Oh, we are a long ways away from this

From Suzanne Pharr’s In the Time of the Right (PDF):

This idea of individual effort and individual solutions can be a major block to building a liberation movement. Of course, individual effort is a good thing, and we want an appropriately balanced combination of individual and group effort. However, if people see all problems as individual and the solutions contingent upon the success or failure of individual efforts, then there cannot be collective organizing. An emphasis on individual effort alone ignores structures of oppression and leaves them intact. We then fail to recognize that there is a conscious and deliberate system of oppression and exploitation affecting the economy and social welfare of our people—and that it is a system that can be changed.

I think there was/is some of this thinking underpinning the Obama phenomenon.  After eight years of Bush, who is kind of the poster child of undeserving individualism, there has been some (though really very little) movement towards collective action.  The problem:  For many, it’s not being seen explicitly as such, and is therefore vulnerable to an ideological attack.

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