Power and Brad Evans

Posted: 23/02/2018 by zandtao in Freedom, Struggle

I need to be very critical of Brad Evans (throughout the Martinez’ podcast discussed here with link) and his use of the word power. Power is a useful word in academia because it does not pinpoint the powerful. When the word power is repeatedly used we are left feeling powerless, and in the end that can also become part of the blame game – blaming the powerless. There are those with power and those who are powerless. Without determining the factors that lead to power, it is quite possible to assess that it is out of weakness that someone is powerless.

Undoubtedly we are powerless but that powerlessness is not because of our weakness. It is because the powerful have appropriated the power of others, and disempowered them in the process. This is the power relation that needs to be stressed. The powerful have intentionally made the non-powerful powerless, it is not an inherent weakness in the powerless. Although Brad does not state this I suspect there would not be any disagreement, my apologies if I have misinterpreted; I would even go so far as to suggest that Brad would assume this without stating this every time.

But this is not my point, and here I am far less certain about accord. Who has the power? The 1%. Does Brad agree? He never states this. Where does this power come from? An economic system which ensures that they (the 1%) accumulate wealth. Once they have the wealth, then that wealth is used to purchase (and take away) the power of others. The most obvious example of this purchase of another’s power is in the US where the lobbying process in government, along with legislation such as Citizen’s United, enables politicians to be bought. At this exact time this ability to purchase power by the NRA is being scrutinised by the students of Stoneman Douglas school in Florida. In the UK the revolving door between the City and the Civil Service serve the same purpose.

Power as a concept is strong but amorphous, it is not explicit who is the target. But if you start to examine how the capitalist system creates wealth for the 1% who then intentionally disempower the 99%, it makes the whole understanding of power completely different. We are not weak because we are powerless, we are powerless because that power has been taken from us by the 1% through the capitalist system. Without the system and the accumulation the 1% have, we would not be powerless. Whilst details of how that powerlessness manifests are often examined, the important reality is that 1%-accumulation through the capitalist system intentionally disempowers.

Some might argue that my language is inflammatory (more likely simplistic), but I feel that the use of the word power, and by implication powerless, does not adequately explain the intentional nature of the disempowerment of the 99%. I assess, based on my experience in schools, that the use of the word power, and by implication powerless, would have been acceptable, but the use of the term 1% and their intentional disempowerment of the 99% would have been grounds for a disciplinary warning. I suspect similar in academia.

I assume that this is a compromise that Brad is willing to accept.

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Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Matriellez.

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