i finally just realized my biggest issue with most ideologies
March 22, 2017
Strangely enough this insight comes to me by way of the Library of Congress Subject Headings and critical librarianship surrounding classification. I was thinking about how I’m always annoyed when people respond to my solution to the problems posed the the LCSH and the like by simply scrapping the systems and making something new with, “well, what’s the guarantee that the new system will be any better?”
And I’m just always like… Who cares?
Look. The issue with the LCSH is a microcosm of all other kinds of institutionalised oppression. We have this system set up a long while ago that encodes various biases and such with end up constraining our current choices, which likewise means that entire peoples and histories can be marginalized, if not entirely erased within a system meant to classify ‘all’ materials. We have numerous examples of this. And it is difficult to introduce change into the system and change is slow to be implemented (and rarely done retroactively with records already created).
Seriously. This is simply how institutionalized oppression works. And as the people who’ve been attempting to ‘reform’ the LCSH for the past few decades realize, doing so is incredibly difficult. Perhaps not impossible, but its taking a fucking long time. And while the consequences for this re: cataloguing and libraries may not be dire, when it comes to other institutions we are talking life and death. We need prison abolition, not reform, because we are talking about people’s lives.
My timeline the past day or so has been talking about marxism and that ideology, amongst others, is one I simply don’t care about or have time for. And now I know why. Marxism cares too much about what happens after. Which isn’t something I care at all about.
I get it though. In terms of decolonization, of revolution, people do want to know what comes next. They want to know what we’ll do after. What we’ll build to replace what it torn down to make space for the the new.
How can we get rid of the prison industrial complex without a solid plan or idea for what we’ll do instead of it? Like. Does prison abolition really just mean open all the cell doors and letting everyone out? That’s it?
On a larger scale, can we really dismantle the entire government without any clear idea for what comes next? Haven’t well seen this movie? Read this book? Etc?
Tbh, I think this is actually part of the problem. We have all read the book, seen the movie, and so on. Especially right now dystopian fiction is very popular. Except. Except. We have no real reason to believe that post-decolonization we’ll enter a horrific dystopian hellscape. Or rather, given the current living conditions of some humans on this planet, some of us are already living in horrific dystopian hellscapes and might not even notice a global collapse.
The thing about dystopian fictions is that, to me anyway, the most chilling of them are the ones that explore the theme that we already exist within the dystopia imagined within the book. Such that what is needed right now is that moment of revolution. What we need is decolonization.
There is a reason, btw, that I talk about decolonization rather than revolution. Not because I think they are mutually exclusive but rather because I think that one ensures we are positioned to ensure that ‘we’ don’t really need to worry about what comes after. Here’s who I mean by ‘we’, since it is quite specific. Based on who I am and where I live, I am a settler on stolen land. Should we reach a moment of decolonization, it would mean that this land and its governance would return to its respective Indigenous peoples.
Thus, whatever I may think about is the ideal way to govern a society or what the ideal way to distribute resources is, is irrelevant. It well and truly doesn’t matter. If and only if the ‘revolution’ goes the way it ought to (the only way it can if it is to succeed and bring freedom to all), then my feelings in what comes next might end up being irrelevant.
If whatever Indigenous people in charge of the are I’m living in decides that they don’t want to consult any settlers in how they construct their governance, then that’s that. This is up to and including setting up a fascist dictatorship with an entirely free market economy. Not that I think any Indigenous people would do such a thing, I’m being hyperbolic to underscore my point.
Which is also. What comes next may not be better. But depending on where you are and who you are, you should think really hard about how entitled you feel to an opinion about it. And why it is you think that whatever ideology you subscribe to is what everyone else must follow and adhere to.