It's so amazing that people don't get it that the American people are abused citizens who are psychologically trapped into believing their chains are merely the jewelry of American exceptionalism.

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Most importantly: "As a collective, we remain in our current relationship with abusive power structures because we are collectively kept confused, off-balance, insecure and unsure of ourselves, as a critical element of our collective abuse is mass-scale psychological manipulation."

Listen carefully to advertising and you'll hear the overt or covert fear or anxiety they're really selling. Open the next promo mail or email from a bank offering you more credit. The initiatives to enslave you are ongoing and unabated because consumption & debt are essential to the flow of money upward from your personal subsistence economy to the sociopathic oligarchs. These are dynamics intrinsic to Capitalist market economics. Meanwhile, the network organization of the biosphere continues to unravel.

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I was so on board for what I thought this article was going to be about, and instead I got microaggressive racism. Thanks. Glad I wasted my time on this.

Black women are not mules to make your points about other forms of oppression. That is a categorically racist behavior. Congrats.

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I’m a fan of Johnstone’s writing. However, I take issue with this article.

I get the scope of this article was limited to mindset & the necessity of shifting paradigms. Here Johnstone chose to such an underrepresented, stereotyped group of people to step on as a soapbox. Doing so recapitulate stereotypes and offers absolution of collective responsibility. I sense this is the opposite of what was intended.

A full picture is necessary for meaningful analogy. It is harmful to omit. A more informed analogy suggests the battle cry to change the mindset the oppressed may not be the liberty torch for the masses she presents here.

We, on the bottom, tire of hearing more privileged folks diagnose us with lack of understanding of our situation. Such diagnoses seems to absolve the more fortunate from listening to us and responding in true solidarity. What is lacking is not our understanding. It is empathy, humility, and genuine material solidarity.

The mindset of those most impacted by domestic violence (or fascism, or capitalism & oligarchy ) isn’t necessarily the problem. The "cage“ isn’t necessarily mental. Not for domestic abuse survivors; not for suffering Americans who don’t "rise up". We are not "confused“. We know our predicament. We know how little the laptop class actually cares; we know not to expect material solidarity when we, the most vulnerable, need it.

How nice it would be if "rising up" were just a matter of changing our mindset & perspective.

"Rising up" requires actual material solidarity and risk interpersonally and collectively—-not just in platitudes.

Material & economic solidarity is crucial.

In reality: For abuse victim/survivors, the greatest risk of being murdered by your abuser is when you leave. There’s no shortage of statistics on that. Like Bancroft, I say victim/survivor because it is both, and not everyone survives. That’s the point. It should inform the analogy.

The number one cause of homelessness among women, besides lack of affordable housing, is domestic violence. This has nothing to do with the mindset of victim/survivors. The analogy holds true for people experiencing other forms of oppression. Again, it isn’t failure to recognize the predicament that holds us down; it is lack of material solidarity.

There is no meaningful protection or material support for abuse survivors. Leaving often means becoming homeless / prey to trafficking, further assaults, dehumanizing status as homeless, losing our children to DHS, freezing to death or losing limbs to frostbite. That is reality. It informs the actions of many other oppressed people agonizing over whether or not go on strike, fight landlords, be whistleblowers, etc. Again: knowing we’re oppressed isn’t the problem. We need real material solidarity.

To the laptop class reading this and assuming mindset of the oppressed is the problem: When is the last time you provided safe haven to a domestic abuse survivor? When is the last time you housed a minimum wage worker & their family so they could go on strike without fear of it destroying their lives? When is the last time you housed a homeless person? When was the last time you boycotted a company for discriminating against disabled people (who are disproportionately homeless)?

When will you listen? When will you recognize & change your own mindsets?

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Gosh, you write well! Thanks for your insights they inspire me daily on my updates on THE Revolution.

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People still don't understand do they, as I can see in the comments.

I am interested to see the comparison to the wider community, how do we escape?

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At some point, a fully grown adult MUST take responsibility for his/her life and LEAVE. Fucking Leave.

Stop encouraging people to believe they are powerless!

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Fantastic lead in to the abuse of the people of our country.

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Thank you for writing this.

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I have extremely mixed feelings about this perspective; I understand that the abuse and neglect can be jarring, intimidating and disorienting to deciding what your options are but this sounds way too close to 'I'm aware that I should've left but I just don't want to confront the reality of letting my fear get the best of me so your perfectly logical, natural question to ask makes me feel attacked and judged'; ok so what then? Just naively keep waiting for abusers to suddenly be better people? Or maybe we just keep waiting for the system to actually start holding abusers accountable; yeah I'm sure that's right around the corner. Screw that; being asked 'why didn't you leave?' is not an attack and it's not victim shaming, implying that it is panders into the 'baby proofed world' delusion, everything is subject to perspective and interpretation.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a strong advocate of harsher punishments and sentences for sexual attackers and domestic abusers but if I join a bowling club or a DND group and there's several people in the group that are being hostile and rude to me I don't look around at the other members to lecture them and call them out on it, I don't call over the manager and I'm sure as hell not about to waste my time arguing with them about their behavior, I already know that won't solve anything; I GRAB MY SHIT AND LEAVE; because that's literally the smartest, safest, most peaceful option.

I've had loved ones in abusive relationships and I've even been in a few myself; unless there's children involved there is literally zero reason to hesitate or even question what the right choice is; YOU PROTECT YOURSELF!

If they're threatening to kill themselves; screw them, their choice not yours

Screw shia for being the worst a male can be and I hope twigs has a swift and effective road to recovery from all this but that whole perspective on 'why didn't you leave' is flaccid and weak. Abusers should be punished and held accountable (100fold) but I sincerely can't pretend that 'the fear made me stay' makes any sense at all.

Counterintuitive, self sabotaging and self destructive as you are choosing to stay in a situation that is unhealthy to you. And yes it is a choice even if it is not thought out or deliberate, you're letting your fear decide for you which just makes you sink deeper into hopelessness.

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All great points ...except your "bowling club" knows every detail about you, has already taken all your money, turned your children against you, can ruthlessly lie and attack your soul in a way you have never witnessed another human being being able to do. A restraining order means nothing to your "bowling club" and there aren't enough resources and support around you to deal with THAT. They follow you everywhere they can and actually have others follow you when they can't. They hide up high in trees, neighboring buildings, or your own basement. Your bowling club is deeply deeply sick in a way that 80% of population is unaware even exists. Your "bowling club" spent years setting up a big lie behind your back and has turned everyone you know against you, and is able to infiltrate every moment and asset of your life. When you leave you need time to circumvent the million fractional aspects (protect your location, your job, your car, your back door, your family, your reputation, your bank account). It takes time to plan a safe and effective fortress against all of these obstacles. It would take less time if everyone around you was more aware, instead of comparing your situation to dealing with a few rude but otherwise normal dork bowlers. Your "bowling club" definitely knows folks like you are blissfully unaware of the real situation and use it to their advantage.

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Thank you for your accurate response here. It pains me when people speak on what they don’t understand. I appreciate that you gave such an accurate explanation.

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Excellent point. One that will be missed by Caitlin.

Women are fully capable of making grown-up decisions.....so when we infantilize them like Caitlin does or a crap American infotainment show does.....well, that's the real misogyny.

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Exactly. Thank you for speaking out.

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“Fear” (why not leaving) is a reason given but not the true one, in my experience. There is a psychological need to make a bad situation as good as you can see it in your mind.

Our country- love it or leave it? Do you think that an easy choice? Many are trying to save this country to be what it could be.

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