Anti-War Purity Tests: an Open Discussion

How many precious brown children has the Imperium assassinated since 9/11?

In a recent post at Naked Capitalism, ‘Why Anti-War Purity Tests Are Not Sound Political Strategy’, Yves Smith features comments from a different thread by RedPilled and a long response by Marina Bart.  Smith prefaces her post with a paragraph or three on obliquity in complex systems making it impossible to identify simple paths to achieving objectives.  Further, she notes that politics is particular subject to obliquity (ahem; I’d had to look up the word, and still don’t quite twig to the concept), and that disregarding time-tested truths like “politics makes strange bedfellows.

She notes that much of the country is against current levels of military spending, but that despite that, “the ferocity of Russian warmongering in the wake of Trump’s victory showed how deeply committed highly influential insiders are to keeping the military machine running on overdrive”.

She includes this sentence: “Another issue to keep in mind is that in battle, reinforcing success is a sounder strategy than sending resources to units that are floundering.”  The link goes to a site with this banner: “Seven reasons the conflict in Ukraine is actually a Russian invasion”, so it does contextualize her earlier remarks about Russian warmongering, doesn’t it?  She then adds:

“Anyone who opposes the US imperial project is inherently an outsider.” and uses MLK, Jr.s ‘Why I’m opposed to the war in Viet Nam’ speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1967 as a cautionary tale.

“How does this translate into thinking about candidates? It implies that it is naive and self defeating to demand that a “progressive” or bona fide leftist candidate oppose war as a major platform position. Mind you, that it not the same as opposing hawks. And other efforts to build coalitions to oppose America’s costly and corrupt imperialism are important too. But this is a multi-fronted battle, and approaches that are useful in one arena do not necessarily translate into another. Winning in politics is first and foremost about picking winnable fights, scoring victories to gain credibility, skills, and get others to join a successful campaign, and only then moving on to more entrenched targets.

So if an otherwise sound candidate doesn’t campaign on “more war” and gives only at most tepid support, that is far more pragmatic and more likely to win against the war machine in the long run than going after it head on.

April 24, 2017 at 3:14 pm

“Warren, like Sanders, is a faux progressive because, like Sanders, she does NOT challenge the U.S. empire and its imperial, interventionist foreign policy.

Until Warren and Sanders start talking about closing the more than 700 U.S. military bases in 70 countries, stopping the deployment of Special Ops teams in more than 130 countries, ending the seven illegal wars of aggression the U.S. is now waging, and cutting the national security budget (one TRILLION dollars a year!) by at least 50%, they should not be considered progressive, just pro-war liberals…”

Marina Bart
April 24, 2017 at 5:28 pm

“What mechanism are you suggesting we use to kill the war machine?

This is my understanding of the available options:

1) Electorally;
2) Civil War or Violent Revolution
3) Massive citizen unrest that results in enough damage to capital that it retreats once again from open imperial conquest.

Let’s briefly address each, in reverse chron:

Re: #3 — The elite we are dealing with is a global elite, with obscene amounts of stolen wealth that is highly mobile, and properties all over the world. And even during the “Vietnam War” malaise years when the MIC had been somewhat penned in and prevented from launching overt military campaigns, “we” still used the CIA and other arms of the imperial state to overthrow governments not to our liking and clear out whoever and whatever stood in the way of a multinational’s ability to extract monetizable resources all over the world. Just how much damage to capital would need to be inflicted for them to call off their dogs, which is what the US military is? How many people would have to die in urban riots and conflagrations at the hands of our excessively militarized domestic law enforcement agencies, down t(o) the county and town level?

Personally, I believe we have all evidence we need that the bloodshed necessary to also burn down enough corporate buildings and make it meaningfully awkward to enjoy one’s twenty million dollar Manhattan apartment would be extensive. I don’t want to find out how bad it would be. I want to find a less violent way to end state-engineered violence.

Re: #2 — Do I have to detail here how an actual Civil War or Revolution would be even MORE brutal and violent, leading to the loss of even more life, with an outcome even less guaranteed to be the one that we prefer? As a reminder, it’s pretty clear at this point that the South won the Civil War; it just took them a while.

Now, let’s look at option #1 — The only potential option I’m aware of that could bring change peacefully. I will stipulate to start that our electoral system is profoundly corrupted. Simply relying on the “democratic process” wouldn’t work, because we are in no way a democracy. The two parties that control the system utterly won’t even let all American citizens vote, or have their votes counted if those ballots would lead to “unacceptable” desires and outcomes. So even an “electoral” strategy is fraught with difficulties and would necessarily require some degree of citizen protest and destruction of property, to put some force behind the expression of discontent, and drive home to the elites that the people really have become ungovernable being whipped down the neoliberal path. Remember, even an election they have to steal sends them a message. The Democratic Party, run by incompetents though it may be, knows perfectly well its traditional base now hates them*. That’s why they’re trying to steal the Republicans’ base.

But back to option #1: The theory of change being advocated by me, and I believe by Naked Capitalism, is that if we focus on the universal benefits most Americans desperately need, we will energize and awaken a massive coalition with the potential to break the chains and escape the pens we’ve been herded into on our way to the slaughterhouse. If that coalition can be brought together quickly and effectively enough, we can scare off some low-hanging courtier donations the establishment Dems rely on, while putting them in a status bind: their personal status relies in part on their sanctimonious pretense of virtue; without that, what are they? They are deeply invested in this idea of themselves as kind, loving and diverse — see pretty much every tweet from “Chelsea Clinton” of 2017. Taking that identity away from them has many benefits, in terms of everything they care about. Remember, when your material needs are met (and for all Democratic Party functionaries, they are in spades), your psychological needs become paramount. They do not want to accept that they are exploitative warmongers. Believe me. I have directly and personally confronted Democratic trust fund scions on this and faced immediate, life-threatening blowback. The oligarchs aren’t going to fund the Democrats as robustly if it’s clear they can’t get the presidency back,

So, this campaign for universal benefits, which Bernie is pushing for from inside the belly of the beast, creates and energizes a status-quo shattering coalition, while destabilizing the Democratic Party and draining it of funding and allegiance. It weaken our opposition — the Democrats — while fueling our funding and activism. Because the Democrats are already so weak in terms of governing, it offers the opportunity to purge them out of the apparatus of the party, which then offers the opportunity to change the current electoral dynamic. If leftists controlled the Democratic Party in California, 2016 would have gone very, very differently. Among other things, a lot of leftist ballots would have been counted that were shredded or flipped. With each increase in power inside the party system, the left gains the ability to protect the right to vote and have that vote counted, moving us closer and closer to something like actual democracy. The Democratic Party cedes both ideological ground and access to the levers of party power.

Americans don’t want war. There is consensus on the actual left and the segment of the right that actually sends its members to fight about this. In an election where everybody got to vote and have their vote counted, we would have less war. And if we could get universal benefits flowing, that dynamic would strengthen.

You want to push to cancel the war economy first, to pay for the benefits. But I don’t see the coalition for that working. We only have two parties, and both are officially dedicated to war. The Dem/CIA coup was to bring apostate Trump in line. We can’t end the warmaking electorally (i.e., relatively peacefully) until one of the two parties is controlled by anti-war forces. To do that, we have to purge the warmongers out of the Democratic Party (there’s no point in trying this with the Republicans; they have actual governing hegemony). To purge them out, we have to energize people along viscerally urgent lines. Which gets back to why pushing for universal benefits FIRST makes both strategic and moral sense. (Let’s not forget that the United States government is colonizing and brutalizing its own people in massive numbers, every day.)

My strategy has the added benefit that we don’t actually need to start by cutting spending to deliver those benefits. We can use benefits payments to change the political economy, and after gaining power, start to pull all that stolen tax money back into our coffers for the peoples’ use, and correct our budgeting priorities to shrink the military way, way down, and start using it for national defense, rather than corporate wealth acquisition.”

Her final paragraph seems inconsequential to her over-arching theme, so I’ve omitted it.  Come to think of it, the only reason I’ve left all of the others intact save the portions I’ve bolded, was out of a sense of fair play.  ;-)  Some of her claims are either questionable or baffling, but I demurred on offering side commentary.

I was glad to see that some of her commentariat pushed back against what they saw as bogus Rebecca Solnit-esque rationales, and even more that some just said “No!  This strategy is not morally justifiable whatsover!”.  Some offered other fusion politics on anti-authoritarism both domestically and in militarily, and so on.

Commenter LT brought this, bless his heart:

“For a very long time, for example, America prospered – or seemed to prosper: this prosperity cost millions of people their lives. Now, not even the people who are the most spectacular recipients of the benefits of this prosperity are able to endure these benefits; they can neither understand them nor do without them, nor can they go beyond them. Above all, they cannot, or dare not, assess or imagine the price paid by their victims, or subjects, for this way of life, and so they cannot afford to know why the victims are revolting. They are forced, then, to the conclusion that the victims – the barbarians – are revolting against all established civilized values – which is both true and not true – and, in order to preserve these values, however stifling and joyless these values have caused their lives to be, the bulk of the people desperately seek out representatives who are prepared to make up in cruelty what both they and the people lack in conviction…”

James Baldwin – “To Be Baptized” essay in No Name In The Street.

For me, Western Imperialism is the root cause of not only our own oppression, but the deaths, immiseration and epic numbers of diasporas that include mass starvation and human degradation for vast numbers of the recipients of the US hegemonic ‘Exporting Democracy’© project globally.  And of course the same Imperial Projects have been unleashed on all dissenters on Turtle Island, most especially in the US.  Militarization of police, spying, criminalizing dissent and dissenters, especially among the Rabble classes and people of color, etc., have been burgeoning since Bill Clinton and Obama, so…no, ‘purging the Democrat party’ to end war…seems downright silly, and even if possible, a long, long process. Even Brother Cornell West, in his and Nick Brana’s call out to Bernie to create a new political party on Democracy Now! claimed that the Bern isn’t a militarist.  At least in this iteration, he sure as hell was…just not a neo-con war-monger (a very low bar, imo).

And last I’d heard, and that DSA-promoting Andrew Stewart had heard before April 28 was that while having received continual accolades for promising to offer a Senate companion bill to John Conyers’ HR 676 Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act, Bernie still hasn’t done so.  Yeah, Stewart hits the Bern hard; fine with me.

Richard Moser writes at CP that:

“It is empire — most of all — that dooms democracy and constitutional republics. As corporations have an insatiable drive for profit, empires have an insatiable drive for power. And that makes imperial actors hostile to the limits on authority, checks and balances, separation of powers and basic rights that the U.S. republic at least aspired to.

As the institutions of representative democracy become weaker and weaker — devoted only to serving the corporate power and global empire — the need for social control of the people becomes greater and greater.”

He just described Inverted Totalitarianism, didn’t he? Or: government being subservient to corporate plunder and control?

Many ask rightfully “Where is a serious anti-war/peace movement?”  There may be one, but in Glen Ford’sAjamu Baraka: A Renewed Peace Movement Is the Antidote to Misguided Black Politicians’ at Truthdig, Apr 21, 2017 calls out the black misleadership quotes on the current military misadventures in Syria, past ones in Libya.  But he offers this as a potential partial antidote:

“Among the most visible signs that a peace movement still exists, is UNAC, the United National Anti-War movement, which is expecting the largest Black presence in its history at its national conference in Richmond, Virginia, June 16-18. The Black Is Black Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations immediately responded to the U.S. air strike on Syria with a large demonstration in St. Petersburg, Fla. Ajamu Baraka views Black Lives Matter as providing a basis for renewal of the Black Radical Tradition. “One of the things that has to happen is a more explicit politics,” he says. Activists need to “make the connection between the national security state and the war agenda.”

It’s not just the $trillion publicly-stated military budget, although consider how that obscene amount of money could make peoples’ lives better instead of hideous.  But the lies, the propagandized ‘others’ declared as ‘enemies of the state’, deserving to die.  It’s making common cause with tyrannical despots for ‘pragmatic reasons’, selling weapons systems to them for fun and profit, and the Imperium being okey-dokey about which people they kill with them.  It’s having to re-learn history contrary to what we learned in school, oh, it’s been going on for so long, so long.  USA!  We’re exceptional, cuz we get to make the rules!

The actual, radical left, are anti-imperialists, not the fake left, as in: anti-war except for Assad, Gadaffi™,

Every time I read the news I’m always more confused
Tellin’ me to choose… But there’s only lies to choose from
And how many died today… How many lost their homes or shot a gun
Or a loved one…  What happen to our sons
But I know, I know, I know I’m not alone
And I know, I know, I know I’m not alone
I know I’m far away from home but I know I’m not alone

 Please share your thoughts on ‘Anti-war purity tests’.  And it would be a good thing if you commented to and questioned one another, as well.

43 responses to “Anti-War Purity Tests: an Open Discussion

  1. Ms. Marina’s apparently instinctive concern-trolling (in part on behalf of the guy who some of us called out early on, notsomuch being a status quo militarist, but for being such an historically typical run-of-the-mill sheepdogger for the ultimate nominee (the most qualified ever, in this case)) which posited that roided-up domestic egalitarianism would help its beneficiaries later to focus their fight against war-making, I think, rather begged a more honest appraisal of the a half-century of welfare expansion during the cold war. But I suppose that until the US has socialized medicine and universal basic income, decriminalizes drugs and closes all its private prisons and schools, her argument still stands. Fuck the fact that the enemies list will continue to expand with equal vigor as those on the deployment end of the obscene military budget await the day when America’s withouts have achieved the level of material security required to take it to “capital’s dogs”.

    But then there’s the head-scratcher that one cannot get her fantasy candidate elected either. Here, too, one faces the purity criticism, with a bro-slur for good measure. Not that I don’t think her attempt wasn’t otherwise enlightening. It does raise the issue that none of her three proposals is remotely attractive, let alone tenable. So there’s that.

    To the concern part of her concern trolling, that is, the tone that set her firmly in the camp that doesn’t turn their face from the truth about bloody profiteering, I once wrote: Non-acceptance of the stated problem and refusal of explicit or implicit support of the solution to the same is a first step. Obviously the masses are not going to defeat the military industrial complex in a conventional sense. But the more people are willing to call it by its real name, the sooner their familiars will be less inclined to lend their life’s blood to its projects.

    I would suggest that the critical mass of such informed peoples has not been remotely reached. At least not in the states whose, ironically enough, welfare infrastructure remains remotely in tact. You know, the still relatively comfy ones. I would further suggest that it is the uncomfortable who are more likely to be resolute in defeating the kinds of candidates she would like to defeat. And not because they’re promised cheaper medicine. But that’s really just a pointless digression on my part.

    I saw a fourth way a while back and wrote about it. Maybe it’s time has come:
    I imagine a future when some smartest-guy-in-the-room progressive liberal comes up with a plan to solve the military-industrial-complex problem (whereby industrial profits drive otherwise unnecessary warfare) by making a pact with weapons’ manufacturers in which they continue to get an ever-growing share of the national budget to research & develop and — on the basis of a maintenance schedule regulated by a equally expensive oversight corporation or two — produce & destroy stockpiles of the highest tech weaponry. A kind of Federal Reserve of Defense preservation program. In my fantasy, there comes a day when the Pentagon calls up their forces only to find out that the Fed wasn’t holding up its end of the bargain, so doesn’t have any weapons on hand.

    • your comment is seriously thoughtful, davidly, as is your writing and command of concepts a bit past my ability to comprehend. could you expand on this please? “But I suppose that until the US has socialized medicine and universal basic income, decriminalizes drugs and closes all its private prisons and schools, her argument still stands.”

      nor do i think that her three proposals are the only possibilities, but i’d be hard-pressed at the moment to suggest others, save for mass numbers of people finally twigging to the fact that not only are the police illegitimate, the ‘purpose’ of the war machine is so illegitimate that it creates more enemies than it ‘eradicates’ (part of the plan, of course), that the FEC rules as to which candidates get into debates is corrupt and illegitimate, on and on.

      your response to “the tone that set her firmly in the camp that doesn’t turn their face from the truth about bloody profiteering” is awesome, but i reckon i didn’t gather that from what she’d written.

      i will say here that when NC was going wiiiild for the bern, i’d brought in that video i’ve embedded, and was told by some people i’d respected in the past that…oh, he’ll be so busy on domestic egalitarian issues he won’t have time for foreign misadventures. wow, and jaysus.

      i really chuckled at your fourth way; thank you. you’re a peach among peaches. ;-)

    • Yes, nicely put; I largely share your POV.

  2. Well, I was being ironic with my laundry list insofar as there is no end to what must be achieved domestically for Americans en mass to suddenly and miraculously find themselves in a comfortable enough position to begin to focus their ire on the war machine. As to peaches: no you;-d

    • ach; sorry to have missed your irony, and i’m ordinarily a huge fan of that cuz: my real life. but nah; i’m the shriveled lemon that refuses to give up its juice in order to make lemonade.

      sleep well. but ain’t it funny that woke people living outside this place see things far better for what they are?

      oh, and the richard moser fellah in the OP gave a link as to what to do next, how to make a workable revolution, but it was a 4-part ‘inside/outside’ strategy that was close, no cigar. perhaps cuz when i’d read it before, pt 2 was ‘learn from bernie’ that in my bigotry i’d pushed it aside? ah well, so it goes, as vonnegut always said. ;-)

    • thanks for the gander at that ‘quaint document’, bruce. have a few key broken rules in mind here? thought of you when ford mentioned the protests in st. pete. i’ve forgotten, though: are you i that area?

  3. in his ‘US bombings in Syria and Afghanistan, A new stage in the repudiation of international law’ today, Mike Head of wsws is succinct as to the deepening war crimes not only against humanity, but of established international law. he’s done some great research and contextualizing on the issue:

    “Syria’s ambassador to the UN called the missile strikes a “flagrant act of aggression,” in violation “of the charter of the United Nations as well as all international norms and laws.” In response, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley contemptuously declared: “When the international community consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action.”
    In other words, the US insists it has the right to wage aggressive war against any country it chooses, unless the “international community” agrees carry out “its duty”—in other words, US diktats.”

    “Trump’s presidency represents both a continuation and a qualitative deepening of the illegal use of military force by US imperialism. All pretences of abiding by international law have been swept aside in order to assert Washington’s untrammeled right to use its military arsenal wherever and whenever it chooses.”

  4. Are These the Challenges To Be Faced and Are Awaiting Us?

    Over these many years and prior to writing for the Chicano Veterans Organization, my life experiences have included living out of a suitcase and hotel beds during a ten-year period of extensive travel and which also included having to contend with the level of bedbugs, that collectively, could have carried me out to the beach and for tossing me into the Pacific Ocean for an unwanted night swim. Another experience or one of many included challenging the second and third levels of leadership for union workers at PEMEX, Mexico’s monopolized oil systemic, and where I came close to blows, but was saved by several members of this same union.

    And further, my extensive travel throughout the Latin America Region, as a “Yaqui” and not as a Chicano or as an American citizen, often came in handy. Thus, the facility with the appropriate language and the associated “cultural identity” is often to be found critical in addressing subject matters that require the need to understand this, i.e. in both subtlety and nuance. And in this regard, I have a high degree of respect for those among us, our fellow travelers of “identity politics” and who have served our nation and are dedicated to the foreign service component within our of complicated Republic.

    And as a staunch Democrat and a self-avowed Progressive, and given my skill set for writing, effectively or ineffectively and as determined by our readers, my emphasis usually starts with the “identity” or is it the “identity politics” of our nation? And this perspective of mine comes in three parts, and to wit, the following:

    1. Domestic Policy
    2. The Combination of Domestic Policy and Foreign Policy
    3. Foreign Policy

    And long story short, the subject matter that is before us is Immigration and which spans all three of the above components and which truly defines us a nation. And with this in mind, I am attracted to the subject matter that is today’s definition of immigration, and leading to the excellent usage for both subtlety and nuance.

    Consequently, ”communicating” and “listening” reveals the often militant blister that is a simple-mindedness and which expansively defines the back story that is the toxic incompetence of yester-year and continues to this day and where “pay to play” continues unfettered by Thought and Action emphasizing ideology and the fateful outcome and where the unaddressed “unmet needs” becomes our endless result for our angst and anger that is found in our political activism.

    So, when I harken back to the current “rewrite” of our American history, my starting point begins in 1985, and when the leading Democrats in and out of Congress, demonstrated their fealty to the Democratic Leadership Council—led by the then former Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton and the Congressman from New York, Chuck Schumer, and whence the DLC went in search of the large Donor Club of Greed or the campaign contributors likened to the 400 billionaires. Now, fast forward to today and its toxic politics, Clinton and Schumer failed and have yet to establish the Senate’s Progressive Caucus and euphemistically led by the likes of Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders or by the Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. And not overlooked is that neither Sanders nor Warren would ‘establish’ a Progressive Caucus for in doing so, they would become the iconic target and for detrimental self-interest of the voters in their respective states.

    Thus, “bringing home the bacon” supersedes the necessity to establish the functionality for the ‘newer and better’ Democracy. Of course, the counter-argument is that we live in a Republic and not in a Democracy and likened to “property rights” and not for “inclusion” at the ballot box. Today, both Senators have verbally criticized former President Obama for receiving a $400 thousand speaking fee as his due or “property right.” Unfortunately, these Senators can’t hear themselves or can’t recognize that “property rights” also applies to “racial and ethnics,” as well (but I am off on a tangent.).

    And in this instance and where the pundits continue to assess as to why celebrity-oriented Hillary Clinton lost to the celebrity-oriented Donald Trump, Common Sense gains no traction in that the Democratic National Committee did not adhere to its responsibility and duty “to evolve” the candidates’ “unmet needs” for greater attention, and thusly, Fox News, the New York Times and the Washington Post, came forth with their “skewed” belief that the deep pockets of old wealth deserved their day in the sun, and consequently, FBI Directors James Comey’s two statements just days prior to November’s election and subsequently reinforced via that six front page articles in the AM news slot and the additional six front page articles for the PM news slots, determined how the voters would vote for their preferred celebrity-oriented nominee.

    Unfortunately, participating in the generic conversation is tantamount to failing at ‘communicating’ or ‘listening’ to what’s been occurring and which is the ongoing Chicano Movement and which commenced shortly after the end of World War Two, and where the Chicano and Native American military vets had to focus their daily attention and subsequent hard work and self-discipline in order to address the ‘unmet needs” found in our local communities. And it’s this leadership with the comprehensive “ideas” that have survived for quite some time. Take, for example, in the past 35 years, the Ideas, and just these four, that will come full force within the oncoming 25 years.

    First, is immigration and Trump’s attempt to deport 7 million undocumented immigrant moms and where the affective mom’s parenting skill that addresses their progeny, or their 21 million American-born kids, collectively speaking. Therefore, as these kids reach their age of maturity, they will register and vote accordingly. And since I am staunch Democrat and an avowed Progressive, it will be these new adults that will carry the Progressive Movement across the finish line. Consequently, the Progressives will “own and operate” the Democratic Party. And waiting… I am since this has been our “long game.”

    As to the second factor, is the 35 year-old idea of implementing an Academic-Military Draft. And had this ‘draft’ been implemented at the start of Bush43’s onset, today, we would have over 30 million military vets and millennials, with four-year college degrees and voting alongside the Progressives.

    And when I look at the stool on which the Republican elephant sits, the three legs of this stool consists of the Chamber of Commerce, the NRA-with a high number of military vets as part and parcel to their membership roster, and the American Legion and taken together represents almost 20 million military vets. And in any political analysis, the analysts cannot bring themselves to pontificate relative to this political mindset and in today’s parallelism, and where the Center-Right in the Democratic Party cannot bring itself to compete and vigorously, is obvious. As such, the DNC has surrendered the high ground and due to their advocacy for more access to the readily available “dark money.”
    And due to the lengthiness of this post, I will forgo the third and fourth Ideas that have been around for these past 35 years.

    In closing, we, the former Privates, Corporals and the Sergeants are non-essential except when perpetual War was deemed prudent and where our prudent Peace was considered highly irrelevant or until the 22 year-old Sergeant was required to do the “nation building” in the Middle East since our Elected and Appointed Officials were antagonistic toward getting their hands dirty and to their risk for the loss of body limbs.

    Consequently, we continue to ask of ourselves, “Are America’s 20,000 credentialed Journalists criminally stupid?” And yet, today’s behavior is dripping wet, with the political operatives expressing themselves for their scoring of President Trump’s first 100 days in office. In contrast, President Trump has yet to send his White House staffers to visit our wonderful Sonoran Desert and to “communicate” with us in Yaqui and Apache or in Navajo/Dine and Hopi. Thus, his privilege is our equivalent that gives us the opportunity to express our privilege in which we describe him as Two Pimples and an Ass Wipe.


    • thanks, jaango; interesting. i can see that my title w/ “an open discussion” might have led you to think that this was meant as an Open Menu instead. but the letters you publish at your various outlets more properly should be in Open Menus, unless on topic to a diary. on the right sidebar, just under the recent comments at the top is a Categories list; the top one is set to Open Menus. clicking it takes one to the most recent one.

      hope you and yours are doing well in the sonoran desert. 28 degrees here this a.m.; brrrrrr. mr. wd even covered the seedlings in the greenhouse w/ strips of row covers to keep them a bit warmer overnight. when yesterday’s brief snow hit the chokecherry blossoms, they turned into wee snowballs; so festive!

  5. Wendy,
    Thanks. My purpose was a self-reminder that when I focus on the three identified elements, the proper attention is given. And since I do a tad of ‘research’ on subjects to I write to, I often find that other writers do tend to go off the deep end in their opinionating, and which is okay, but its a bit of a distraction. Of course, it’s the internet where there are “no holds” barred.

    As to the weather, we, the butterflies and who carry the souls to heaven, do not factor in the weather conditions as we carry forth our busy behavior.


    • okay on the self-reminder, jaango, but it should have gone on the Open Menu. dunno where you get your 7 million T deportees, but here’s some research on why they called obomba ‘deporter in chief’. the working number is 1.5 million, but that won’t include those he paid mexico to block/deport at the southern mexican border. of course, he did it all w/ a smile, not ass-wipe’s bombastic rhetoric. via truthdig.

      long live the mariposa movement.

  6. chris Floyd reports recently on Connecticut’s efforts to legalize police use of weaponized drones. (and Senator Seed of Chuckie Schumer wants to invest the border wall money in the progressive, liberal option of more drones instead. conveniently, drones can be used for more than just tazing “border jumpers.”) coming to all of us, sooner or later. I was unable to track the article down cuz over the years wsws has tons of stuff on the goings on in Detroit & Michigan generally, but they reported several years ago on Detroit’s power company using surveillance drones to find “squatters” on the electrical grid.

    seems clear that from FDR on, social programs have been a bribe to segments of the populace (e.g., there was no new deal for minorities) as the state goes on w/the routine business of its true purpose: stealing other people’s stuff. just how many Iraqi lives is slightly better access to our dreadful health care system supposed to be worth? anyway, the welfare state is very effective at putting different races & classes at resentful odds w/each other; it’s useful in creating class division.

    I don’t see why the 3rd option above, civil unrest, has to involve masses of people being violent. if there was a mass strike, w/the only action being refusal to work, the tanks would be in the streets in 5 minutes & we’d all be crystal clear about where the violence in society comes from.

    we should also be clear that USG, “the consciousness of the State,” as Michael Parenti calls the government, is at war w/the US populace, as are all elements of the State Uncle Sam represents. it’s a different kind of war for many of us, market totalitarianism (see Michael Dawson’s consumer trap), but because we are more like the POW’s, not the combatants. the bombs in Syria create refugees; what is mass expulsion of immigrants but the creation of more refugees? what is the drug war but the use of drug cartels in a manner similar to the way ISIS is used to achieve certain objectives, w/lots of mayhem & bloodshed? are not the people of the US participants in a massive biological & psycho-social warfare experiment, a la Unit 731? from coke to gmo’s to the tube & the automobile (oy vay! in charlotte, so many retail stores are out of business it’s frightening, but so many businesses still open are car-related. auto shops, gas stations, dealers, insurers, etc., etc. basic elements of our society are so tightly woven into our war-for-oil economy. survival requires participation.)

    we are at war w/the State already, whose brain is Uncle Sam. there is a difference b/n bombing Bagdad’s water treatment plants & destroying the Flint River (again, the automobile!), but not much.

    another area in which “we are #1” is our society’s ability to get people to waste their efforts & good intentions. but some small things do mean something, and I found this of course very sad but also hopeful:
    “Kelly Gissenander sang Amazing Grace as she was executed in Georgia in 2015.  Her final statement was made available by the authorities; her rendition of the hymn was not. Earthly justice is rightly fearful of the revelatory power of song as delivered by those being killed by the state.”
    yearsley, who I think is a colossal treasure, is not religious in the slightest but he appreciates greatly that the state rules not just by violence, but by control of what people see & hear, control of spectacle. small gestures that penetrate that control can have powerful effects.

    • so glad you’re able to add to the thread, amigo. so many salient and bitter questions and comparisons. for now, i added your link here, and have time to say that floyd’s news was only too familiar. yep, a similar bill was passed in ND. again, wsws; they really dig in on some issues, don’t they?

      we had a small kitchen disaster, but now that it’s over for now, i need to go make some hummus to go with my falafel. say that three times; it’s great! ;-) back soon.

    • as i remember it, marina bart had it that folks would be trying to cripple capital by torching buildings and what not, maybe past that. but yes: withholding labor, creating alternatives to the capitalist economy in communities can also be prefigurative to an actual nonviolent revolution. easy for me to say, but one-day strikes might feel good, but the ruling class doesn’t care who of 90% are inconvenienced by them.

      it used to be said that at the turn of the century, it took three families to support one striking family. of course, those metrics will have changed now, but striking for any lengthy period is a dicey proposition, esp. when folks are fired for it, but the actual charges against them are altogether different.

      i’d say instead that the state is at war against us, but how few people have cottoned on to that? guess that’s what propaganda does: help point the finger of blame at others in a class/race war. can’t read the yearsley piece cuz too loaded emotionally, but o.m.g. just peeking in and scanning…i understand why you consider him a treasure. bless your heart, and i will try to read the charlotte piece, although i may have already.

      • I really do not like ‘mazin’ grace. nausea, seasickness. maybe something to do w/those fundamentalist tent revival meetings as a child where they passed out fried chicken to fortify us all for the 90 minute sermon? white meat, of course. yearsley says it’s probably the most famous song in all of history, incl. like you know yesterday. maybe I should be more jeebusy about that, but I can’t help but roll my eyes.

        • i put it in to honor young kelly gissanander, first i’d chosen an aretha version, but in the end it was too pop-y. i think the one i dd choose was judy collins in the end; not much soul as a version from pop staples i never did find might have been. the other famous song of death at funerals is ‘swing low’, of course. guess the one i’ve sung most at burials is ‘will the circle be unbroken’.

    • from yearsley:
      “As if thought up yesterday rather than two decades ago, the tour-de-force opening scene of Theodora is packed with two arias for Valens and punctuated by rousing choruses, the President promising Christians that “Racks, gibbets, sword and fire, shall speak my vengeful ire” if they don’t join in the Roman rites. His brash grandstanding—including an apparent heart-attack captured live by the onstage cameras—incites full-throated choral affirmation by his pliant press corps, with trumpets flying like Tomahawk missiles above the crash of timpani. (The scene begins at 7:16 of this YouTube video.)

      Note the props in the ‘journalists’ hands, brilliant, mr. sellars. after directing readers to (3:21:40) and describing the executions, this:

      “The song of the condemned is as calm as it is unsettling for the forces of Imperial justice. Handel’s music and its themes are timeless, Sellars’ presentation of them timely. The genius of the original work accommodates, even welcomes inspired transformation by theater-makers of imagination. The Glyndebourne production of Theodora offers thought-provoking reflections on the barbarism of past, as well as on the bitter ironies of the present, like the fact that another modern day Valens, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, claims to be a devout Christian.”

    • swan song. as images & sounds of the dying in war are forbidden, so at home. to the soi-disant masters of the universe the words of the dying are terrifying. maybe.
      how about a big bold anti-war, anti-imperialist statement as the first thing one sees on an ngo’s home page as a litmus test for clicking any further ? is that too purist?

  7. Missed the e-mail invite to their Yeshitela emergency march on city hall;
    but returned to my ol’ “green bench” hometown for their EarthDay antiwar protest :

    The “senior” on the left with the ST0P TrumPNAC Attacks sign.

  8. The view from the hermitage is not good; anti-war purity test? The hermitage doesn’t like the phrasing or intent (whatever it may be).
    Anti-war is meaningless without a context; if an outside power invaded the U.S. would one (Usian) be anti-war?
    To be clear; the hermitage does not support U.S. foreign policy on any level or policy.
    As to the rest; the hermitage considers the narritive to be inane at best.
    The hermitage doesn’t accept the premise…

  9. danny haiphong writing for BAR uses ‘purity’ in quite a different sense in his ‘Purity Over Principle: The Left’s State of Purgatory’ 04/25/2017, echoing my comment in the OP: “The actual, radical left, are anti-imperialists, not the fake left, as in: anti-war except for Assad™. he explains what he means by referencing ‘purgatory’, and adds to his theme of ‘purity over principle’, then:

    “It is difficult to speak of a “left” in the U.S., given the inability of people who call themselves leftists “to lend critical support to oppressed nations under siege” – the sacred duty of any genuine Left. Instead, pseudo-leftists join in dehumanizing the victims of U.S. aggression. “The lack of spontaneous anger surrounding US warfare is a product of the nation’s imperialist and white supremacist foundations.”

    More subtle than the outright Orientalist and racist characterizations of Bashar Al-Assad and Kim Jong-Un as murderous “dictators” is the inability of the US leftists broadly to lend critical support to oppressed nations under siege.” he contrasts BAR, UNAC, and the IAC with:
    “Many so-called left journals and organizations oppose such support on the basis that the North Korean and Syrian governments are oppressive in their own right. These organizations include Democracy Now, International Socialist Organization, and even the Intercept. The words “regime” and “dictator” have become popular terms among these currents to describe the leaders and governments caught in the cross hairs of US imperialism. Each of these leftish factions uses dubious sources at best to slander the Syrian government without any thought as to the consequences of their actions.”

    ‘even the intercept’ made laugh, cuz of the many times we’ve seen their eleventy-seven ‘fearless journalists’ mirror the stenographers to the Imperium, white helmets and all, as did amy goodman. In his ‘intercept link’, someone hinted at ‘all the news that omidyar sees fit to print’, or close. by the by, why have so many ‘fearless journalists’ been penned by pierre, anyway? some news they bring can be written, and is being written better…elsewhere? they also bring plenty of silly crap, imo, even if three of them add their bylines to it. but moving on, a few further quotes:

    “It took a Democratic Party presidency dressed in Black face to make it fashionable to align with imperialist war as long as it was for “humanitarian” purposes.” “Obama’s presence so intensified the left’s rightward lurch that not even a GOP-driven administration has been able to reverse the trend. In fact, Trump has been embraced by the corporate media and ruling class liberals who see his assault on the DPRK and Syria as essential tenants of the “American way of life.” And much of the left has followed along. If not outright promoting regime change, many organizations have tried to stagger the playing field by opposing both imperialist war and the targeted governments. This type of purity politics merely reinforces white supremacist, imperialist dogma.”

    “Yet Chomsky repeats the imperialist line on Syria whenever possible. His constant need to refer to the Syrian government as the “Assad regime” shows broad disdain for peoples who decide to chart their own course of history independent of US imperialist domination, especially those in the Arab world.” and so on…

    i’d also been musing about miz. barton’s bold claim that ‘americans don’t wnt war’, so i did some poll-googling on the question. if i have time, i’ll see if i can find the links and comment on the internals, even though polling, well, meh.

  10. 1. Purity tests in general are not useful for minority positions of any kind in elections.

    2. The term “contradictions of capitalism” is not an empty set. None of those three options guarantee winning without some fairly extensive other conditions being true.

    3. To move a particular policy, you must have at least 50%+1 in the relevant legislative bodies on that particular issue, regardless of the mix of other issues. And you must have the legislative internal politics down so that majority actually can get the job done cleanly, without the sacrifices of logrolling that wind up undercutting the agenda down the line. One tactic is not a strategy. Holding politicians accountable to purity tests is a tactic that either wins or it does not depending on the circumstances. It is up to the people advocating or arguing against a tactic to specify what their understand of the circumstances are.

    4. Generally the most prudent tactic when one is in a hole is not to dig the hole deeper.

    5. Having clarity on the current circumstance is the critical factor to dealing with this debate on the left. Do we have that clarity?

    • dry analysis aside, thd, the larger questions to me are: could you/would vote for anyone who is not explicitly anti-imperialist, and additionally: what ‘left’? part of the point of this diary and my thoughts on the issue is that there is no meaningful ‘left’ now. there can be no clarity in that construction, iow.

      on edit: who do you consider ‘the left’, please?

      • Let me deal with my own practical answers to your questions (on this, your decisions where you are can vary quite a bit). In my context in voting in North Carolina, USA, I have voted for lots of people who are not explicitly anti-imperialist. In fact, most elections here, you would be hard-pressed to find someone top-to-bottom-of-the-ticket who are explicitly (even if quietly) anti-imperialist.

        There is a reason for this. Since World War II (and possibly earlier), “patriotism” has been an an electoral litmus test for disqualifying critical thinking, and the military-industrial-intelligence-university-complex has become part of the bacon that elected officials must bring home to their districts.

        Who is the “left”? That is another problematic issue of political banners of our time. As a practical matter, those who stand up for the interests of the 99% are the left these days; you don’t have to look far to see all of the tactics at work to prevent the policy these people advocate, no matter how moderate or extreme, being suppressed through the police state or co-opted through clever wording and half-measures in order to preserve the 1% or “the powers that be” or “the billionaires”. In this you don’t have to look far to see how insistent the attempts are to amputate even the most moderate politicians of this “left” from the electoral system. It’s like HUAC never disappeared.

        This likely is a looser definition of the “left” than those advocating various litmus tests for voting for candidate would use.

        That’s the practical decisions on action (more electoral participation rather than less) and definition (a wider pool of electoral candidates instead of a narrower pool).

        My dryness of response above reflects the extent to which I see electoral politics of the moment as something of a surface sideshow that at best reflects popular opinion. Electoral politics, in addition, registers in all of the electoral governmental levels-federal, state, and local in the US. So we are talking about a complicated system that must signal changes if it is not to collapse of its own ambition and corruption. Because the homeland security function has penetrated to the very local level of government, there is not part of that that will not be vetted for “patriotism” until we have a different view of national security institutions. Every Presidential candidate will be vetted by the media for the “patriotism” to be the commander-in-chief of the Empire and the ability to get the national security worker bees, including the uniformed military to follow his orders as commander-in-chief. Explicit anti-imperialists need not apply. The politics of it right now is that harsh. Not voting in federal elections and other elections that have been nationalized with national security issue is still probably the wisest choice for those who want explicit anti-imperialists. It also maintains a binary choice, without intermediate options. It also maintains the electoral power of the hard-line imperial boosters. There is no correct choice or incorrect choice; bads contend with bads.

        You change popular opinion, you change the institutions of government, you mitigate coming disasters, or you wait quietly for the system to collapse. There are likely lots of options under those that shade from one to the other.

        Changing the popular opinion of roughly 250 million adults in the 4th largest land area is going to take a little while starting from scratch. It is also going to require a geographical strategy to ensure that the change doesn’t seem like a particular regional idiosyncrasy. Seventy years of organizing got Eugene Debs in jail and on the ballot for President; that is considered the high point of the US “Left” (in capital letters). While that was going on, institutions were springing up to combat that organizing – Pinkertons were among the earliest; even fundamentalist religion, freely distributed to rural churches through the generosity of a Standard Oil of California Vice President and church board businessman, and others. Guess who had the resources at hand and who passed the hat.

        Under the pressure of internal informants, the trust of groups on the “Left” was worn down through suspicions and internal bickering that often took the form of argument about who was the most “Left”. And that was at its high point. Interestingly enough, that high point was at the massive transformation from agriculture to industrial manufacturing for mass markets. In retrospect, that turned out to be the high point of Soviet “communism” and Chinese “Maoism” as well–so-called modernization.

        What the left has become in the US and possibly elsewhere is: (1) a tradition of a particular type of Marxist (in the self-defined strictest sense) critical scholarship and journalism; (2) a tradition of a left critical scholarship and journalism (in a self-defined looser sense); (3) a bunch of highly geographically focused political parties with some degree of success in a few localities; (4) a set of diffuse “progressive” parties with broader geographical scope and less impact; (5) a handful of elected officials, who operate from local pressures; (6) a few commercially successful blogs that use the term “left” for branding; (7) a large number of aspirational blogs that deal with left politics conversations. And no doubt lots of lurkers and listeners-in.

        Looking in the discussion below, the notion of a revelation or epiphany comes up. The example of MLK Jr’s revolution of values is a good one, but its receptance in white communities was as much the unpredictable results of more general affluence (not gonna make that mistake again, eh PTB), the cultural cross-over of rock music among youth (driven by a media commerical model that followed only profit), and the fact that the rural US really had small jails because of tightwad county officials. (not gonna make that mistake again, eh). And there were white Southern clergy willing to ally with Dr. King’s movement. And white Chambers of Commerce seeking relocating northern industry who did not want chaos to upset their prospects. And a unified mass media in which one or two commentators could have a significant impact in a time in which they thought that they would be the face of early history of television, with all of its middle- and upper-class pretensions to social good. And the anti-war positions grew with the sense that the US was losing the war in Vietnam, a war of conscripted soldiers who themselves were often opposed to the war.

        Where might an epiphany have impact in the current US culture? American Idol? Duck Dyanasty? Facebook? Where is the rolling front of American culture these days, that part that is not lost in distraction?

        Sorry for the length. This subject does not get shorter with clarity. Only more perplexing.

        • ah, my question as to voting for, etc. was due to the fact that iirc, you’d noted that you’d voted for the bern in the primary for reasons other than enchantment (or close to it?). yes, i see that in down-ticket races we’re either forced for the less odious of those on our ballots, or leave the races unchecked. as i’ve said before, i’ve always turned in a ballot, but frequently don’t mark any Xs in races. i understand why you reckon that ‘the left’ might be thought to be those who stand for the 99%, but the pretense and hypocrisy in regard to what candidates promise v what they do…is epic, especially among Ds.

          yep, i know the pinkertons rather well, including their brother organizations who were quite lively breaking the strikes on the west coast, including the ILWU’s at the port of longview. (sorry i’m so scattered, i’m watching the may day protests…). ad yes, you bring similar cautionary tales to yves’, but yanno what? epiphanies/eureka moments come when they come. the groundwork has been laid, including by occupy and other fair labor groups, or at least those not coopted completely by the big unions selling out their members. and yes, silly old woman that i am, i do believe that the many struggles linked together become part of the noosphere, likely a term echoing ‘the collective unconscious’.

          i dunno the history you’re bring of things related to this section:

          And that was at its high point. Interestingly enough, that high point was at the massive transformation from agriculture to industrial manufacturing for mass markets. In retrospect, that turned out to be the high point of Soviet “communism” and Chinese “Maoism” as well–so-called modernization.

          but if i hear an okey dokey from the author, i’ll post what he says is relevant to ‘the founders’, ag and industrialism, the disappearance of ‘the commons’ and more. but yes, i used to haunt a few socialist, communist, etc. sites only to be bummed out by the purity police. ;-) and knowing zero dialectics, i was hoping for some simple illumination past dr. richard wolf’s classes via southern dragon, lol.

          oh, and your final paragraph was likely meant to be funny, i reckon. guess i’m not findin’ it so, but…that’s just me. ;-)

          • Last paragraph is not funny at all. The US is facing three (possibly more) tragic options. You did a good job of summarizing those points of view. My sense is that if one is bummed, they’re accurately perceiving enough of the current political situation. And the Trumpistas are seeking to press the advantage by hollering “lefties”, “Marxists” about every contested situation, seeking to drive the limits of acceptable discourse more narrowly into their rhetoric.

            It is a global apparent triumph of various shades of extreme capitalism. Is China “neoliberal”? It sure seems to be capitalists to the extreme. Are Russia’s oligarchies “neoliberal”? Again extreme capitalism (did they learn well from Jeffrrey Sachs?

            The actual use of power in war winds up weakening the state that exercises power. We have an exhausted US, and exhausted Europe, an exhausted but rebuilding Russia, a building India and China. And the US public drives for a policy of no diplomacy. Yes, a march of folly, for 72 years a march of folly.

            Politicians don’t enchant me. In my first job after grad school, I saw how local politicians operated to share the federal spoils and how a former Congressman (the chair) organized the ladies and gentlemen to certain conclusions. Of course. If Bernie were sitting in the Oval Office, he would be massively disappointing his base for the same reason that honest Trump supporters will find Trump’s performance unsatisfactory. (Will Herr T let Planned Parenthood funding through or make the US government appropriations process more chaotic than its become in the past 7 years?) Congress still has major power. And divisions in both parties empower gridlock on domestic spending and inertia on military spending. The “patriotic” whip is mighty powerful even for members of Congress. Dennis Cucinich is a mixed case of this. But Cynthia McKinney is a blatant case of how “patriotism” destroys anti-war members of Congress.

            When there is a popular movement to start rolling back the 700 military bases and bringing troops home that starts blowtorching the backsides of all politicians so it can’t become a partisan “gotcha”, then you can judge political courage. Electorally, the best way to do that is primary as many Republicans and Democrats in as many districts as possible with that one policy proposition–“It’s time to come home”. Work those primaries with good campaign skills, and see how many can be won. Take on and make explicit who the MIC contractors are in each Congressional District. Deal with the jobs issue by talking about infrastructure (broadly imagined) and the bullshit jobs issue. My sense is that the American people are fed up with politicians playing their marketing strategies. In a Congressional District a primary is winnable generally with 20,000 votes if it’s a surprise for a typically unopposed candidate; the petition number and filing fees are where the first screening out occurs. It takes 870 candidates for 435 House seats (one in each party) and an argument about how rolling back the 700 is pure Republican principles or pure Democratic principles. Yes, this is crazy, but no more than the idea of a general strike in a country of 330 million (without a heritage of general strikes) that has enough bite politically. Politicians have waffled on clear decisions between war and peace. Well-focused single-issue primary campaigns can clarify who is for what. And then watch who moves to co-opt the campaigns of those who win primaries.

            The big muzzler in the current situation is “Don’tcha know there’s a war on?” And when in the past 76 years has there not been a war on? And when will we run out of enemies? Local campaigns in which truth gets spoken about what is going on can be very clarifying. If both primary challengers win, the debates will open up the Overton window so long as neither candidate sees their party’s victory as nullifying the principle issue the campaign was brought forward. And the fights to get on the ballots of the Republican and Democratic parties [don’t the two of them represent everybody :) ] are clarifying locally as well. Could lead to some interesting comments about “party principles”.

            I’m not sure about the practicality of this any more than the three other options; it just is a fourth option that culture-jams the two-party system’s pretensions of grass-roots support for war.

            My next bummer: what if the pretensions of informed grass-roots support for war are true and root-rooting for a march of folly?

  11. I did re-read the above “purity test” thread; albeit with great difficulty.
    Denialism and a strong ethnocentrism will doom all but the most violent methods to change, IMHO.
    The U.S. is the single most violent nation on the planet earth; the violence is universal towards all (including and especially towards its own citizens) who have opposing POV’s. Racism also largely factors into the mix.
    In the psychological sense; change is not a process, but rather an instant event triggered by revelation.
    Marina Bart’s 3 steps are probably a reasonable assessment; however, her abhorance to violence causes her to eliminate the very thing that can bring change.
    I likewise, abhore violence; but, realistically, see no path to electorially making a difference; those days are long gone IMHO.
    Finally, our present dilema is largely of our own making; the last vestiges of democracy died on November 22, 1963.
    It accelerated after that…

    • hope my bits and redpilled’s weren’t so greatly difficult. bart’s massive resistance violence construct was written, i believe, to say that ‘this is not alternative since…this is what it would have to look like. i find fault w/ that idea, myself. i do agree that an epiphany similar to MLK’s ‘revolution of values’ is what it will take for a mass movement against Imperialism, but how the citizenry’s receiving basic benefits would cause that to happen…no, i’d think that it’s been proven over and over that when people can’t even feed their families is exactly when people begin to wake up and push back.

      how many media chronicle just how many USians are living below the ‘poverty level’, are homeless, ill, w/ no access to health care? “the “triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism”, he’d called it. and f course he was an internationalist, wasn’t he, as all the true left must be. a neighbor came by yesterday and announce that “things aren’t that bad yet, at least”. er….that bad where? i’d asked. yeah, strange discussion followed in many directions.

      it’s noteworthy to me that more and more anti-nato and anti-hegemonic militarism protests are popping up around the world, as are movements against nationalistic candidates and heads of state. my guess has long been that the US is almost always the last to catch the sounds of the global cries for freedom, and mainly because we’ve been collectively too comfortable to have to care about (or have empathy for) what our global brothers and sisters are really experiencing at the end of the US military horsewhip and chains.

      and here it is may day, so we’ll be checking to discover where and how that’s playing out around the world, or in the US. the focus in alternative media has of course been ‘climate change protests’. so far not one of the articles i’ve seen included ‘anti-war, anti-empire’ in the coalitions mentioned, which is one of the many gripes w/ big bill mckibben and other big green groups. gosh, bill, the military creates the single largest carbo footprint on the planet! but let’s keep gate-keeping so we can get our rockefeller (or whatever) funding eh?

      i’m going to press send for now and go eat some brekkie. ;-) oh, and naked capitalism? i used it as a springboard for the discussion; of course it’s not ‘radical’. see my first paragraph on ‘russian warmongering’, etc., please.

      on edit: curiosity kept the cat hungry…couldn’t help myself. fox news has this round-up of some may day worker protests around the world.

      • By the way WD; it wasn’t your writing that was difficult; it was NC and Marina Bart’s screed.

        • whew; wot a relief. ;-) but srsly, i’m glad that you read past miz bart’s comment. you’d mentioned tulsi gabbard, and a couple weeks ago cynical seeker had been singing her praises, as have most progressive dems. i’d dug out this post from big al at c 99%, and had gone spelunking in the tubes for more instances of her being down w/ the imperium on war, sanctions, even sponsoring bills to those effects. sorry my brain leaks so much i can’t recall the specifics now, but here’s big al’s exposé.

          on edit: never mind her alliance with hindu genocidiare narenda modi. on his second charm offensive to amerika she took him on a tour of silicon valley, mouthing all sorts of glorious tech nonsense both ‘sides’ could profit from. i’d seen something at consortium news w/ a title about ‘the fake left’ or close, and aye gawd, didn’t the author bring her name up in the “the fake left attacked her for her telling truth to power about assad!” meh. wish the author’d done at least a li’l bit of homework.

  12. V.’s & j’s comments contain a non-explicit (as opposed to implicit, the following inference is all mine) convergence that suggest a solution which might be in the spirit of Marina Bart’s sought compromise: strike.

    Standing up to sit down, walking in to walk out, crying out to boycott. These are all actions that, even if you see them as passive resistance, will most certainly beget an increase in violence one must be prepared to withstand in order to remaining resolute enough to shift the paradigm. Unfortunately, this threat of beatdown does not, in my opinion, factor into why it will never happen. Moreover, the lack of solidarity is not only due to inadequate organisation, but down to lack of enlightened desperation: It requires the participation of a broad range of people of centuries-long indoctrination who are everything from too in need of their income to feed their own, to comfy enough in their consumer habits and don’t want to rock that boat.

    This reveals a great deal of what is wrong with the solution put forth by would-be Kameradin Bart. And as V. recently put it, the premise itself is entirely wrong, from, again, a whole range of ideological perspectives, the hows & whys of which I am soon to attempt to elaborate on in my own diary — in the spirit of the First of May.

    It’s not that I don’t think local politics is not viable, at least theoretically, and under certain, ever more narrowing circumstances. It’s just that the electoral recommendations from that thread (over at Naked Capitalism, I mean) appear deaf, dumb, and blind to the concerns expressed in their comments, and, as I’ve already said, beg certain realities for the sake of making their approach sound feasible — namely, how economy, finance, and MIC as they stand are inextricable. Worse, it really is just a rinse/repeat of the “more and better Democrats” argument. I mean, it’s irritating enough that they suggest nothing more than shifting one’s purity line, but in doing so they suggest Sanders & Warren are not corporate Dems. Really? By what standard are we operating here? And how is it, then, that one is to decide, if it comes down to a matter of degree, who’s in and who’s out?

    • Sanders is a joke and Warren? Well, just not what is needed.
      Naked Capitalism is way too mainstream for this one’s taste; occasional interesting guest posts, but otherwise, meh.
      Marina Bart? This one is not impressed.
      In my opinion the U.S. system cannot possibly be deemed a democracy; that’s a ghost of a future past. The U.S. system of governance is so corrupt and broken it cannot be repaired.
      It needs tearing down to the foundations (and even they are unfirm) and rebuilt. A feat I cannot see as realistic.
      Analogies and metaphors have no place (tho tempting), rather straight talk and radical thinking must be the order of the day; I mean, look who is the fucking president for crying out loud!!!
      That alone speaks volumes to the genuine present situation; it’s bloody serious as a heart attack, no?
      Until a clear understanding of the depth of the rot is understood; a solution is not possible; and may never be possible.
      There is not one politician this one sees as a viable leader; Tulsi Gabbard? Not enough to form an opinion at this time, IMO.
      By its very nature; I have zero trust in the U.S. government.

      • Addendum: It does occur, that the system must follow its angle of repose (variable, methinks), to the very end. Collapse does seem inevitable; with the consequent human costs; which will be horrendous at best; and catastrophic at worst. This one is not equiped to see further in matters of degree…

    • excellent. and what you’ve deemed ‘enlightened desperation’ seems a bit akin to what i’d mentioned in another comment; will it come soon enough?. yeppers to ‘purifying the party by ‘purging the warmongers’, tra la la. how many fake-leftists argue that the D party can be reformed? jacobin authors, and (gasp!) even glenn greenwald. or even brother cornell west calling on the bern to head a ‘peoples’ party’ cuz he’s not a militarist. really?

      one day strikes, i reckon, aren’t enough to discommode the rulers, though. and of course, almost all of the trade unions have been stockholm syndromed and captured by the dems, who treat them like beggars asking for crumbs, and being satisfied w/ them.

      i’d love it if you’d post your coming may day thoughts here. i may put one up, as well, as i’m just about to email an author to ask if i might reblog his may day one. i haven’t checked in a any may day 2017 hashtags, but the trotskyites were planning on featuring an online may day.

      • without even needing to read it, please do cross-post it. i’ll wait to hear from peter linebaugh, and storify some of what’s afoot globally. far better to have more on this historical occasiion…than less, don’t you think? and your thoughts and prose will be far more illuminating. if you say yes, may i delete this comment and link?

  13. One does not get to the US Congress in the current century without corporate contributions (until someone designs a better campaign model). Sorting out who is an who isn’t corporate Dems (or Reps for that matter) is the worst kind of delusion. They all are and will be until the means of campaigning involve less rich-folk and corporate cash.

    The real questions are on what matters with they adhere to their corporate donors/master and one what matters will they vote to have institutional checks on the interests of their corporate donors/masters.

    In a weird sort of way, those members of Congress opposed to a thorough audit of the national security state actually hasten its financial demise. Does that mean that the left should go scrambling to vote for the warhawks shield DoD on the grounds of intensifying the contradictions? Of course, that’s a silly proposition.

    • guess there are a thousand million reasons that common cause’s calls for publicly financed elections have been rejected for what, three decades now? but wait! urban legend has it that the bern only took $15 donations, no corporate cash. i’ve forgotten where, but pages of his donor lists were leaked to some website or other, and showed many names contributing those $15 day serially, day after day. the pages looked authentic enough, imo, but what do i know?

      i’m not grokking some of your comment, such as ‘hastening the nat sec’s demise’. but that’s often par fr the course for me. ;-)

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