TOTW: the legs of the table

Back in the day, I attended a few meetings with people in Bring the Ruckus (the group started by Joel, not any of the many other Bring the Ruckus’s). And one of the things I took away from those meetings was their metaphor of the table of The System, a table that rests on multiple legs, the most significant of which is racism. So BtR was going after that leg of the table, as a way, so they said, to bring the whole table down. It’s unclear to me at this remove, if that leg was most significant in their eyes because it was bearing the most weight (a table that was heavier on one corner than on the others? was there more loaded on top of that part of the table? If so, what were these heavy… packages? and how do they fit into the metaphor? etc) or because that leg is easier to attack (it’s made of wood and the other legs are made of metal? ok ok, never mind).

I think that metaphor has stuck in my mind because for me it stands for a lot of things: people’s desire to be effective; people’s wishful thinking; people’s limited metaphor/imagination capacity; people’s manipulations–including of themselves–in the name of activism; and along all those, an underlying way of thinking about the fight that we’re in, the metaphors that we rely on without even thinking about or recognizing them, because the table one I think is pretty normal, though rarely made (so) explicit.

So this TOTW is about what metaphors you rely on, which ones work for you, which ones you’ve left behind as unhelpful, what you’ve seen other people use, either well or poorly…

What metaphor would you use to illustrate how you live your life, how you live your anarchy, how anarchy works in the world, how the world works on us: any or all of the above.

People have called systems-that-are-problems an octopus (Frank Norris), leviathan (Perlman), the totality (folks), etc.; how do those different names influence how we imagine combating them?