Building Relationally Democratic Cultural Infrastructure From the Ground Up

Reinhardt Redwood Regional, Oakland, California :: @ebrpd :: photo credit: @dr.cbg

The Relational Democracy Project (RDP) begins with the understanding that relations are the basis of change in the universe. Our relations with one another — whether masked and in-person, or remote— are where power moves between us in practices.

When power is more or less balanced between persons, it functions as relationally democratic and is healthiest for humans, for the processes and systems humans create and use, and for the other beings with whom we share the planet.

When humans are democratically-oriented in their relational practices — they share power to move forward — they also tend to support democratic…


Third in the Series “Building a Case for Cultural Work in White Rural America”

Trina & Pockets (and Trio & Jude) in Cave Junction, Oregon 2017

[Last in the Series “Building a Case for Cultural Work in White Rural America.” Previous article in the series: “Growing a Radically Democratic U.S. Relational Culture”]

Growing a radically healthy democratic (power-sharing) relational culture in the U.S. requires accessible and applicable knowledge and sense-making tools in order to create enabling conditions on the ground for healthy change.

The Relational Democracy Project (RDP) is already on the ground doing that work, but in an unnecessarily limited capacity. This proposal aims to include partners and supporters of RDP’s research, cultural work, and creative projects.

The Proposal

I. Framework: Simply stated underlying data-based assumptions about reality, power, culture, and change that inform the on-going and proposed work.

A. Reality. I begin with the assumption that…


Simply Stated

Democracy is a big human experiment in organized power-sharing. Democracies are representative forms of government in which electoral processes and systems share power with all the people.

Authoritarianism is a big human experiment in organized power-stealing and hoarding. Authoritarian regimes steal power from all the people in the form of violations of human rights: stealing the right to liberty, to autonomy, to free expression, and to life. Authoritarian regimes hoard the stolen power of the people in its government and in private bodies.

Relational democracy and authoritarianism, however, are different: they are embodied cultural practices that create conditions within with…


Embodying Balance in our Relations by Proliferating Everyday Democratic Practices

Southern Oregon gun show at Josephine County Fairgrounds, 2017 :: photo credit: @dr.cbg

This article is a partial expression of the central thesis of The Human Basis of Democracy, a manuscript in process that shares findings from more than 4 years of ethnographic and auto-ethnographic data collection — post 11.8.16 — in a variety of American cultures.

Announcements about the arrival and departure of American state-level authoritarianism now abound in mainstream media. I’m sure you’ve read your share. This article offers something a little different: a focus on how authoritarianism continues to function in our relations with one another and how each one of us can embody relationally democratic practices.

Now, more than…


He Has His Hands in Everything Evil and Yet He’s Practically Invisible in the Conversation

Stephen fucking Miller

This is just a little of Stephen Miller’s work. He must be prosecuted for crimes against the United States and against humanity. He got away with extreme power stealing and hoarding from vulnerable human beings in a democracy for far too long.

His time is up. It’s time to reckon.

Miller wrote the 45th’s 4-year plan (i.e., the inaugural speech):

Miller controlled the 45th’s agenda from the start:

Miller is an authoritarian:

Miller is a white nationalist:

Miller’s white nationalism drove child separations:

Miller’s child separation policy is state-sanctioned torture, say Physicians for Human Rights:

Miller drove ICE:

Miller is responsible for the forced sterilizations by ICE on migrant women:

Miller is responsible for migrant families being separated:

Miller pushed for ALL families at the border to be separated, even those arriving legally:

Miller created the racist Muslim ban:

Miller extended the racist travel ban:

Miller installed white nationalists in the WH:

Miller authored the “1776 Report,” which justifies slavery and the 3/5’s compromise, and advised releasing it on MLK, Jr.’s birthday:


Second in the Series “Building a Case for Cultural Work in White Rural America”

the last photograph i took in waters creek, wilderville, oregon before moving back home to california

[Previous article in the series: 74,222,593]

“You are an explorer, and you represent our species, and the greatest good you can do is to bring back a new idea, because our world is endangered by the absence of good ideas.” ~Terence McKenna

Escaped from academia, exploring, and immersed in research of radically different cultures than mine, I found that the what of things is much less important than the how of them when solving problems in the actual world.

Take, for instance, water. That it is “an odorless, tasteless, very slightly compressible liquid oxide of hydrogen H2O” is far less…


Some Content May be Disturbing for Some Readers

me, on the right, visiting my aunt and wearing her hat

I used to be a bit of an asshole. Accomplished, articulate, and pretty damn smart. I knew it and I leaned on it: it’s all I had. I learned two roles growing up: how to be second to my father and how to be his object. For the first half of my life, I had no idea how to be a whole human in relationship with other humans. I was able to pass as a functioning human on the strength of how ferociously skilled I was at being a second to older white men and/or being their object.

I’m the…


This Post Contains Material That May be Disturbing for Some Readers

Me, 16 months, in Martinez, California

“Go get me the stick. Now.”

My ill, weakened father is sitting in a chair, unable to stand. He is in the last stages of lung cancer, and it has spread throughout his body. The chemo treatments have ravaged his ability to stand without assistance. Cancer has not softened the sharp edges of his controlled rage, though. It has also not diminished the considerable authority he claims as the man of the family.

I do as I’m told. I find “the stick” in its resting place, a wooden croquet mallet handle that leans in a corner by the kitchen table…


Old, White Southern Oregon “Democrats” Stall Politically Progressive Forward Momentum

one of the white supremacist and militia posters that appeared in cascadia, oregon mid-2017

While researching Rural American Cultures (RAC) in Southern Oregon, a dominant cultural norm that emerged in the findings was in the patterns of active efforts on the part of “old-timers” and “insiders” (old white conservative men and women) to silence young people and other marginalized groups. It stunned me, being from the San Francisco Bay Area — until it also deeply pissed me off. What I observed and documented around me were barriers erected intentionally, over and over, that slowed, staggered, or stopped dead democratic participation on the part of young people and other marginalized groups.

Peter Sage is one…


[Vilsack is the Embodiment of the Disconnect between Urban Elites and Rural American Cultures]

Opinion: George Goehl in The Guardian Mon 21 Dec 2020 07.04 EST

It’s unlikely that Joe Biden expected that, of all his cabinet nominees, his choice for US agriculture secretary would cause the most blowback. Yet that is exactly what happened.

The former secretary Tom Vilsack, fresh off the revolving door, is a kind of all-in-one package of what frustrates so many about the Democratic party. His previous tenure leading the department was littered with failures, ranging from distorting data about Black farmers and discrimination to bowing to corporate conglomerates.

Vilsack’s nomination has been roundly rejected by some of the exact people who helped Biden defeat Trump: organizations representing Black people, progressive…

Cathy B. Glenn, Ph.D.

SF Bay Area critical researcher, creative, & cultural worker. Content developer for The Relational Democracy Project relationaldemocracy@gmail.com IG @dr.cbg

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