"Authoritarianism defined as regime rule misses an important point about the relationship between authoritarianism and racism that operates at the psychological level."

On point, Kenneth. Except you don't have to get inside anyone's head (the psychological level) to see authoritarianism. You can see it in practices at the everyday level. You just have to start with the power relation first. https://medium.com/@dr.cglenn/everyday-authoritarian-practices-49f00d136a76

My 3.5 years of ethnographic and auto-ethnographic research post-11.6.16 in closed conservative white rural cultures revealed that authoritarianism is, at bottom, a severely imbalanced power relation (https://medium.com/@dr.cglenn/american-authoritarianism-dc6a2c5fae85). That imbalance happens in both relational (interpersonal) practices and in systems and processes at the state level. (On the other hand, democratic practices are those that seek to balance power, to share it, relationally and in systems and processes.)

The biggest mistake about authoritarianism that most authors make is they look in the wrong direction, "up," to "regimes," like you suggest. That’s where all the sexy analysis happens, all the speculation about cults of personality, all the intellectual masturbation by mostly white men who have a huge stake in protecting their intellectual territory and making it as inaccessible to all those “other people” as possible.

Instead, the conditions for the possibility of someone like the 45th hijacking a democracy happen at the cultural level, at the "bottom," between humans, in families, between friends, lovers, mentors. But that work, that relational research, is seen as “soft” and just not as sexy as talking about tyrants. Relational patterns, however, are the basis of change in the universe, and we need to better understand human power relations.

I grew up in and escaped an authoritarian family culture. umair is incorrect: there are plenty of people in the United States who have survived authoritarian families and communities. I met many in rural America who endure those conditions now, but those families also exist all over the United States, and they grow humans who fit perfectly into top-down systems, enable tyrants, and don’t dissent. https://medium.com/@dr.cglenn/i-grew-up-in-a-violently-authoritarian-family-culture-56be3ccafea2

(Btw, racism is not just connected to authoritarianism: it is a form of authoritarianism. So is classism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, and speciesism. Each has as its core feature an imbalanced power relation: each is a function of imbalanced power relations that are entrenched in systems and processes and also present relationally between individual human beings.)

Thanks for responding and sharing, Kenneth. We need more voices like yours that understand it's up to each one of us, every single day.

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A San Francisco independent researcher, creative, and cultural worker. Content developer for The Relational Democracy Project. (relationaldemocracy@gmail.com)

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