Member since: Sat Mar 5, 2011, 12:32 PM
Number of posts: 4,756
Number of posts: 4,756
The Reprimand Project goes off the deep end. Its politics are divisive, and I have to say that posts from them just help keep DU’ers in the binary either/or, good/bad mentality.
When we blame Republicans’ leaders with vitriol for whatever the social control battle du jour is, we will not successfully “reprimand” or shame them into changing their minds, to inch them closer to join our causes.
Republican voters were born into the same rigged system we all were, and react in ways they’ve been taught work best to adopt the tough exceptionalism that is America’s “culture" of hardship upon the weak or unfortunate – to toughen themselves for survival.
Why? Because their beliefs and fears go beyond attachment to their party, or social circumstances that their leaders don’t seem to care about.
Keeping people weak and needy is part of a capitalist system that this political system serves. And the Republican voter has been "cultured" through family, church, associates, schools, to trust their belief system's version of how to do the right thing and thrive. Everyday Republicans believe in the old school politics of their regional leaders, and they'll vote party or single value issue over person, unlike true independents.
If we point out inconsistencies and attack them, they turn away from our logic that can't be reconciled with the "program" they have been trained to be loyal to. So when we fault them for everything wrong with this country, they will ask themselves, to whom do I owe the greater loyalty -- the opposition that's smugly correct? or the home party that will keep me safe or get me a "better deal"?
They are going down with their people. Those people are part of a larger political system that we DU'ers are part of also. It's one that is willing to authorize any use of force anywhere in response to any justification that might cause "reasonable suspicion" that the country's survival -- complete safety -- is at stake. Safety first, details later, is a major cultural value for them. For us, it's "not in our name!"
To quote Edward Snowden:
Even their leaders know that if we had a 9/11 attack every year, we would still be losing more people to car accidents and heart disease, and we don't see the same expenditure of resources to respond to those more significant threats.
What it really comes down to is the political reality that we have a political class that feels it must inoculate itself against allegations of weakness. Their leaders are more fearful of the politics of terrorism -- of the charge that they don't take terrorism seriously -- than they are of the crime itself -- or any other hardships the population falls err to.
This includes the tiresome old political saw of abortion and gender body control.
Power comes out of culture. The power of real change comes out of coalition culture, not just playing by voter registration numbers. Please don't harden those who fear and live with Spartan austerity values. Give up divide and conquer political orgs (not trying to pick on the Reprimand Project, really) in favor of those that build common cause with Republican voters.
This hate and guilt mongering is just not going to help people. Such vitriol lingers long after the primaries and general election are over. We can have our candles shine brighter when they shine together, not when we try to blow out another's.
These are Berner values.
Posted by ancianita | Mon May 23, 2016, 11:12 AM (54 replies)
If you seek the removal of freedoms from an opponent simply on the grounds that they have offended you, you have crossed a line to stand along tyrants who imprison, torture and kill on exactly the same justification.
Posted by ancianita | Sat May 21, 2016, 01:34 PM (8 replies)
When people get suspicious of either/or viewpoints, they get more flexible in their view of the world. They get out of smug bubbles and into a zeitgeist, feel a change in the air.
They become anti-doctrinal as they open themselves up to new and unexpected alliances and new networks of power.
These people are not about being IN movements. They are about movement.
To take control of the future lies at the root of nearly every historical social change strategy. And yet what we are seeing now are movements which believe that to “let go” is the most powerful thing we can do – to let go, walk away from power, find freedom.
Many people who want to walk away from this election are not about short-sighted resentment, or putting The Individual on a pedestal. They are about what John Holloway calls Changing The World Without Taking Power, which is the name of his book that describes that identity and process.
The notion of capturing positions of power, as the Hillers hold to in this electoral structure, misses the point of these people in movement. The aim of their (political) revolution, which will go on whether or not Clinton, Sanders or Trump gain the power of the presidency, is to fundamentally change the relations of power such that there is no one-way, top-down relation, but a fluid local, bioregional power.
There is a vast area of do-it-yourself activity directed toward changing the world that does not have the state as its focus, and does not aim to gain positions of power. It’s a place where the old distinctions between reform and revolution no longer seem relevant because the question of who controls the state is no longer the focus of their attention.
Theirs is a world of inching toward a revolution in the nature of revolution -- creation, movement, the certainty of doing well by doing good – they live with hopefulness that lies in the world’s unfinishedness, their revolution is openness to improvisation and participation.
The new activism we’re seeing turns “Think globally, act locally,” on its head to become “Think locally, act globally,” because the local is one way to describe what’s under assault by transnational corporations, but the resistance is often globally networked. Much radicalism of our time – be it ranchers, cowboys, Burners, college students, public school teachers – is in celebration and defense of the local. Not all local is good, since we’ve seen that often federal impositions on local customs -- of apartheid, genital mutilation, intimidation, voter exclusion – are needed to counteract a malignant local.
Today, we see a lot of local malignancy ignored by transnational capital's adherents, and the greatest devastations are wrought by transnational capital. What we are seeing is that the local serves as the counterbalance. The local is the arena of organic human, not fictional personhood, the places in which people are heard, make a difference, understand the dynamics of David/Goliath power, do things like tag walls, meet, hold street flash events, to shake up our perspectives and hold Goliath accountable – the local is the democratizing impulse of democracy.
Local power doesn’t have to mean parochial withdrawal, intolerance or wall building, either, only a coherent foundation for navigating the larger world. Argentina's severe economic crisis, for example, inspired a rise of neighborhood and community groups to replace failed institutions -- they call it horizontalidad, horizontality. Locals in movement worldwide know what they're about.
If we can have an identity embedded in local circumstance and a role in the global dialogue, interest in networks of connection, if we lose faith in defending clear-cut borders over imagined ‘security,’ we can have global justice movement coalitions where cowboys and environmentalists have actually sat down together, with an ease of difference that doesn’t need to be eliminated, and with a sense that if the essentials of principle or goal are powerful enough there is a 'we' of old school rivals who can now work together, and that our differences are a strength, not a weakness.
We hear old school being labeled ‘dinosaurology.’ We now see in this movement the dismantling The Big from the last century, so clearly, that this century may well be called the Century of The Small. Those in movement know that the best way to resist a monolithic institution or corporation like Monsanto is not with another monolithic movement but with multiplicity itself – in local farmers, farmers’ markets, seed diversity, organic crops, integrated pest management, farm-to-table restaurants, etc.
Taking care of the The Big Essentials – food, clothing, shelter, health and education -- so that the Local can regroup its democratic strength and identity, is what the Bernie political revolution is all about. The more that old school heads in Congress understand them, the more likely they are to join them to revive this soul of democracy. That America's government would see this movement's revolution as more sustainable for humanity than are corporations -- that's the gamble that youth make in their latest push into this electoral process.
Posted by ancianita | Sat May 21, 2016, 12:36 PM (1 replies)
Across The Great Divide -- How We Can Get To Party Unity Without Uniformity or Loss of Values
This is not about our future president. It’s about US. I’m thinking right now in ways that neither Bernie nor Hillary have articulated, and yet believe – that this party, divided by the heat of its differences, can still come to work together toward being the old Big Tent party of the FDR days -- by forming coalitions of different groups who are willing to put purity aside for what President Obama calls "better" (an important point I take from his Howard U. graduation speech). Don't remind me of past fights and words. Set those aside for now.
I’ve seen and felt the hardening of positions and feelings between us Sanders and Clinton Democrats. Though we knew it was coming, we've been often surprised and pissed off to learn how different our party's two camps really are. We've spent more time lately being miserable with each other than with finding a way to build a new party together. It's my political belief that the people's goal is to revive democracy even as our government doesn't respect that. Don't remind me of candidates' imperfect records. Set those aside for now.
I'm a Berner attempting common ground, not because I'm a loser but because I've spent all my life in politics for the long haul, and for reasons I'll give below. The dynamics of this past year can't be fixed by sound bite thinking, so try to be patient and give these ideas a fair hearing. I'm borrowing them from Obama, Cornel West and activist/writer, Rebecca Solnit, whose book, "Hope in the Dark," I highly recommend to all Sanders and Clinton supporters.
Left, right, unicorns, realism, innocent, guilty, tit-for-tat ad hominems -- the binaries abound and bind us right now. Let's take a break and think about ourselves. Rebecca Solnit points out that "perfectionism is a stick with which to beat the possible. Perfectionists can find fault with anything, and no one has higher standards in this than leftists. We all of us know there's a growing gap between new movements -- BLM, environmentalists, students, youth in general and professionals -- and the old figureheads called establishment corporatists.
We progressives' feel a grumpiness of perfectionism. We too often hold that anything less than total victory is failure. But that's been a premise that makes it easy for us to give up. And we have seen how we've done that both today and, at mid terms and swear to again after the general election.
But don’t give up yet, Berners and Hillers. Remember, this is not just the U.S. This is Earth. We know it will never be heaven and unicorns.
We need to keep to to the realism that knows there will always be cruelty, violence, destruction and devastation. We cannot eliminate all of the rainforest devastation, rape, extinctions, land dispossession or deaths, even from easily preventable causes. But as Hillers (please don't take offense, it's just a short cut name) have pointed out, we can reduce them, outlaw them, undermine their sources and foundations. We can change.
When we make "better," as Obama has said, these are victories. Berners, for all their revolutionary ideals, insist that a better world is what we need to make, and soon; but a perfect world, never.
So the question becomes, what will we work on together to make it the Democratic Better. As Obama told Howard University grads this past week: “better” is the newer, stronger starting point for new battles and new victories. Being "right" has never gotten anything accomplished that didn't also strengthen oppressive systems.
Take the issue of how women used to make 66 cents to the male dollar and now we've made 77 cents. Old heads remember and say, so what were we complaining about?! It's really not so complicated for progressives and conservatives to acknowledge that women's 77 cents/male dollar IS better than 66 cents.
But what we keep seeing is that the politics we have is so pathetically bipolar that we only tell this story two ways: either 77 cents is a victory, at which point some of us shut up and stop fighting; or 77 cents is ugly, so our activism accomplishes too little or nothing, so we then say, what's the point of fighting, even -- binary politics that say incrementalism sucks and perfection is unlikely. Both versions are defeatist because both versions are static.
What's missing: the ability to recognize a situation in which we're traveling and we've not arrived. For us it's a politics that shows cause both to celebrate and fight in a world that is always being made and never finished.
That's the tricksy Coyote world view, where nothing -- no victory or great human triumph -- travels in a straight cause/effect line (like much of nature). That view needs to be in preference to the Yahweh world view of an old school, straight and narrow rule-bound road to paradise (like authoritarian systems).
Like activists say in Seattle: "We are winning. They don't say, "We have won." It's a different political world in which we can feel successful without feeling smug, where we can feel challenged without feeling defeated. Most victories anywhere in the world are temporary, or incomplete or compromised in some way, and we might as well celebrate them from time to time. Without stopping. So even if some day we women get dollar-to-dollar parity, that will just free us up – and fire us up -- to attend to something else. There will always be a something else. Get used to it.
When either religious or Christian activists mistake heaven for some goal at which they must arrive, rather than an idea to navigate American or Earth by, they burn themselves out like moths attracted to flames -- or they set up a totalitarian utopia in which others burn out. Paradise is not the place at which you arrive because, as for the moth, arrival is death. Paradise is the journey toward it.
Victories MUST be temporary or incomplete. What kind of humanity would survive paradise. The industrialized world has tried to approximate paradise in its suburbs -- with the luxe, calme, cul-de-sacs, cable, two car garages -- but we've seen that with all that comes a soft ennui that shades over into despair and decay of the soul, which also suggests that Paradise is already a gulag. Or there wouldn't be "mother's little helpers" in that world. Paradise doesn’t require courage, selflessness, creativity, passion from us; paradise, in all accounts, is passive, sedative, and if you really think about it, SOULLESS.
Cornel West has talked about this. We’ve got the term “politics of prefiguration" -- the idea that if we embody what we aspire to (be the change you want to see) we have already succeeded. It means, if our activism is already democratic, peaceful, creative, then in our part of the world we’ve created a home in which to live, Even if it’s temporary or local, this paradise of participating is a long term home in which souls get made, fed, housed and live it up.
We could imagine alliances and affinities that are willing to turn up without badges of ‘right’ and ‘left,’ such as recent American militia movements – patriarchal, nostalgic, nationalist, gun-happy, full of weird fantasies about the UN – who have something in common with us: they prize the local and fear their erasure by the transnational; they don’t want to see their communities go down the tubes any more than we do.
Our political imagination has to define common cause, and we have to directly speak to each other about them. Our courage, respectful efforts and outreach, can create new coalitions like those that have succeeded in Oregon's stopping Nestle’s water encroachment and plastic bottle devastation, or in ending the radiated Nevada nuclear test sites, or in shutting down the WTO when Seattle’s unions, environmentalists, anarchists, indigenous activists coalesced in the 90's, or when Republican ranchers work with environmentalists in coalitions to shut down methane drilling in Wyoming. Defining and listing common cause goals means that activism need not be oppositional. Our old litigious activism now sees potential allies.
And so we need to go into the general election considering this: no wing of the Democratic Party is ever so good that it can’t stand a little revision, and no party wing's goals are ever so impossible and broken down that a try at fixing them is out of the question. That's how unity can exist without uniformity or loss of our values -- through common cause coalition building.
We cannot chain our new president in old mental, comfortable binaries. We can build a new power space that a female presidency can provide, in which we can find common cause with at least half the population. It could be a list of more humane domestic spending priorities. The president's space of common cause could develop with the Joint Chiefs – who already see climate change as the #1 security crisis for America's and the world's future -- and commander-in-chief, plans to implement green energy, communications, mobility, of the military, both to save it from losing its essential mission, and to save the planet's inhabitants from much devastation. This new presidential space can find common cause in that space to “better” use security technology to protect rather than sloppily kill innocent women and children in conflict zones. Or prevent conflict zones through prioritizing safety through climate impact response policies.
New political coalitions within THIS party can practice what activist coalitions win with. These coalitions can redefine this party. We can demand a new political space that a woman president can create -- to shift the paradigm that the ends are not as important as the means. We can join this president in privileging means that will actually define new ends. Don't remind me of past arguments about any leader's inability to change. We all can change.
We in this party can show the 1% who believe their money will run "their" American show, that the solutions that money can NOT buy are COLLECTIVE ones; that from THIS party of ideas come coalitions whose ideas work. That OUR coalitions put our common causes ahead of our differences -- that they are the source of "our" successes, even as they try to appropriate those successes as their own.
When we’re asked, what’s this new world going to be?” we answer, "We don’t know, but let’s build it together.” It’s the politics of here and now that is better than the ‘fierce urgency of now,’ that puts souls before money, puts context in front of our ideology, that rejects purity and perfection. Coalitions built on common causes have created pasts that the most brilliant authoritarians couldn’t have planned any better.
So, it’s not unicorns. It’s a risk for “better.” In an imperfect world, ‘better,’ as Obama and others have explained, is a fine outcome to live with and celebrate.
Right now, people worldwide both love and hate us for our floundering. But when we remember what victories we've had over the last century, we'll channel the hope that history gives us to revive democracy as a calling.
That's what "undergrounds" do. We'll laugh as we recall how others tried to throw democracy under the bus. Then we'll party in the streets as the now defunct RTS of London did, knowing we're never done, but living in the political coalition of common cause, paradise be damned.
Posted by ancianita | Fri May 20, 2016, 05:01 PM (18 replies)
I want the Sanders/Maher ticket.
Bill's history lesson on put-downs of women is a classic setup for demolishing Trump's claims to manliness.
Posted by ancianita | Sat May 7, 2016, 12:07 AM (10 replies)
I can't find pro-Hillary arguments with this article's reasoning.
Posted by ancianita | Wed May 4, 2016, 12:04 AM (21 replies)
Paul Manafort gives a whole different meaning to the phrase, "The Real Deal."
While we on DU navigate our way toward our party's nominee, this article reminds me that it behooves us to move our sights ahead -- or at least keep in our awareness -- toward how Trump is really going to become electable in the General Election sense of the word.
This guy has caused the GOP elites to fold. This guy runs/consults Trump's campaign.
So. Whoever is Trump's Democratic opponent will be up against a machine that keeps dictators in power worldwide.
Strangely, the HUD scandal proved a marketing boon for the firm. An aide to Mobutu Sese Seko told the journalist Art Levine, “That only shows how important they are!” Indeed, Manafort enticed the African dictator to hire the firm. Many of the world’s dictators eventually became his clients. “Name a dictator and Black, Manafort will name the account,” Levine wrote. (Levine’s piece, published in Spy, featured a sidebar ranking the ethical behavior of Washington lobbyists: It found Black, Manafort the worst of the bunch.) The client list included Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos (with a $900,000 yearly contract) and the despots of the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, Kenya, Equatorial Guinea, and Somalia. When the Center for Public Integrity detailed the firm’s work, it titled the report “The Torturers’ Lobby.”
His lobbying helped convince Congress to send Savimbi hundreds of millions in covert aid. Indeed, every time Angola stood on the precipice of peace talks, Manafort, Black worked to generate a fresh round of arms—shipments that many experts believe extended the conflict. Sen. Bill Bradley was blunt in assigning blame. “When Gorbachev pulled the plug on Soviet aid to the Angolan government, we had absolutely no reason to persist in aiding Savimbi. But by then he had hired an effective Washington lobbying firm, which successfully obtained further funding.” Or as Art Levine concluded, “So the war lasted another two more years and claimed a few thousand more lives! So what? What counts to a Washington lobbyist is the ability to deliver a tangible victory and spruce up his client’s image.”
Hillary's David Brock runs fraternity boy politics compared to the political dictator/businessman world that Paul Manafort runs.
Manafort may have been around awhile, and while Salon can go for edgy reporting these days, there's something here. He appears as oligarchic ammunition that even a clever Priebus will defer to. Bill Clinton's talent bench could be tested and bested in facing him.
Polls still show that, to beat Trump, it may take the socialist Jew who draws everyone from the pope to disengaged youth to birds. Now, I'm hoping these polls will hold in the general.
Here, Manafort is profiled on Trump's left, our right.
Posted by ancianita | Fri Apr 29, 2016, 01:23 AM (4 replies)
The racist basis of today's white privilege.
Posted by ancianita | Thu Apr 28, 2016, 09:35 PM (8 replies)
Trump wants his rallies to look like watered down versions of the fakery he displays at Wrestlemania.
When he says "We're having fun, huh?" as Trump invites the audience to entertain him with violence, this is the kind of leader he will be.
Trump is an effete snob, contemptuous of voters.
This is the international leader fans want -- a fake fighter.
Trump's fans think bluff toughness will get them their "better deal."
Posted by ancianita | Mon Mar 14, 2016, 09:58 PM (2 replies)