Democracy

#1029

Even just taking this article at face value and to not challenge any of its claims it doesn’t address the main point of my previous comment which was basically how do you reconcile these sins of the past (and I’m not at all trying to minimize your concerns about this), which were in essence a massive failure to recognize property rights (among other rights) as you state is essential to capitalism being the impetus for places like the USA to be financially successful (again, the argument the article makes, not my personal argument) and still claim that capitalism is clearly the best system? Said another way, if I were to steal a million dollars from my neighbor (which is not respectful of property rights) and then use that money to start a business which becomes successful and I now have $2 million, is that a success of the free market and capitalism?

I share this skepticism. I’m sure Trump’s famous comment about shooting someone on 5th Ave and not losing any supports was said entirely as a display of self-aggrandizement but it was actually an astute and damning comment on the modern political climate in this country. His supporters should have been deeply offended by this comment but it seems clear by this point that a large chunk of this country does not see democratic politics as a means for a society to decide the best way in which the nation should be governed but simply as a competition in which the point is for your side to “win”.

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#1030

My favorite part of the testimony:

When, in response to Lynn Patton being included as a special guest, Rep. Ayana Pressley asked, "Would you agree that someone who has denied rentals to black people, referred to the African diaspora as shithole countries, and called white nationalists very nice people could have a black friend and still be racist?” Cohen responded: “Yes.”

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#1031

Ro Khanna (if anyone is interested)

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#1032

hoping to read this headline about trump before too long! i know very little about the PM race in israel, but this seems like a positive no matter what.

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#1033

i wanted to pass along. volunteer opportunities for shaun kings justice volunteer are open. i started doing it and it was a positive experience and i’m signing up for more. you can do it from the privacy of your own home if you are public avoidant (as i am). so it is chance do some actual good via researching various aspects of elected district attorneys in work towards a better justice system for all.

as someone who is sickened daily by this country i live in, it feels nice to provide actual help to something greater than myself. so, if you are disgusted but feel like you don’t have a voice or just see a lot of negative but don’t know how you can help… please consider this. i can gladly go into more detail if anyone is wondering about the process.

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#1034

i find the establishment left’s ostracization of ilhan omar EXTREMELY disheartening. i can’t help but feel that anyone calling her out as antisemitic is doing so in bad faith (or parroting points made by someone acting in bad faith); she is being punished by the establishment for “stepping out of line” in questioning the government’s long and ugly track record of imperialism. her dressing down of elliott abrams and made me so happy. it would be a shame for her to lose her position in those committees, and her loss of support from the democratic establishment may mean her days in congress are numbered. huge bummer.

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#1035


how do we code in a baseline respect for conservation? we, humans make machines… we need to write code for them to keep a respect for human life, a respect for the earth as a fundamental

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#1036

I’m less concerned about the code and more concerned about how people and organizations come to acknowledge that conservation issues matter. It’s not for a lack of evidence. The code certainly requires consideration, but the code will come naturally from those that espouse those values.

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#1037

this would essentially require the demise of conservatism writ large - the end of policy-making ideologies that posit an idealized (and totally destructive) past/present as being something urgently warranting preservation and the end of plutocrats coming to bear on the direction in which humanity is heading

#1038

this jacobin article, which covers the need for unionization/presence of class struggle in all sectors, not just blue collar sectors, dug up some pretty intense emotions for me (a youngish leftist who’s never really done anything with his beliefs). like many of us i work at a desk on a computer, and like many of us i work long ass hours with no possibility of overtime and i accept it because “it could be worse.” maybe it doesn’t have to be that way. neoliberalism has been busting unions and selling the myth that white collar workers don’t need unions in the way that blue collar workers might for decades as the economy has been shifting toward a post-industrial one.

i feel like a big hurdle for contemporary socialism will be convincing relatively comfortable white collar workers who have it better than some that socialism works for them too.

is anyone here a part of a union? has anyone here worked through the creation of a new union in their workplace/industry? i never have, but the more i read/think about this stuff, the more i want to organize.

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#1039

I’m trying to find out the answer to similar questions. I’ve always wished I had access to a real union for hospitality workers and now that there is a possibility for me to employ people, it makes me even more inclined to figure out the answers. There is one small scale union that has recently started making waves fighting for hospitality workers, but they don’t have a chapter in my state, it is on my to do list to speak to them about how to organise.

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#1040

Yes, I was part of unionizing the graduate students at my university. (We just won our first contract last fall to go into effect this next academic year!) Interestingly, I would characterize the graduate students as a whole as somewhat apathetic towards the whole thing but we were able to get significant raises (10% for my department!), as well as improvement of benefits.

The process was kind of interesting from the perspective of comparing the cultures of the different departments that are part of the union. Some engineering disciplines, for example, were so anti-union that we weren’t able to include them. My department (math) already has a strong culture of hanging out together and of graduate students asking for a say in the goings-on of the math department. This (so far) has translated into strong membership, but a department like chemistry which seems like they could benefit from the union more seems much more likely to be mistrustful.

The whole process was full of bureaucracy and I nearly burnt out, but I am glad we were able to see it through, and hopeful that it will become stronger and more useful as it grows. Fortunately I don’t have to commit to being a steward for the rest of my time here xD

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#1041

If I were to organize a union this may reduce the chances of getting a large stock grant during my next compensation review.

Mind you, most of my coworkers are younger and didn’t know to negotiate for large stock grants, and they may not have much reason to avoid unionizing, but they don’t know this. They, too, are thinking they shouldn’t jeopardize their chances of joining the senior ranks and getting that payoff.

Golden handcuffs.

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#1042

definitely! this is the risk in all fields, especially white collar ones.

i work in market research, and looking up the seniority/job title ladder there are no cushy jobs or stock options, just zillion hour jobs with bigger salaries. in that respect, i feel like some of those people may be amenable to unionizing as well.

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#1043

Agree. I guess I’m saying that if you want white collar workers to unionize, maybe don’t start with the tech industry.

#1044

I strongly disagree, for what it’s worth.

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#1045

Care to expand? I’m not sure what you disagree with.

#1046

I guess I don’t know the culture at Amazon very well except by reputation, but I think that a lot of techworkers at Google care very deeply about the ethics of the work they do (for example, the backlash to news that Google was planning on cooperating with China’s censorship), and that unionizing makes sense as a way to build on the protests Google already sees internally.

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#1047

Ah, I follow you. Google seems a bit unique. Protest at Amazon is far more subdued, and protest at a Republican-led company such as Cisco is non-existent. (and that’s where you’re most likely to find abuse of contractors!)

Agree that Google seems like fertile ground.

A lot of the people that could benefit most aren’t even employees of the company they spend their time working for. So it would be interesting to consider what it takes for contractors and temporary workers to unionize.

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#1048

I am though it may not be so relevant here as I work for a NY State agency where everyone is automatically enrolled. Everyone here works 37.5 hours/week with plenty of vacation and sick time. If someone calls in sick no one says anything. My experience is management treats people like human beings deserving of respect and that may partly be due to them also being civil servants who have just risen up in the ranks a little bit I would say the overwhelming reason for the benefits is that everyone is unionized and the union negotiates these things. The downside of course is that I’ll never make enough money to buy the gear I want haha but I don’t think I could go back to working for someone else in private industry. People complain and say how lucky state employees are but the obvious truth that they seem unwilling to realize is that everyone is deserving of some basic benefits like this at the very least. Easy for me to say but I say give em hell.

When I was a senior in college a couple of my fellow poli sci students were involved in a union organizing push amongst the food service workers who worked for one of those huge service industry contractors. Not easy stuff. This was on a very liberal campus where you’d be hard to find someone who wasn’t sympathetic but it did seem very hard to get workers on board and willing to take the (perceived) risk. I’m embarrassed to say I was mostly a fly in the wall throughout this. My parents (now conservative Republicans but let’s not go there) were also involved in this stuff. If I’ve observed anything it’s that you can’t kinda half try to unionize. You need to be ready to really stuck your neck out all the way all the time. Also, if you don’t no one else will.

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