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Ferd Berfel

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Member since: Sat Jan 3, 2015, 12:39 PM
Number of posts: 3,687

Journal Archives

People's Summit: Progressive Gathering Fertilizing Momentum of Bernie's Revolution

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/06/18/peoples-summit-progressive-gathering-fertilizing-momentum-bernies-revolution

Sanders' campaign has 'demonstrated broad public support for real, transformative change'

Harnessing the broad desire for "transformative change," thousands are expected to gather this weekend in Chicago for a three-day event centered around many of the progressive issues that Bernie Sanders put at the forefront of his presidential campaign.

Backed by organizations including 350.org, Physicians for a National Health Program, National Nurses Union (NNU), Hedge Clippers, and the People for Bernie, the People's Summit says in its call for the event that it aims "to bring together activists committed to a different kind of agenda: a People's Agenda that can enhance and expand issue campaigns and hold all elected officials accountable to popular demands for justice, equality, and freedom."

Author and climate activist Naomi Klein was among the speakers presenting on Friday, while sessions on the docket for Saturday include "Understanding Our Movement Moment"; "Energy Democracy and Climate Justice"; "Ending Voter Suppression, Mass Incarceration, Deportations and Gender Inequality"; "Healthcare Not Warfare: It's Time for Global Peace and Justice"; and "How to Get Big Money Out of Politics."

The roster features presentations by noted progressives such as political scientist Frances Fox Piven, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), National Domestic Workers Alliance director Ai-jen Poo, and Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, while the People Speak—dramatic readings inspired by the late Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States—will showcase artists including Rosario Dawson and Wallace Shawn.

Our Neoliberal Nightmare: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Why the Wealthy Win Every Time

Here is the cold slap of reality.

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/36376-our-neoliberal-nightmare-hillary-clinton-donald-trump-and-why-the-wealthy-win-every-time#14656518660361&action=collapse_widget&id=0&data=

Can we still rely on conventional distinctions like liberal versus conservative, or Democrat versus Republican, to understand what is going on in this election? We need to understand the framework of neoliberalism, rather than the distraction of personalities, to grasp what would be good or bad for the US public under each candidate.


Over the last fifteen years, editors often asked me not to mention the word "neoliberalism," because I was told readers wouldn't comprehend the "jargon." This has begun to change recently, as the terminology has come into wider usage, though it remains shrouded in great mystery.

People throw the term around loosely, as they do with "fascism," with the same confounding results. Imagine living under fascism or communism, or earlier, classical liberalism, and not being allowed to acknowledge that particular frame of reference to understand economic and social issues. Imagine living under Stalin and never using the communist framework but focusing only on personality clashes between his lieutenants, or likewise for Hitler or Mussolini or Mao or Franco and their ideological systems! But this curious silence, this looking away from ideology, is exactly what has been happening for a quarter century, since neoliberalism, already under way since the early 1970s, got turbocharged by the Democratic party under the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and Bill Clinton. We live under an ideology that has not been widely named or defined!

(snip)

It cannot be emphasized enough that neoliberalism is not classical liberalism, or a return to a purer version of it, as is commonly misunderstood; it is a new thing, because the market, for one thing, is not at all free and untethered and dynamic in the sense that classical liberalism idealized it. Neoliberalism presumes a strong state, working only for the benefit of the wealthy, and as such it has little pretence to neutrality and universality, unlike the classical liberal state.

(snip)

When Hillary Clinton frequently retorts -- in response to demands for reregulation of finance, for instance -- that we have to abide by "the rule of law," this reflects a particular understanding of the law, the law as embodying the sense of the market, the law after it has undergone a revolution of reinterpretation in purely economic terms. In this revolution of the law persons have no status compared to corporations, nation-states are on their way out, and everything in turn dissolves before the abstraction called the market.

(snip)

Neoliberalism expects -- and education at every level has been redesigned to promote this -- that economic decision-making will be applied to all areas of life (parenthood, intimacy, sexuality, and identity in any of its forms), and that those who do not do so will be subject to discipline. Everyone must invest in their own future, and not pose a burden to the state or anyone else, otherwise they will be refused recognition as human beings.

(snip)

Neoliberalism will continue to perpetuate reduced opportunity, because one of its characteristics -- as in any system that wants to thrive on the world stage -- is to constantly refine the field upon which the human subject can operate.

(snip)

(Thus, also, Hillary Clinton's animus against free college education; that form of expansion of opportunity, which was a reality from the 1950s to the 1980s, cannot be allowed to return, human beings are supposed to invest in their own future earnings potential, they are not entitled to a transcendent experience without barriers manifesting in discipline and self-correction. Education, like everything else, including one's own health, becomes an expensive consumer good, not a right, no longer an experience that might lead to a consciousness beyond the market but something that should be fully encapsulated by the market. If one is a capable market player, education as we have classically understood it becomes redundant.
(snip)


What, indeed, does happen beyond Sanders, because as we have seen Hillary Clinton is one of the founders of neoliberal globalization, one of its central historical figures (having accelerated the warehousing of the poor, the attack on trade unions, and the end of welfare and of regulatory prowess), while Trump is an authoritarian figure whose conceptions of the state and of human beings within the state are inconsistent with the surface frictionlessness neoliberalism desires? To go back to Hillary Clinton's opening campaign commercial, to what extent will Americans continue to believe that the self must be entrepreneurially leveraged toward maximum market gains, molded into mobile human capital ever ready to serve the highest bidder?

To Pay for Subsidies to Massive Corporations, States Are Waging War on Poor Families

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/06/02/pay-subsidies-massive-corporations-states-are-waging-war-poor-families

Politicians have succeeded in diverting attention away from America's real "welfare queens": Defense contractors, arms manufacturers, oil giants, and low wage employers
. (FB: you call them Clinton's donors. I call them her Base. )

To witness the consequences of a political system captured by and utterly subservient to the interests of organized wealth, take a quick look at the state of Oklahoma.

There we see the embodiment of the economic trends that have, over the past several decades, harmed working families and lifted the wealthiest: While providing a windfall of cash to special interests, particularly big oil, the state is cutting education and slashing funds allocated for the earned income tax credit, widely recognized as one of the more effective anti-poverty programs.

(snip)
"It's despicable to balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable population" while refusing to push any of the burden onto the wealthiest, lamented State Representative Emily Virgin.

(snip)

It is these corporations, non-human entities in no need of food or clothing, that deserve our scorn for the extent to which they depend on taxpayers for their continued growth — the same taxpayers that, as a result of corporate greed and government duplicity, are forced to endure the consequences of a system that is, as economist Joseph Stiglitz has put it, "of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%."

How Many Trillions More Will Pentagon Spend on Mid-East Wars Before They Confront their Disaster

How horrible and tragic does the judgment of our 'representatives' have to get before we wake up and get rid of them?

http://www.alternet.org/world/killing-taliban-leader-really-milestone

How Many Trillions More Will the Pentagon Spend on Middle East Wars Before They Confront the Disaster They've Created?
Things just keep getting worse.


We have it on highest authority: the recent killing of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan marks “an important milestone.” So the president of the United States has declared, with that claim duly echoed and implicitly endorsed by media commentary—the New York Times reporting, for example, that Mansour’s death leaves the Taliban leadership “shocked” and “shaken.”

But a question remains: A milestone toward what exactly?

Toward victory? Peace? Reconciliation? At the very least, toward the prospect of the violence abating? Merely posing the question is to imply that U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Islamic world serve some larger purpose.
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