Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Creating The Left

In Chile where decades of oligarchy and US interference had demolished the Left they created a new Left and have won a significant share of seats.

This all began with those huge student protests over free education the past few years. The students went on to form a political party and then formed a broad coalition with other small parties with a range of political orientations.

By agreeing on a few broad principles they were able to cooperative politically and by denying both major parties a majority they may have decisive political power beyond their actual numbers.

Once Americans found this kind of strategy made their votes count, maybe even count more, small US parties like the Democratic Socialists of America, the Green Party, Libertarians, etc., would attract many many more members from among the majority of US voters who aren't associated with either major party (independents) and the roughly half of Americans who don't even vote now and even from both parties. The major parties would immediately react, of course, by changing their platforms to reflect the interests of actual Americans instead of the interests of rich stockholder donors a they do now. The US would soon become a much different, much more equal, more just, much better country.

The article linked to is translation from Spanish I think you can get the gist of it.

Again: https://socialistproject.ca/bullet/1519.php

Monday, December 4, 2017

Generation Z - Step Aside Millennials

Life expectancy is on the decline in the US where the stock markets set new records every week and there's more money in the country than ever before. In infant mortality the US is 29th in the world.

If you look at that infant mortality list it's easy to see why the US is so bad. The countries high on the list all have universal health care.

The reason the US has such an inferior and expensive health system care system compared  the advanced nations of the world is because of the lack of Socialist ideas among the US working class, according to NYU-Bingamton professor emeritus James Petras.

Another way of saying it is that the American working class has never demanded anything more than what they're getting.

Will it ever change?

Socialism has already become poplar among the so-called Millennial generation, and Social Democratic candidates have been wining elections in both liberal and conservative districts all around the country. Millennials know about universal health care and will continue to push for it.

But the generation after the Millennials, being called Generation Z by some, born generally in the mid 1990s to the mid 2000s and mostly in high school now, seems to be somewhat more conservative. They outnumber the Millennials (who outnumber Baby Boomers) and are already 24 percent of the population.

I haven't come across anything that explains why Generation Z is more conservative except for survey data showing them to be more insecure than earlier generations. Generation Z has never lived in peace. War is normal. When they were born the so called war on terror was already in full swing. The 2008 recession and 9/11 are among their earliest and most formative memories.

They remind me somewhat of the kids who grew up in the 1950s. The West was coming out of World War II and their parents told stories about the Depression and rationing but a new world was being created for them by a new technology, television, aka the Boob Tube that became so central to Americans' lives and so influential that it started raising alarms.

It's said the 1950s were a conservative time, but then suddenly all those kids heard about Vietnam and started smoking pot and became the Counterculture of the 1960s that changed America in significant ways, so I'm not ready to count Generation Z out just yet. But be aware. If America is ever to become an equal society they'll have to be convinced that it's possible and as of now they don't think it is.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

In The Beginning

My brother Bob left a great comment on the previous post. If you read that and an article in Slate by Dahlia Lithwick this post will make more sense.

The way these unprecedented times are talked about, the end times are sometimes announced or at least discussed as a possibility. But what really would happen if the basic structure we've known all our lives ceased to hold sway and we became some drastically altered country; Bannon libertarianism or Trumpal authoritarian or we all became serfs or something we haven't seen before?

What would that be like? What would we do?

Dahlia Lithwick is saying it's too late for Mueller to save us. According to her, "It seems as though truth and law are forever losing ground in the footrace against open looting and overt totalitarianism." Because so much crazy shit has become normalized, no one will pay attention to any kind of legal result from the Mueller investigation, she says, and "normal Democrats and Republicans, civil servants, the courts, who we had hoped would stop the Trump train wreck, may not be able to, because they rely on everyone accepting the law, but when the law becomes a moot point they aren't up to it.

Lithwick makes a frighteningly believable case for it except for one detail. It hasn't been the so called normal Democrats and Republicans and civil servants running things all this time but the ruling class, and people who don't carry out their wishes get removed. They won't let Trump mess up America, a golden goose with a lot of flesh left on it.

Or if they do want it messed up, and the rest of the jobs shipped somewhere else, either way, it's them calling the shots and not the government.

They have the power. The government doesn't, and not only that, government can't stop the ruling class. But we can do that. We're the only ones who can do it.

Tax Bills

Imagine if Democrats, when they had the majority, had rammed through progressive legislation and raised taxes on the rich instead of cutting their taxes and cutting social spending for the poor.

Imagine if Democrats instead of spending the last year railing about a non existent Russiagate conspiracy had spent it making fiery speeches about wealth and income inequality and getting people mobilized and in the streets to fight against things like GOP tax cuts.

Instead we have Democrats like the ones we have in New Mexico who work the word "bipartisan" into every news release they put out and are constantly signaling they're going to give up half of what their constituents want before they even sit down at the table.

Imagine if Democrats cut themselves off from Wall Street funding and raised money from small donations like Bernie Sanders easily proved you can do and was doing when he was out-raising the warmongering corporate whore who nobody liked and who went on to lose the election to a used car salesman.

It's easy for Democrats to speak out now about tax giveaways. It costs them nothing and changes nothing and their big money corporate donors know it and will keep giving them the money they give them to keep the working class suppressed.

Democrats won't be on our side until we make them. As long as we keep giving them our votes, our support and our money they'll keep screwing us and tending to their Wall Street owners. It's about power and who has it. The wealthy and the Republicans know how to use theirs to get what they want and we don't.

Getting In The Christmas Spirit

Monday, November 27, 2017

Trump Dividend

Say what you will about Trump, it looks like the war on Syria is ending. To be sure, the US and some of its allies will probably have secret agents running around leading gorilla raids by jihadis they fund, and the military could stage something to make Trump stay in the war like they did with Obama by surreptitiously bombing a Syrian air base. With the Democrats and the whole establishment salivating for war and cold war there will be pressure on him to reverse course, but barring that, it's over.

That's one of two big positives I was expecting out of Trump that were things you'd never see Hillary do. The other was that he'd get a lot more people to be active and radicalized. With a Democrat in office activism ceases. We regress and lose some of our living standard.

The US essentially lost in Syria, says Patrick Lawrence in Salon, and he also thinks the US is being superseded as the top power in the Middle East by Russia in league with Iran and now even Turkey which is considering leaving NATO.

Troll Alert: I have a troll or two and when I write something like this about the Democrats I sometimes hear from them even though they know I don't publish their comments any more. I guess they want me to know what they think. But the way comment work here, when someone leaves a comment I get an email notice and I can see who the comment is from before I even open the email and if it's from a troll or an anonymous commenter I just delete it without opening it. Their comment is still in some Google dungeon somewhere but I never go there unless I hit the wrong button and I just delete all the unpublished comments at once.

Monday, November 13, 2017

2017 Killed By Police Passes 1,000

"Roach stepped out of his home with his shotgun at about 10:50 p.m and walked toward officers, who ordered him to drop it. After he refused, six officers fired at Roach."

Jerry Roach
Jerry Roach of Lakeland, FL, was the 1,000th person killed by police this year, on November 2. In the 11 days since then the total has reached 1,040.

US cops kill more people in a month than British police kill in 25 years. US cops kill 70 times more people than cops in other "first world" countries do.

It's a bit simplistic to say police are looking for excuses to kill people. Police training teaches cops to shoot first, ask questions later. What probably more significant is that we are just a violent people. We have a culture that prioritizes money, where having a lot of it means the law no longer applies to you. All kinds of things are more important to Americans than caring for each other.

We own most of the world's guns and have a military ten times bigger than Russia's and we send it all over the world killing poor people so rich and powerful people can get richer and feel more powerful. Congress just voted to increase the $700 billion military budget by $80 billion per year. It's going to get worse, not better.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Democrats Will Get Away With It

Republicans are working on legislation to give huge tax cuts to corporations and their wealthy shareholders. Democrats are criticizing it by complaining that it doesn't give big enough tax cuts to the "middle class."

So there will be tax cuts and they will cause the budget deficit to swell. Then, when the budget as a whole is being considered, Republicans will insist that congress cut programs like food stamps, Head Start, Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. While they are insisting they will even blame the deficits on Democrat tax and spend policies.

At that time Democrats will be unable to respond because of what they're doing now -- they aren't saying anything about budget deficits or the vulnerability of the social programs that benefit their constituents.

They will vote for the cuts. You can argue about whether or not they intended to or not and about whether they intentionally screwed working people on behalf of their Wall Street funders.

You can certainly expect them to issue find sounding statements saying how they oppose the cuts to Medicaid, Social Security, etc., and are "fighting hard" to protect our interests, but as they've done in the past and as I've documented here, they will vote with Republicans and seriously harm many millions of working Americans. Democrat voters, who never think to check how their representatives actually vote on legislation and who hear only the fine sounding statements.

This is how it's been working for many years. Democrat voters never catch on. They remain embroiled in fear of Republicans. Their fear is constantly reinforced by Democrat politicians, whose role in the charade is never brought into question. But wealthy Democrat funders know, and that's why they keep Democrat campaign coffers full.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Yesterday's Elections - Democratic Socialism On The March

The University of Chicago chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America posted these lists of DSA members who won elections around the country yesterday. The Socialist winners range from Lee Carter (@carterforva) who was elected to the Virginia state house to Mik Pappas (@MikPappas) who was elected as a district judge in Pennsylvania to Lydia Edwards (@LydiaMEdwards) who was elected to the Boston city council.

These victories contradict the spin being put on the elections by the Democratic Party which points to the high turnout among well educated suburban women as meaning there's no need for economic populism.

"Economic populism" is a derogatory reference to economic justice, i.e. to working people getting a fair share of the wealth their labor creates, which is diametrically opposed to official Democratic Party policy of screwing the working class to keep the Wall Street money flooding into their bloated campaign coffers. 

Some of yesterday's winners ran as Democrats or Independents but they aren't shy about belonging to a Socialist organization such as the DSA, or to Socialist Alternative, the party of Seattle city council member Kshama Suwant, which one belongs to. Like Suwant these new elected officials will bring their values to the job with them and not the values elected officials from the two major parties have been bringing with them.

Just as important, these Socialists will be representing and publicizing working peoples' interests. When working peoples' interests get aired they aren't so easily ignored or slandered by Democrats. Not only that, the general public will once again be able to imagine policies that benefit them being enacted, and the Wall Street beholden Democrats won't be able to manipulate  peoples' expectations. Working people instead will begin to manipulate the Democrats.

Remember that most of the country's DSA chapters were formed in the last year while the DSA was growing from a few thousand members to more than 30,000 at last count.  Membership in DSA and similar organizations will likely soon be in the millions and will overtake and dictate public discourse.

Remember the tea party? Change occurs quickly sometimes. As Vladmir Lenin said: "There are decades where nothing happens and there are weeks where decades happen."

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Fats Domino And Socialism

Fats Domino in 1962
I noted a few posts ago that legendary Fats Domino had died and now Hiram Lee has a really good obit at the World Socialist Web Site that surveys Domino's career and life. It includes links to youtube recordings of the songs it refers to and is a very nice tribute to Fats.


The World Socialist Web Site, WSWS, incidentally, represents one of the remnants of the worldwide Socialist-Communist movement that once had a strong footprint in the US before it was decimated by the legal and extra legal oppression of our federal and state governments and of course by decades of the intense anti Socialist Cold War propaganda that was hammered into Americans' psyches from birth until it became an actual part of American culture and identity.

WSWS has some really bright people writing for the web site though and is one thing I follow pretty closely - many of the articles are recorded and made into a daily podcast.

It's published by the International Committee of the Fourth International, the ICFI, but the ICFI isn't only group to lay claim to the title Fourth International.

The First International, or as it was called upon forming the International Workingmen's Association, which was was founded in 1864 and would eventually be led by Karl Marx, was a vehicle to unite the working class internationally and spread socialist ideas and revolution.

As things were debated such as the pros and cons of the Social Democratic approach to Socialism and whether or not Anarchists groups should be included the First International went through a couple of dissolutions and reconstitutiona so that when the USSR was formed after the 1917 Russian revolution and assumed the leadership of the International, it was called the Third International.

Andre Breton, Diego Rivera, Trotsky in Mexico
 As the USSR then began going down the path that would lead to Stalinism, one of its main leaders, Leon Trotsky, resisted the changes and was expelled from the Communist Party, the Soviet Politboro and the Third International, and was exiled. Trotsky then formed a competing Fourth International, and the Fourth International and Troskyite, or Trotsykist, are more or less synonymous.

You sometimes hear Trotskyists derisively called "Trots." They sometimes can seem doctrinaire -- i.e. theirs is the only true path -- but they are the keepers of what you could call the pure, unadulterated version of communism of Marx, Vladmir Lenin and Trotsky.

As people flood into socialist organizations and learn more about it there will be a lot of discussion about the meaning of Socialism. As things like, what place identity politics will have in it, what place Black Liberation struggles should play in it, are debated, the WSWS will be a valuable tool and reference and a player in those debates.