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This will be a short diary since I'm working on another one where I try to address these issues in a more substantive manner... Think about trends on a few areas concerning the well-being of the citizenry.  Let's say economic security, income inequality, education, civil and constitutional rights, etc.  Imagine you come up with some metrics to measure the trends on each one of those issues, and then you plot them in a chart, over time.

I think most of the readers will agree that the overall "citizens' well-being" trend line would be going down, while that of the 1% or the ruling class would show to be going up, sharply.

Now think of something else... At the very top of the "ruling class pyramid," you'll find the Koch Brothers, the Third Way (so-called left-leaning corporatist-funded group), ALEC, big Pharma, big Insurance, Wall Street, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, think tanks, and a handful of billionaires.

They are operating pretty much in a very disciplined, strategic, and sustained fashion with what seem to be very specific goals: constantly push for increased productivity while keeping wages down; the tearing down of what's left of the regulatory framework; the undermining of the public sector in favor of private profiteering; further lowering of taxes of corporations and wealthy individuals; the militarization of police agencies around the country... The agenda is actually pretty easy to identify and it is being carried out in a very systematic and disciplined manner.  It is an agenda born our of a confluence of interests--the interests of the ruling class...

Right below the corporate state pecking order is the political establishment which is basically controlled by the corporate state, and hence are responsible for moving their agenda forward.  An agenda that is anti-democratic, increasingly oppressive, and exploitative.  An agenda that chips away at our economic security, at our civil and constitutional rights, seemingly unmolested, or undisturbed.

Do we, the 99%, likewise have a confluence of interests?  It would seem so, right?  As productivity goes up, our wages should go up; labor unions should be spreading like wild fire; public education should be supported and strengthened, not weakened and debased by so-called "charter schools"; the water we drink and the air we breath should be healthy (safe); the rich should pay their fair share of taxes; the regulatory framework should be strengthened, not weakened; the rule of law should be applied equally to all; the police should not be able to kill innocent people without meaningful consequences; the state and corporations should stop spying on us and building detailed dossiers that puts us all in danger.

Do we have a strategy to make sure we advance our agenda?  Are we working on putting together a united front against the tiny ruling elite that has somehow been able to utterly dominate, both mentally and physically, almost an entire population?  Are we smart enough to figure out exactly how the ruling elite exerts that control, and then come up with a strategy, dissent, to oppose, to reject that control?

Or are we being bombarded every day with bullshit scandal after scandal, diverting our attention (and rage, anger, emotions, hopes, and disappointments), from one news cycle to the next?

What's your take?  Do you feel that all the progressive organizations out there are doing everything they can to both, continue advocating for their specific issues, and working together to form a powerful united front against the depravities of the corporate state?

Do you think that our energies, attention, and passions are being channeled in such a way as to strengthen social justice movement so we can one day bring about the real reforms we need, i.e., removing the deathly choke-hold the corporate state has on our democracy?

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Comment Preferences

  •  but..but...!.... (7+ / 0-)

    Ray, it's a PARTISAN site. You mean you didn't get the memo?

    Sheesh, man, get with the program :-)

    “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

    by ozsea1 on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 02:05:39 PM PST

  •  No, no, maybe (8+ / 0-)
    Do we have a strategy to make sure we advance our agenda?
    Are we working on putting together a united front against the tiny ruling elite that has somehow been able to utterly dominate, both mentally and physically, almost an entire population?
    Not as long as the corporate elite succeed in pitting us one-against-the-other by highlighting the (relatively) minor differences between us.
    Are we smart enough to figure out exactly how the ruling elite exerts that control, and then come up with a strategy, dissent, to oppose, to reject that control?
    Maybe we are at least smart enough to listen to proposals presented to do this...
  •  We are scattered all over the place (9+ / 0-)

    On the opposite side they are far more united and coordinated by an extremely wealthy elite.  Greedy corporate types that care only about profit regardless of the causes, racists that fear the "browning" of America and totalitarian Christians that are simply intolerant and only care about a radical interpretation of the Bible.

    We are involved in a myriad of causes.  All very worthy but nowhere coordinated. All these causes have the similar principles behind but these principles have not been coherently stated.

    Until our side gets its act together we will be at a disadvantage. This will require brave and enlightened leaders who can see the forest rather than the trees and can formulate a coherent strategy we will be ineffective.

    TPP, global warming, inequality, single payer. reasonable defense budgets, fracking, racial discrimination, separation of church and state, money out of politics, all worthy causes but not coordinated.  

    We need to become a movement.  

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 02:07:19 PM PST

    •  Well said: (5+ / 0-)
      Until our side gets its act together we will be at a disadvantage.
      I have yet to see a unified Democratic message brought forth by every Democrat in front of a camera or being interviewed by print papers.

      Except for that one time that Obama wanted to extend the tax cuts for rich people and only extend unemployment for one year.   He did a great job with that -- his staff was all over the news, with white boards and everything.

      See... when you actually fight for something, you have a 50/50 chance at least in winning.

      Dallasdoc: "Snowden is the natural successor to Osama bin Laden as the most consequential person in the world, as his actions have the potential to undo those taken in response to Osama."

      by gooderservice on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 09:53:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not just distracted but continually bombarded (8+ / 0-)

    with meanness. We haven't stopped warring, we haven't created jobs, we haven't patched up our infrastructure, we haven't stopped the outrageous spying, we haven't a true justice system, we haven't stopped the war on women or the war on workers or the penal system that is the largest in the world.

    Every damn day we have people who go out with war weapons and kill people here on the streets or in movie theaters or in schools. Some fellow was found with 42 bombs in his car. And yet we are told how great all this spying is and how safe we are.

    The dems wont pass a true minimum wage bill, one with a cola built in and one big enough to truly be a living wage cause that is their one goody they hold out to us. And the dems are the ones that have put out that they are willing to cut SS and medicare and they are willing to cut food stamps. And they are the ones who have allowed the banksters to continue their thievery.

    We have few on our side in dc. I think we might just get some big trucks and block the capital and leave them all in it and see how they like just being on their owny oh.

    ALL of our institutions have been hollowed out by the greed ethos. There are none left with heart intact or souls for that matter. So the zombie is all around us - me

    by glitterscale on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 02:11:24 PM PST

    •  Agreed (8+ / 0-)

      Bombarded. It's sickening.

      Is it any wonder people tune out? To answer Ray's question, hell yeah, The Shiny is a daily occurrence. When it's glittering--like Chris Christie--you get Wall to Wall Coverage. And it saps the life out of so many.

      Of course, the "coverage" here is a microcosm of a fishbowl. In Real Life, the only people I know who give an ongoing shit about BridgeGate are people who live in New Jersey. Sure, that's important stuff, but it in no way was worthy of the Challenger-disaster-like Media Coverage the other day. That was just so blatantly ridiculous in its sheer overkill, IMO.

      The point is, to all who care--when you see that Wall to Wall thing, just start looking on your own for other News of the Day. I assure you, it's out there. You will find, just like I did on Thursday, some real gems.

       

      This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

      by lunachickie on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 04:18:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  No either/or here (9+ / 0-)
    Do we have a strategy to make sure we advance our agenda?  Are we working on putting together a united front against the tiny ruling elite that has somehow been able to utterly dominate, both mentally and physically, almost an entire population?  Are we smart enough to figure out exactly how the ruling elite exerts that control, and then come up with a strategy, dissent, to oppose, to reject that control?

    Or are we being bombarded every day with bullshit scandal after scandal, diverting our attention (and rage, anger, emotions, hopes, and disappointments), from one news cycle to the next?

    There's no reason to believe that there is an either/or situation here.  The premise that "working on putting together a united front" is even hindered by attention to a true scandal is dubious.   Scandals don't directly compete with planning or action.  To the contrary, scandals provide an often necessary impetus for taking specific, targeted action for the better.  Scandals unite people, enhancing the possibility of collective action toward such targeted action.  

    They also often expose bad actors-- the kind of bad actors, who, by their cumulative actions over many years, have often caused or contributed to the societal ills that you list.  Removing a bad actor is a baby step toward better government, whereas broad and sweeping plans for revolutionary change most often are doomed to be a waste of time from the start.  Christie, for example, is more or less supportive of charter schools and other forms of privatization in a way that concerns many of us.  If you care about strengthening public education, how can you see no value in seeking to get rid of him if he is not only hostile to your position on schools, but corrupt as well?

    •  In theory that makes sense, but are you (5+ / 0-)

      comfortable arguing that in the face a a fast-deteriorating situation when it comes to freedom and democracy, and justice, and the rule of law, that we are indeed working towards putting together a powerful coalition capable of addressing the root causes of the problem?

      •  I disagree with the premise... (3+ / 0-)

        that we are in a fast-deteriorating situation on any of those issues.  On some issues, things have gotten worse, but for the most part, it has been a slow erosion over time.  Some things are actually getting better.  

        What's more, where there have been areas of decline in this country, many of the causes are often more or less nobody's fault. For example, the economy, over the past 20 years or so has faced headwinds from 1.) newly labor competition from China and elsewhere, and 2.) an aging population in which fewer and fewer workers  support more and more retirees-- retirees, by the way, who downsize as they age, lessening overall demand in this economy.  

        Where poor leadership has caused things to get worse,  a lot of times, we simply voted in the wrong person.  While I support election reform and oppose unlimited money in elections, it's not the big money that is ultimately determining the outcome in most cases.  Not only do barely half the people vote at all, much less educate themselves about the candidates, but also we have huge attitude problems among our population.  For example, if a person thinks that poor people are poor because they are inherently lazy or because they are of a different race or because God is punishing them, then when they vote Republican, they are voting for the person who best reflects their values.  

        The saving grace here is that polls show a lot of improvement in these attitudes among younger people.. there is a lot of reason to believe that simple demographics will lead to better and more liberal leadership in the coming decades.  So the change will come slow, but it will come.  Patience!

        •  Got it. It's nobody's fault! Or better yet, it's (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lunachickie

          our own fault. There is no neo-liberal agenda being pushed by the ruling elite, right?

          And either way, all will be fine in the coming decades because our increasingly disenfranchised youth will vote more and better Democrats into office....

          The millions and millions of people being affected by the depravities of the ruling elite should just be "patient" and wait a few decades for things to improve.

          •  Do you think that is a fair paraphrase? (6+ / 0-)

            Did I say one word about whether there was "a neo-liberal agenda being pushed by the ruling elite" or not?  No I did not.  But I will say it now: I believe that the corrupting influence of the rich and powerful has yet to make them a "ruling elite" and really is in little danger of doing so.  This is not to say that rich individuals and corporations do not have influence in government; they have a great deal of it.  But they have to go through the reporesentatives we elect, or their appointees, to get it, just like they always have.  The masses control who the representatives will be.

            Did I say that our youth will vote better because they are "disenfranchised"?  No, I did not.  The youth will vote better because they have grown up (as a whole) learning that bigotry should not be tolerated, learning about the importance of protecting the environment, and so forth.

            Finally did I advocate inaction?  No I did not.  Acknowledging patience in seeing big results on broad issues like inequality does not preclude the need for action, now, to even achieve incremental improvements.  A major action that I believe would be beneficial to that end is indeed to work to elect "more and better Democrats".  

            •  Yes, that's my interpretation of what you wrote. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lunachickie

              That's my opinion.  It's that okay?

              I totally disagree with this:

              I believe that the corrupting influence of the rich and powerful has yet to make them a "ruling elite" and really is in little danger of doing so.  This is not to say that rich individuals and corporations do not have influence in government; they have a great deal of it.  But they have to go through the reporesentatives we elect, or their appointees, to get it, just like they always have.  The masses control who the representatives will be.
              They (the ruling elite) own this place... They have captured the levers of power.  And just to be clear, I do interpret the argument that monied interests have not captured the levers of power as aplogia for the system.  And I especially have a very negative reaction when I see people arguing that things aren't really that bad, that we need to be patient, that in a few decades things are going to be better if we just vote the right people into office.

              In the face of the rampant criminality, abuses of power, increased oppression and exploitation by the ruling elite, I find those arguments truly astonishing; that's my opinion.



              •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ray Pensador

                So do I.

                And I especially have a very negative reaction when I see people arguing that things aren't really that bad, that we need to be patient, that in a few decades things are going to be better if we just vote the right people into office.
                That's exactly the kind of blather that helped lead us into this mess we're in.

                We no longer have "decades" to wait and be patient. I'm done listening to "Democrats" pushing this stuff square into the face of demonstrable facts. It's a lie.

                This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                by lunachickie on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 09:55:42 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Well, your interpretaion was way off base. (6+ / 0-)

                Now that we are disagreeing about something I actually said, let offer our evidence for it.  

                I have said that the monied interests are not a ruling elite; rich people have big influence, but pretty much the same influence they have always had, and elected representatives and their appointees still control what government does.

                You have said that there is a ruling elite, typified by "the Koch Brothers, the Third Way, ALEC, big Pharma, big Insurance, Wall Street, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, think tanks, and a handful of billionaires," that has "captured the levers of power."

                So if I am wrong and you are right--

                How do you explain that the Keystone Pipeline has not been built, in light of the fact that the Koch Brothers would like it built?

                How do you explain that limits on the share of health care premiums that can be expended on executive pay or retained as profits was capped by Obamacare, in light of the fact that big insurance opposed it?

                How do you explain the creation of the CFPB, the brainchild of a fierce advocate for the middle class, in the face of vigorous opposition from Wall Street?

                How do you explain that the last change in the highest federal income tax bracket was an increase?

                And while all of this has happened, Medicaid has been expanded and extended unemployment benefits have been passed several times.  Why have the "ruling elites" enacted things that benefit poor people?  

                Now, there is talk that a minimum wage increase may be passed soon on the Federal level.  What will you say if that happens?

                •  Those are marginal improvements in a sea of (0+ / 0-)

                  malfeasance, corruption, increased oppression, and exploitation.  There is a ruling elite; they are destroying this country from within.

                  The fact that you don't want to admit this reality, and appear to be indeed offering apologies for a totally corrupt system, is not something I can help you with...

                  However, if you are so inclined, you may want to take the time to check out my article published at PopularResistance.org, "The Urgency of a Middle Class Revolt."

                  And if that doesn't convince you, you may want to take a look at the arguments offered by Henry A Giroux, Bill Moyers, John Nichols, Mark Leibovich, Chris Hedges.

                  Or the argument offered by Russell Brand in this video:


                  Or you may choose to hide your head in the sand, and not only that, but go into someone else's diary and vehemently argue an untenable position.

                  It's up to you what you want to do and what you want to believe.

                  •  Hey Ray! (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    serendipityisabitch, Hey338Too

                    What happened to respectful debate?

                    •  I actually enjoyed the debate with skymutt. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      skymutt

                      The user put forward an argument which I found totally absurd, and so I commented on why I found it so; the user then presented a counter-argument, to which I responded.  And finally I found common ground with the user (see below).

                      Strong opinions were presented, and the debate got a little heated (this being a place with people who sometimes feel passionate about politics), but we both refrained from engaging in highly personal insults.

                      BTW, what's your take about the issues being discussed?  How do you see the argument about there being a "ruling elite," and the "marginal improvements," etc.

                      It's all good...

                  •  Okay... (5+ / 0-)

                    You say that my examples "are marginal improvements in a sea of  malfeasance, corruption, increased oppression, and exploitation."  But that wasn't quite my question.  I asked you how these improvements, marginal or not, got enacted at all, in light of the fact that your supposed elites opposed them?

                    What I see that you apparently do not see is that enacting improvements is possible, even when big money opposes them.  So I'm saying, whatever we're doing to get this stuff passed, let's do more of that.  Given that Democrats passed this stuff, logic seems to dictate to me that electing more Democrats is the way to go.  How exactly is that an untenable position?  

                    Even if you think that the improvements passed in recent years are marginal, they are still improvments, correct?  And they were opposed by the people you call our ruling elites, correct?  And they were mostly passed by Democrats and opposed by Republicans, correct?  So doesn't it seem worth a shot to at least TRY the more and better Democrats thing?  

                    •  Oh, I see, so this line of argument is about (0+ / 0-)

                      the more and better Democrats thing.  Well, that puts it into perspective.

                      So, you think that I'm referring to a "ruling elite" as one think of them in historical terms (kings, dictators, and the like), and since you interpret what I'm saying in that vein, how on earth would then be possible to get crumbs and marginal improvements from a ruling elite that opposes them, right.

                      I really don't want to use too strong words, but the word "absurd" comes to mind when I see that line of argument.

                      Let me finish with this... I totally agree with this:

                      So doesn't it seem worth a shot to at least TRY the more and better Democrats thing?  
                      Yes, the answer is yes.  If that's one point we both can agree on, then let us shake hands on it, and do everything we can to make sure that happens.  I'm all for that.

                      My way of going about it is by pointing out the criminality, the corruption, the abuses of power, the lies, and subterfuge, within the system, among other things I do.

                      That's how I go about trying to set the state to elect more and better Democrats.  I also support people who campaign, man the phones, put posters, flyers, buy ads, for good progressive Democrats... That's all good with me.

                      So I guess we find common ground.

                      •  So, coming full circle... (4+ / 0-)

                        If you support the "more and better Democrats" thing, why do you characterize the Christie scandal as a distraction?  If he is forced to resign, then there is a great chance for a Democrat to take his place.   Perhaps even more importantly, it removes a very talented and charismatic politician from the Republican field in 2016.  And folks here were not just piling on; many were digging through the evidence to try to uncover the truth.  They very well could have seen things that investigators would have missed.

                        •  Did I mentioned the bridge scandal anywhere in (0+ / 0-)

                          the diary?  I'm just commenting on what I think is a waste of energy when it comes to focusing on the latest sandal de jour, in the latest news cycle.

                          When it comes to the systemic issues we are facing, Christie's issues to me are irrelevant.

                          I understand you disagree with that, and you made point about why you think it is relevant; I just disagree.

                          •  re (4+ / 0-)
                            Did I mentioned the bridge scandal anywhere in the diary?
                            Not by name, but why does that matter even a little bit, when it was obviously the scandal du jour that you were referring to, and you even tacitly admit here that it was what you were referring to?

                            As far as Christie's relevance, you haven't given any reason why you are disagreeing with me, and no logical reason is apparent to me.   Christie should be relevant to you, if you believe what you claim to believe.  If you truly believe that "public education should be supported and strengthened, not weakened and debased by so-called charter schools", it makes no sense to not care about Christie, who is a huge charter school guy.   Charter schools are by and large a state issue; if you really believe that our public schools are being weakened and debased by privatization, you absolutely should be caring about governors and state legislatures, and who is running them, because that is where the action is.

                          •  I totally reject your framing; that if one truly (0+ / 0-)

                            believes charters schools are debasing public education that one must therefore care about the bridge scandal and Christie's future.

                            The charter school issue is one more symptom as the result of the neo-liberal agenda being pushed by the ruling elite, by the corporate state.  It is systematically chipping away at the public sector, at democracy itself, at our rights, at our economic security.

                            When I see people taking on the corporatist cartels who have bought off our political system, and on the politicians (of both parties) who are taking the bribes, then I'll get on board.

                            Either way, I think we made our positions clear by now.

                          •  Your view of issues is often so broad... (4+ / 0-)

                            ...as to be meaningless.

                            The charter school issue is something I've looked into quite a bit, for personal reasons.   At least here in Ohio, the folks who engage in and benefit from the corrupt charter schools are not big corporations, they are motivated opportunists, typically local-level folks who are willing to pay off legislators to get political favors.  It's just an ordinary businessman who has "done what it takes", i.e grease the palms of Republican legislators, and has made his fortune in the new charter school business, providing a lousy education on the cheap for thousands of Ohio kids while making himself a multi-millionaire many times over.

                            There is no "corporatist cartel" to be found here.  It's just ordinary, local level people acting in their own narrow self-interest, enabled (mostly) by Republicans, who do the bidding of these folks in return for campaign donations and other perks.  In this case, they created carveouts in the law so that this guy's online charter school which has the worst graduation rate in the state by a gargantuan margin can be allowed to stay open even though it is not even within shouting distance of the state's normal standards.  If we could get enough good Democrats in the statehouse, we could put this guy out of business.  

                            I don't know exactly how it is in New Jersey but I bet you that if I did, it wouldn't be much different there.

                          •  Here's the bottom line, it seems. You are trying (0+ / 0-)

                            everything possible to deny that there is a broad agenda by powerful business interests, many of whom are supra-national.  I don't know why you are so insistent in pushing the notion that these trends that are happening nationwide are happening by happenstance.

                            There is ALEC pushing cookie-cutter legislation in state one state house at at time; there are the Koch brothers, the faux-left Third way, etc., etc. These folks do have an agenda and they are pushing it nationwide.

                            There is incontrovertible proof of it.  If you, once again, are choosing to ignore it, and not only that, going out of your way to deny it, then carry on with it.

                          •  I'm not denying the existence of these groups (3+ / 0-)

                            ...or their agendas.  Pushing an agenda does not make one a ruling elite!  Within limits, I think they have a right to "push" their agenda.  If people choose well at the ballot box, we will do all right more often than not.  If the RW lobbyists and ALEC and the RW media and the RW think tanks etc. and the Koch Brothers and all the rest don't have a willing RW government in place, they are basically neutered.

                            I don't know why you are so insistent in pushing the notion that these trends that are happening nationwide are happening by happenstance.
                            I dunno, because I think that's how it often happens?  State legislators see what other state legislatures are doing.  They look at the uniform laws.  The same law can be passed in 50 states without any coordination at all.  
                          •  At this point I think that the faux Left, the faux (0+ / 0-)

                            Democrats, are doing much more damage to the cause (of justice, the rule of law, democracy itself) than the right wing itself, because they are pretenders.

                            They are impostors who ultimately are doing the bidding for the same business cartels as the extreme right wing, but talk a good game and pretend to be doing the opposite, hence helping prevent the rise of a real progressive grassroots movement.

                            They are lying, obfuscating, cashing-in, lining their pockets, these corporatist Democrats.

                            I do find this extremely strange:

                            State legislators see what other state legislatures are doing.  They look at the uniform laws.  The same law can be passed in 50 states without any coordination at all.
                             

                            Maybe you don't really have any idea about how ALEC (and other proto-fascis business cartels) operate:

                            Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called "model bills" reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations.
                            Okay, here's what I've concluded: I think we could exchange one thousand additional back-and-forth messages, and that no matter what type of information, resource, documents, articles, videos, etc. I present, you will continue to deny the existence of an organized neoliberal agenda being pushed by business cartels and implemented by a corrupt political class.

                            I'm going to end this exchange here and will take note of the experience...

                          •  One more word, if I may. (3+ / 0-)

                            Under the First Amendment, like-minded people have every right to compose model legislation behind closed doors.  I do not want to eliminate that right... do you?  

                            If you are so concerned about ALEC, I've got a cure-- you guessed it, more and better Democrats.  In a Democratic legislature, ALEC model laws won't see the light of day.  

                          •  You are never going to get Ray to talk about (3+ / 0-)

                            the subject you want in a substantive way.  If you read Ray you will see that he is here to talk about:

                            an organized neoliberal agenda being pushed by business cartels and implemented by a corrupt political class.
                            What he isn't willing to do is talk about specifics or what to do about it.  He doesn't care about the Bridge issue because he doesn't care about electoral politics.  Even though he's written a letter to Elizabeth Warren to save us he doesn't care at all about the specifics of how she would save us.  It doesn't even cross his mind that she, or some other magical liberal politician will have to run against Christie or whomever is the frontrunner.  You can talk about Charter Schools all you want.  But Ray doesn't care about Charter School issues.  He  just wants to talk about his organized neoliberal agenda.  That is and has been the frustration with most people who criticize Ray's diaries.  The best he can do is a nebulous "Revolution" or to meet and hold up signs.  After that...he's done.  You won't get him to talk about real policy because he sees his goal as convincing people that there is vast conspiracy.  It's not his job to figure out what to do about it and he'll get pretty mean if you ask him to.

                            "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

                            by stellaluna on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 05:06:36 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  That's rather easy to answer (0+ / 0-)

                      The smarter elites (regardless of party) know that the working class deserves a crumb or two to keep them from revolting, while the worst of them don't.

                      Which is why we move forward at times, then backwards, or gain on one area while losing in another.

                      "The moment some people participating in an action feel they have more of a moral commitment to those who are threatening to attack them than they do to another activist, the game is over." -David Graeber

                      by ZhenRen on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 05:46:57 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  People have been arguing about this forever: (0+ / 0-)
                      It is by and because of the direct acts of the forerunners of social change, whether they be of peaceful or warlike nature, that the Human Conscience, the conscience of the mass, becomes aroused to the need for change. It would be very stupid to say that no good results are ever brought about by political action; sometimes good things do come about that way. But never until individual rebellion, followed by mass rebellion, has forced it. Direct action is always the clamorer, the initiator, through which the great sum of indifferentists become aware that oppression is getting intolerable.
                      Voltairine De Cleyre 1866 - 1912

                      I don't take this to mean she supported large involvement with the electoral process, but this is an accurate statement, and I agree with it.

                      "The moment some people participating in an action feel they have more of a moral commitment to those who are threatening to attack them than they do to another activist, the game is over." -David Graeber

                      by ZhenRen on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 05:56:33 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Which is how the New Deal came about (0+ / 0-)

                      Read what the historian Zinn says about what preceded the New Deal: Massive labor unrest (in other words, direct action). FDR didn't want a revolt on his hands.

                      Would the New Deal have happened if people simply stayed home while quietly starving to death, while dutifully working for "better democrats"?

                      That would not have been enough. But then look at our times, with Clinton signing away a key banking reform (Glass Steagall) enacted during the new deal.

                      WE go up in one period, down in another.

                      "The moment some people participating in an action feel they have more of a moral commitment to those who are threatening to attack them than they do to another activist, the game is over." -David Graeber

                      by ZhenRen on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 06:11:48 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  We didn't have any unemployment insurance. (3+ / 0-)

                        Unemployed workers protested because they had no job AND no income.  Workers really could have starved to death.  They really had to have immediate action.  And the protests did achieve the desired result-- unemployment insurance was created.  Those changes did a great deal to solve the no income problem for most laid off workers of today.  When you're getting an unemployment check, you may not be happy, but you can buy yourself a meal, you don't have to revolt to eat.

                        •  Um... (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Ray Pensador

                          We have statistically 870,000 persons who are homeless. That is probably understated, and it could likely be a million or more. A Kossack recently spoke of his ordeal with homelessness. This can happen to anyone. I met an unemployed aerospace engineer recently, sleeping on the streets. Obviously, his unemployment insurance ran out.

                          More and more companies employ people part time, and that could affect employment insurance benefits. And there is no unemployment insurance for the self-employed (which happened to me -- no safety net when I lost my income.)

                          Housing is a problem for the unemployed, or those whose credit has been ruined due to unemployment. Apartment owners use screening companies to check all of this, and if there are too many credit problems, and insufficient income, they don't get housing. I know of a person who recently couldn't get housing because her unemployment insurance ran out.

                          So, things are not so great, even with the reforms. But the New Deal reforms certainly are better than nothing. And back in those days there wasn't the high levels of consumer debt, medical debt, and student loan debt that enslaves people to the banking industry, which causes bankruptcy, credit issues, homelessness, and today even businesses check the credit of people looking for jobs, something which didn't exist back in the 30s.

                          So, things are not so much better that people don't have a reason for revolt. What's your income level? What I've noticed is that people who have even slight differences in income don't understand how horrible it is to live with an insufficient income, or how it is to be homeless, or the enormous toll of the psychology of a person who is homeless, or living in poverty.

                          And... the wages people receive haven't gone up with the GDP, and if wages had, many people would be making double what they are now. The minimum wage, also a product of the New Deal, is a sham, and far too low to be a living wage. That alone is reason for revolt.

                          So, let's not spin this to be more positive than it is. The working class still get screwed over in countless ways. Americans work hard, get little time off, little in the form of benefits, which have been shrinking lately, and many are under tremendous stress at jobs to meet sales quotas and other gimmicky devices that are exploitative, to keep from being fired, which pits them against fellow employees. It's a very hard, miserable  life for people.

                          And the tragedy of all of this is there are far better systems of social organization that would eliminate all of these problems, which exist for only one reason: To enrich the wealthy class at the expense of the working class. This is wholesale theft of the wealth of the working class.

                          You have no idea how offensive this system is to a conscious worker. Please don't speak another callous word to me about how great life is for the poor.

                          Wake up.

                          "The moment some people participating in an action feel they have more of a moral commitment to those who are threatening to attack them than they do to another activist, the game is over." -David Graeber

                          by ZhenRen on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 07:10:00 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  We're done. (4+ / 0-)

                            Since I never said nor implied that life is great for the poor, it's obvious to me that we cannot have a anything that approaches a respectful conversation.  We're done here.  

                          •  However, you did imply it (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ray Pensador
                            Those changes did a great deal to solve the no income problem for most laid off workers of today.  When you're getting an unemployment check, you may not be happy, but you can buy yourself a meal, you don't have to revolt to eat.
                            Spare me the faux indignation. When it comes to making quality of life statements about the poor, you're getting into insulting territory. I've been poor for the last two years. I know a lot of poor people.

                            "solve the no-income problem"? Seriously? That problem has not been solved. Not even close. And you "don't have to revolt to eat"? That isn't true. How on earth would you know?

                            Your willingness to state this as if a fact, is appalling. Maybe you should check this before commenting?

                            You have not been insulted, you have been the insulter. And you don't even understand that you have insulted.

                            Do you have any conception of poverty, and what it causes in misery to minorities, to the homeless, to underpaid workers, this represents?

                            We're talking about lives of people here. Real people. Incredible levels of suffering, of pure joylessness, of working fingers to the bone, while earning very little as compensation.

                            They might not "be happy" but they can eat? Shit, how about they will be fucking near suicide. Have you ever personally been there, and felt that, due to loss of income?

                            The rate of suicide in the United States rose sharply during the first few years since the start of the recession, a new analysis has found.

                            In the report, which appeared Sunday on the Web site of The Lancet, a medical journal, researchers found that the rate between 2008 and 2010 increased four times faster than it did in the eight years before the recession. The rate had been increasing by an average of 0.12 deaths per 100,000 people from 1999 through 2007. In 2008, the rate began increasing by an average of 0.51 deaths per 100,000 people a year. Without the increase in the rate, the total deaths from suicide each year in the United States would have been lower by about 1,500, the study said.

                            And here are some statistics on hunger in the US (food insecure means hunger):
                               In 2012, 49.0 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.1 million adults and 15.9 million children.
                                In 2012, 14.5 percent of households (17.6 million households) were food insecure.
                                In 2012, 5.7 percent of households (7.0 million households) experienced very low food security.
                                In 2012, households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 20.0 percent compared to 11.9 percent.
                                In 2012, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (20.0 percent), especially households with children headed by single women (35.4 percent) or single men (23.6 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (24.6 percent) and Hispanic households (23.3 percent).
                                In 2011, 4.8 million seniors (over age 60), or 8.4% of all seniors were food insecure. [v]
                                Food insecurity exists in every county in America, ranging from a low of 2.4 percent in Slope County, ND to a high of 35.2 percent in Holmes County, MS. [vi]
                            http://feedingamerica.org/...

                            "The moment some people participating in an action feel they have more of a moral commitment to those who are threatening to attack them than they do to another activist, the game is over." -David Graeber

                            by ZhenRen on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 08:15:54 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                •  Hogwash (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ray Pensador

                  The concept of the "ruling class" comes from anti-capitalism and socioeconomic theories like anarcho-socialism, Marxism, and sociology. It is not just the ramblings of bloggers.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                  The term ruling class refers to the social class of a given society that decides upon and sets that society's political policy by mandating that there is one such particular class in the given society, and then appointing itself as that class.

                  Sometimes, there is a ruling class in a particular sector of the upper class that adheres to quite specific circumstances: it has both the most material wealth and the most widespread influence over all the other classes, and it chooses to actively exercise that power to shape the direction of a locality, a country, and/or the world.

                  In various forms of socialism, the ruling class is defined as the minority who owns and has a monopoly over property used to produce social goods needed for survival, basically the means of life. By this ownership, the ruling class lords over the working class, rendering them to be wage-slaves.

                  Whether this ruling class is a monarchy, a feudal lord, or a corporate boss (some corporations dwarf the holdings and power of monarchs), or one of the elected representatives in office who tend to be wealthy and serve the interests of the wealthy, this class holds tremendous power and authority over the majority of workers who have no choice but to select which corporate lord to whom they will submit during their entire working lives, under complete dictatorship, and whose influence will be felt until the day they die, due to the fact that the lifetime accrual of wealth (or the lack thereof) of the worker (without workers, the world would have no food, no housing, nothing, since workers produce everything in society) is taken by the owning class for its own enrichment, while leaving the worker the least amount needed to attract labor, which in capitalism is arranged to be as low as possible, without regard for the well-being of the worker, since the worker is not regarded as a human, but as a beast of labor.

                  This power held over the worker is enormous. They can fire the worker at any time without reason or notice, without regard for economic circumstances that would befall the worker, and can dictate where the worker will live, or be transferred to, can send shivers of fear down the worker's spine with the mention of being laid off if the worker doesn't perform, often beyond endurance, to the point of exhaustion.

                  In anarcho-socialist nomenclature, this is called wage slavery, since one is basically renting one's body to the boss, and it is extremely coercive, since one must work for one boss, or another.

                  So, yes, there is a ruling class. And I've just scratched the surface. There is also the issue of political graft, buying of senators, of Presidents, the rule of money over the electoral process... one could go on and on.

                  "The moment some people participating in an action feel they have more of a moral commitment to those who are threatening to attack them than they do to another activist, the game is over." -David Graeber

                  by ZhenRen on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 07:54:58 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  The People Never Had to Organize to Establish (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, Vetwife, gerrilea

    the very principle of liberal governance across a broad sweep of policies.

    Well actually scratch that, they needed to since the early 1800's but liberal governance of the kind that eventually gave us our only large middle class had never been thought of. So it wasn't till the Depression that elements of the power structure came together to create it for the people, pushed and lobbied of course by many groups of the people calling for programs and interventions in their interest areas far more extreme than had ever been seen.

    Not the least of which included viable socialist and Communist movements here and abroad.

    With banks, manufacturing, retail, service, resource production all in Depression, the power structure was open to a scale of intervention it finds unthinkable today.

    With the RW revolution and its current iteration as the Tea Party having operated within the Republican Party to change the party to work for economically libertarian governance, it seems reasonable to suggest that progressives need to operate a party within our party to push it to become a progressive party.

    There's definitely room for much more of a coordinated push for broad progressivism. We're not going to get it back the way we got it the first time; has any modern society gone plutocratic and then had the people somehow take it back?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 03:41:10 PM PST

    •  I don't think so (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador, corvo, gerrilea
      has any modern society gone plutocratic and then had the people somehow take it back?
      But that doesn't mean its hopeless--it just means we're trailblazers :)

      That whole NSA thing has really fucked things up, though, as far as being able to plan efficiently. We may have to find something similar to SecureDrop, if we want to organize without the security state raining down on us.

      This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

      by lunachickie on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 04:22:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Has anyone who has ever (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, Hey338Too, serendipityisabitch, raina, poco

    Advocated for a united front been happy when that united front was under someone else's banner?

    Calls for a united front are always just a way of saying...everybody should/must agree with me.

    I do not seek, nor do I ever expect to see,  a united front, because that front would remove the diversity that makes this world great.

    It is obvious, based on your reactions to even the most mild criticism, that you see things otherwise.  So be it.  That's obviously your call.

    But rather than promote a united front that I see as impossible, I will seek to join coalitions, and seek out disparate people with disparate views to create something in which we can all live.  It will be messy, confusing, and people with the noblest of intentions will disagree with each other.  And that, more than any united front, is what makes this world beautiful.  

    I do not doubt that there are very powerful people who seek to control things as you suggest, only that they are not as united as you suggest. Just as we are, they a fractured organizationally and have widely different goals.  Your is a simple world, with unified oppressors that can only be defeated by a united resistance centered on your own particular vision.

    That vision is a fantasy, and your words and actions would, if you actually mattered, only serve to prevent the coming together of different people with differing views with a common goal of making this world better.  

    Yours is an absolutist rhetoric of the liberal despot.  Luckily you have no power at all, becuae you have already been corrupted by the mere thought of it.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 04:10:49 PM PST

    •  That's nice. (8+ / 0-)

      You're an inspiration.




      Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ J. Garcia

      by DeadHead on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 04:27:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Okay so it seems like you posted a strong (10+ / 0-)

      objection to what you believe is my worldview, and if I'm not mistaken you may even be taking a couple of pot shots at my character--at least that's what it seems.

      But I'm not going to reply in kind or take it personally.  Instead, I'll restate what I've said many times: I'm totally in agreement that we need to build coalitions with people and groups who have different points of views, different interests, different issues they care about, and then see where we can find common ground and join forces when it comes to those points we can all agree.

      I argue that that is possible?  Who on the Left believes in the so-called "Grand bargain?"  Who believes that bankers should be able to commit fraud and criminal acts with total impunity?  Who believes that billionaires should be able to buy off politicians?

      I argue that there are indeed many areas where very disparate groups can find common ground and then form a united front when it comes to those discreet areas.

      Do you know why the saying "The people united can never be defeated!" comes from?  It is self-explanatory, right?

       

      •  It's imperative that we build coalitions (11+ / 0-)

        with political groups who might have an overall different perspective but agree on individual issues.  The current power structure overwhelmingly supports the status quo - observe the increasing disparity of wealth.  These with property are disproportionally being represented by our current government - I would argue at both the national and state level.

        Madison recognized the need for numerous factions.  This is one of the reasons some of the founders thought a large republic would better serve the needs of the whole community -  there would be a greater number of factions.  

        Madison also argued that in a Republic the Legislative Branch should be the strongest.  Our current dysfunctional Congress throws a monkey wrench in the works.  

        What's going on right now, though, is no surprise:

        But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.  

        snip

        If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution.
        Federalist 10

        Without coalitions that align based on their interests on individual issues, voting won't make a difference.  Those in power have no need to respond to the majority because it's not in their own self-interest.  

        And for those who are giving you grief about discussions on political factions, it's what we should be discussing - the founders of this nation did.

        •  Except Madison (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gerrilea, poco

          and several other of the founders didn't like the idea of too much democracy.

          Madison:

          A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual.  Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.
          Democracy was actually a radical concept in those days, and the word isn't even mentioned in the US constitution.

          They wanted no part of direct democracy, they wanted instead a system which would protect them from the masses, the rubble. They were quite afraid of the poor taking over, which is why they eliminated women, Blacks, Indians, and poor people,  probably leaving about 20% or less who qualified (actually, I think less than that). The result was in the first election for the wealthiest man in the colonies, George Washington, who had been "given" an entire tract of (Indian) land the size of a small state by the British monarchy (see Zinn), only 6 % of the public voted.

          Oh, and did you catch that wonderful basis of the concept of "property"?  They simply thieved it for themselves using threat of violence.

          Sweet.

          So in reality, Madison hardly wanted to include factions, which is why he feared democracy. These were mostly wealthy men who wanted to create a system free of the monarchy, but still dominated by the bourgeoisie.

          And remember that the public did not directly elect senators. Instead, the state representatives did that:

          Or perhaps the people could elect their own senators. This had the disadvantage, as far as city dwellers and those with commercial interests were concerned, of favoring the nation's more numerous agricultural population. Connecticut's Roger Sherman warned against direct election. "The people should have as little to do as may be about the government. They lack information and are constantly liable to be misled."

          On June 7, 1787, the framers settled on a third option. They decided that state legislatures should select senators, without any involvement by the House of Representatives. The state legislatures, they argued, would provide the necessary "filtration" to produce better senators—the elect of the elected.
          http://www.senate.gov/...

          And the President was chosen by state appointed electors. It was expected this would not produce a sufficiently strong majority vote to meat the requirement, and the framers expected this plan to insure the real selection to thus be made by congress.

          Wow... impressive democracy there.

          No, they may have wanted to include factions, but only providing those factions consisted of the elites of society.

          And after decades of this system, once the rich were formerly entrenched, they decided the other excluded minorities could vote. But by then our fate was sealed: The elites firmly were in control, and they pretty much always have been ever since.

          "The moment some people participating in an action feel they have more of a moral commitment to those who are threatening to attack them than they do to another activist, the game is over." -David Graeber

          by ZhenRen on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 08:26:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  In other words (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gerrilea, poco

            This system isn't broken, it was made this way. It isn't really fixable. We need a entirely new foundation.

            That is the sad truth, but by the time enough people come around to realizing that, and give up on reformism; give up on getting the entrenched wealthy class who've won the class war to have an epiphany and concede the errors of their ways, begging for forgiveness, turning our wealth they've stolen back to us, I'll likely be dead.

            But... fuck, one never knows. The ancient Chinese thought that when things reach their peak, or nadir, it swings back around again. So... I hang around, waiting.

            Anyone want to, um, do some vandalism? (JOKING).

            "The moment some people participating in an action feel they have more of a moral commitment to those who are threatening to attack them than they do to another activist, the game is over." -David Graeber

            by ZhenRen on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 08:55:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Reality very rarely equals the ideals we have. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ZhenRen, Ray Pensador, lunachickie

            We were creating a system that had never been done before.  Safe guards against the tyranny of democracy, or mob rule and the crushing dictates of the elites.

            The reality is, we ended up with the status quo, very few deck chairs were re-arranged for the "dance to begin".  The elites were always the monied interests (or captains of industry) against the masses they exploited.  

            How do we evolve beyond this without violence and bloodshed?  What changes could we implement to negate the destruction they, our handlers, have wrought?

            -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

            by gerrilea on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 08:57:14 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It will take enough people (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ray Pensador, gerrilea

              to realize what many of us worldwide have come to understand, and then we must organize, and find a way forward.

              There are a lot of things we can do while people coalesce.

              1) Read what earlier activists have learned, educate ourselves. None of this is all that new. Patterns were set a while back, it just a process of capitalism going through its paces, and probably there will be more collapses. We must prepare, and learn.

              2) Educate others in our communities.

              3) Form organizations which reflect our ideals in democratic egalitarian structure, which are based on our principles of organization (I suggest horizontalism -- we must start now to relearn this form of self-management).

              4) Federate these organizations with other like minded ones, forming a network that is local, regional, national, international. We can use these networks to create co-ops, collectives, mutual aid organizations which help like-minded people.  Perhaps mutual banks. We can carve out our own way of life from within the eggshell of the established order. We act as if we are already living it. We don't wait for some day far off in the future.

              5) Use the network as a base, so that when the moment comes, we will not be without a prefigured sociopolitical society. The world around us may crumble, but we will not. We will be ready.

              Etc.

              "The moment some people participating in an action feel they have more of a moral commitment to those who are threatening to attack them than they do to another activist, the game is over." -David Graeber

              by ZhenRen on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 09:19:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  How's this for non-violent direct action? (4+ / 0-)

              You gotta see this video! Let our European friends show us how it is done... they've been at this longer than we have.

              Watch the video, get to the excellent song by James, and tell me what you think. So, tell me, is this violent? We can find ways to fight back which are not violent. Direct action may be civilly disobedient, but we don't have to damage property and definitely don't want to hurt other people. Not to worry, we won't drone bomb innocent civilians.

              Take a peek, this is a wonderful video:

              "The moment some people participating in an action feel they have more of a moral commitment to those who are threatening to attack them than they do to another activist, the game is over." -David Graeber

              by ZhenRen on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 10:12:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Gee, and notice... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gerrilea

                Some of these European activists are (gasp!) dressed in black!

                "The moment some people participating in an action feel they have more of a moral commitment to those who are threatening to attack them than they do to another activist, the game is over." -David Graeber

                by ZhenRen on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 10:36:49 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Direct action at its finest expression (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ray Pensador, gerrilea

                http://www.spunk.org/...

                Voltarine De Cleyre will explain it to you. A brilliant women, a contemporary of Emma Goldman's.

                "The moment some people participating in an action feel they have more of a moral commitment to those who are threatening to attack them than they do to another activist, the game is over." -David Graeber

                by ZhenRen on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 10:55:23 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Uh Yeah... (11+ / 0-)
            Except and several other of the founders didn't like the idea of too much democracy.
            Thus a Republic, the Senate...  

            My point was that some of the founders counted on a multiplicity of shifting coalitions to ensure more equitable government outcomes.  Madison didn't argue that aligning with the Teabag Party on one vote makes you a teabagger.  Some of them expected coalitions to shift.

            I don't argue that it's even close to working.  If we had discussions about topics like this as a community, a nation, we'd have a better understanding of how to make our government work.  The founders had public debates on these issues.  Thus the Federalist Papers.

            We spend so much time othering people, including our natural allies on issues, that this concept is now impossible.  Look at the GOS and Bob Johnson in this diary.  He's blaming Ray for his bad behavior in this diary.  The GOS is a just microcosm of our nation's public space.  It's almost impossible to have real discourse here anymore.  

            You want change?  One place to start is by ending the othering of our natural allies.

            •  Yes ... (3+ / 0-)

              ... for instance, some of the traditional foot soldiers of Big Business have been Small Business ... but the big transnational corporations screw small business every bit as enthusiastically as they screw labor and homeowners.

              A progressive change coalition is going to have to work out how to gather together everybody who is being screwed by big transnational corporations and work out how to work together, even including long-time traditional political enemies.

              Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

              by BruceMcF on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 08:40:43 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Well, lates take a closer look at the comments (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              poco

              I've separated the different statements we've both posted by Madison, for clearer reading and clearer juxtaposition:

              But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property.
              Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society.
              Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination.
              A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views.
              Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.
              I think its rather clear that Madison was well aware, and very concerned about the working classes getting too much power if there were too much democracy, and he wasn't so squarely on the side of that divide that you've presumed him to have been.

              He was concerned about the working class gaining too much of a voice, as a faction, which would threaten the "personal security and rights of property" of the ruling class (of which he himself was a part), and probably also worried about one faction of the bourgeoisie gaining too much power over another, within that same ruling class.

              It seems to me you have completely misread Madison. If you look at other remarks made by some of the others in the group of men who forged this agreement, it becomes very clear they wanted a republic, and one that wasn't too accessible to the working classes. They wanted to provide enough voice to the people so that they could argue they had a voice, but they gave much more magnitude to the voices of the ruling class.

              The founders wanted to be free of the power of the monarchy, but in no way did they want that newly found release from bondage of the monarchy to extend equally to the working class, the majority. They feared the majority, since they weren't part of it. These were the "1%" who founded the nation, and they insured that their own "personal security" and "property rights" were protected.

              Thus, by defending this government created by elites, this form of top-down, central Republic as structured by these wealthy founders, we end up still without real democracy, with only a fraction of the influence enjoyed by elites, and it will always be thus, with this system.

              "The moment some people participating in an action feel they have more of a moral commitment to those who are threatening to attack them than they do to another activist, the game is over." -David Graeber

              by ZhenRen on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 11:25:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  If he completely misread Madison ... (2+ / 0-)

                ... due to the points you raised, then why don't the points you raise contradict his reading of Madison?

                To be sure Madison wanted a property-owner's Republic, but the goal of the analyst does not in and of itself establish the validity or invalidity of the analysis about how things work.

                Indeed, conflating the intentions of the analyst and the quality of the analysis is one of the principle fallacies that plagues what passed for modern political discourse.

                Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

                by BruceMcF on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 11:46:01 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  LOL (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  poco

                  I'm stating he misread Madison. I think the real intent of the founders is important to understand.

                  As far as whatever dispute SKF was trying to resolve with people elsewhere in the thread, I'm not even really following that. If you're saying the "intent of the analyst" was correct, while I'm stating his use of Madison was flawed, regardless of the intent, and you decide I'm using that to assail the intent, then that is an incorrect conclusion about my point. I wasn't even addressing the intent.

                  Not everything here is about the fight between the two factions. I'm not part of that divide in the same way as before, remember? I'm independent, a third voice, or fourth, or whatever. I'm not even a Green, at this point.

                  I haven't weighed in on the argument about unity vs diversity, if that's what you're all going on about. I simply don't think Madison is the best source to quote to make the point SKF is making.

                  Heh... funny.

                  "The moment some people participating in an action feel they have more of a moral commitment to those who are threatening to attack them than they do to another activist, the game is over." -David Graeber

                  by ZhenRen on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 12:40:32 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  top comment! n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      serendipityisabitch, Hey338Too

      Pah. Deaf with a capital D.

      by raina on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 01:30:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Okay, to clarify... What I said about Madison (0+ / 0-)

      actually argues against your point, as well. The founders basically represented the 1% to whom Ray refers (that being a phrase which which OWS popularized with civil disobedience and direct action protests around the world).

      I would use Madison's statements expressing his fear that the working class, the 99%, would not respect property rights, as evidence of the way this country was structured to be under the grip of the wealthy few.

      So overall, Ray's point is correct, that most of us have a common interest in throwing off the dominance of the tiny minority of the owning class.

      I don't see why anyone would object to that. In fact, you've largely agreed with him:

      I will seek to join coalitions, and seek out disparate people with disparate views to create something in which we can all live.  
      This "coalition of people with disparate views" is what a united front is, is it not? It doesn't imply 100% agreement on everything, just enough agreement that whatever disagreements might exist are less important, and people on all sides are willing to work together despite areas of disagreements.

      Only automatons agree on everything. Unity means unity of the common interests, despite areas where people don't agree.

      I'm pretty sure that is what Ray was saying. So, it seems with that statement you do agree.

      So... not sure what the problem is, except that it seems you simply don't see the situation as being so terribly astray as Ray does. But read the news:

      {snipped out long diatribe about the terrible state this country is in ranging from drones and NSA to probably about 1,000,000 homeless people.}

      "The moment some people participating in an action feel they have more of a moral commitment to those who are threatening to attack them than they do to another activist, the game is over." -David Graeber

      by ZhenRen on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 05:35:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Forgot to mention (8+ / 0-)

    of course "The Elite" are united; there's far fewer of them. And they've amassed so much wealth, it's easier to control within it.

    There are many, many more of us than there are of them. And they know it--that's why the push is on so desperately to keep us divided, because we're catching on to all their bullshit. And with a lot of perseverance, we can fight back and we can win.

    I'm not sure how organized it'll end up being. I suspect it'll be like a giant ongoing flash mob that will just sort of feed on itself and take on a life of its own.

    There are ways. Tune out the naysayers and concentrate on looking for them. Naysayers don't matter. You do.

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 04:29:53 PM PST

  •  Ray, rarely do any of these groups work (5+ / 0-)

    together.  The only way we could unite is to agree on a "Top 10 List" of goals to keep us all focused.  We''re so easily divided and manipulated but if we all said, "we must get x, y and z done first".  It could make a real difference.

    My short list would be institutional changes that would bring about social equalization:

    1.  Breaking up the 5 corporations that control the media--We can't get anything constructive accomplished until we take back the media.
    2.  Rescinding "corporate personhood"--Force the Board of Directors and corporate officers to be held personally accountable for crimes they commit.  
    3.  Citizen Accountability Panels with the power to indict--We have to clean up the mess they've made of this nation and put them in jail.
    4.  End the revolving door between government "regulatory" agencies and corporate hatchet men--You cannot ever work in an agency that regulates your industry or vice-versa.
    5.  Government employees, no matter elected or appointed are above any law they pass.  No special dispensations if your a Congress-critter or a garbage collections specialist.  You cannot serve on any committee that has the power to make you billions.  Full disclosure must be the standard.  Conflicts of interest automatically disqualifies you.

    These small steps could then re-establish our control over our government.  It is not, nor ever has been a business.  This doesn't mean it can't be run efficiently and effectively.  

    Once the public actually controls things again, you'd be amazed at when we'd be able to accomplish.

    -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

    by gerrilea on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 07:31:24 PM PST

    •  With some curtailing factors on No. 3... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      serendipityisabitch, gerrilea, poco

      ...I agree with your list. But tribunals without some clearly delineated limits could easily become nothing more than vigilante operations with the imprimatur of legitimacy. As many  has discovered to their chagrin, such tribunals can soon be devouring their own.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 09:44:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I thought about that as well, specific limits and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador

        crimes that could be investigated by the citizen panels.

        -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

        by gerrilea on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 10:34:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The PTB have always kept their focus, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerrilea, Ray Pensador

    money is no longer a means for survival, but is just a way to keep score. There is no doubt that in a country that has long seen capitalism as a superior social structure and even the poor can dream that the free markets can enrich them like winning the lottery, there will be politicians and industry leaders who will game the system to their advantage. But the system can still work to bring about progressive change. In Pittsburgh I believe we have elected a truly progressive mayor, who's campaign surprisingly defeated the machine's candidate after the previous mayor bowed out of the race due to scandals. And our school board has 4 new members, 3 of which were former teachers and union leaders, and the fourth, I can state with some certainty, is a very pragmatic progressive willing to stand up to the forces trying to gut the public schools for private profit. (She's my wife :) The problems the PTB face are that they, too, are human. They always get too greedy, arrogant, etc. and make mistakes. We must be patient and exploit the openings to generate the emotions that will move people to action. The current Chris Christie BridgeGate scandal looks like a good one. And look for some serious marches to start around here in March! You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing...

  •  Food for thought (3+ / 0-)

    no doubt!  Thank, you Ray, for your contributions.  I love the give and take your diaries engender.  I have never learned a new thing while I was speaking.  It's only when I shut up and listen do new facts get into the mix.

    "The light which puts out our sight is darkness to us." Thoreau

    by NancyWH on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 05:34:11 AM PST

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