Democracy


#587

What’s going on now is just the next step in the natural progression we’ve seen over the past few decades. Just a few years ago we had the Obama administration incarcerating women and children (humanely, they claimed, but the courts disagreed) with the same stated and odious aim of deterrence for others who might wish to follow them. We had at least one hunger strike and another woman killed herself. Reports of children being malnourished surfaced, and yet I doubt many here (and we seem to be more awake than most on this issue) heard about it.

As I noted above, I stood beside friends thirty years ago on the Mexican side of the fence waiting for the sun to go down so they could jump over and take their chances with the many dangers awaiting them en el otro lado. (I myself was an undocumented resident and worker in Tijuana at the time.) I’ve known for a long time that Border Patrol officers’ slang for these people–my friends–is “tonks”, reportedly because that’s the sound a Mag-Lite makes when whacked against their skulls. I’ve stood on the Mexican side of the sad little gate in the border fence near the ocean’s edge where a few families are allowed to reach through and touch each other every so often. I’ve been personally confronted and affronted by federal agents. The situation sucks and has sucked since before I came along. It has deteriorated the whole time, in many ways, most especially during the Obama and Trump regimes. I’m not engaging in whataboutism, check ICE’s statistics and tell me who was worse.

Sadly, there is little political traction to do anything about all this. People care, for a while, but the feeling fades and folks move on. I don’t know how many times in my life I’ve seen it, and nothing about the current abuse stands out in a way to make me think this time people will actually do something. We’ve been holding thousands of other people in unspeakable conditions for many years; where is the hue and cry? Meanwhile, a whole bunch of other people need someone to blame for their dimming economic prospects, and the politicians find–as they do everywhere in the world–ready scapegoats. (D) and (R ) have collaborated to create this situation for decades.

I wish I had better news. I hope I’m wrong, but this country’s record on xenophobic reactions to immigrants speaks for itself.


#588

I really value your perspective on this, and you’re absolutely right about past administrations not exactly being saints on the issue, I’m aware of the reports you’re talking about from a few years ago. However, the specific practice of separating families was not something the Obama administration did. The current administration has made it a point to do so. As a direct result of this new zero tolerance policy, a policy created purely by the executive branch, thousands of children are now separated from their families and will almost certainly never be reunited. That damage has been done and the numbers will only go up. Worst of all it could be ended in an instant right now with the stroke of a pen by the president.

I’m a pretty young guy (24), so maybe I’m just naively optimistic, but I do think it’s safe to say that the Trump era has lit a fire under a lot of people and created a lot of political activism that did not exist before. Speaking just from my personal experience, a not insignificant number of my friends and family members have started going to protests, volunteering, donating to institutions like the ACLU, voting in local elections, etc. etc. all of which they did NONE OF prior to the election of Trump. And of course we can’t ignore the raw data of all of these recent elections, both special and primary, which saw unprecedented democratic swings and turnout.

If you really as you say “wish you had better news” and “hope you’re wrong,” I would urge you as a fellow member of this great community to have some faith at least in my generation and to avoid being so cynical as to effectively give up on the situation.


#589

Who says I’m giving up? I get out and protest, etc., and I take my kids with me. They make me proud as hell, and I hope they think the same of me. :slight_smile:

It’s worth noting that violent reactions to previous political figures got us where we are today. Clinton galvanized opposition that resulted in Newt’s Contract With America gang, for instance, and Trump (and, more happily, Bernie) was a reaction against Obama’s neoliberal policies. We’re in an undamped resonant state of increasingly extreme reactions at present, and this is historically where demagogues step in to seize power. Best of luck to us!

Edit: see the post by @ht73 above (“Trump didn’t just come from nowhere.”), there are some really excellent points. I just now saw it.


#590

thanks for explaining more fully! I see where you’re coming from now. when I felt my snottiest after the election seeing acquaintances suddenly develop political feelings for the first time, I liked to point out that Obama held the record for number of deportations in office. (so many of these people were in NYC in 2011 during Occupy and 2014 for protests after the death of Eric Garner and yet…) he probably still does, although it’s true he has a lead of several years on Trump.

in that light, I think your cynicism is probably well-earned. which is a shame. I probably still disagree with you about the false flag bit, but I guess it wouldn’t surprise me if you were right :upside_down_face:


#591

Really, the USA has never been a country of human rights, at home or around the world. There’s always been a story of “the land of the free” but it’s always been a farce, and continues to be. The change is how brazen and obvious it is becoming, and the outright support of cruelty from the government, some of the population, and some of the media. It’s gone from being sort of ignored and under the covers, to being a public policy in plain sight.


#592

#593

I’m indebted to you because this was quite thought provoking and provided a very unique perspective for me to learn from. I agree with most of the points

Only flaw I could see was in the ambiguity of the stated conclusion/cure…


#594

Alright, so on the one hand, children will no longer be separated from their parents per newly issued EO.

On the other hand, this will allow for INDEFINITE detention of children, curcumventing rules previously established.

Was nice to see the DSA sent some folks out to heckle the Homeland Security Secretary while she dined on friggin’ Mexican food. I really need to start attending their meetings.

On a slightly tangential note, the DSA doesn’t run candidates. The Greens havent proven viable running candidates on the national level. But I still hold out hope that there’s a way out of this 2-party madness, and really wish the DSA would try. Anybody have any opinions on the viability of breaking out of the Repub/Dem stranglehold in the US?


#595

there’s always direct action :wink:


#596

From the couple of local DSA meetings I’ve been to, it seems they’re not completely averse to running candidates – there are some Democratic Party members who are also DSA members, and they support primary challenges against centrist/neoliberal Democrats – but they don’t want to become an actual political party, at least not yet.

I voted Green in two elections, and then found out that the Jill Stein campaign was getting Russian support as part of their anti-Clinton tactics, denied it, and even sort of defended both Russia and Trump on the issue. I’m done with them unless they can completely reboot.

So I guess my hopes are for moving the Democratic party back to a pre-Bill Clinton “party of the people”, which should be able to win elections and get some progressive legislation through.


#597

Yup, I am done with them as well (though was never really ‘in’ with them… but I did hold out hope at one time). Lost hope in the Dems long ago. I really want the DSA to be a party. But not sure I have much hopes for that either. Bit of a theme here.

@alanza yesssssss. Most of my reading as of late has been on rank and file labor actions, primarily in the 60s-early 80s…trying to analyze the successes and failures, or just the context in which these actions were realized as successes or failures, in what I consider to be the key era for understanding how we got to where we are. Full disclosure, I am a member of a public union and am frustrated with being in a position where the national leadership stakes success on the actions of the locals, while warning the locals not to act independently lest it contradict the national position, but not attempting to organize actions accordingly.


#598

I just got the DSA newsletter in the mail yesterday. This was the electoral issue and had a lot to say about local and state candidates who are DSA members or DSA-endorsed, and a couple of DSA-launched campaigns. Even if they’re not a party as such, they’re getting people into office as well as taking some effective direct action. (I read on another forum some people are joining DSA because of their recent actions against ICE and Justice Department flacks.)

They’re just about the only ones giving me any hope.


#599

The speed with which they have been mobilizing lately is massively heartening. With the Homeland Security Secretary, they were tipped off by another diner and got people there before her meal was done.

Need to get out of utter hermit-in-deep-despair mode and get to some meetings. I live in the middle of nowhere but not so far I couldn’t get to DC for meetings.


#600


#601

I just listened to a great podcast between Sam Harris and Andrew Yang, a UBI advocate who will be running for president in 2020 as a democrat. UBI is something I believe in as well, so it’s great listening to someone that seemingly has a plan to implement it (Basically every 18-65 year old would receive $1000/month). They also discuss the creation of a digital currency–that would work in tandem with UBI–that would act like a time bank so that undervalued, yet important, jobs get tended to (elderly care, teaching, environmental conservation, art and music, etc…), as well as discussing metrics that would replace GDP as an indicator of success. Wouldn’t it just be freaking fantastic if someone with a plan actually won the popularity contest?

I doubt that the idea of a UBI is new to anyone on here, but this hour long interview is a great reminder that not only is it not a ridiculous project, but actually quite a necessary one to move us from one stage of capitalism to another.


#602

No rule of law either these days:


#603

Of all the things to be upset about right now, this one might upset me the most. This is structural erosion of hard-won human rights at the highest levels of government. It will take massive effort to reverse this, and we must.

Changing it means stacking congress with people who will confirm the justices we need. It means changing the electoral equation nationwide.


#604

The challenge/question becomes how much have the current courts contributed to disenfranchisment and how will that impact outcomes in future elections. Even with massive mobilization, we can see how the winner doesn’t always win thanks to undemocratic manipulation. That might become even more challenging moving forward with some state and federal rulings.


#605

A comprehensive Brookings study of 171 cases of [election] boycotting around the world found that 96 percent of the time, the movements promoting the boycotts did not see positive results.

When resistance movements decided instead to confront authoritarian regimes at the polls — authoritarians from Pinochet to Milosevic — they had a much greater chance of producing regime change.

-Henri Falcon

(he lost, but that doesn’t really change his argument)


#606

No arguments there. I get incredibly frustrated by the thoughtful and intelligent anti-voter. I suppose I’ll take that over the apathetic non-voter though ha.