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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Enlighten Radio:Neruda odes, storytelling, Jane Austen on Monday

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Blog: Enlighten Radio
Post: Neruda odes, storytelling, Jane Austen on Monday
Link: http://www.enlightenradio.org/2017/05/neruda-odes-storytelling-jane-austen-on.html

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Dan Little (Understanding Society): Proliferation of hate and intolerance



Friday, May 26, 2017

Proliferation of hate and intolerance


Paul Brass provides a wealth of ethnographic and historical evidence on the causes of Hindu-Muslim violence in India in The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India. His analysis here centers on the city of Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh, and he believes that his findings have broad relevance in many parts of India. His key conclusion is worth quoting:

It is a principal argument of this book that the whole political order in post-Independence north India and many, if not most of its leading as well as local actors -- more markedly so since the death of Nehru -- have become implicated in the persistence of Hindu-Muslim riots. These riots have had concrete benefits for particular political organizations as well as larger political uses. Hindu-Muslim opposition, tensions, and violence have provided the principal justification and the primary source of strength for the political existence of some local political organizations in many cities and towns in north India linked to a family of militant Hindu nationalist organizations whose core is an organization founded in 1925, known as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Included in this family, generally called the Sangh Parivar, are an array of organizations devoted to different tasks: mass mobilization, political organization, recruitment of students, women, and workers, and paramilitary training. The leading political organization in this family, originally called the Jan Sangh, is now the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), currently (2001) the predominant party in India's governing coalition. All the organizations in the RSS family of militant Hindu organizations adhere to a broader ideology of Hindutva, of Hindu nationalism that theoretically exists independently of Hindu-Muslim antagonisms, but in practice has thrived only when that opposition is explicitly or implicitly present. (6-7)

Brass provides extensive evidence, that is, for the idea that a key cause and stimulant to ethnic and religious conflict derives from the political entrepreneurs and organizations who have a political interest in furthering conflict among groups.

Let's think about the mechanics of the spread of attitudes of intolerance, distrust, and hate throughout a population. What kinds of factors and interactions lead individuals to increase the intensity of their negative beliefs and attitudes towards other groups? What drives the spread of hate and intolerance through a population? (Donatella della Porta, Manuela Caiani and Claudius Wagemann's Mobilizing on the Extreme Right: Germany, Italy, and the United States is a valuable recent effort at formulating a political sociology of right-wing extremism in Italy, Germany, and the United States. Here is an earlier post that also considers this topic; link.)

Here are several mechanisms that recur in many instances of extremist mobilization.

Exposure to inciting media. Since the Rwandan genocide the role of radio, television, and now the internet has been recognized in the proliferation and intensification of hate. The use of fake news, incendiary language, and unfounded conspiracy theories seems to have accelerated the formation of constituencies for the beliefs and attitudes of hate. Breitbart News is a powerful example of a media channel specifically organized around conveying suspicion, mistrust, disrespect, and alienation among groups. ("Propaganda and conflict: Evidence from the Rwandan genocide" is a finegrained study of Rwandan villages that attempts to estimate the impact of a radio station on violent participation by villagers; link.)

Incidents. People who have studied the occurrence of ethnic violence in India have emphasized the role played by various incidents, real or fictitious, that have elevated emotions and antagonisms in one community or another. An assault or a rape, a house or shop being burned, even an auto accident can lead to a cascade of heightened emotions and blame within a community, communicated by news media and word of mouth. These sorts of incidents play an important role in many of the conflicts Brass describes.

Organizations and leaders. Organizations like white supremacist clubs and their leaders make deliberate attempts to persuade outsiders to join their beliefs. Leaders make concerted and intelligent attempts to craft messages that will appeal to potential followers, deliberately cultivating the themes of hate and racism that they advocate. Young people are recruited at the street level into groups and clubs that convey hateful symbols and rhetoric. Political entrepreneurs take advantage of the persuasive power of mobilization efforts based on divisiveness and intolerance. In Brass's account of Hindu-Muslim conflict, that role is played by RSS, BJP, and many local organizations motivated by this ideology.

Music, comics, and video games. Anti-hate organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center have documented the role played by racist and anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim themes in popular music and other forms of entertainment (link). These creations help to create a sense of shared identity among members as they enjoy the music or immerse themselves in the comics and games. Blee and Creasap emphasize the importance of the use of popular culture forms in mobilization strategies of the extreme right in "Conservative and right-wing movements"; link.

The presence of a small number of "hot connectors". It appears to be the case that attitudes of intolerance are infectious to some degree. So the presence of a few outspoken bigots in a small community may spread their attitudes to others, and the density of local social networks appears to be an important factor in the spread of hateful attitudes. The broader the social network of these individuals, the more potent the infective effects of their behavior are likely to be. (Here is a recent post on social-network effects on mobilization; link.)

There is a substantial degree of orchestration in most of these mechanisms -- deliberate efforts by organizations and political entrepreneurs to incite and channel the emotions of fear, hostility, and hate among their followers and potential followers. Strategies of recruitment for extremist and hate-based parties deliberately cultivate the mindset of hate among young people and disaffected older people (link). And the motivations seem to be a mix of ideological commitment to a worldview of hate and more prosaic self-interest -- power, income, resources, publicity, and influence.

But the hard questions remaining are these: how does intolerance become mainstream? Is this a "tipping point" phenomenon? And what mechanisms and forces exist to act as counter-pressures against these mechanisms, and promulgate attitudes of mutual respect and tolerance as affirmative social values?

*          *          *

Here is a nice graphic from Arcand and Chakraborty, "What Explains Ethnic Violence? Evidence from Hindu-Muslim Riots in India"; link. Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh show the largest concentration of riots over the period 1960-1995. There appears to be no correlation by time in the occurrence of riots in the three states.


And here is a 1996 report on the incidence of religious violence in India by Human Rights Watch; link.
--
John Case
Harpers Ferry, WV

The Winners and Losers Radio Show
7-9 AM Weekdays, The Enlighten Radio Player Stream,
Sign UP HERE to get the Weekly Program Notes.
Check out Socialist Economics, the Enlighten Radio website, and
The Poets and Mechanics Quaker Worship Group

Poets and Mechanics: Call to Meeting: Hate Speech and its Consequences

Call to Meeting for Worship: May 28, 2017




We meet for worship in the tradition and testimonies of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in the second floor reading room of the Four Seasons Bookstore, 114 W German St, Shepherdstown, WV, 8:30 AM. The bookstore is not open at 8:30, so, enter the "private entrance" gate immediately to the left of the store and walk back to the staircase. Enter the landing closest to the front of the store -- that's the EPIC Radio Studio. Go thru the kitchen into the reading room.

If you have a harmonious spirit, feeling or personal witness towards the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship, and the Light of the Divine in each life, or simply a curiosity -- Welcome!

Friends:

Murderous assaults associated with anti-Muslim and racist rage are on the rise.
Headlines from just in the past two weeks:

1. Murder of 2nd Lieutenant Richard Wilbur by "alt-Reich" agitator 

2. Good Samaritans murdered trying to assist Muslim woman from assault.

Hate speech has been legitimized by the promotion of undisguised and unapologetic haters to high places in the new administration. Speech leads to actions.

Tolerance toward hate speech undermines tolerance itself. This has happened before. It is happening again. 

Query: When the Good Samaritan is killed, who will help?


Practice: While bearing arms is generally shunned by diverse Quaker trends, Quakers nonetheless performed an historic resistance role in pre-war Germany by organizing sanctuary and escape for many victims of Nazi hate crimes -- both before and after Hitler's seizure of power.

A Poem for reflection

Quaker Meeting, The Sixties

Related Poem Content Details

Seeing my friend's son in his broad-brimmed hat 
and suspenders, I think of the Quakers 
who lectured us on nonviolent social action 
every week when I was a child. In the classrooms 
we listened to those who would not take up arms, 
who objected, who had accepted alternative 
service in distant work camps and showed 
slides of hospitals they helped to build. 
On Wednesdays, in Meeting for Worship, 
when someone rose to speak, 
all the energy in the room 
flew inside her mouth, empowering her to tell 
what she had seen on her brief 
encounter with the divine: sometimes, a parable, 
a riddle, a kindness. The fall that we were seventeen, 
we scuffed our loafers on the gravelly path 
from the Meetinghouse, while maple and elm 
leaves sailed around our shoulders   
like tiny envelopes, our futures sealed inside. 
Despite the war in Vietnam, I felt safer 
than I ever would again. Perhaps 
those aged, protective trees had cast a spell 
on us, or maybe the nonviolent Quaker God 
had set up a kingdom right there— 
suburban Philadelphia. Looking back, I see how 
good deeds and thoughts climbed with us to the attic 
room for Latin, descended to the gym for sports, 
where we hung from the praiseworthy scaffolds 
of righteous behavior. We prepared to leave 
for college, armed with the language of the American 
Friends and the memories of Thanksgiving 
dinners we'd cooked for the unfortunates: 
borrowing our parents' cars to drive 
downtown to the drop-off point, racing back 
to play our last field hockey match. Grim center forwards 
shook hands before the whistle, the half-backs' 
knee-pads strapped on tight; one varsity team vanquished another.





--
John Case
Harpers Ferry, WV

The Winners and Losers Radio Show
7-9 AM Weekdays, The Enlighten Radio Player Stream, 
Sign UP HERE to get the Weekly Program Notes.

Call to Meeting for Worship: May 28, 2017




We meet for worship in the tradition and testimonies of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in the second floor reading room of the Four Seasons Bookstore, 114 W German St, Shepherdstown, WV, 8:30 AM. The bookstore is not open at 8:30, so, enter the "private entrance" gate immediately to the left of the store and walk back to the staircase. Enter the landing closest to the front of the store -- that's the EPIC Radio Studio. Go thru the kitchen into the reading room.

If you have a harmonious spirit, feeling or personal witness towards the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship, and the Light of the Divine in each life, or simply a curiosity -- Welcome!

Friends:

Murderous assaults associated with anti-Muslim and racist rage are on the rise.
Headlines from just in the past two weeks:

1. Murder of 2nd Lieutenant Richard Wilbur by "alt-Reich" agitator

2. Good Samaritans murdered trying to assist Muslim woman from assault.

Hate speech has been legitimized by the promotion of undisguised and unapologetic haters to high places in the new administration. Speech leads to actions.

Tolerance toward hate speech undermines tolerance itself. This has happened before. It is happening again.

Query: When the Good Samaritan is killed, who will help?


Practice: While bearing arms is generally shunned by diverse Quaker trends, Quakers nonetheless performed an historic resistance role in pre-war Germany by organizing sanctuary and escape for many victims of Nazi hate crimes -- both before and after Hitler's seizure of power.

A Poem for reflection

Quaker Meeting, The Sixties

Related Poem Content Details

Seeing my friend’s son in his broad-brimmed hat 
and suspenders, I think of the Quakers 
who lectured us on nonviolent social action 
every week when I was a child. In the classrooms 
we listened to those who would not take up arms, 
who objected, who had accepted alternative 
service in distant work camps and showed 
slides of hospitals they helped to build. 
On Wednesdays, in Meeting for Worship, 
when someone rose to speak, 
all the energy in the room 
flew inside her mouth, empowering her to tell 
what she had seen on her brief 
encounter with the divine: sometimes, a parable, 
a riddle, a kindness. The fall that we were seventeen, 
we scuffed our loafers on the gravelly path 
from the Meetinghouse, while maple and elm 
leaves sailed around our shoulders   
like tiny envelopes, our futures sealed inside. 
Despite the war in Vietnam, I felt safer 
than I ever would again. Perhaps 
those aged, protective trees had cast a spell 
on us, or maybe the nonviolent Quaker God 
had set up a kingdom right there— 
suburban Philadelphia. Looking back, I see how 
good deeds and thoughts climbed with us to the attic 
room for Latin, descended to the gym for sports, 
where we hung from the praiseworthy scaffolds 
of righteous behavior. We prepared to leave 
for college, armed with the language of the American 
Friends and the memories of Thanksgiving 
dinners we’d cooked for the unfortunates: 
borrowing our parents’ cars to drive 
downtown to the drop-off point, racing back 
to play our last field hockey match. Grim center forwards 
shook hands before the whistle, the half-backs’ 
knee-pads strapped on tight; one varsity team vanquished another.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Call to Meeting for Worship: May 21, 2017

Call To Meeting -- May 21, 2017

We meet for worship in the tradition and testimonies of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in the second floor reading room of the Four Seasons Bookstore, 114 W German St, Shepherdstown, WV, 8:30 AM. The bookstore is not open at 8:30, so, enter the "private entrance" gate immediately to the left of the store and walk back to the staircase. Enter the landing closest to the front of the store -- that's the EPIC Radio Studio. Go thru the kitchen into the reading room.

If you have a harmonious spirit, feeling or personal witness towards the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship, and the Light of the Divine in each life, or simply a curiosity -- Welcome!

Query: Are the Beatitudes the Quaker Commandments? Should THEY be posted on the courthouse walls, instead of the 10 Commandments?

Practice: A young man n Jackson, Mississippi wrote a letter to Dr. King declaring his commitment to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's freedom struggle in Alabama in 1963. He asked Dr. King how he could help if he had no money with which to travel to Birmingham Alabama. Dr. King suggested he walk. However he acknowledged that this might be to onerous an initiation for many to undertake. The young man agreed to leave that same day. Dr. King thanked him for his sacrifice, but promised the next walk he would have to take would be longer, and harder, than the first. Will you walk the talk? 


The Beatitudes: A Poem for Reflection

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew -- 5:3-10--
John Case
Harpers Ferry, WV

The Winners and Losers Radio Show
7-9 AM Weekdays, The Enlighten Radio Player Stream, 
Sign UP HERE to get the Weekly Program Notes.

Call To Meeting -- May 21, 2017

We meet for worship in the tradition and testimonies of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in the second floor reading room of the Four Seasons Bookstore, 114 W German St, Shepherdstown, WV, 8:30 AM. The bookstore is not open at 8:30, so, enter the "private entrance" gate immediately to the left of the store and walk back to the staircase. Enter the landing closest to the front of the store -- that's the EPIC Radio Studio. Go thru the kitchen into the reading room.

If you have a harmonious spirit, feeling or personal witness towards the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship, and the Light of the Divine in each life, or simply a curiosity -- Welcome!

Query: Are the Beatitudes the Quaker Commandments?

Practice: A young man n Jackson, Mississippi wrote a letter to Dr. King declaring his commitment to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's freedom struggle in Alabama in 1963. He asked Dr. King how he could help if he had no money with which to travel to Birmingham Alabama. Dr. King suggested he walk. However he acknowledged that this might be to onerous an initiation for many to undertake. The young man agreed to leave that same day. Dr. King thanked him for his sacrifice, but promised the next walk he would have to take would be longer, and harder, than the first. Will you walk the talk?

The Beatitudes: A Poem for Reflection

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."


Matthew -- 5:3-10

Friday, May 12, 2017

Monday, May 8, 2017

Enlighten Radio:Fwd: Monday's poet is Samuel Hazo

John Case has sent you a link to a blog:



Blog: Enlighten Radio
Post: Fwd: Monday's poet is Samuel Hazo
Link: http://www.enlightenradio.org/2017/05/fwd-mondays-poet-is-samuel-hazo.html

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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Call To Meeting -- May 7, 2017

We meet for worship in the tradition and testimonies of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in the second floor reading room of the Four Seasons Bookstore, 114 W German St, Shepherdstown, WV, 8:30 AM. The bookstore is not open at 8:30, so, enter the "private entrance" gate immediately to the left of the store and walk back to the staircase. Enter the landing closest to the front of the store -- that's the EPIC Radio Studio. Go thru the kitchen into the reading room.

If you have a harmonious spirit, feeling or personal witness towards the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship, and the Light of the Divine in each life, or simply a curiosity -- Welcome!

Query: How to make decisions in the season of Unrequited Love?

Practice:  Michael J Sheeran, a Jesuit, studied Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and decision-making in the manner of Friends, and summarized 9 distinct principles of Friends' "voteless" decision-making: 1) no voting, unity in decisions, 2) silent periods, 3) moratorium when decisions cannot be reached, 4) participation by all with ideas on the subject, 5) learning to listen, not going in with mind made up, 6) absence of leaders, the clerk steers but does not dominate, 7) nobody outranks anybody, 8) factual focus, emotions kept to a minimum, and 9) typically small meetings.

A Poem for Reflection on the Seasons of Love

The Cap and Bells  

by W. B. Yeats

The jester walked in the garden: 
The garden had fallen still;
He bade his soul rise upward
And stand on her window-sill.

It rose in a straight blue garment,
When owls began to call:
It had grown wise-tongued by thinking
Of a quiet and light footfall;


But the young queen would not listen;
She rose in her pale night-gown;
She drew in the heavy casement
And pushed the latches down.

He bade his heart go to her,
When the owls called out no more;
In a red and quivering garment
It sang to her through the door.

It had grown sweet-tongued by dreaming
Of a flutter of flower-like hair;
But she took up her fan from the table
And waved it off on the air.

'I have cap and bells,’ he pondered,
'I will send them to her and die’;
And when the morning whitened
He left them where she went by.

She laid them upon her bosom,
Under a cloud of her hair,
And her red lips sang them a love-song
Till stars grew out of the air.

She opened her door and her window,
And the heart and the soul came through,
To her right hand came the red one,
To her left hand came the blue.

They set up a noise like crickets,
A chattering wise and sweet,
And her hair was a folded flower
And the quiet of love in her feet.