“The Discussion Class.”
Sometimes a jewel of knowledge comes from the distant past and throws light on the present. It can come from unexpected sources.
In the mid-1850s, a conservative political philosopher Don Juan Donoso Cortes wrote critically of the emerging modern state. He was especially critical of bourgeois liberalism, a social formation that he called a “Discussion Class.”
According to Cortes, this class does not involve itself in social movements. It will not join social movements. It will write in the press and sometimes busy itself on political legislative efforts. But it will go no further. Its energies in social affairs is spent on conversation, period. It will not risk its privileges for other classes.
As the Trump regime solidifies its grip on state power, we will hear discussion, sometimes quite critical, but discussions on Facebook or articles in the paper do not a movement make.
Movements, real social movements, transform consciousness, which in turn contributes to social change, because changed minds feeds social movements. Social movements demand social change and struggle to make it so. Only social change makes it so. Discussion is not enough.
From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.