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DemocracyMouse

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Name: Mouse de la Soul
Gender: Do not display
Hometown: New Jersey
Home country: USA
Member since: Sat Dec 9, 2017, 01:41 PM
Number of posts: 1,930

Journal Archives

On the Limits of News Consumption

I believe this online forum offers a good service, a clearing house of sorts for a lot of news (and there's a lot!)

However I'm feeling a certain sadness welling up in me that this community isn't quite as activist and progressive as I had expected. The term "underground", at least since Dostoyevsky's "Notes from Underground", has always resonated with me, but I see more of a mainstream political culture at work here. I'm all for the Democratic party and have great faith in our ability to get out the vote this November and beyond. (You should see the hand-painted sign on the back of my Honda Civic) But the DU seems less about strategizing HOW to inspire voters, and HOW to evolve the Democratic vision, than about something involving news gathering and consuming. It's passive observation of what a horror the Republicans have become rather than a platform for deep dialogue, self-analysis and culture change.

DU's preponderance of news updates and tweet updates is often useful, but doesn't seem to lead to calls for action or serious discussions about social and cultural practices. Whenever I or others have tried to propose actions in this forum (such as anxious calls fir the white community to wake up to its complicity in black oppression) they seem uninteresting to this community. Very few recommendations occur – as if efforts to make change in the streets is less entertaining than the latest Trump-World gaff, or Muellarian sleight of hand. (And believe me, I'm praying for Muellar).

So where's the encouragement of creative resistance? Where's the colorful street actions of Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping? Why is Occupy Wall Street, one of the most profound change agents in our generation, often treated like a gadfly? I was physically there, and in the Philly version, and covered it for a local newpaper. That movement made criticism of corporations and the 1% normative. It broke through our bottled up national fear of discussing class issues. But the flippant comments I've seen about Occupy and other people's actions are often pretty dispiriting. Does anyone understand what I'm talking about?

There's a lot of righteous cussin' on DU, but it's quite en vogue these days (a la Louis CK and Dave Chapelle). I don't get a sense of the deeper human rights movement here (something I was immersed in growing up), nor any flickerings of the creative community cooking up (in our little underground lab), new ideas for the future.

You really shouldn't take offense at these comments, friends. Self-criticism is healthy in a democracy. I could begin with myself and admit to a certain stridency. I could also point out that it's due to losing one job after another, and then my family, due to 9/11, the exploitation of adjunct professors, and being a whistle blower against a corrupt CEO.

So, yeah, I want to see a little more creative noise and invention and strategizing for change. But maybe a different forum would be the logical solution. In the end the Democratic Underground is largely a news clearing house rather than an underground resistance group. There's nothing wrong with that, but I wish it was more proactive and less reactive. More progressive and inventive and less about wagging fingers at Republicans (as unnerving as they may be!)

Any suggestions for change? Or keep the status quo and send this angry American street activist out of the clubhouse?

With love,
Democracy Mouse
Posted by DemocracyMouse | Wed Apr 18, 2018, 10:39 PM (5 replies)

White people, wake up! Start supporting your black brothers and sisters.

https://www.rawstory.com/2018/04/black-students-taunted-slaves-michigan-school-surrounded-confederate-flags/

A Michigan woman says her grandson has endured racist bullying at a high school that’s surrounded this week by pickup trucks waving Confederate flags.

The demonstration in Auburn, which is more than 95 percent white, began Tuesday with six trucks but swelled Wednesday to dozens of pickups bearing Confederate flags and Gadsden flags associated with the tea party movement, reported MLive.

A few counter-protesters showed up with rainbow flags as a show of support for LGBT rights, and Bay County sheriff’s deputies stood by in case violence broke out.

“That flag does not stand for the Confederacy, it stands for racism — and those kids know that and the parents know that,” said Lahoma Buckley, whose grandson is one of the school’s only black students.


You can do something immediately by boycotting ANY institution or company that abuses people of color.

I'm so sick and tired...

(Starbucks and LA Fitness this week come to mind).

Posted by DemocracyMouse | Wed Apr 18, 2018, 04:24 PM (3 replies)

Boycott LA Fitness too!!!

I and a gazillion others called for a boycott of Starbucks last week and the upsurge seems to have prompted a positive response by Starbucks within days. To be fair, the company was inclined to right a wrong. They understood the horror of one of its outlets causing the unjust arrest of two black US citizens who were simply waiting for a friend before buying coffee (has anyone pointed out how POLITE and considerate that actually was and the opposite of any reason to kick them out?).

So check out the link below. Here's an LA Fitness outlet denying the entry of an African American for no reason whatsoever. He was a paid member of the club!

Boycott LA Fitness. Boycott ANY corporation which isn't actively fixing our F-d up culture. Just by BEING a large, impersonal corporation they are draining our culture of small-scale civility. If they aren't actively re-building a positive culture (like putting the vitamins back in the mass-produced bread), they have a sum negative impact on society (in my opinion, but based on a lot of sociology).

Check out the following link... and boycott LA Fitness! We certainly can't rely on our current president, or status quo corporations, to change our culture for the better:

https://www.rawstory.com/2018/04/watch-black-man-blocked-entering-nj-gym-hes-paid-member-even-cops-confused/
Posted by DemocracyMouse | Wed Apr 18, 2018, 09:56 AM (4 replies)

Boycott Starbucks

In response to the arrest of two innocent black men in a Philly Starbucks (while waiting for a friend to turn up), I suggest we boycott EVERY Starbucks and start supporting local, family-owned diners.

Walk in, tell them they are being boycotted for treating two wonderful US citizens in Philadelphia like dirt, and walk out. If they say "it wasn't OUR starbucks" then tell them this:

"Your organization has consistently portrayed people of color as field laborers in your wall photos. Most if the authors in your older Starbucks murals are white. Last, but not least, you treat your employees like cultural illiterates who can't choose the music in the café. At the end of the day you're just another US corporation founded on the exploitation of slaves and poor whites."

And bonus points if you say: "Your pseudo-bohemian veneer doesn't fool me and my attachment to your dark roast is now kind of embarassing to me if you catch my drift."

Links to story:
https://www.google.com/amp/www.philly.com/philly/news/starbucks-philadelphia-police-viral-video-investigation-race-20180414.html%3famphtml=y

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/starbucks-philadelphia-police-viral-video-investigation-race-20180414.html?mobi=true
Posted by DemocracyMouse | Sat Apr 14, 2018, 02:30 PM (30 replies)

God, this is it. Police state.

Is anyone else as angry as I am about the Parkland students being FORCED to use see-through backpacks? And they're talking about getting metal detectors like prisons and courthouses. What has happened to our country??? It's time for a nonviolent revolution. It is time.

CNN has the story.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/02/us/marjory-stoneman-douglas-clear-backpacks/index.html

"It's difficult, we all now have to learn how to deal with not only the loss of our friends, but now our right to privacy. My school was a place where everyone felt comfortable, it was a home away from home, and now that home has been destroyed," he said. 'This backpack is probably worth more than my life'
......
Senior Delaney Tarr tagged Rubio in a tweet of a picture of her bag with feminine products and the orange price tag attached to it.
"Starting off the last quarter of senior year right, with a good ol' violation of privacy!" she said in another tweet.
In addition to displaying the orange tag, senior Carmen Lo stuffed a sign into her backpack that read "this backpack is probably worth more than my life."
Posted by DemocracyMouse | Tue Apr 3, 2018, 12:29 AM (35 replies)

OK. Trump is bad. Is that enough to vote for Democrats?

We won't win votes by just yelling "GOTV."

A Daily Kos editorial is pleading with Democrats: Start rallying FOR Dem causes, not just AGAINST the president.

https://m.dailykos.com/stories/1752975

A blue wave requires that Democrats tell the American people precisely how they will make their lives better. They must inform Americans that they will solve the health care issue once and for all by instituting a single-payer Medicare for All healthcare system. They must tell their constituents that they will finally create a subsidized child care system that makes working possible for all those who want (or need) to do so. They need to show Americans that they will solve the overbearing student loan/debt crisis. They need to tell the segment of the population decimated by the justice system that they will orchestrate necessary reforms. They must be proactive on many other progressive issues that most Americans want, as well.
Posted by DemocracyMouse | Mon Apr 2, 2018, 12:20 AM (35 replies)

We won't win votes by just yelling "GOTV."

A Daily Kos editorial is pleading with Democrats: Start rallying FOR Dem causes, not just AGAINST the president and all the horror that he stands for.

And I agree. DU should not, for example, just showcase negative Trumpian news.

https://m.dailykos.com/stories/1752975

A blue wave requires that Democrats tell the American people precisely how they will make their lives better. They must inform Americans that they will solve the health care issue once and for all by instituting a single-payer Medicare for All healthcare system. They must tell their constituents that they will finally create a subsidized child care system that makes working possible for all those who want (or need) to do so. They need to show Americans that they will solve the overbearing student loan/debt crisis. They need to tell the segment of the population decimated by the justice system that they will orchestrate necessary reforms. They must be proactive on many other progressive issues that most Americans want, as well.

The Democratic narrative must be bold. Most importantly, it must be threefold:

First, for those voters who want to know what they get out of voting for Democrats, the above is good enough. It gives those voters an affirmative reason to vote.

Second, for those who want to know that the Democratic promises are possible, party leaders must provide a fiscally and politically realistic path to get there. Describing the road is not difficult, but requires informing the electorate in a more in-depth manner than they would get on cable news...
Posted by DemocracyMouse | Sun Apr 1, 2018, 11:55 PM (2 replies)

When the Blue Wave puts Democrats back in charge:

After this near-death brush with fascism and oligarchy, let's prioritize infrastructure fixes for our electoral system. Please.

Here's a starter list... it's imperfect and I welcome additions, modifications and substractions:

– Mandatory voting booths per capita (bring them back to the black and Latino neighborhoods the Republicans removed them from).

– Get rid of the electoral college.

– Use a simple mathematical formula for district lines to make extreme gerrymandering illegal.

– Paper trail.

– Voting day becomes a national holiday (or move it to Presidents' day.

– Automatic registration when getting drivers license, and same day registration when voting.

– True representation of voters so larger populations have more reps in the Senate.

– Third parties can have representation proportional to their membership.

– Overturn so-called Citizens United.

– Bring back a true progressive tax.

– Democratize the workplace through stronger unions.

– Expand civics curriculum in our schools.

– Outlaw cross-checking where citizens are omitted from registration simply for having the same name (yet different social security number)

– Bring back net neutrality and more: nationalize the net and insure privacy rights, no speed lanes, etc.

– Boost funding for education and boost, and deeoen, history and world literature so citizens understand the ROOTS and REASONS for democracy.

– Create a cabinet level position to oversee all of the above?

– Other ideas?

Posted by DemocracyMouse | Fri Mar 30, 2018, 12:12 AM (12 replies)

"Not reckoning with the George W. Bush years helped weaken American democracy"

I think this is a sobering read. History and self-reflection matters. Our progress as a society, and yes, as Democrats, depends on it. Protein for the collective brain...

Democracy Down

An interview with Timothy Snyder about what ails our country, and why so many of us can’t see it.

By ISAAC CHOTINER

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/03/timothy-snyder-on-bush-the-cold-war-and-our-weakened-democracy.html?

Isaac Chotiner: There has been a debate on the left about how much to focus on Russia—Russian meddling, Russian bots, Russian fake-news tactics—when we’re thinking about threats to our democracy. Some people, especially on the left, think the fear is too Russia-focused, and that many of our democracy’s problems are about us, not about Russia. What do you think?

Timothy Snyder: Here’s how I would characterize some of what I think is going on, on the left: I think it’s a kind of inverted nationalism. I think there’s a tendency, in the U.S. left, to think only in terms of the U.S. and to say, “Whatever’s going wrong, whether it’s abroad or whether it’s at home, let’s think just about America.” That’s comfortable, because we’re Americans. Most of us only know English, so why don’t we start from there?




Posted by DemocracyMouse | Thu Mar 29, 2018, 11:09 PM (13 replies)

New, improved PROGRESSIVE!!!

I STILL think the Democrats are awesome... But they, like all groups, have their sacred cows and I made a mistake in a recent post about being critical of one if them. Sorry mates! You'll live! I was just trying to be historically honest. It's good fer the noggin' as Pop Eye might have said.

And I still believe the Democrats are getting awesomer. A dawning of consciousness is occuring. Young and old alike in the party are realizing that maybe our traditional (and achievable) new deal, anti-war, pro-education platform is back with a vengeance.

By LEADING WITH GUSTO, not by hedging bets and pussy-footing around, we win. That's what the French economist Thomas Pickety is inferring when he wrote in a 174 page paper (with charts!) that Democrats will win more votes this November by confidently stressing the need to reverse the flow of money and power up to the 1%. Even Warren Buffett has admitted that he is taxed at a lower rate than his secretaries.

I also think that Democrats have been moving to a more progressive platform since Bush Jr. screwed up the Middle East (and produced thousands of dead US soldiers and hundreds of thousands of others deaths, displacement, refugees, etc.), and royally trounced our economy (with some help). History has proven what a disaster conservative positions on a lot of things have been: rolling back bank regulations like the Glass-Steagel Act, screwing the environment, extreme incarceration policies, the persecution of African Americans and LGTBQ Americans, the nightmarish plunge into the Middle East after a phony case for Weapons of Mass Destruction.

What is clear to many, including Picketty, is that a younger group of Democrats are HUNGRY for change and are REALLY UPSET about their dreams of a better life being dashed due to deep structural changes in the system which are pushing all the wealth up to the top tiers of society. Many of us are doing multiple jobs just to survive and eating up our savings. I think the older Democrats who grew up in boom times are starting to "get" the younger, economically disadvantaged Democrats.

The point is this:

We will win a lot more VOTES if the older and younger Democrats can find common ground and work together. I've seen local Dem meetings explode in membership and I've seen the die-hards Dems welcome the new blood – but with a touch of anxiety instead of joy. The establishment needs to start moving in more concert with this new, internet-savvy generation like the Parkland students, the Occupy generation, and Black Lives Matter.

I think, frankly, we're almost there.

NOTE: This commentary is about compassionate congealing of intergenerational resolve and self-improvement (which wins elections). It's NOT about the last election.

PS Emma for President!
(I know, I know she's still learning the ropes... and that's OK!)
Posted by DemocracyMouse | Thu Mar 29, 2018, 01:48 PM (1 replies)
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