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Number of posts: 41,254
Member since: Sat Sep 15, 2012, 01:49 PM
Number of posts: 41,254
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In a neoliberal era in which personal choice and triumphs of individual character are heralded above social justice and understandings of structural oppression, I think it useful to examine the historical construction of Helen Keller's life story, a popular interpretation that erases her Marxist activism on disability and supplants it with moral tales of overcoming personal obstacles.
Helen Keller is one of the most widely recognized figures in US history that people actually know very little about. That she was a serious political thinker who made important contributions in the fields of socialist theory and practice, or that she was a pioneer in pointing the way toward a Marxist understanding of disability oppression and liberation—this reality has been overlooked and censored. The mythological Helen Keller that we are familiar with has aptly been described as a sort of “plaster saint;” a hollow, empty vessel who is little more than an apolitical symbol for perseverance and personal triumph.1
This is the story that most of us are familiar with: A young Helen Keller contracted an illness that left her blind and deaf; she immediately reverted to the state of a wild animal, as depicted in the popular movie The Miracle Worker; she remained in this state virtually unchanged until she was rescued by her teacher Anne Sullivan, who “miraculously” introduced her to the world of language. Then time passed, and Helen Keller died eighty years later: End of story.
The image of Helen Keller as a gilded, eternal child is reinforced at the highest levels of US society. The statue of Helen Keller erected inside the US Capitol building in 2009, which replaced that of a Confederate Army officer, depicts Keller as a seven-year-old child kneeling at a water pump. Neither the statue itself nor its inscription provides any inkling that the sixty-plus years of Keller’s adult life were of any particular political import.
When the story of Helen Keller is taught in schools today, it is frequently used to convey a number of anodyne “moral lessons” or messages: There is no personal obstacle that cannot be overcome through pluck and hard work; whatever problems one thinks they have pale in comparison to those of Helen Keller; and perhaps the most insidious of such messages, the one aimed primarily at people with disabilities themselves, is that the task of becoming a full member of society rests upon one’s individual efforts to overcome a given impairment and has nothing to do with structural oppression or inequality.
More about the work she did engage in at:
Posted by BainsBane | Thu Apr 2, 2015, 05:11 PM (15 replies)
The statute of limitations are close to expiring. Assange, who faces allegations of sexual assault, has been a fugitive from justice for four years. Swedish prosecutors have decided to travel to the UK, where he is evading justice, to interview Assange before the Statue of Limitations expires.
Lead prosecutor Marianne Ny explained the change in position by saying some of the crimes the 43-year-old Australian is accused of will reach their statute of limitations in August.
"My view has always been that to perform an interview with him at the Ecuadorean embassy in London would lower the quality of the interview, and that he would need to be present in Sweden in any case should there be a trial in the future," Ny said in a statement.
"Now that time is of the essence, I have viewed it therefore necessary to accept such deficiencies in the investigation and likewise take the risk that the interview does not move the case forward."
Now what do you do if you're desperate to ensure Assange doesn't face justice for sexual assault? Assail the integrity of the prosecutor, accuse her of "lying" because Sweden has decided to go to the UK rather than let the charges elapse. It takes a lot of effort and justifications to ensure the great and powerful men like Assange not face consequences for allegations of sexual assault. Female victims: liars, worthless. A female prosecutor: a liar whose character must be assassinated to continue the cover up. The accused rapist: not subject to the laws of mere mortals, too great to be held accountable to charges made by lowly women.
This folks is rape culture.
Posted by BainsBane | Fri Mar 13, 2015, 04:30 PM (19 replies)
because a man such as Assange should not have to comply with normal laws and procedures. He must be served, catered to, despite fleeing from questioning for sexual assault allegations. Another victory for rapists the the great men who are above the law, especially when it comes to allegations of violating lowly women.
And it truly is amazing to see celebration of a two procedures of justice--one for the great men of the world and another for mere mortals.
Rape culture must be protected at all costs, or before long more than 3 percent of rapists will have to do jail time, and 25 percent of women in this world might not experience sexual assault. With that kind of disorder, with women considered equal human beings, white male supremacy might disintegrate. Lord knows we couldn't have that.
Yeah, yeah, You'll claim Assange really isn't a rapist, just like the football players in Steubenville weren't really rapists according to their fan club. We live in a world where rape proliferates yet astounding there are no rapists. The purpose of a criminal investigation and trial is to determine guilt, and since Assange has fled that investigation for four years, he has willfully forsaken the opportunity to clear his name.
Because the same people insist on ignoring all legal evidence in the case and repeatedly and falsely insist there is no legal charge against Assange, I am posting the warrant for his arrest and the UK court decision that made clear what his standing is under UK law.
The link below goes to a PDF of the international arrest warrant.
here are four allegations as set out in box (e) of the warrant:
On 13th – 14th August 2010, in the home of the injured party in Stockholm, Assange, by using violence, forced the injured party to endure his restricting her freedom of movement. The violence consisted in a firm hold of the injured party’s arms and a forceful spreading of her legs whilst lying on top of her and with his body weight preventing her from moving or shifting.
On 13th – 14th August 2010, in the home of the injured party in Stockholm, Assange deliberately molested the injured party by acting in a manner designed to violate her sexual integrity. Assange, who was aware that it was the expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a condom be used, consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her without her knowledge.
On 18th August 2010 or on any of the days before or after that date, in the home of the injured party in Stockholm, Assange deliberately molested the injured party by acting in a manner designed to violate her sexual integrity i.e. lying next to her and pressing his naked, erect penis to her body.
On 17th August 2010, in the home of the injured party in Enkoping, Assange deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep, was in a helpless state.
It is an aggravating circumstance that Assange, who was aware that it was the expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a condom be used, still consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her. The sexual act was designed to violate the injured party’s sexual integrity.
The framework list is ticked for “Rape”. This is a reference to an allegation 4. The other three allegations are
described in box (e) II using the same wording as set out above.
UK appellate court ruling on extradition of Assange to Sweden and his standing under Swedish law.
None of the actual evidence in the case matters of course for those who insist the great men of the world be immune from the laws where lowly women are accusers. That is precisely how power, patriarchy, and violence against women are perpetuated.
Posted by BainsBane | Fri Mar 13, 2015, 02:21 PM (2 replies)
I have been told that to do so is "divisive." EVERY TIME. I've been told I'm an unreasonable radical for caring about women's rights as I define them and not taking the upper-middle class white male's direction on what rights I am allowed to care about. African American members have been called divisive trolls for posting about racism, for suggesting that people here might care about their life experiences. Just today I served on a jury where someone lit into a member for posting about racism, when he felt he should not have to be exposed to such trivial concerns. Now I read a post where you say it's us vs. them, the us being many of the same people who have told me and others to keep our mouths shut, not to pester our betters about issues that speak to the experiences of many women and people of color. Some of the those you proudly proclaim as the "underground" are people who have insulted LGBT members, who have faced discrimination and oppression their entire lives, as hypocrites and accused them of being aligned with the 1 percent and Goldman Sachs because they didn't share their assessment of a single individual. After years of being told I'm an unreasonable radical, suddenly I'm a collaborator with power, a whole new kind of other.
In both cases, I am excluded and reviled for the same reasons: I am not you, and my life has been nothing like yours and the others you so proudly proclaim as "the underground." What I am not is not someone who grew up middle-class and male, and therefore my experiences differ from many here. I care about issues that relate to my life experiences, and that makes me less, just as the subject position I occupy is defined as less in the social and class structure of this country. That is true for many of the people your post looks down upon. You see for us, elections matter. Our very civil rights, our economic livelihood, and for some their survival is effected by the outcome of elections. Yet none of that concerns you. You instead proclaim a superiority as an "underground" keyboard warrior, all over what appears to be opposition to the only presumptive candidate for the Democratic nomination. What you are proclaiming is a superiority tied at least in part to privilege of race, class, gender, and sexuality.
Deliberately seeking to exclude the majority of the electorate from your notion of underground, of who matters, is not revolutionary or even reformist. What it does is serve the interests of the powerful, of capital. The system in which we live is overpowering in its control. To resist it requires SOLIDARITY on issues, on coming together to take action on the role of money political system, to oppose capitalism, the very system that grants you privilege lacking in those you look down on. Yet your posts shows that what you care about is not challenging that system but instead targeting those who disagree with you. That, I assert, does the work of the very forces many here claim to oppose. Yet when they spend their energy attacking ordinary American voters rather than capital or the "corporatist state," it tells me that they, and you, aren't interested in changing anything. You instead proclaim yourselves superior to those who are born, live, and think differently. If i had money, didn't have a uterus, and if others here were white and straight, they could afford not to give a shit about elections. If we were privileged, elections wouldn't make that much difference to us and might even provide a nice cut in taxes. Like most Americans, we are not so fortunate.
You imagine yourself and those you think better than the rest of us to be among the underground because you post on a site that has that title in its name. My notion of underground or change doesn't revolve around an obsession with one member of the political elite or another. For me, social justice and human equality are what matter, and when people insist on ignoring and even silencing those issues and social problems in favor of mudslinging about individuals, I see a way of thinking bound by the power of capital. I see people who forsake activism that might actually change the relationship between capital and citizen and instead direct their energies toward targeting ordinary, working and disadvantaged Americans whose position in society is far more fragile. This conceptual underground you present looks to me a lot like a country club.
Posted by BainsBane | Wed Mar 11, 2015, 03:35 AM (3 replies)
We again see another post that is all about telling people on DU how they are unacceptable for not taking your precise approach to politics. I won't say values because your fundamental mistake is assuming a different view about a candidate or tactic means an entirely different set of values. If you think people here actually believe what you claim. you haven't payed attention to those who disagrees with you.
A Democrat is someone who votes for the Democratic Party. A number of people here have said they do not and will not. Therefore they are not Democrats. I myself only became a Democrat following the 2000 election. While I often voted Democratic, I also voted Third Party, and wouldn't identify myself as a Democrat because I have never found capitalism an acceptable economic and political system. However, the Bush presidency convinced me to adopt a more pragmatic approach. He was so awful, I decided I had to vote consistently for Democrats.
Now on DU i have been called a Third Wayer while discussing Marxist theory and reminding people that change comes from social movements by the people, reminding them of the history of their nation and how the structures of government were set up to serve the interests of the wealthy rather than ordinary Americans. I then get insulted from people with little to no familiarity with history, Marxism, or leftist thought more generally, all because I don't share their obsession with defeating a single presidential candidate. You see, the idea that such values rise and fall with Hillary Clinton or any other individual is a complete fiction, ahistorical and counterfactual. To focus entirely on the presidency is to limit oneself only to contests among political elites. It does not promote or accomplish social change.
A key difference I have here with many is on the idea that the presidency is the be all and end all of political reform. To think that way limits enormously the possibilities for change and makes impossible the goals you list above. Those can only be accomplished through local, grassroots organizing that transforms the party, or creates a new party, from the ground up. And even then electoral politics are only a small part of the change that's required to realize your goals. Too many imagine a president will spontaneously transform American and deliver what you want. It doesn't work that way.
If you want a party to stand up against capital, I'm all for it. That party, however, is not the Democratic Party, which has never rejected wealth or profit. It is a mainstream party in a capitalist state. There has never been a time when it did not serve capital. Many wish for another FDR, with no sense of the historical context he responded to. If FDR were alive today, he would not govern in the same way because he responded to a series of social movements that threatened to undo the capitalist system. He constructed the New Deal to assuage the worst excesses of exploitation and thereby saved the capitalist system.
What you seem to want is closer to socialism than what the Democratic Party has stood for. I'm all for socialism, but I would like to know how you think we can make it work it within the confines of our current electoral and campaign finance system.
My question is how do you propose to enact those values you list? Do you have a reform to organize around? How do you propose to bring about those changes? Or do you think "corporatism," as you call it, rises and falls on the fate of Hillary Clinton? Because if the goal is simply to defeat a candidate, that accomplishes none of the goals you outline above. It simply is a different face heading the capitalist state.
If the goals of people really are to transform the relationship between politics, money, and citizen, why is it that so many devote most of their time to attacking other Democrats? That suggests to me goals not in keeping with what you claim.
Lastly, in prior discussion you disclosed to me that you in fact have no problem with corporate profit, as long as it is on the part of gun manufacturers, an industry where wealth is accumulated based on hundreds of thousands of deaths. I find that troubling and entirely inconsistent with what you write above.
Lastly, I find it fascinating that people who rail that discussions of racism or misogyny are divisive have absolutely no problem dismissing the majority of Democratic voters as beneath contempt. I once again come away with the impression that the only thing that people really care about is their disgust for Democrats whose thoughts, knowledge, tactics, or interests disagree with theirs at all.
The kind of change you are talking about requires a great deal of organizing and solidarity, and if you refuse to listen to the concerns of others, you make it impossible to effect any of that.
Posted by BainsBane | Tue Mar 3, 2015, 07:27 PM (9 replies)
This is a long post, but I take challenges to my integrity very seriously and have a great deal to say.
I don't attack people for being "left." I'm a Marxist, for Christ sake. The difference is I understand the nature of the capitalist state, and now I get lectured by people who can't tell Marxist analysis from the Sunday newspaper.
I demonstrate my principles often in my posts. I post about social justice, violence, human equality, feminism, racism, empire, and war, even Marxist theory. I clearly express my principles in those threads. If I did not have principles, I would engage in group think and go along with the prevailing view at the time. That is something I have never done. What I do not do is focus entirely on contests among political elites. I know that social change doesn't emanate from the presidency down. As someone with training in social history and social movements in particular, I know that social change comes from the bottom up, and that politicians only respond when compelled to by the people. You see, focusing on the presidency to the exclusion of particular causes reflects a conservative (not as in GOP but in the more traditional meaning, as in great man view of history and social change) worldview. For example, people present FDR as a savior, the only real Democrat, yet show no awareness that FDR acted because he was forced to by widespread social movements. He saved the capitalist system by creating the New Deal that has assuaged many of the excesses of capitalist exploitation. If not for him, it is possible the country might have turned to social revolution at that time. He made sure it did not.
I did not grow up upper-middle or middle-class, so I have never been among the people who expected government to cater to me. I expect for people who grew up in more advantageous circumstances, there probably was a time when they saw government representing their interests. It has never represented the poor, and the days some here hearken back to were a time when the majority of the population was denied basic civil rights and existed outside the body politic.
My academic background in the history of nation building and national identity also enables me to see national mythology at work. Much of the frustration I see here is from people who buy into the national mythology of government for the people and by the people and think that government's failure to serve the needs of common people is new. It is not new. It is endemic to the capitalist state, a state that was never intended to serve common people, which is clear from how the framers set up government. While it is true that the cash nexus between capital and state is more naked than in the past, the fundamental relationship is much the same. A key difference today is that capital is increasingly global, and its accumulation is no longer dependent on nation. That has generated a new host of contradictions that we are witnessing today.
I don't see a lot of principal in endless fixation on contests among political elites. I do not see disputes about individual politicians as reflective of principle. In fact it avoids a discussion of broader and more systemic problems that cannot be solved by a President. When people identify one individual, like Clinton, as responsible for the ills of capitalism, it frustrates me because it reduces a systemic problem to a caricature and thus allows no possibility of addressing it. I consider that a very narrow political worldview.
I have never known of a politician in this country who expressed my views. The closest globally is Salvador Allende, but I know the nature of the country I live in. I look at electoral politics quite pragmatically: my principles are not expressed within the confines of the governmental structures of the capitalist state. When I was younger, I wouldn't identify as a Democrat for that reason and often voted third party. Bush changed that. He was so awful I realized I had to consistently vote for Democrats. I'm all for progressive reform of the party, and time and time again I have suggested that people get involved at the local level to make that happen. Expecting a president to spontaneously transform society is folly and impossible under the confines of our system.
I live in one of the most progressive states in the country, a state that has gotten a lot of press about its governor lately. Yet missed in that coverage is that we have the most politically engaged population in the country: not only do we have the highest voter participation rates in the country, we organize around issues like marriage equality, defeating voter ID and retaining election-day voter registration, an increase in the minimum wage linked to inflation, requiring employers to pay sick leave, funding for the arts and parks. That is all possible because the population organized for it, not because we waited for a governor to give it to us. If we are to have progressive reform, people need to do that all around the country. Sitting back and waiting for the perfect president to bestow it is a fool's errand. Worse yet, people who think that not voting constitutes a form of activism only make the situation worse.
I think part of what is happening here is we have a fundamental disagreement about what constitutes left. For me, leftism is Marxism, socialism. It is not liberalism, and it is not embodied in a particular US presidential candidate or arguments over individual public figures. And in fact when that is accompanied by hostility to the rights and interest of the subaltern (eg. racial justice, gender equality, and full civil rights for LGBT), I consider it right-wing.
Posted by BainsBane | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 11:21 PM (1 replies)
Drawn up before the fall of the government in Kiev.
First the link to the original publication in Russian: http://www.novayagazeta.ru/politics/67389.html
Translation of the article and document as published on a Ukranian website:
"Novaya Gazeta" is publishing Russia’s plan for the annexation of a number of territories of Ukraine, which were drawn up when Yanukovych was still president of this country.
The document that has come into the possession of Novaya was presumably “brought in” to the Presidential Administration in the period between February 4 and February 12, 2014.
Now excerpts from the document:
2. Russia’s policy toward Ukraine must finally become pragmatic.
First, the regime of Viktor Yanukovych has gone totally bankrupt. Its political, diplomatic, financial, and information support from the Russian Federation is no longer meaningful.
Second, as a sporadic civil war in the form of urban guerrilla of the so-called “supporters of the Maidan” against the leadership of a number of the country’s eastern regions has become a fact, while the disintegration of the Ukrainian state along the line of geographical demarcation of regional alliances - “western regions plus Kyiv” and “eastern regions plus Crimea” - has become part of the political agenda, in these circumstances, Russia should in no way limit its policy toward Ukraine only to attempts to influence the political situation in Kyiv and the relationship of a systemic opposition (A. Yatsenyuk, V. Klitschko, O. Tyagnybok, P . Poroshenko, etc.) with the European Commission.
Third, in an almost complete paralysis of the central government, unable to form a responsible government even facing threats of default and of Naftogaz lacking funds to pay for Russian gas, Russia is simply obliged to get involved in the geopolitical intrigue of the European Community directed against the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
First of all, this is because otherwise our country risks losing not only the Ukrainian energy market, but also indirect control over Ukraine’s gas transportation system, which is much more dangerous. This will endanger the position of Gazprom in Central and Southern Europe, causing huge damage to our country’s economy.
3. The Constitution of Ukraine is in no case able to provide for a mechanism that could legitimately initiate the integration of Ukraine’s eastern territories and Crimea into the state-legal framework of the Russian Federation.
. . .
Current events in Kyiv convincingly show that the Yanukovych’s time in power could end at any moment. Thus, there is less and less time for an appropriate Russian response. The number of dead in riots in the capital of Ukraine is direct evidence of the inevitability of civil war and the impossibility of reaching consensus if Yanukovych remains president. In these circumstances, it seems appropriate to play along the centrifugal aspirations of the various regions of the country, with a view to initiate the accession of its eastern regions to Russia, in one form or another. Crimea and Kharkiv region should become the dominant regions for making such efforts, as there already exist reasonably large groups there that support the idea of maximum integration with Russia.
4. Of course, taking the burden of supporting Crimea and several eastern territories, Russia will be forced to take on budget expenses, which would be cumbersome in the country’s present position.
Undoubtedly, this will affect macroeconomic stability and the prospects for economic growth. However, geopolitically, the prize will be invaluable: our country will gain access to new demographic resources, highly qualified industry and transport personnel will be at its disposal. In addition, it can count on the emergence of new eastward Slavic migration flows - as opposed to the Central Asian migration trends. The industrial potential of the Eastern Ukraine, including the military-industrial sector, once included in the Russian military-industrial complex, will allow for the faster and more successful implementation of the program of rearmament of Russia’s military forces.
What is equally important, Russia’s constructive, “smoothing” participation in the highly probable disintegration of the Ukrainian state will not only give new impetus to the Kremlin’s integration project, but will also allow our country to retain control over Ukraine’s gas transportation system, as mentioned above. And at the same time, it will allow there to be significant changes in the geopolitical situation in Central and Eastern Europe, allowing Russia to regain its major role there.
5. To start the process of a “pro-Russian drift” of Crimea and eastern Ukrainian territories, events should be created beforehand that can support this process with political legitimacy and moral justification; also a PR-strategy should be built that draws attention to the forced, reactive nature of the actions of Russia and the pro-Russian political elites of southern and eastern Ukraine.
Read more on UNIAN: http://www.unian.info/politics/1048525-novaya-gazetas-kremlin-papers-article-full-text-in-english.html
The document lays out the strategy for annexation of Crimea and parts of the Eastern Ukraine, as well as Russia's clear economic and geopolitical motives--"the prize"--for doing so.
Posted by BainsBane | Fri Feb 27, 2015, 03:56 PM (72 replies)
Hemal Jhaveri ✔ @hemjhaveri
People are losing their shit over Patricia Arquette saying that women deserve equal rights. Like this is how low we are right now.
9:13 PM - 22 Feb 2015
Look pretty and thank the Academy, dear. Remember your place.
Posted by BainsBane | Mon Feb 23, 2015, 02:33 PM (38 replies)
and the person is in Calgary. This is hysterical.
Posted by BainsBane | Thu Jan 22, 2015, 06:04 PM (30 replies)
for not delivering on a single payer promise he never made while running for President, we have yet another skewering the only potential candidate who actually sought to implement single payer.
The arrogance involved in thinking you can predict the future candidate for elections that have not yet happened is stupefying. I don't know who is going to run much less who is going to win, but I can tell you with absolutely certainty the last place I will look for insight into the candidates is here. You people have been carrying on the same inane fantasy presidential election games for years and watched the Senate go to the GOP in the process, with barely a notice save a celebration thread or two for the defeat of Mary Landrieu.
The idea that a president can transform a society is an absurdity. You all are fantasizing about Warren as you did about Obama, and know just as little about her as you did him. If by some miracle you get your wish and she is elected, in a couple of years time you'll be complaining about how she is a sell out because she didn't deliver what she never promised. A president is not Santa Claus and it isn't mommy or daddy. It is a limited constitutional position that has to work with congress, a congress some here helped turn GOP by telling everyone not voting was some act of political protest. Sure it is. It's a protest that benefits the GOP, the party that won.
I don't know how it is possible to have such little awareness of the country or political system one lives under. I don't know how one let alone a group of people can imagine the power to unmake the political elite (which is what fucking electoral politics is) and corporate capitalism lies in a presidential candidate. You live in a capitalist state, in a country built around capitalism, and have fantasies that a president is going to unmake the very nature of the state he or she serves? No wonder you all spend so much time complaining. You haven't even figured out what country you live in. Or perhaps you all don't really have an issue with capitalism at all. Perhaps the reason you never before figured out that the American political system serves capital is because many of you are privileged enough that until recently you were on the winning side of that class struggle, and what you're really pissed off about is not inherent inequality in the system but that your own position has slipped a bit to where you are a bit closer to being like the rest of us.
There have been changes under the current president, an end to don't ask don't tell, a rapid growth in marriage equality, equal pay for equal work, vigorous defense of the voting rights act, enforcement of Title IX on college campuses to help keep women somewhat safer from sexual assault; national health care, and an opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba. People here have called that crumbs. They don't care because it's not about them.
Posted by BainsBane | Tue Jan 20, 2015, 10:59 PM (8 replies)