About 'Alpha+Good'

Alpha+Good (sort of a bad wordplay on Orwell and machismo) is a side project that belongs to 'Onklare taal' ('Unclear language'), the umbrella of several of my literary projects in Dutch. This section is almost exclusively in English and comprises my ongoing thoughts on progress, gender, politics and various other social themes. Are you a little lost? This link will take you right back to my home page.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Are progressive movements antiquated?

The most high-profile progressive cause of today is probably the LGBTQ movement. They fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and push for equal rights to heterosexual couples. While a lot of countries in the West still have miles to go to achieve true equality, the headway these movements are making is undeniable. It is a more quiet but by no means less vocal movement than the American Civil Rights movement of the '60s, the sufragettes of the '20s and beyond, and the first workers' unions of the early 20th century. Unfortunately, all this progress has lulled a lot of self-described progressive and conservative people alike into a false sense of comfort.

Certainly, if we have to believe the uninformed, the West has moved beyond racism and sexism, unions protect workers' rights and all is well. It's true, progress has been made on many fronts since the start of the 20th century, but to say that empowering movements have become obsolete is misguided at best:

- Violence against women is still a jarringly frequent occurrence
- The 1% continuously try to use their political henchmen to make people believe that unions and regulation are their enemy
- Racism, no matter whether it is dressed up as 'ironic' or not, still prevents people from getting hired and gets exploited by opportunist politicians
- Hostility against sexual minorities, verbal or otherwise, is still commonplace outside of large urban centres and sometimes even inside of it
- Women are still a minority in corporate Boards and high-profile political life

The list goes on and on. To make matters worse, there's a number of groups that insiduously claims that it is now, in fact, heterosexual white men who are getting the short end of the stick. The problem with this statement is twofold:

- Most hetereosexual white men are completely blind to their own privilege because they never experienced anything else
- They focus on petty anecdotes or elements of a patriarchal society that harms everyone, not just them

Progressive movements are certainly not antiquated. In fact, more than ever, in the face of environmental collapse, resurging hard right movements, corporate media manipulation and cynical exploitation of fear, a coherent progressive message is more important than ever. The bottom line is, and this will return in this blog a couple of times, that we are all in this together. Only if we attempt to erase mutual prejudice, we can truly make the playfield level and be societies that offer everyone equal opportunities to succeed in life and be happy - not just the 1%, who is happy to make us believe that 'uppity' minorities are our enemy and the cause of our problems. That is simply not true. The real problem is a deeply-entrenched system of privilege over privilege that finally ends with a tiny amount of white old men.