I mean more by the word "shame" than calling gay women slurs or the "n" word or any of the old standbys. I'm referring to an evolved form of it happening now. Any examples I give here aren't to advocate any view or idea, but merely to illustrate the use of shaming as a means to control people.
It is said that shame is the master emotion. So much human drama is about people dealing in various ways to the stress of being shamed. Our jobs, our lives, our world runs on shaming us. "What will people think if you don't own that car?" Shaming is what is at the core of advertising frequently.
Lets take the issue of shaming to the movement:
If you question capitalism, what happens? Do you get a real discussion about the vices and virtues of an economic system? Or do you get shamed. "How dare you question capitalism, you unappreciative ass? We'd all die without capitalism, screw you!" Conversations like that almost always devolve rapidly into all or nothing ideas. Either you have to support capitalism or you want everyone to starve all in the name of you not having to work. The accusations fly.
Europe and Asia will take to the streets over much lesser stuff than us, or at least do it with more ease. In India they riot over a blog post. Why do we Americans seem to be so great at taking it up the ass? Shame.
People in America are afraid. Why? -because they will be shamed for going out into the streets. If you are even a peaceful protester you get looked down on because you go to protests with those "horrible anarchists" and are guilty by association. We deal with this shaming by the larger culture by attacking ourselves for being anarchists or not being anarchists in this case forgetting all the while that the reason that debate is being had is from corporate media shaming of our work in Seattle, both destructive and not. We think shaming our own people will appease the larger culture which shames us. We fail to see the absurdity in worrying about being shamed by shameless people. We forget just how shameful corporate culture actually is and forget how easy it is to make these bad people look bad. We have the advantage as far as truth. The other side is winning because shame is the last thing in the bag of an asshole to use when all else fails. People don't need to do bad to look bad. Low level criminals start gossip. High level criminals use the press. The bottom line is that there is an effort to make people not like us.
Shaming covers so much in the corporate states bag of tricks. I'll share an example. You may have noticed how some of our issues have touched near to the conspiracy theory subculture, or so it is called. 9/11 became abducted by these types, though the original questioning about the incident started on the main IMC right after 911. The issue sort of devolved and is Really is a seperate topic.. Regardless, Bush took it upon himself to dismiss those "outrageous conspiracy theories." Let me state now for the record, this is about tactics, not 911 so I want NO posts on that subject as far as for or against. Cite the issue like me or start your own thread. Take it elsewhere.
What I saw came from Bush's shaming with the word "conspiracy theory" was word showing up everywhere- even here. Fine, but as to what that term means and that it can be wrongly applied to a subject of serious discussion like COINTELPRO makes me concerned our use of these buzz words may hinder more than help.
Really, why are we letting our lives get trashed so badly here in America and basically letting it happen. I don't think it is because things "have to get bad enough to radicalize people." I think it is because we are being shamed for thinking what we think and feeling what we feel. Regardless if it is the media or someone on the street shaming our ideas, through shaming they are trying to modify your behavior.
This means that to stay free you need to question whether what you are made to feel matches what you *should* feel.
Why No Revolution? It can be summed up in one word: SHAME
Who wants to start a revolution and have no one show up? That is the main reason I think we are stuck. This means the problem is partially something we can control. We have every mouthpiece out there now shaming anything less than blind religious faith in our present system. This is how the system can continue to get worse and more rapacious with each new day. Social controls like shaming are a good part of it.
Any action can look or feel stupid no matter how right when it is placed in a negative, shaming social context. For example, if you are the only one doing something, be it holding a sign or spray painting a message and people around you start murmuring to each other in response instead of helping, you'll feel like an idiot. If people around you are nice and supportive you feel okay, even great sometimes.
Shaming can make or break your day no matter how hardcore you are. Shaming works because it threatens us with alienation. We need people to live, so even the most detached person can feel comfortable or uncomfortable depending the situation. Shame is supposed to be good and keep us from being rewarded for stabbing puppies or something. People have found that they can contrive situations and make people feel shame where there is no need for shame. Most off the wall shaming comes from insecure people trying to make themselves look good at someone's expense. Ideas that threaten an individual can be shamed by someone too. The latter is what I wanna talk about.
If I'm say a softcore activist who questions whether the world will go on without capitalism and like my nice job and want a future with it, I can surreptitiously shame that individual bewailing modern capitalism so they shut up. If my victim is weak, he or she may wander off less inspired. That may be fine for whatever insecure person is out there, but it is a slow poison in the movement.
Like anything, naming something takes its power away. I'm sure that America isn't seeing the activism that should be happening simply because the media and cops have been engaging in effort to make the world and us stop taking ourselves seriously. It infiltrates our minds and then we spend more time addling over whether we are doing the right thing than just going ahead and doing it. There is a payoff for the fat cats. Every day the people stall on reacting to the each new insane thing in the news, this buys fat cats time to shore up their position and undermine ours.