Sunday, May 03, 2015


I like this essay in Jacobin a lot. I have trouble with the word privilege as it's used today, when people tell me about my white privilege. Yes, I have a somewhat blotchy white skin, and this saves me trouble. I also have a household income below the median, I am female, and I am aging in a society that is not friendly to the aging. We are seen as parasites, no longer useful, to be thrown away in the time honored way of capitalism.

This is's first definition of privilege.
1.a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most:
the privileges of the very rich.
Merriam-Webster gives us this:
: a right or benefit that is given to some people and not to others

: a special opportunity to do something that makes you proud

: the advantage that wealthy and powerful people have over other people in a society
To me the word signals wealth and power. It doesn't mean I have a slightly better life than my neighbor.

We should be focusing on the fact that a tiny -- microscopic -- group of people have collected immense wealth and power. They are a threat to democracy, decent lives for the rest of us and the survival of the planet.

We should be looking at a world system that creates this tiny group of power people and disempowers the rest of us.

This is not an argument against struggling for social justice. The Ferguson demonstrations -- and now the Baltimore demonstrations -- are great. The fast food and big box labor demonstrations are also great. However, this is an argument against guilting. It's a lousy organizational tool.


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