Democracy


#21

thank you for linking this. so grateful for noam.

also excellent, linked from the article:


#22

Not many people I know are doing that.

Speaking strictly for myself, I have nothing but absolute contempt for so-called “principled” Republicans who put all kinds of airs on this election about how they were not supporting the president elect, when all of their votes and endorsements for Republicans prior generated this situation.

I also have a lot of contempt for the Democratic Party and its failures, but that’s a different story.

The systemic failure of this country runs deeper than Republican revanchism, but…I don’t know what the tolerance level for this kind of discourse is around here, so I’ll leave it there.


#23

This is really important advice.

Several careers ago (before software!), I was running a refugee resettlement agency and I remember being trained in the art of influencing congress by a grassroots activist who did it well.

He described a moment in the history of the US Food Stamps program where funding shifted by O($1B) because a particular member of congress received a ‘flood of letters and calls’ on a particular bill. It would take an awful lot of grassroots fundraising to collect $1B, but not very much to shift a vote. When the member’s staff was asked about the size of that ‘flood of letters’, they replied ‘at least 30-40’.

Actual letters may be valued even more highly than calls? Especially if you live in a region where Obama voters shifted to Trump, your ability to impact votes through the simple act of writing and calling is considerable. Less tweeting and facebooking, more writing and calling.


#24

Not many people I know are doing that.

sure - i don’t necessarily agree with the article, it was just one of the only ones i really read. i agreed with some points, not all. i feel that both parties are certainly to blame, but as i live abroad i’m also not as qualified to criticise a political system i’m unfamiliar with.

in australia we also have a really polarised, two party political situation, though perhaps not to the same extent. the fact that we tend to follow the states in terms of policy and such makes me quite worried about where a trump presidency will take us over the next four years and beyond. hopefully we won’t be parroting him on the whole ‘ban on muslims’ thing, if he ever follows through with that. we’ve already got a terrible enough border ‘protection’ thing anyway.


#25

Hello,

getting inspired by @tehn citation of Italo Calvino, I feel I would like to share my view on this.
As a South Italian, emigrated to UK, I have felt the same kind of disullusion for a political moment long time ago.

As I am old enough to having be part of the “biggest cultural revolution in a western country after second world war” (please watch this movie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videocracy_(film)) and having been on the forefront of G8 in Genova, I can tell you what is about living under the rule (yes I use this word on purpose) of a tycoon who do not really care about people.

I am talking about Berlusconi of course

My view, to be reduced for the purpose of this forum, is that when you make the people very poor, when they do not share the profits of capitalism and liberism, when they see the elite getting fat (there are many movies on the past Italian political history, check Elio Petri, Il divo by Sorrentino, Nanni Moretti and so on), there are two ways to cope with it:

Socialism or getting a leader who is part of their culture.
Berlusconi was this leader and was the symbol of the “self-made man” to which everyone looked as a symbol of their wishful thinking.

I am not an expert in American Politics or UK politics, but what has happened lately is very similar…people getting poorer, the neo liberism cannot cope with this, let’s gettign rid of the neo-liberist figures…Clinton was this neo liberism candidate,the establishment, in my view.
Same issue with Brexit…people have been given lies and believed in them because there was nothing else to believe in.

All the politicians involved in this three political disasters are all indecent, lawless, xenophobic, narcisists people…all very rich and misoginists.
It is extremely bizarre to see how the champions of freedom against the nazism are turning the other way around and the once nazi nation is instead the symbol of freedom and multiculturalism (at least acceptance of diversity).
My two pence.

And as someone mentioned music as political protest, this guardian article is very interesting:

Also I remember a talk during the Occupy London campaign, during which the discussion went onto the arts as vehicle of political protest and someone in the audience was talking about an american politician (sorry I do not remember the name and I am not able to find reference) that said that it was easy to destroy political protest in arts…just make them superstars, or at least give them money, a label contract a nice house and a world tour…

Ciao


#26

I’ve been around awhile. I’ve lived through the long protests against the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights era, from the marches to the riots. I’ve watched the Women’s Rights movement (mostly) succeed.

I’ve also witnessed the very real and systematic destruction of the US Education system (was a teacher for 20 years) and the associated diminishing of the Middle Class.

Now, half of the US voters replaced civil society with… this. I’d like to be an optimistic man, but it’s becoming difficult.


#27

In case it makes you feel even slightly better: 55% of eligible voters in the US didn’t cast a ballot (I don’t say “didn’t vote” because voter suppression tactics and legislation were unprecedented during this election - there are reports of 300k people being turned away in Wisconsin alone, where Trump won by only 27k). That means only <45% of the eligible population voted, and as of this moment, Clinton is ahead in total votes by just over a million. All in all, only slightly less than 18% of the country actually voted for the guy, which is less than even Mitt Romney.


#28

How do we inspire and engage the disillusioned? It’s not as if they don’t have cause…


#29

it’s also worth bearing in mind that not long ago, ~13 million folx in this country voted for someone running on what was something like a socialist platform [who just happened to be suppressed by the DNC]… [vs the ~16m that voted for the status-quo neo-liberal candidate]

Not saying things aren’t bad, but dividing the working class is what they want :wink:

cc ^ @carvingcode


#30

came across this idea in the local paper and i’m not sure how to feel about it https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-truth_politics


#31

which aspect do you feel unsure about?


#32

I feel social media and the web bear some responsibility for this. “Fake news” has been a hot topic in the less fake news this week. Stories about “rebel” Facebook employees insisting more could be done in an anti-spam sense than management will allow, etc.

But it’s Facebook users hitting the “share” button, and I wonder what it says about democracy when millions of people are so completely disengaged that they can’t bother with the truth. In a post-truth world politics become a contest of will, power, and emotion. He who resonates with the largest share of confirmation bias takes the spoils.

And this creates a neurological feedback loop.

Is there anything I might say that can immediately reduce the size of your amygdala? Nope. We form these biases (psychology embodied in neurology) over the course of our lives. It’s about how we are raised.

So what’s a person to do? We can abdicate our civic responsibility and become another disaffected non-voter. Lots of people in power are rooting for that outcome. We can stay engaged and expose ourselves to infinite channels of drivel, garbage, outrage, and lies. Or we can find a third path. What’s your third path?


#33

Listened to this on my way to an ISO meetup last night. Some good stuff in there. Would love to hear their follow up analysis after several other members of the transition team have been filled out. I think many doubts as to what kind of people would be guiding him are now put aside and real worry/work can set in.

Thanks for sharing.

Stay strong friends.


#34

“Every GOP administration since 1952 has let the Military-Industrial Complex loot the Treasury and plunge the nation into debt on the excuse of a wartime economic emergency. Richard Nixon comes quickly to mind, along with Ronald Reagan and his ridiculous “trickle-down” theory of US economic policy. If the rich get richer, the theory goes, before long their pots will overflow and somehow “trickle down” to the poor, who would rather eat scraps off the Bush family plates than eat nothing at all. Republicans have never approved of democracy, and they never will. It goes back to pre-industrial America, when only white male property owners could vote.” – Hunter S. Thompson

Full link:


#35

required now worldwide:
tools for humanization


i believe this forum to be one of them
beyond politics
thanks
/still working…


#36

unsure that there needs to be a new word to describe what amounts to “lying”…what’s currently happening is a slightly new twist on an old phenomenon


#37

Thank you for calling out newspeak when you see it.

Another one: “alt-right” is really white supremacy. Let’s not normalize it.


#38

re: post-truth. excellent talk by Ari Rabin Havt:

and as most have seen by now:


#39

since yesterday i’ve been mulling whether to join this thread and decided to go ahead and share my thoughts with the group…i hope nobody assumes that I’m aloof or intend to oversimplify the complex matters involved merely because my viewpoint differs from theirs


i remain politically neutral but enjoy staying informed on current happenings (including the links shared above this one) because, as tehn noted:

aside from the normal ways that law touches our everyday lives…i’ve lived and worked in washington dc for years, and would have to be completely detached from reality to ignore the impact of government and the policies each administration has enacted.

so why remain neutral? it’s the only way to promote peace and make wise use of my time/energy/resources

the basic needs that governments are supposed to meet have not changed for millenia and are the same regardless of our geographic location . yet no human arrangement has been able to accomplish the task successfully because we were not intended to govern each other

we were not created with this ability or the capacity to learn it (in the same way we have taught ourselves countless other things)

illustrated in terms of technology: it was not part of the design, not included in the original “hardware” specifications and, therefore, not an accessible feature in future hacks or firmware upgrades

for most of us, hearing that idea is somewhat disconcerting/confusing/depressing initially but after thinking about it and the historical evidence to support the conclusion I acknowledge this fact as the foundation to understanding the suffering being experienced on the planet


#40

I respectfully beg to differ. I’ve been very attracted to principled anarchism at certain points in my life. Spent a little time visiting intentional communities in search of self-sufficient mini-societies where more official government constructs were less necessary for survival. And what I witnessed in such places is that governance is something we do almost reflexively. Whether we’re trying to decide who does the dishes tonight or whether or not a factory should be allowed to pollute a river, we make rules.