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Dialogue on Trump

forest
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[Another blog for the great roaring void that is IOPS and its four or five readers. This is a response to an email I got the other day about Trump from a friend of mine who is, or was, a progressive, now retired academic specializing in public health. My friend’s quoted arguments have been extracted and numbered by me. I thought the exchange perhaps of more general interest.] 1. “So much of the anti-Trump tirades distracts attention from the systemic problems, making him out to be some…

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The Anthropocene Choice for Humanity

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[Trying a bigger pic here. Anyone into the Anthropocene? ] Ten Propositions on the Anthropocene Choice for Humanity 1.We are now in the ANTHROPOCENE: a new evolutionary phase of the planet since about 1950 defined primarily by one species, Homo sapiens, largely determining planetary evolution 2.Like all previous evolution, the Anthropocene is proceeding blindly, UNCONSCIOUSLY, mainly  via market mechanisms and the self-serving, narrow-focus decisions of technocratic and power elites 3.The Unconscious…

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Reading Rorty, Reading Trump

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Deplorable.   Mrs Clinton cast too widely, be it a basket or a net. However her general sentiment was right. The election of Trump was the latest entry to the list of American deplorables, following from Iraq, Reaganomics, Vietnam, Jim Crow, slavery, the genocide of indigenous people--to name just a few whoppers.   But while past deplorables were typically enacted by agents of the state, Trump's election is a failure of the people. (And it is pointless to complain, at this stage, about…

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Two-and-a-half minutes to midnight

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The other day the Doomsday Clock, a symbolic presentation of how close we are to the end of humanity, was forwarded by half a minute. The immediate reason was the election of the Trumpinator, in view of his stated policy intentions to stop fighting climate change and escalate nuclear armament.Once H. sapiens has gone extinct, no one will be left to shed a tear for its demise. Sad. But a worse future is possible – and, in my opinion, more likely – in which humankind does not end but the…

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Democracy and Dealing with Right-Wing Populism 2

forest
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[First blog attempt below did not print the rest, so here its is] Some brief suggestions about how to deal with core feelings and ideas motivating right-wing populism without helping push them towards outright fascism: 1.Feelings: grievance, resentment, fear Show how and where these are legitimate (global neoliberalism, imperialism-terrorism vicious  circle) and validate them. Show where and how they are illegitimate and criticise them (xenophobia, scapegoating, sexism, conspiracy delusions).…

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Democracy and Dealing with Right-wing Populism

forest
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First some quotes from two recent articles in the Sydney Morning Herald (my highlighting): From Jacqueline Maley (‘Climate courage bleached by outbreaks of populism’, SMH 10-11/12/2016, p. 31): Research by Roberto Foa and Yascha Mounk end 2016 finds a disturbing trend : ‘over time, in all liberal democracies including Australia, openness to the idea of military rule has grown, the number of people who think a democratic system is ‘bad’ has grown, support for the concept…

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Castro and the Police State Left

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Castro & the Police State Left Fidel Castro has died. His enemies and his sympathizers are framing their predictable responses. I am addressing the latter. I have read many glowing eulogies from the Left in the last few days, some hagiographic, some more carefully worded, but all quite problematic in what they say, imply, and more especially, in what they do not say about ‘Fidel’ and the Cuban system. I come not to demonise nor to idolize. He was not my friend or comrade, and just…

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Fidel & trump, two men and two words.

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Two Men & Two Words.   In this winter month of dying light that waits to be reborn. Two words, that are also names, embodied and lived by two men, have appeared on our world's conscious stage 'trump' and 'Fidel', and as poor Earth, our only eden sails like the Titanic into an environmental collision, full of drowning refugees who exodus in desperate hope from the consequence of an elsewhere power's blind pretenses & profit. As we all compete in the indignity of nations, to lower our…

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Eating Our Own Dogfood

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In the software industry, “eating your own dogfood” is an expression for a practice in which the people in a company themselves use the products they make and sell. It is a good way for them to discover usability problems that you only notice when you actually use a product instead of merely testing it with some standard tests.  In movements on the revolutionary left there is a notion that the movement should prefigure the society aimed at. If that society is to be inclusive, democratic,…

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