RE: [OPE] horizontalism and the socialist intelligentsia

Date: Sun Apr 05 2009 - 08:54:38 EDT

> The concept of "listening" is suspect, because in
> managerial psycho-babble, it just means that "you should listen to your
> superior and act accordingly, period" in which case "listening" is just about a
> regime of obedience: it is implied "you will listen to me, but I have no
> obligation to listen to you".
Hi Jurriaan:
Well, that would be the form that listening takes in a hierarchical,
authoritarian structure. The kind of listening that I was referring to,
as an alternative, is a part of a process whereby participants respect
and are open to learning from each other in practice. In a sense, it is
the mirror image of the 'listening' which you refer to above: one
empowers people and requires their participation as equals and the other
establishes a hierarchy in which one party (the authority) talks and
the others listen to the instructions and either slavishly obey orders
or voluntarily follow the recommendations of the authority because of
paternalism ("s/he knows best"). The latter tends to be what happens
in socialist political movements.


> The original meaning of dialectics is "dialogue"
> which occurs rationally speaking on the basis of some shared premises.
> "Dialogue" means that we are listening to each
> other, and for this purpose we must at least credit each other with something.
> In an egalitarian dialogue, we accept that the same standards of discourse
> apply to all participants. However this presumes that all participants can meet
> those standards, or that the standards are set such that all can participate;
> consequently egalitarian dialogue cannot really be separated from the question
> of how we would improve the standard of dialogue.
That was more what I was getting at.

> One of the main cultural developments, I
> think especially from the 1990s onwards, is the enormous expansion of
> the practice of "using communication processes themselves as a means
> for asserting power and manipulating people", both through the form and the
> content of the message communicated.
If you are referring to Internet communications (including message boards, chat
rooms, social networking, blogs - and mailing lists, such as OPE-L), it is
a mixed bag. With the exception of social networks (such as MySpace and
Facebook), most of these forums tend to be very hierarchically structured,
dominated by English-speaking users, and male-dominated. The flip side
of this is that these same forums have progressive sides and potentialities,
e.g. as international forums for political organizing and collaboration.
[This is a big topic, though - I don't have time right now to expand upon it,
although I think it's very important.)
In solidarity, Jerry
PS: I don't agree that culture has become "feminized". The dominant culture in
every nation of the world today is strongly shaped by the institutions and
ideologies associated with patriarchy. If that has been chipped away to a
small extent by the spread of the women's movement since the 1970s then that's
a progressive development.
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Received on Sun Apr 5 08:57:29 2009

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