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YoungDemCA

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Member since: Wed Jan 18, 2012, 10:29 PM
Number of posts: 2,384

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NYT Op-Ed: The War on Workers

Unions have never been uncontroversial in American society, but the battles over labor have grown fiercer in recent years: Witness the fight over public-employee unions in Wisconsin, or the 2012 decision by Michigan voters to join the ranks of “right to work” states.

On Monday a 5-to-4 majority of the Supreme Court fired its own salvo in the war on unions. Though its decision in Harris v. Quinn was narrow, saying that, in some cases, unions could not collect fees from one particular class of public employees who did not want to join, its language suggests that this may be the court’s first step toward nationalizing the “right to work” gospel by embedding it in constitutional law.

The petitioners in Harris were several home-care workers who did not want to join a union, though a majority of their co-workers had voted in favor of joining one. Under Illinois law, they were still required to contribute their “fair share” to the costs of representation — a provision, known as an “agency fee,” that is prohibited in “right to work” states.

The ability of unions to collect an agency fee reflects a constitutional balance that has governed American labor for some 40 years: Workers can’t be forced to join a union or contribute to its political and ideological activities, but they can be required to pay for the cost of the union’s collective bargaining and contract-administration activities.


Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/03/opinion/the-supreme-court-ruling-on-harris-v-quinn-is-a-blow-for-unions.html?_r=0

The answer is yes-unless corrected by democratic institutions and public services

that serve the common good. And even then, history has shown that that has only temporarily reduced inequality and poverty, not eliminated it.

Sadly, the vast majority of the capitalist class and their supporters sneer at the very concept of "the common good." Maybe it's time for a new system outright that serves all the people and overturns the fundamentally corrupt, anti-human, unjust system that we have today.

-My $0.02.

Another great FDR quote:

The true conservative seeks to protect the system of private property and free enterprise by correcting such injustices and inequalities as arise from it. The most serious threat to our institutions comes from those who refuse to face the need for change. Liberalism becomes the protection for the far-sighted conservative.

Never has a Nation made greater strides in the safeguarding of democracy than we have made during the past three years. Wise and prudent men — intelligent conservatives — have long known that in a changing world worthy institutions can be conserved only by adjusting them to the changing time. In the words of the great essayist, "The voice of great events is proclaiming to us. Reform if you would preserve." I am that kind of conservative because I am that kind of liberal.


-President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his Address at the Democratic State Convention, Syracuse, New York (29 September 1936)

Some powerful and wise words from President Franklin Roosevelt's 1936 SOTU address...

I realize that I have emphasized to you the gravity of the situation which confronts the people of the world. This emphasis is justified because of its importance to civilization and therefore to the United States. Peace is jeopardized by the few and not by the many. Peace is threatened by those who seek selfish power. The world has witnessed similar eras— as in the days when petty kings and feudal barons were changing the map of Europe every fortnight, or when great emperors and great kings were engaged in a mad scramble for colonial empire. We hope that we are not again at the threshold of such an era. But if face it we must, then the United States and the rest of the Americas can play but one role: through a well-ordered neutrality to do naught to encourage the contest, through adequate defense to save ourselves from embroilment and attack, and through example and all legitimate encouragement and assistance to persuade other Nations to return to the ways of peace and good-will.

The evidence before us clearly proves that autocracy in world affairs endangers peace and that such threats do not spring from those Nations devoted to the democratic ideal. If this be true in world affairs, it should have the greatest weight in the determination of domestic policies.

Within democratic Nations the chief concern of the people is to prevent the continuance or the rise of autocratic institutions that beget slavery at home and aggression abroad. Within our borders, as in the world at large, popular opinion is at war with a power-seeking minority.

That is no new thing. It was fought out in the Constitutional Convention of 1787. From time to time since then, the battle has been continued, under Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.

In these latter years we have witnessed the domination of government by financial and industrial groups, numerically small but politically dominant in the twelve years that succeeded the World War. The present group of which I speak is indeed numerically small and, while it exercises a large influence and has much to say in the world of business, it does not, I am confident, speak the true sentiments of the less articulate but more important elements that constitute real American business.

In March, 1933, I appealed to the Congress of the United States and to the people of the United States in a new effort to restore power to those to whom it rightfully belonged. The response to that appeal resulted in the writing of a new chapter in the history of popular government. You, the members of the Legislative branch, and I, the Executive, contended for and established a new relationship between Government and people.

What were the terms of that new relationship? They were an appeal from the clamor of many private and selfish interests, yes, an appeal from the clamor of partisan interest, to the ideal of the public interest. Government became the representative and the trustee of the public interest. Our aim was to build upon essentially democratic institutions, seeking all the while the adjustment of burdens, the help of the needy, the protection of the weak, the liberation of the exploited and the genuine protection of the people's property.


Full address here: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=15095

IMHO, this is where selfish individualism comes into play

And the zero-sum game thinking that goes alongside that.

No sense of solidarity or empathy with others like you. All about advancing your own incredibly narrow and short-sighted self-interest, at the expense of everyone else. That underlies much of the rationale for why too many marginalized, politically threatened, and/or poor people-of ANY group-appear to "buy into" the dominant culture and its oppressive social structures.

Of course, good ole-fashioned bigotry helps, too.

That's it exactly

Look at economic status, for example. There are a disturbing number of people who are one job loss, one medical emergency or other catastrophe away from total financial ruin who vote Republican. Why? Because they think of themselves as the "deserving" poor, or the "hard-working taxpayers."

And these same people often call themselves "Christian" too, which gives them moral justification for hating on the gays, the feminists, and anyone else not like them.

When you think of politics, economics, and social mobility as a zero-sum game, then you will deeply resent anyone less fortunate than you who you perceive to be getting a "handout."

Why progressive change is so hard: exploring the structural/systemic factors in the US

This is something that I had posted about in a thread here a month or so ago, but I figure it deserved its own OP.

There are many structural and systemic reasons for why enacting sweeping progressive reforms to the US government is such a difficult task, some of them which have been discussed plenty of times before, but others that are a bit more fundamental and basic to our political system.

The "people" and "the government" are not the same (in practice), and "We the People" only elect a small number of federal officials (537-the President, Vice President, and the Congress) out of several million people who work for the government. And of those 537, exactly two of them are individually accountable to ALL of the voters, once every four years. Others are accountable to their state's voters (the Senate) or their districts' voters (the House) in their own respective elections. And half the population doesn't bother or aren't able, for whatever reason, to participate in the once-every-four-years process of electing the head of state AND government of the most powerful country in the world.

This, of course, is without mentioning the role of the Electoral College, congressional gerrymandering, unequal representation in the Senate, the role of the Supreme Court and all the other parts of the judicial system, concerns over federalism and states rights and local control, the role of the mass media, the role of money in politics, the roles of racism, sexism, classism, and other "isms" in dividing the masses of ordinary people from each other, and so many other structural and systemic factors that make enacting a progressive/left-wing/liberal agenda-even if it's popular with the public, as so many on DU have noted- so damn difficult.

I understand (and share, to a considerable extent) the frustration, anger, and bitterness that a lot of people have about our system and our elected representatives (or the people who are theoretically our elected representatives). But I don't think that we can ignore the reality of how our system operates.

My $0.02.

Sometimes I seriously doubt if some on DU even know the basics of our political system

and the way the government works.

Helpful tip: The people and the government are not the same, and "We the People" only elect a small number of federal officials (537-the President, Vice President, and the Congress) out of several million people who work for the government. And of those 536, exactly two of them are accountable to ALL of the voters, once every four years. And half the population doesn't bother, for whatever reason, to participate in electing the head of state AND government of the most powerful country in the world. This, of course, is without mentioning the role of the Electoral College, congressional gerrymandering, unequal representation in the Senate, the role of the Supreme Court and all the other parts of the judicial system, concerns over federalism and states rights and local control, the role of the mass media, the role of money in politics, and so many other factors that make enacting a progressive/left-wing/liberal agenda-even if it's popular with the public, as you and others have noted-so damn difficult.

I understand your frustration-really, I do. I share many of your concerns, believe me. But that doesn't mean we can ignore the reality of how our political system works.

The idea that the owning class shares *any* of the class interests of the rest of us....

...should immediately be put to rest.

To anyone who thinks that the rich care about you, other than the profit they can squeeze out of your labor and your soul:

The joke is on you.

K&R for Noam Chomsky.

Found an ancestor of mine from 12th century Scotland

On my maternal grandfather's side.

http://www.clanmacfarlanegenealogy.info/genealogy/TNGWebsite/getperson.php?personID=I4265&tree=CC

1 - William came to Scotland with King David I some time before 1128.

2 - Legend has it that the first Graham was one Gramus who forced a breach in the Roman Antonine wall known as Graeme's Dyke in 420 A.D. However, historians generally believe that the Grahams were of Norman descent. The first record of the name was William de Graham who received the lands of Aberdeen and Dalkeith from David 1 in 1127. From him descend all the Grahams of Montrose. They became numerous in Liddesdale and the Borders and later obtained lands in Strathearn and Lower Perthshi re, the area with which the clan is now associated. The main line of Graham chiefs were long and loyal supporters of the Scottish cause.

Another account of the clan...
The surname Graeme, or Graham, is said to be derived from the Gaelic word grumach, applied to a person of a stern countenance and manner. It may possibly, however, be connected with the British word grym, signifying strength, seen in grime's dyke, erroneously called Graham's dyke, the name popularly given to the wall of Antoninus, from an absurd fable of Fordun and Boece, that one Greme, traditionally said to have giverned Scotland during the minority of the fabulous Eugene the Second, broke through the mightly rampart erected by the Romans between the rivers Forth and Clyde. It is unfortunate for this fiction that the first authenticated person who bore the name in North Britain was Sir William de Graeme (the undoubted ancestor of the Dukes of Montrose and all "the gallant Grahams" in this country), who came to Scotland in the reign of David the First, from whom he received the lands of Abercorn and Dalkeith, and witnessed the charter of that monarch to the monks of the abbey of Holyrood in 1128. In Gaelic grim means war, battle. Anciently, the word Grimesdike was applied to trenches, roads and boundaries and was not confined to Scotland.


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