Friday, October 30, 2015

Re: [VPP Burlington] go Jane!

On Oct 29, 2015, at 1:51 AM, Denis Mueller wrote:

Well maybe Jane and all the rest of the city council including the progressives should have read the New York City report on racial profiling in Greenwich Village, which is where our new chief is fromThe village has a population of 11% minorities and 70% of stops were minoirites. Only about 2% resulted in anything. All black people got stopped. She and the rest of you white privileged so-called progressives never bothered to look. They call that white privilege and white racism. When told about it Jane did not want to be bothered. They call that racism!! The Arab squads are the same as Red Squads as well. Screw you so called progressives you give the word a bad name.

On 10/29/2015 7:58 AM, Emma Mulvaney-Stanak wrote:
Denis. This listserv is run by the Progressive Party. We ask that you keep your comments and language used on the list respectful. Policy debate is one thing. Racism continues to be a critical issue for all Vermonters to understand and work to address white privilege, including the VPP. However using offensive language and personal attacks will not be allowed on this list. We reserve the right to remove people from this list if you continue to post comments that violate these ground rules. If you want to talk about this directly you can find my contact information on the Vermont Progressive Party website. 

Emma Mulvaney-Stanak
VPP State Chair

That's reasonable Emma, to expect respectful language, but when where and how will you you address these concerns? When, where and how will the rest of us learn about his feelings? Is there another forum for folks to express and hear the criticism and concerns that others have? If Denis's charge is valid - and you have not entertained his view or contradicted him - If you block people who are angry and have cause to be angry, where do they go to bring their feelings into the conversation? How do you bring them back into the fold? I like to hear angry people; it helps me to know what is happening outside the group. Without a forum for expression and sharing, the group functions in the way of any opaque bureaucracy that wants to protect itself from the truth. It is this opacity which we find reprehensible in police departments, back room deal making, and the operations of the NSA. Is that opacity an aspiration of the Progressive movement? Is it not contrary to the Progressive vision?

I can understand your being upset by Denis's language, but a useful response that would address your feelings, and Denis's feelings, would be to acknowledge that he has valid concerns, and ask him to put them on a forum where transparency is normal. A forum, of course, that the Progressive party of Vermont owns, and uses for crowd sourcing, so it can learn and respond to people who are unhappy.

I have seen you suppress malcontent before. This is sad for many of us who hold out for transparency and want to know what dangers lurk beyond our borders. In fact, the history of institutions is replete with examples of groups which shut down because they didn't know how to grow from their faults. I strongly encourage you to find a way to safely permit, hear and address the discontent which lies immediately beyond the boundaries of the Party. There is energy there, people who, but for a meaningful grievance, would like to be in the party, and tapping that energy would bring much more gain than the apparent stability of excluded discontent does.

Since you seem to be in a mood for making threats, I'll lay out the true threat implicit in this exchange: that the progressive party will fail to grow, and especially fail to attract communities of color, if it  does not learn to deal more constructively with criticism. Is this a valid threat? How would we know? Do we have a place where people can shake out their thoughts and suss out the reality in which we are embedded? Or do imagine that the conversation has to be kept private and held only by an inside elite? Does that sound progressive?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Curiosity about the History of Refugees

In the beginning, people migrated every day, and the difference between
a refugee and a migrant might be difficult to discern. As human
populations settled and accumulated food, theft and raiding became
larger and more common. When people feel threatened they may fight or
they may run. When a people runs from their home in fear for their
lives, they have become refugees. In the ten millennia since the first
food crops induced people to settle, the reasons to flee, and the
dynamics of that flight, have varied from simple persecution by hostile
neighbors through captive refugees put on long marches to marginal
lands, to the complex of genocides of Syria today.

My question to you is whether you know of academics, perhaps
anthropologists, who have studied refugee movements in the deep history
of humanity. I am especially interested in a synthetic summary work.