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BainsBane

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Member since: Sat Sep 15, 2012, 12:49 PM
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Who is the indictment for?

Look who wore her pantsuit (adorable!)



In suffragette white.

The entirety of contemporary politics is about coddling angry white men

And not just Trump supporters. The most egregious example comes from the Tiki torch wielding Nazis, but that sense of aggrievement is not unique to them; nor is the politics of entitlement, which dominates political discourse today.

Pronouncing race a fiction is easy for those whose lives aren't dominated by racial discrimination. Race was not constructed to "divide" the middle and upper-middle class from the non-white (or even the white) poor. The relative affluence of the white bourgeoisie, and their determination that their own privilege is what matters most achieves that. Race was constructed to justify SLAVERY, an institution in which white men owned and profited from the labor of other human beings. Liberty for white men was made possible by slavery. The two were integrally connected, as historian Edmund Morgan demonstrated 45 yrs ago. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1888384?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents The prosperity for the white bourgeoisie that some insist we must return to was paid for by the enslavement, subjugation, and oppression of everyone but them. In the 20th century, that white middle-class prosperity as propped up through empire, through regime change, plunder and the enforcement of neoliberal economic policies. And that was during the days those who now use the term neoliberal as an insult want to return to. And it hasn't exactly gone unnoticed that many of those insulted as neoliberal and establishment are less affluent, less privileged, and more likely to be people of color than those doing the insulting.

We see a vision of politics advanced that is all about white bourgeois prosperity. We see concerns of the poor and marginalized treated with contempt, rhetorical divisions of "progressives" vs. "centrist" or establishment, with the former disproportionately represented by middle-to upper-middle class, or even rich, white men and the latter disproportionately comprised of the poor, women, and people of color. We see historical mythology--like "the party of FDR"--repeatedly invoked, ignoring what is now years of critiques pointing out that the history they invoke was also one of Jim Crow and lynchings, with a president who enforced the former and refused to act on the later out of deference to, and a priority on, the feelings of white Southerners. When that mythology is repeated after having the dark side of that history pointed out hundreds of times, it can no longer be dismissed as mere ignorance.

The rhetoric about "establishment" only came to dominate during the presidency of a black man, whose successor might have been a woman. The mantra of "corporatist" is used very selectively, almost always directed toward women and people of color, while people's whose incomes are far in excess of the national median think nothing of insulting the poorest and most marginalized citizens as "corporatists" and "establishment." Catering to corporate interests of huge swaths of the economy is defended by those claiming to be anti-corporatist. Great wealth in the hands of certain people are justified while others are vilified. There is no standard or principle, only pretext. Immunity for gun corporations is treated as a positive good. Hundreds of billions for Lockheed-Martin for the F-25, no problem. But if profits come from finance rather than murder, war, and genocide, then they're bad. Yet despite the way "corporatist" was invoked during the election, as a justification for failing to stand up to the rise of fascism, since then we haven't seen a single action, proposal, or initiative that focuses on corporations or banking. What we have seen is systematic attacks on politicians of color. We see demands that women and people of color be removed from party leadership, for reasons they refuse to apply to men they believe are owed power. Such rhetoric has NOTHING to do with a critique of capital. The extensive exemptions for merchants of deaths and certain rich people--including the mythologizing of a president born into the aristocracy who worked as a Wall Street financier--prove as much. Corporatist and establishment are insults used to in pursuit of power, designed to justify efforts to restore the social order that those people hurling the insults are explicit about wanting to return to.

When political consciousness is built entirely around the white, male bourgeois self, people pretend race doesn't matter. When those making that argument repeatedly refuse to respect or even consider the concerns of those from other demographics (like the black men and women regularly insulted on Twitter as "neoliberal," it becomes clear that something quite deliberate is at work.

And it isn't just about race. It's also about gender and class. It's a class project designed to promote the interests of a particular demographic, the white, largely male, bourgeoisie. There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself. It becomes problematic when it is presented as the ONLY approach, when the interests of that narrow demographic are treated as universal, and the concerns of those who lack their privilege--whether racial, gender, or class, are dismissed and insulted.

What that bourgeoisie fails to acknowledge is that it sits at the center of the global capitalist system, right near the very top. Those with household incomes of $100k a year, one of the lower demographics that Trump won, are in the top 0.3% of richest people in the world and twice the median US income. An income of just $33k puts a household in the top 5% globally. http://www.worldwealthcalculator.org/resultsWhite men are upset about their relative decline compared to the rest of the population, and that decline is relative to the Global South and people of color and single women in the US, people who don't exist in a political discourse that claims that wages have dropped since the 50s or 70s. That is only true for one group: white men in the US. Any honest critique of capital has to include the relationship between core and periphery, between the affluent Western Empires and the Global South. Nationalist critiques may convey grievances within a given nation, like the US, but they do not constitute a challenge to or understanding of capitalism.

The plutocracy doesn't keep all white men from establishing unity with people of color, and it doesn't keep the bourgeoisie from establishing unity with the poor. That is something some of those white men choose to perpetuate by refusing to listen, respect, or consider the concerns, or the lives, of anyone but themselves. People can choose to stop it, to bridge divides, but that requires a willingness to listen and understand, and focus on something larger than their own sense of persecution.










I will not forgive

I cannot forgive. It's been nearly 10 months since the election, and the wounds haven't healed. They've only gotten worse. They've been ripped open by Tiki torch mobs, by Trump's defense of them, and his never ending narcissism. I find myself more angry now than I was in November. It's an anger of pain, of torment over what has befallen our nation. It's an anger at injustice, the injustice of the Trump administration and the injustice of the lies and smears against Clinton, and the willful ignorance of those who spread them.

I will not forgive Trump voters. I will not forgive the people who spread and continue to spread Kremlin propaganda, whether it was targeted at the right or potential Democratic voters. I will not forgive my uncle who voted for Gary Johnson. I will not forgive Stein voters, write-in-voters, or all around rat fuckers. I will not forgive the people who spread lies about Hillary Clinton and in so doing ensured the country would fall into the hands of a White Nationalist, a Nazi enabler, and a fascist.

In November, 2016, America stood at a cross roads. Representative democracy, what some decried as the "status quo" lay on one side, and fascism on the other. The 67 million Americans who voted for Clinton chose democracy. Hillary as an individual was the least of what was on the ballot. Instead, it was a choice about the soul and future of America. Would we be inclusive or hateful? Would we embrace progress or turn the clock back to the era of Jim Crow? Would we move forward as an representative democracy or would we descend into fascism. 67 million Americans chose democracy. The rest chose fascism, whether by voting for Trump, someone else, or not voting at all. I fault all of them, every last one, for what this country has become, for what Trump and his Tiki torch Nazis have done to it.

It may not be politically wise. It may not be emotionally healthy. In fact, I'm sure it's not healthy. But I cannot forgive, and I will never forget.

Why there is no alt-left

Trump used the term to refer to protesters against racism. There is nothing "alt" about standing up to racism. That is something decent human beings do, and the protesters in Charlottesville put their safety on the line to take a stand against White Supremacy. Heather Heyer lost her life for it, and many others were injured. There is no equivalency between that and the alt-right--who are in fact Nazis and should be referred to as such.

I find it interesting how many people around the internet are simultaneously offended by the term and eager to apply it to themselves. They didn't protest in Charlottesville and haven't tended to identify racism or the rise of fascism as points of concern. Quite the contrary.

I support the call to stop using the term alt-left, largely because it is wildly inaccurate.
https://twitter.com/AlGiordano/status/897827007559606272
Where I disagree with Giordano is in the use of the term "left." People who denounce civil rights activism as centrism and Third Way have lost all rights to call themselves the left.

Trump's comments aside, what commonly has been referred to as "alt-left" or the "dirtbag left" is not left at all. Leftist ideologies, whether oriented toward Marxism or Anarchism, center around the principle of equality, on collective responsibility. The dirtbag left revolves around power and dominance of a privileged minority, who demand Democrats "bend the knee" in submission to them. It eschews class solidarity in favor of political factionalism and demands for power. Nothing about that is leftist. In fact much of what they hold up as "leftist" demands are in fact nationalist.

So why such eagerness to assume the term "alt-left" applies to them? They haven't spent the last several months denouncing the rise of fascism. They've focused their anger toward the Democratic Party. Some make endless excuses for Donald Trump, even now insisting what we are witnessing is nothing new. "Racists are people too," they proclaim. Clinton threatened war toward North Korea too, they insist, equating Trump's bellicose remarks about North Korean were no different from Clinton's statements:
When North Korea conducted a nuclear test in September 2016, she released a statement, if not quite promising “fire and fury,” that did declare: “North Korea’s decision to conduct another nuclear test is outrageous and unacceptable. … This constitutes a direct threat to the United States, and we cannot and will never accept this.”
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/08/15/hillary-clinton-promised-wars-too/

Exactly the same, for people seeking to normalize the fascist in the White House. They malign Robert Mueller, talk about how the "deep state" is out to get Trump, all in defense of the Nazi in the White House. What about that says leftist?

They call themselves left, I think, because they were once Democrats and they've convinced themselves their contempt for the Democratic Party is because it has moved to the right, even as they go out of their way to legitimize fascism. I submit it is they, and not the party, who have moved to the right. Yet like many who use terms like left and right, I am a child of the Cold War. We, however, are in an entirely different era now, with new political actors, alliances, and issues.

French commentator Yasha Monk has talked about how left vs. right are increasingly obsolete in describing contemporary politics. Divisions, he observes, break down according to nationalism vs. liberal globalism. http://www.npr.org/2017/04/24/525441567/french-presidential-election-serves-as-test-of-liberal-democracy. The linked discussion is in the context of the French election, but is every bit as relevant to our current political standoff.

This is not to say all nationalists are racists or fascists. Of course that isn't the case. But we are increasingly seeing a muddying of left-vs. right, and that may be because those terms are no longer adequate to describe the current state of American political culture.






Demanding uncritical fealty to a media personality

or any other person of wealth and power, even when that person has been revealed to make mistakes on key issues of fact or articulate arguments on behalf of the Kremlin, the GOP, or white nationalists, is not consistent with progressive or democratic values.

No one is infallible. We all make mistakes. That includes your favorite media personalities. That includes people who otherwise make accurate or thoughtful arguments.

It is unlikely that someone can work for a Kremlin propaganda outfit, depend on them for their livelihood, and not be influenced by the organization they work for. Hartman's statements justifying Russian interference in elections in the West demonstrate as much. Remember that Dennis Kucinch was once well regarded among reform-minded Democrats until he became inculcated by Fox News. We have seen great attention to how political representatives are influenced by money. Why should it be different for media personalities, whose careers and wealth depend on the organization that pays their salary?

No one who respects democracy, independent thought, or citizens seeks to cover for factual errors by insisting criticism of said personality is anti-progressive or a sign of disloyalty toward a politician. There is no democratic value that insists the public must relinquish critical thought to the media, any media. Authoritarianism, on the other hand, depends on acquiescence to power. Authoritarian interests entail ensuring the public doesn't think for itself and turns on those who do. Conformity of thought is essential to attacks on the sovereignty of the people.

It is not politicians who protect democracy but the electorate. The best intentioned people in power (whether political or media power) are only as democratic as the public they represent. When a public defers critical thought to media personalities or politicians, they forsake democracy. They abandon the Independence of thought and critical relationship to power that is all that stands between them and authoritarianism.

Who is the genius

That decided a majority of Democratic women are going to turn out to vote for our own reduction to second-class citizenship, greatly increased poverty, and sharp increases in our own death rates?

They can't have forgotten that women are the majority of voters in the Democratic Party, that not one Democrat from dog catcher to Senator holds a seat without our votes. Why would anyone assume they own our votes, that our own lives matter so little to us that we would sit back while they engineer our subjugation?

Pretending any of this is about winning is the most transparent ruse possible. Excuses that a majority of the counties are red and anti-choice might convince someone with a lobotomy, but not many women or our male allies. The majority of districts have been red since the mid-60s, and Democrats controlled congress most of that time. The land mass game is as weak as it gets.

I don't believe for a second that this has a thing to do with winning. Democrats have had anti-choice candidates since Roe, and they had them during the recent electoral losses too. So why the push now? Interesting how people who couldn't bring themselves to vote for Clinton in the GE because she wasn't "progressive" enough have suddenly decided undermining the equal tights of the majority is a winning tactic.

This amateur shit doesn't cut it. The anti-equality crowd is going to have to up its game. And when they are coming up with their next scheme, they should remember that they are up against a segment of the population that doesn't need to exclude the majority from full citizenship to feel adequate.



Never based on substance

Or policy positions, but as is all too common these days, hurling names like corporatist and establishment at at people for the crime of failing to been the knee. And ALL of their targets are women and people of color: Clinton, Harris, Perez, Jaime Harrison, Pelosi, Jim Clyburn and John Lewis.

Notice the uniformity of the script: the same insults; the same arguments; and the exact same language. https://mic.com/articles/183105/democratic-rising-star-kamala-harris-has-a-bernie-sanders-problem#.N9UkCI4yB That she dares to consider a presidential run leads them to make blatantly false claims about her being "anointed." That term arises time and time again. The point is to smear, to engage in character assassination, not based on policy or issues but because she isn't one of them.

It doesn't stop at public figures either. We see entire races of people, the poorest and most marginalized voters, insulted as corporatist or establishment in order to engineer the economic and political dominance of a small, privileged demographic. We see the most cynical evocation of terms like "poverty and economic equality," while they actively argue against positions that seek to address both, only to insist the priority should be on proposals that benefit them and their class. They wont listen to what the poor and marginalized care about. They won't respect their votes. They use them as rhetorical pawns in a quest for power and even greater privilege.

Two examples: Jaime Harrison and Tom Perez. Harrison, head of the S Carolina Dem Party, ran for DNC chair. When he saw was unable to attract enough support to win, he dropped out. They sought his endorsement for their candidate Ellison (a good man who didn't deserve any of this). When Harrison endorsed Perez instead, he was suddenly maligned as a "corporatist." http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/sanders-revolution-resists-dnc-loss-235404 Nothing about him changed from one day to the next, except for his endorsement of Perez. That demonstrated in no uncertain terms that those labels were hurled for purposes that have nothing to do with the influence of capital.

Example two: Tom Perez, whom the OP himself insulted as a corporatist. Imagine, a man born into a poor immigrant family, who worked as a janitor to pay his way through law school and then went to work as a civil rights attorney is a "corporatist." A man who transformed the Civil Rights division of DOJ, who has devoted his entire life to fighting injustice through the law. He was a corporatist? Why? For one reason only. He didn't facilitate one faction's quest for power.

I've had it with the false rhetoric, the craven opportunism, and politics of white male entitlement obfuscated through lingusric exploitation of the lives of the poor and marginalized.

House passes sweeping bank deregulation bill, but where's the outrage?

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/08/bank-deregulation-house-239313

This was five days ago. We've heard a lot of discussion about Wall Street in those five days, yet none of it has focused on legislative action currently being taken to dismantle existing regulations.

Instead, we are told that the Democratic Party stands in the way of doing something about Wall Street.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/11/bernie-sanders-lambasts-absolute-failure-of-democratic-partys-strategy

Yet the Democratic Party isn't controlling the legislative agenda. There is a current, direct effort to deregulate Wall Street that very likely will succeed. Yet we see absolutely no focus on that, no effort to mobilize progressives or leftists to stop that deregulation? Why?

We see the same dynamic reflected on DU, in which posters express angst over Wall Street and the Democratic Party but can't even bring themselves to respond to a point about the current banking deregulation going on in congress.

I find all of this odd. It would seem to be that if people were concerned about the role of Wall Street in American politics, they would be doing everything they could to stop the GOP's efforts. Yet we hear nothing.

Vanity Fair joins in the effort to silence the Democratic base

by telling Hillary Clinton to go away. http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/06/can-hillary-clinton-please-go-quietly-into-the-night

I don't know who the this reporter is, but he doesn't represent me. His determination that issues relating to equal rights are no longer relevant is perfectly fitting in the modern political landscape in which the white bourgeoisie has recast its relative affluence and privilege as "working class." We see an effort to reorient the party away from the single women, people of color, and the working and non-working poor toward the more affluent voters earning over $100k a year that backed Donald Trump.

Clinton's voters by and large lack the privilege and wealth of the sanctimonious reporter. He talks about "feeding the poor out of compassion." Clinton's voters are the poor, the people who need to be fed. Her greatest margin was among voters earning less than $30k, while she also won voters with household incomes under $75k. The demographic that voted for her in the highest numbers were African American women, the base of the Democratic party.

But we know live in a political culture where whiteness and maleness is the prize. Women must slink away, stay silent. African American women, whose incomes are far below the national median, are maligned as the "establishment," the source of oppression for those angry that those women dare to vote in their own interests rather than recognizing that the lives and concerns of the $100k plus a year white male voters matter more.

The author maligns "Onward Together" because he doesn't share the organization's goal of strengthening the Democratic Party. He criticizes Clinton's statements about moving the country forward rather than turning the clock back as vague, ignoring the fact that she had very specific proposals for doing just that when she ran for president but that she is now seeking to support others running for office at all levels. Frank of course ignores all of that and instead tethers to Hillary policies from the Bill Clinton administration, voted into law by politicians who fault a woman who was First Lady at the time rather than accepting responsibility for their own votes. Hillary's policies from her own campaign don't merit a mention because like all women, her sole function is to serve as a vehicle for male power and privilege.

Clearly failure to champion turning the clock back a half century is what makes Clinton the enemy. We live in a world where the goal of making America like the fifties again cuts across the political spectrum. Moving the clock back is precisely what men like TA Frank want because it is the party's failure to elevate their privilege above the rights and lives of the majority that they find so unacceptable.

The effort to silence Clinton, to force her from public space, is an effort to silence the Democratic base, the single women, people of color, and working poor who voted for her. Many of us recognize in the treatment of Hillary what we have experienced in our own lives, which is why many of us took so personally her defeat in November. Trump's victory has emboldened the TA Franks of America, and they now seek to imbue the Democratic party with the values of the Trump era. Hillary's involvement in the public sphere complicates that mission, just as the continued engagement--and votes--of the Democratic base confounds efforts to center the party around the exclusive interests of the already privileged.
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