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Member since: Wed Aug 19, 2015, 04:47 AM
Number of posts: 10,721

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The Republican Party: A Poem

The Republican Party

Decades of dog whistling and now a bullhorn
Social progress makes them forlorn

They foment and exploit all forms of bigotry
Without racism and sexism there’s no GOP

Science denial to the detriment of us all
Attacking young activists takes some gall

Pollute air and water to make more dough
Misinformation they do like to sow

Openly inviting foreign interference
Dictators given absolute clearance

Most criminal president the US has seen
Not draining the swamp but basking in a latrine

Synonymous they are with hypocrisy
Scandalized and pushing autocracy

Not patriots but warmongering profiteers
Feign budget concern while putting us in arrears

Race-based voter suppression and gerrymandering
Call them on what’s obvious and be accused of slandering

Media complicit with its corporate buyers
False equivalencies and equal time for liars

Gish gallop and the art of projection
Talking heads offer no real objection

Not just peeps with a view on government’s role
But horrible individuals owned by oil and coal

Wanting fellow humans to suffer and die
About universal health care they do nothing but lie

Citizens United allows for the stealthiest
Tax cuts for those already the wealthiest

Sensible gun control explicitly forbidden
Capitulation to the NRA not remotely hidden

Are you one of those supporting this atrocity?
Please rethink your abject callosity

Consider the future of your offspring
Resistance is needed against the right wing

The Republican Party’s the world’s greatest threat
But they can only win if millions abet

Garrett S.

"Socialism, Universalism and Anti-Anti-Racism"

Yes, this is relevant to the primaries and other discussions being had in this forum: https://www.leftvoice.org/socialism-universalism-and-anti-anti-racism.

Today that need is greater than ever and for reasons few could have predicted. In the guise of a critique of identity politics, it has become increasingly common, and widely acceptable, not simply to ignore these struggles or merely pay lip service to their importance, while ignoring them in practice, but to denounce them as “particularistic” and narrow, undertaken only to secure benefits and privileges for a minority of the population (exactly as the recent teacher strikes have been depicted as the “selfish” and even greedy actions of those unwilling to put the needs of students above their own). A quarantine is imposed on the fight against specific racist practices and their effects and after-effects through the application of the label of “identity politics,” as if specifically anti-racist action were a kind of pathogen that, if left unchecked, could pose a serious risk to the class struggle. The unshakeable faith of those who believe that economic reforms will make racism disappear and who see the self-organization of the specially oppressed as divisive and an obstacle to achieving these reforms, is only part of the problem. A critical analysis of the anti-anti-racist tendency (and its enablers) requires a brief examination of the two histories at work here: the history of what we will call economism in the socialist and Communist movements and the history of the concept of identity politics.

The history of the name, identity politics, is a history, as both Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Asad Haider have shown, whose complexity remains hidden behind its current use as a term of depreciation. When the Combahee River Collective (CRC) introduced the notion of identity politics in the seventies, the idea of identity they invoked was fundamentally distinct from the identity that is portable and easily transferable, an identity that one can “assume” (or set aside) at will, or that, at the extreme, can be stolen in an act of identity theft. Perhaps most importantly, the concept of identity as they understood it was also distinct from the notion of identity as a consciousness of oneself (or a collective conscious of itself), a mere representation of the experience that conferred a particular “personal identity” on an individual or a collective identity on a group. The identity to which the CRC’s statement referred was the identity attributed to and imposed on individuals, above all, by the state, composed not simply of a proper name, but also of the historically variable means of identification (e.g., nationality, race and gender) that render individuals identifiable and accountable by locating them in relation to a set of social and political coordinates. There is nothing immaterial about this identity; it is realized through apparatuses, practices, and rituals and is as material as class relations (we might think of the “identification” that the police demand when they stop us). It has a history, in fact, a history inseparable from the existence of classes and that developed directly or indirectly in response to property forms characteristic of the capitalist mode of production and, through a complex of struggles, became “interlocked” with class in ways that profoundly affect both the life chances of individuals and the concrete character of class struggles.

For the CRC, understanding political identity as a node in a network of multiple identities imposed and resisted by different apparatuses and practices, allowed them to map the terrain on which they were compelled to carry out their struggle. And a war, a real war, not an imaginary war of position between two clearly demarcated camps, but a war fought on multiple fronts, requires constant maneuver, as well as a constant accumulation of forces through alliances based on the exploitation of every conflict, contradiction and antagonism available, in order not to be decimated by a more powerful enemy. This was, for Lenin, one of the most important lessons of 1917: the idea of a “pure” class struggle whose strategy and tactics could be decided a priori was a myth whose effect would be to disarm the revolutionary forces. The forgetting of this lesson and an inability to translate it into the terms of the present have ensured that the attempts to demonstrate the power and originality of the CRC’s analysis of identity have had little resonance. The phrase “identity politics,” now serves to perpetuate the myth of a pure class politics that must be defended against the particularism of the struggles against special oppression, as if any demands other than those that, in theory, will “lift all boats,” (and thus not address the specificity of oppression) can only undermine the class struggle. The category of “identity politics” is the means by which anti-anti-racism trivializes and, worse, dematerializes the very real practices that constitute race and racism in order to convince those most affected that their oppression is somehow less real or essential than class exploitation and can only be addressed through future economic transformation. The fact that such arguments have proven remarkably ineffective has only had the effect of assuring those who do not face special oppression that the struggles against it, and those who wage them, can be safely ignored.

The rejection of conceptions of race as a meaningful marker of human genetic diversity that once served to justify existing social and legal inequalities has produced (and not simply in the US) a series of contradictory effects. Far from leading to the disappearance of racism, the invalidation of race as a biological concept furnished the basis for a refusal to acknowledge the historical and social reality of race and the legal, but increasingly customary and informal, modes of exclusion and oppression tied to this reality. Indeed, it gave rise to the apologetic position that race, having no natural existence, was little more than an unstable, fictional construction governed by individual initiative, or even the pursuit of individual interest through an entrepreneurial manipulation of race.

At this point, we might pause for a moment to ask how racism came to be so completely dematerialized as to be relegated to the status of ideas (“prejudices”) or consciousness, and declared so transitory that to make anti-racism a central part of a strategy for socialist transformation could appear to be a mistaking of the contingent for the necessary and the inessential for the essential. The explanation that the denial of the centrality of racism (or more accurately, the centrality of the interlocking of racial oppression and capitalist exploitation) is yet another ruse of a white supremacy, a domination that works all the more effectively when it operates invisibly and inaudibly, is not sufficient. The question we must all face is how the Left in the US could trivialize and minimize the effects of racism at the very moment of a resurgence of openly white supremacist and neo-fascist movements whose ideas have conquered a place in public discourse. And to argue that these movements, whose mass base is unlike anything seen since the 1930s, are not really fascist or that their activists, if treated with respect and instructed as to their material interests, can be won to socialism, despite their repeatedly demonstrated commitment to violent racism, Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism, is simply another way of denying that organized racism has grown enormously in the last few years and poses a danger to those who are the objects of their hatred, including Marxists. It is indeed possible for the Left to reduce the threat they represent and even to reach a part of their periphery, but only if and when the relationship of forces shifts in favor of anti-racist and anti-fascist movements which the Left must help build. The more powerful the white nationalist movements become, they more they are able to attract and hold adherents. To justify abstention from anti-racist action by arguing that winning universal health care will make neo-Nazis, militias and neo-fascist street-fighting organizations suddenly disappear is precisely an example of that simplified version of Marxism, responsible for a great many of the disasters and betrayals of the past century, we have called economism.

Much more at the link.

The Democratic Party is a big tent party.

I think it's fair game to point out that certain candidates aren't appealing to certain constituencies, but stating that someone such as AOC does or does not reflect the Democratic Party is not at all useful rhetoric. It's divisive and way too simplistic.

Such rhetoric will only feed into the right wing and MSM narrative that the Democratic Party is the one that's becoming too radical, that it's the Democratic Party that has made a drastic shift (when the GOP is completely batshit crazy). How many times do we have to hear "too far left" without ever hearing "too far right" before we wake the fuck up and counter that asinine narrative? At the very least, can we please not contribute/promote that bullshit narrative?

The Democratic Party is a big tent party, not the monolith that the Republican Party is. It's incredibly simplistic to suggest the party is this or that, or at this place or that place.

If any media outlet is surprised at Bernie's support in states such as Kentucky...

...they must have slept through 2015-2016. Or they're just stupid.

In general in 2016, Sanders did best in states with less diversity. The 2016 Democratic Primary in Kentucky was incredibly close (probably the closest contest of all) in spite of taking place well after the race had been decided back on Super Tuesday. Leave it to members of the MSM to take reality and flip it on its head. To suggest that Sanders having a "surprising" level of support in a state such as Kentucky is proof that he's a serious contender is the exact opposite takeaway one should possess. "Hi, I'm a member of the media and it's my job to get you, the viewer, to believe the exact opposite of what's real." Ugh.

Sanders is at his ceiling of support. He has a loyal and substantial following, but it's not going to grow much, if at all. He's a known quantity. After New Hampshire, the race is basically over for Sanders.

The main thing Sanders is accomplishing is shrinking the electorate. He's locked up a large, cult-like following, which means the rest of the field is competing for the remaining 80-85% of the electorate. That's 1 of 2 factors that's had a major impact on this race. The other is the size of the field--most people aren't inclined to bother distinguishing between 20+ candidates they've never heard of, which is to the benefit of those with the most name recognition. Had the field never been larger than 7-8 candidates and had Sanders not run, we'd be looking at a totally different dynamic--and probably a much different result.

With Friends Like These

Inspired by an infuriating conversation here at DU:

With Friends Like These…

Colorblindness ain’t a way to heal

Don’t be toutin’ that shit as a progressive ideal

Race is not a card any more than racism is a game

Race is a construct with consequences just the same

Save your breath about how "all lives matter"

You miss the point with such useless chatter

Self-congratulate for being on the left

But your critique of oppression is bereft

Your politics may not be one of hate

Be cautious, still, about the narrative you create

Let’s deconstruct the systems that’ve been built

Not mock the phenomenon of white guilt

Class consciousness is important to be sure

But without wealth inequality racism would endure

Don't claim I want diversity just for diversity's sake

Women and POC in power aren't just icing on a cake

Studies make clear the oppressed are less likely to lose

When there're more in power who've walked in their shoes


What the MSM and Democrats won't ever state openly.

I'll say it again, we aren't simply dealing with people who have a different view on the role of the federal government or tax rates. We are dealing with horrible, horrible, horrible people. The likes of the Trump Klan, Collins, Nunes, Jordan, Barr and so many others are just awful people. They lie constantly--CONSTANTLY! They cheat. And they are actively doing all they can to harm people and planet, while enriching themselves.

Lastly, have I mentioned that they're horrible people? If not, let me be clear, they are horrible people.

Inspired by The 1619 Project

Fellow "white" people...

Fellow "white" people, please hear me out
We've been bamboozled, let there be no doubt

When divided, we're conquered, too
There's a sickness worse than any pandemic flu

A tool used to suppress wages and pollute our common air
A tool used to keep us all from affordable health care

Convinced of who's deserving and who's not
Willing to die so long as "they" don't get what's sought

Told we're better and given just enough more
Sold a bill of goods to keep us poor

Blinded to injustice, corruption and lies
Numb to hypocrisy and all those caged cries

To save your family, you'd cross any arbitrary border
But we aren't in those shoes, so we talk of law and order

Police brutality is disproportionate we know
We were told he's dead but there stands Jim Crow

The disease can be cured but only if we unite
It infects systems and structures; we're needed in this fight

There are no people of "white" descent
That's made up capital that we've done spent

Du Bois referred to our "psychological wage"
We're long overdue to redirect white rage

Genocide and enslavement formed the foundation
Upon lacerated backs was built a nation

Trillions worth of unpaid labor
Reparations wouldn't be some favor

No, simply put, a massive debt is owed
A construct, a lie and hatred was sowed

Dehumanization to justify families torn apart
And that, dear friends, was just the start

Rape, mutilation and the taking of life
The 13th did not end the strife

Convict leasing, lynchings, a phony drug war
New Deal for some, others shown the door

Housing denied with a simple red line
My ancestors given access, no question what's mine

Access to colleges another omission
No fuss, though, over legacy admission

I trust you can see the wealth gap was not fated
It was methodically, viciously, intentionally created

The same can be said of the ghetto and reservation
Don't be fooled by media misrepresentation

Hannity and Carlson, they're not your friend
They profit off keeping us bitter til the end

The media asks candidates if Trump is a racist (read with a laugh)
They ask if water is wet and pretend he's not also a rapist

We've been exploited and used
To ensure we overlook the abused

Cast off the chains, let's be free
Not us vs. them but an ethic of we

Equality sounds nice but equity's the goal
Find your humanity and play a vital role


Inspired by an infuriating conversation here at DU

With Friends Like These…

Colorblindness ain’t a way to heal

Don’t be toutin’ that shit as a progressive ideal

Race is not a card any more than racism is a game

Race is a construct with consequences just the same

Save your breath about how "all lives matter"

You miss the point with such useless chatter

Self-congratulate for being on the left

But your critique of oppression is bereft

Your politics may not be one of hate

Be cautious, still, about the narrative you create

Let’s deconstruct the systems that’ve been built

Not mock the phenomenon of white guilt

Class consciousness is important to be sure

But without wealth inequality racism would endure

Don't claim I want diversity just for diversity's sake

Women and POC in power aren't just icing on a cake

Studies make clear the oppressed are less likely to lose

When there are more in power who've walked in their shoes

What the likes of Steve Schmidt never acknowledge is their own complicity.

We can all appreciate eloquent criticism of Trump. But the implication that Trump happened in a vacuum, or that the Republican Party has only in the last 3 years shown itself to be rotten to the core, is absurdly out of touch with reality. Those who worship at the altar of Saint Ronnie refuse to make the obvious connection between Reagan's dog whistling (as well as the dog whistling of every Republican since) and today's Republican Party (including both its base and its elected officials). They refuse to make the obvious connection between 50+ years of increasingly cruel and unhinged rhetoric and policy (going back to Nixon's Southern Strategy) and the rise of Trump.

Why does this matter, one might ask. It matters because the mentality that refuses to make the aforementioned connections is the same mentality that will insist all is well (or back to 'normal') once Trump is gone, as if all was well pre-Trump, which it most certainly was not. Allowing that narrative to take hold in the public consciousness -- and you can be sure that's the objective of the likes of Bill Kristol -- would endanger us all. Long before Trump came along, the Republican Party was arguably the single most powerful/influential threat in the modern world. That will remain true post-Trump. And we had all better work hard to make sure that narrative is the one that dominates.

It's the ignorance, stupid.

The Republican Party can only exist (much less get away with doing what it does) because of how stunningly ignorant the US population is.

The next Democratic president should declare that US ignorance is a national emergency (because it is). It's time to shine a spotlight on this massive, massive problem, highlighting the fact that tens of millions of people subscribe to utter nonsense or are just completely unaware (e.g., a recent survey indicated that ~30 million US adults have never even heard of Mike Pence).

I think the next Democratic president should announce at their first SOTU address a Presidential Task Force to tackle US ignorance. The task force would visit schools, analyze the media and interview people from all over the country, and produce a report, including recommendations on what needs to be done. Hopefully that would spur a conversation (about, for instance, how an embarrassingly large proportion of people in the US don't accept the reality of evolution, as compared to populations in other democratic nations, or about how incredibly irresponsible US media - as a whole - has become). And maybe being pointed about the fact that people are subscribing to nonsense will at least get a portion of the population to strive to become better informed. Maybe the media will be embarrassed enough to stop giving equal time to lies and obfuscation.

If nothing else, we can have a positive influence on future generations by prioritizing education reform and media reform.

Until we lessen ignorance, we'll keep spinning our wheels on climate change, systemic racism, equal pay and a woman's right to choose, wealth inequality, health care, our tyranny of the minority political system, and every other issue of great importance.
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