Most Americans, including many on this list, are quite satisfied with the American political economy, and can see no connection between their own oppression, the oppression of others, and the political economy they are content with.

Much of this can be laid at the feet of a generations long explicit policy of changing the frames people think with, as George Lakoff, Robert Parry, among others, have repeatedly pointed to.

However, all politics is local.

The kind of revolution that occurred in Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Cuba, the necessary pre-requisite to the kind of “most radical trans advocacy” you advocate is not yet possible in America.

The inability to grasp the overarching political economy of oppression demonstrated by the Upper Branch Coal Mine Disaster, the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the financial disaster–the Great Recession–the opposition to stimulus of the American economy is both a demonstration and cause of the failure of American politics.

To grasp what is common to all these inevitable disasters.

David Dayen has pointed out how even the presentation of objective fact, such as in each of the cases above, actually lead the misinformed to believe lies more strongly; this is increasingly a defining characteristic of America.

It also shows the failure of the really quite run of the mill centre-right kind of Democrat Obama really is–he refuses to rally Americans as Ecuador’s Correa, Venezuela’s Chavez, Bolivia’s Morales have done, against their own elites, and, of course, there is Cuba; he simply refused to keep his promises, as Democrats always do (don’t); this lays the groundwork for a far more reactionary, energized Republican resurgence.

What happens to transsexual and transgender people is part of a larger picture of oppression painted by political economy, the very thing that is rendered so invisible by media, elites and leadership.

Most Americans, given the generations long reframing project of the Right, simply will not accept the idea that these countries, and their presidents, might be the model for positive change in their own country.

My argument is quite simple: this revolution of thinking, let alone action, will not happen in America or on this list, or in Canada, until the larger question of oppression is asked; it cannot be answered until it is asked.

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