Civil war isn’t coming

Cracked posted an article about the “coming” civil war:  http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-2403-6-reasons-why-new-civil-war-possible-terrifying.html

#6. The Beginning Looks A Lot Like Where We Are Right Now

#5. The Violence Could Start With Farms Choking The Cities

#4. The Revolution Will Plagiarize ISIS’s Tactics

#3. There Will Be Hundreds of Sides

#2. Decades of Military Spending Will Bite Us In The Ass

#1. The Internet Will Make It Even Bloodier

All good points, and yet completely missing the point staring us all in the face:  how many of the pictures show women?  How many of our public terror incidents have involved women?  Clearly, this is an issue specifically affecting men and masculinity.  It’s not the only cause, but it’s definitely a bottleneck.

We are talking male-pattern violence, a product of patriarchy and masculinity.  Men are not inherently loose cannon hyper-violent control freaks.  I can’t take much more of this ignoring the obvious.  We need to get to cut to the main points, and one of them is masculinity and patriarchy.  Another huge one is control. If we crack down on institutions and norms that control others’ thoughts and behavior, much of this goes away.  Because it levels the playing field:  without the power dynamic of control, you have to engage and negotiate on equal footing.  That requires social skills.  And if you use controlling physical violence, manipulation, coercion, etc instead, and get punished, then it’s a form of meta control that forces you to adopt pro-social behavior, like emotional maturity and self-care practices.

This is eerily reminescent of how we ignore domestic and sexual violence as early-warning signs of more public acts of terror to come.  The public terrorists (whether independent or state-sanctioned paramilitary) commonly draw from a pool of people who terrorize others in their private lives. (http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/07/mass-killers-terrorism-domestic-violence.html; http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/16/world/americas/control-and-fear-what-mass-killings-and-domestic-violence-have-in-common.html)

Men shoot people.  Men plant bombs.  Men make public terror threats.  Men kick the shit out of people.  Men exert control.  Men rape. 99.9% of these things occur because men do them, most of the time.  Sometimes women do them (and often because they “toughen up” and start “acting like men”).

I don’t blame men.  I blame the system of behavioral control and masculine identity into which men are indoctrinated.  Men are even more often the victims of non-sexualized forms of male-pattern violence than women.  And we need to start engaging with the boys and men in our lives to change this.  Stop holding signs and shouting at random strangers.  Start having difficult conversations with the people you already know.

Because you know perpetrators of controlling violence.  And you also know victims and survivors.  You.  All of you.  All of us.  No one here does not know a survivor of male pattern violence.  I guarantee it.

I walked passed a church parking lot yesterday and was surprised to see several armored vehicles and few dozen cops (no women) prepping assault gear for something.  No “training exercise” signs, no lights.  Just quiet prep work.  A few of the guys looked downright blissful.  How you can get to the state of bliss prepping for murder is beyond me.  Except for the “Salem Police” labels I could not tell them apart from our imperial military forces.

When we bring masculinity in the discussion, we end up modifying the discussion:  the civil war isn’t possible.  It isn’t coming.  It’s already  here.  It’s unfolding right now.  In our midst.  At the most intimate of levels.

Packs of militarized, heavily-armed men roaming our cities (cops and gangs) and countrysides (militias and military) is only the most recent outgrowth, the cherry on top of the patriarchal sundae, peppered with little sprinkles of public bombings and shootings.  Whether we can stop or even reverse it depends on our ability to confront painful, difficult and terrifying truths about the most intimate aspects of our lives and relationships.

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