Deep Green Resistance – Liberal vs Radical Part 1 of 3


Two of my favorite people from history. My dad gets upset because they don’t really
teach science anymore in the public schools, and this is mostly because the Right Wing
can’t bear the thought of evolution. My mom gets sad ’cause they don’t
really teach history anymore and my sister fairly weeps because you don’t
get art anymore in the school system. But me, I’m like, “they just don’t teach
revolution anymore in those public schools.” [audience laughs] Am I right?
Right? So this is like the basic political education that really,
we all should have gotten, and really most of us didn’t. And I start here with liberals and radicals
because I think this is the main division. I think this is important because a lot of times in our
friendships and our activist networks and even in our groups, and across broader movements, there are these
tensions that can be really painful and profound and a lot of it really comes down to the
difference between liberals and radicals. I, in the end, don’t care which
side of this you decide to land on you got to figure out which, you know, which world
view actually describes the world as you know it (and that’s up to you really). But it can really help to understand where these different perspectives are
coming from because then when you have these conflicts suddenly you go, “right, that’s liberal and I’m radical, and that’s why we’re never going to
meet in the middle” because these are profound differences, politically. Doesn’t mean we can’t work together;
lots of coalitions need to happen. I mean, I am not trying to demonize anybody here but these ARE
different positions that people can take across the spectrum. I would say the main division between
liberals and radicals is individualism. Liberals believe that society is made up of individuals.
That’s the basic social unit. In fact individualism is so sacrosanct that in this view, to be identified
as a member of a group is seen as an affront; that’s the insult. Totally different for radicals over
on the other side of the chart. Society is not made up of individual
people, it’s made up of groups of people. In Marx’s original version this was class, it was economic class. This is the debt
that all radicals owe Karl Marx. It doesn’t matter if you are a Marxist or not, HE figured this out. It’s groups of people and some groups
have power over other groups. That’s what society is made of. In the radicals’ understanding being a member of a group is not an insult.
In fact it’s the first primary step you have to take coming to a radical consciousness and then ultimately having effective
political action, you have to identify as a member of that group. You’ve got to make common cause with the people who share
your condition. That’s how political change happens. This is both an active and a critical
embrace of that group identity We radicals get accused all the time of creating this kind
of “victim identity”, but that’s not what’s going on. We are more than what they’ve done
to us, and we do have agency. But we do have to recognize that there is power
in the world and we’re on the receiving end. The other big division is between the nature of social reality.
Liberalism is what’s called “idealist”. Social reality, for them, is made up of
attitudes, of ideas; it’s a mental event. And therefore social change happens through education.
Through changing people’s minds. Materialism, in contrast, over on the radical side: society is organized by
concrete systems of power, not by thoughts and ideas. By material institutions. And the solution to oppression is to
take those systems apart brick by brick. The liberals will say, “we have to educate, educate, educate”,
and the radicals will say, “actually we have to stop them”. Political movements need education, this
is an educational event, here we are. And you need active proselytizing, the oppressed need mechanisms
to understand political oppression, consciousness raising. This is all really profoundly important. But for radicals alone that does not change social reality. Because
the world is not an internal state. It’s not a mental state. The point of education is to build the movement that can take down
those oppressive structures and bring about some kind of justice. If you remove power from the equation
oppression looks either natural or voluntary. If you’re not going to see that people are formed by these social
conditions how else are you going to explain subordination? Well either those people aren’t quite human, so they’re
naturally different than us — that’s why they’re subordinate, or they’re somehow volunteering to be subordinate.
Those are the options that you’re left with. For instance race and gender are seen as biological. These are supposed
to be physically real. Well they’re not, they’re politically real. It’s brutal, vicious subordination that creates those things. But it’s
ideology, and it is the ideology of the powerful that says this is biological. They make that claim that this is biological because how are you going
to fight God or Nature or 4 million years of evolution? Well you’re not. There are physical differences between people who are from northern Europe and people
who live at the equator, just like there are differences between males and females but those differences only matter because power needs them to. It is power
that creates the ideology and it’s a corrupt and brutal arrangement of power. These are unjust systems that we are going to have to dismantle,
and these are social categories we are going to have to destroy. Just like naturalism operates in the
service of power, so does volunteerism. If you are not going to go the biological route,
all you are left with is volunteerism as a concept. This is the thing that liberals do not understand. With power removed from the equation,
if it looks voluntary you are going to erase the fact that it’s social subordination. So here is Florynce Kennedy, “without
the consent of the oppressed.” 90% of any oppression is consensual. That’s what it does. It does
not mean it’s our fault, it does not mean we are responsible, it doesn’t mean it will somehow
crumble if we withdraw our consent. All it means is that the powerful—the capitalists, the white supremacists, the
masculinists, whoever—they can’t stand over vast numbers of people 24/7 with guns. Luckily, for them, depressingly for
the rest of us, they don’t have to. Subtitles by the Amara.org community

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Lierre Keith is an amazing speaker, and teacher, too. It took me a long time to understand the difference between liberal and radical, and here she explains this difference and other things in an easy to understand way…I wish I'd heard this long ago…this is a great teaching video.

  2. @Sean Estelle some well known radical feminist writers would be Andrea Dworkin, Angela Davis, and honestly you can just find writers on google

  3. I understand what she's saying…the problem is most people struggle too understand this form (academic) of syntax.

    I wish I had access to a simpler version of what she stated here, so I can offer it up to people around me.

  4. Is this an attempt to appropriate the term radical? Liberalism is a body of ideas. Radicalism is a word most people associate with stridency and doctrinairism in the pursuit of an outlier ideology of any kind. Radical refers to "how", not "what". I don't disagree with what's being said, but where does this usage of radical come from? 

  5. I'm a radical feminist, in the same way that I'm not going to teach or support women how to exist in a domestic violence relationship, I'm not going to teach women how to exist in a patriarchal society

  6. "These are social categories we are going to have to destroy?" That will never happen. The Communists tried it, and couldn't do it because it can't be done. In the same way that a man cannot be made into a woman and a woman cannot be made into a man (and they can't … that's why they have to keep taking hormones), so the social categories that exist in humankind cannot be changed into anything else. Those categories are a part of who we are here. And then there was this jewel: "Race and gender are not physically real." That statement isn't simply naive. It sounds like statements I've heard mentally ill people make. And then there's Marx: He figured out that some groups of people have power over others? That's not profound. Here's a news flash: I also figured that out all by myself … just like a trillion other people on this planet. It's not news and it wasn't news in Marx's time. The mere mention of Marx in this video tells me a lot. Thanks to him and all that followed, we've had nothing but trouble for many decades, and today Communist values (such as, "We're all the same!") permeate what used to be the USA. This rather inane (not a misspelling of "insane") video is about making plans and taking action to "improve" the world. That's what Marx wanted to do. There are power structures on the planet that will eventually destroy themselves, like the Romans. The English still have power but not like they once did. The USA is essentially disintegrating right now, and will not "collapse" but will simply be taken over by other peoples, as was the Roman empire. And then "the meek will inherit the earth?" No. A new power group will come along … that's all. Do bear in mind that "Most people have eyes and therefore are able to see. Few, however, are capable of reason. Therefore, appearances are everything." So sayeth Machiavelli. Key phrase, "appearances are everything." Those who would change the world go about their efforts based on appearances, based on what they see BUT ARE UNABLE TO INTERPRET. Such is the case here. The purely political mind is incapable of penetrating to prime causes, therefore its plans must always ultimately fail. I watched with some fascination the protests taking place during the 1960s and was amazed at how so many of them later took credit for having been a part of ending the Vietnam War. In fact, they had nothing to do with it. How can taking part in a public tantrum be of any benefit? To achieve their aims, political activists are willing to change everyone and everything except themselves …

  7. tem um errinho na legenda aí em 3:44 que vale ressaltar… ela diz que os OPRIMIDOS precisam de mecanismos pra entender a opressão política, não os opressores

  8. Lierre Keith and her Vegetarian Myth Debunked Forever
    Check it out and compare the science https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMuxgAbHgJA

  9. The term "Leftism" wasn't as widely used back in 2011. I might suggest updating the title of this video accordingly so it gets more views (e.g. "Liberal vs Radical Left"). Since the Radical Left has appropriated the word "Liberal", many if not most Liberals currently identify as Left, making objective critiquing of Leftist collectivism ideology an unintentional affront to ideological Liberals and furthers the unnecessary political divide between mainstream Liberalism and Conservativism. This is an important video. Please consider anyhow.

  10. Having had enough conversations with Americans online it's clear to me that Americans have no idea of basic political terms. I have been called a liberal an untold amount of times because I am not right wing. However I am most definitely not a liberal either but many Americans don't seem to understand this. A Liberal is someone that supports the status quo but wants to reform it. A radical is someone who wants to destroy it. Quiet a difference.

  11. All deep greens stop using cars, planes or any equipment that consumes power and you have my vote.

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