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what democracy looks like?

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hey IOPS! some random ass content for ya...

this is a clip of some video i took in June 2017 at an anti-Sharia rally out front Seattle City Hall. counter protests were also planned and executed in much greater numbers, waving signs and creating intentional noise to drown out the anti-Sharia speakers. some related violent exchanges took place in a nearby area a couple hours after dispersal, which is not a part of this clip.

none of the people in this video were official speakers. at least some of them are members of the Proud Boys and some the Warriors for Freedom.

i shared this on FB back then, just asking what stands out, what it makes you think about, what you carry away from it. the answers i got were interestingly uninteresting for the most, but i expect more from IOPS. snapshot of American politics for your dissection... tell me something... share your brain.

Discussion 9 Comments

  • Bat Chainpuller 16th Jan 2018

    Hard to deal with Alex. You can throw all the rational arguments at the “anti-sharia” folk all you like - you know the drill - quietly and gently if you like and they’ll just throw their shit back at ya louder, with a grin and a smirk, I guess. Kind of like family arguments around the dinner table that get out of hand, but no one is going to make up later! Like that scene in History X at the dinner table.

    This stuff makes me lose heart...can’t really hear what they’re saying. My throat hurts listening to it, like listening to Jimmy Barnes sing!!

    Can’t really dissect it, it makes me tired just watching.

    I read an article about the marches because I don’t really keep up with regular everyday events anywhere much anymore and straight away saw this.

    “Chris Achey, 47, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, said he did not hate Muslims but believes that much of Islam is incompatible with Western culture."


    and this one,

    “A Briton who moved to the United States, Mr Sleater said he had decided to go after recent attacks in his home country.

    "People are being run over in the street with trucks and little kids are being blown up," he said, referring to recent attacks in London and Manchester.

    "I don't want that to happen here."

    Hah again...:)

    And an overview,

    Sent from my iPad

    • Alex of... 18th Jan 2018

      personally, everything about that clip fascinates me. it holds so much of the cultural elements and social media frenzy of this recent election, but it IS a bit disappointing re: loss of heart. actually, i thought of you back when i was first looking at it, at the point the guy with the bodycam and lock-up-Hillary-shirt says "so do you want to talk about Capitalism or what?"

      i mean, ya COULD attempt a conversation about economic theory, but i'm pretty sure he's going to fall back on a need to name a country with a different system that's better, which leads to a complex answer or need for exchange, one that's not going to happen in that kind of setting at least. clearly, it didn't start off as just a couple people deciding to ask each other what they believe in and why they are there. he's a bit pissed about getting water thrown on him, but you can see i was just walking up, so don't know quite what happened. maybe in a different setting. there's some common ground in his beliefs... against foreign intervention, mentions treatment of the poor so there's concern for people's well-being, smaller-government.. yes in some ways, but that generally comes with that market-solves-all perspective mixed in, so that's probably the real discussion. plus who doesn't love FREEDOM!!!?

      the Proud Boys on the other hand, in the polo and cock shirts, well, i don't know if you are familiar, they embrace the philosophy of Western Chavinsm. i have some footage of one of them talking about it a bit and it wows me to hear someone say those words with straight-faced conviction. the fourth of a four-degree intitiation process is purportedly to brawl with anti-fascists at a public rally. they've got their own chicken hawks, as Ed Norton called the Stacy Keach character in that skinhead movie, pumping them full of this shit. to be honest, i'd love to sit down and interview these guys. i want to hear their story, how they've arrived at their beliefs. plus i'm very curious about their apparent no-masturbation rule. if that's the true story and one of those guys isn't getting laid, he basically has no choice but to kick someone's ass. bad policy. generally, doing a skinhead thing, but there's no "direct" race motive, it's Western chauvinsm! haha. i doubt they have a huge amount of diversity.

      the light-skinned dude looks to be the most aggressive and dedicated one of the lot for that chapter. he's who i'd like to interview. tangent, it reminds me of a younger day in life, when skinheads were more prominent in Seattle and showed up at a couple parties i was at. i met a guy who went by Little John. he was Asian, and part of a white supremacist group, and it blew my fuckin mind. plus, i was on lsd. if trippin balls around nazis wasn't enough, one of them aint even being white ought to do it. i've still wondered about his personal story, and what became of him.

      back then, rather than antifa, scuffles were often between the nazi types and the sharps. thing is, it never really felt to me that the sharps were all that much different, more like anti-racism was an excuse to pack up and get in a fight. it's a self-righteous brotherhood that offers a sense of family and purpose, with punching. dumb all over? i WAS actually invited by someone, the day before the rally shown, to meet up with antifa peoples prepared to fuck up some nazis. the friend inviting used to be a guy who went to skinhead parties to beat them up 'back when he was an anarchist'. i guess he's kind of mild-mannered now, but still considers that the righteous thing, and was also a bit pumped up in his invitation, whether he was actually planning to get physical or not.

      Trump was wrong when he diminished the fatal event in Charlottesville into 'violence on many sides'. however, it IS true that some antifa show up intending violence or look forward to an opportunity. and, nazi-punching has memed like crazy last year in the mainstream. for a couple months i kept hearing anti-fascist! anti-fascist! this is kinda where i have a problem with the state of the left these days (maybe we can make it great again), in that, even though a lot of people are paying attention to politics, it's largely a reactionary frenzy to find the bumper sticker solution. it's a kind of a mirror, but no self-reflection. i see it a bit as first-timers to a lot of these issues, but a lot of folks who have been engaged in activism for some time are also sucked into it. and people get pissed. they throw out absolutes, and when you ask a question they turn snobby, throwing up their hands like "you just don't get it!" or maybe "you need to check your white privilege!" essentially "you didn't automatically agree with the slogan we all just agreed on five minutes ago so fuck you." obviously that's not everybody, but certainly a pervasive tempo. starts feeling more like that dinner table you mentioned.

      honestly, i question this whole tactic of protesting rallies at all. strangely enough, i happen to hold freedom of speech in pretty high regards. and, for all its shortcomings, this nation is pretty strong on that part of the social contract. i actually took video of the majority of the speaking, maybe the only non-supporter that even listened to them. beyond close, it was all noise-making, as planned, to drown out their voice. ok, sure you CAN exercise your own expression by just making noise, but is that the point? who can bring the most numbers on any given Sunday to drown out the other? but, but.. it's hate speech! well, so fuckin what? if you're advocating specific acts of violence, that's a problem. until then, you're free to say you don't want Muslims in this country and chant USA all you like. what's more, i think those groups left feeling even more pumped up because people turned out against them. i mean, it's a bit ironic that a rally centered on fears of losing their rights, with freedom of speech a recurring theme, is met by the left trying to silence them. is that actually helpful toward cultural progress?

      i understand the argument that we can't let fascism take a foothold.. it started off small in Germany and everyone dismissed it until it was too late. hell, i know folks (from before anti-fascism got so popular!) that claim the anarchist's strategy should be to fight the cops.. we must take out the state's ability to enforce itself.. cops work for the state, they're fascists, we kill them, and then.. i don't know, no one ever wants to talk about that last part. and of course, none of them are actually killing cops. they smash a couple things on May Day, perhaps. so, i see some of my mainstream lefties posting something about nazi punching and it just runs the same course for me. how many nazis do you need to punch before your anti-fascist message gets through? will it be enough? maybe we should identify all the fascists, round them up and give them a little number. sure, maybe people are just venting, but there's a kind of unity around those slogans that, again, feels more and more right-winged in its flavor. fear, anger, identify the enemy, lynch-crowd mentality, and rejection of further critical thought.

      and ya know, i recall that back around the 2008 election, good ol' Chomsky warned against the left ridiculing the Tea Party folks, that as much as some of their aims are misguided, the grievances are real, and the left should really be trying to organize them, particularly around labor. the real danger is that economic pressures can be used to manipulate people into some nasty beliefs. he also mentioned that Palin was the only one in those debates that used the words "working class" ..and it connected. that moment in time really paved the way for Trump's opening, plus eight years of Bill Maher bashing on stupid rednecks. liberals love that high ground, so it's not that surprising to hear rural America react by calling them elitists. and then, they couldn't even handle the Bernie option either.

      i mentioned i posted this clip on FB. the first comment i got from an old friend: "I personally have no interest in listening to their deluded Bullshit. Sorry." yet, i've seen that same person rant about fascists numerous times, about putting an end to it, this needs to stop, and such. well, hell, where is your information even coming from? and what does stopping it mean to you? isn't dismissing these voices part of what got Trump elected? and ya know, when Chomsky talks about organizing them eight years ago, that's real talk. it's not like Obama put out a plan for retraining coal workers into solar manufacturing, and some of these folks feel pretty threatened by the city-dwelling liberal elites shouting about keeping fossil fuel in the ground, as they're not being shown another option for making a living. they feel brushed off and they're not totally wrong.

      bring this up, i can hear some of the judgment in the current climate. it goes "oh, now that it's a white problem, poverty suddenly matters? so sorry to hear some white people feel like they're losing their entitlement? maybe they should consider the last 500 years of genocide and slavery!" and.. done. well, that's not really wrong, but it's the kind of response that truncates possibilities, like those that provide well-being for everybody, like those that replace messages of blame on immigrants. while i may not see much purpose in punching nazis or drowning out anti-Sharia rallies with pots and pans, i'm also not a fan of fascist and racist ideology. it's not about stamping it out to me, it's about understanding why whole groups of people are gravitating toward those ideologies, rather than others. it goes beyond labor, it's about communication, and i'm a bit more critical of left-leaning folks because i expect more from them. if you're taking the higher ground, then maybe be the one who can listen, not just react - imo.

      it's a vicious cycle i guess. rural white folk think everything's turning against them, liberals make fun of them, they become expert trolls with simplistic Breitbartian code, liberals freak out and double-down on PC language, it empowers a movement for a troll for president, and now you're practically a racist for even considering white working class needs into the equation.. it's not PC. some people at the rally and others came with a sign i've also seen in online posts, often showing a Muslim woman, that says "No one is illegal!" i really have my doubts that most, if any, of the people i've seen carrying that message are actually serious about removing borders or an immigration process. they're hearing extreme views about immigration and latch on to the opposite, but it's not a real stance. it just spells "i'm not a racist" in contrast to "build that wall!" problem is, building the wall (or really just extending it) is a tangible focus. unless you are actually for throwing the immigration gate wide open, saying no one is illegal doesn't mean much, and you're not really considering what you DO believe. and ya know, when people post these memes they get all kinds of likes, it reinforces a feeling of being part of the group on the correct side, but there's some risk in stepping outside the box. some folks are quick to throw a catch phrase label on you that gets THEM likes. now you've been shamed and maybe shunned. again, not everybody, but i've seen this shit and experienced a bit too. it creates an atmosphere of fear where simplistic responses prevail. so now it's all simplistic extreme vs simplistic extreme, choose your side. we're vetting Oprah for president now, ya heard?

      i've been seeing PC extremes approached more in comedy recently (and some of that has to do with gender issues as well, which i'm not really discussing here), so maybe we're peaking on some of that after a year of election freakout, but there's another layer to this that could stunt attention to larger reforms or radical change. so, shortly after the election results a friend of mine posted something about Obama and wrote a few gushing remarks about how he would miss him in office. this is someone i've had good discussions about radical change with, though he is more of a believer in Green Party politics as a realistic possibility, something he used to put work into, and strongly supported Bernie. i tried to convince him to see this time as an opportunity, where a lot of people are going to become active that never have before, and will be looking for answers. but he mostly just defended Obama with "at least he doesn't... something Trump does" kind of statements. so what just happened? see, i predicted the new activity in the mainstream, but i didn't really expect the progressive end to fold up so quick, get so Trump-obsessed that they start pining over the days of Obama while clamoring for impeachment and Dems in congress. impeachment? that's a tangible goal, but it's not going to address what got Trump elected. actually, i think it would backlash and leave his voters feeling short-changed with hardened beliefs about the system shutting them out. i suppose it's one of those moments where the right wing just shifted further right so it dragged the left with it. some folks are leaving their notions of democratic socialism behind to just grab onto what they think they have left, it seems.

      it's a kind of protective mode that i see in a few things. lefties are claiming what's American or unAmerican more. like, we have to prove this alt-right is against our nation's values, which funnels into a greater sense of nationalism, which may mean a less critical population. what are the values this nation was founded on? Trump attacks the media as fake news so he can dismiss anything he wants, but while mainstream media isn't just complete lies, it's pretty much full of shit, too. i've seen a fair amount of commentary in defense of etablished media now, and i have the same feeling, that clinging to that might make people less critical, with less call for publically funded alternatives and increased readiness to believe in the major outlets, as long as they are critical of Trump.

      and this all comes after revelations about media collusion with the DNC to shut Bernie out. that's not a time to give the Charlie Brown sigh. like i tried to convince my friend, progressives ought to hold strong and try to guide the upswell, not get dragged in to the center. party politics aint for me, and maybe systemic-change types just need to get their shit together, but i support those trying to run a Bernie thing. i feel like it should have been a no-brainer to choose Bernie with much stronger numbers, like one thing off the bucket list while we're working on the big picture. and as much as he was kept out of the media, people had a choice to rely on the media or actually research who their choices are. i probably blame liberals, haha. there was a lot of regurgitation about sexist Bernie Bros and unrealistic plans, stay the course, stay safe. there's another demographic where Bernie lost bad, southern blacks, particularly older. much speculation on that has maybe been understandably taboo. could equate to white folks blaming black folks for Trump, a couple years into BLM movements, and when everyone's so reactionary in general. some data has shown a lack of familiarity with Bernie in that demographic, and a positive association between Bill and Hillary. from other discussions, those older black voters may be trying to hold on to the incremental gains that have been achieved the past few decades on not willing to take a risk with this guy from a white state promising big change. and that's worth understanding better. it's certainly harder for me to understand what white liberals were so afraid of.

      but, we're all immigrants. haha, so goes an American fable. unless you were brought here against your will or.. ahem, already living here of course. i really hope i never hear that again in attempt to make a statement about our national unity. but here's the thing.. you knew i'd get to one eventually right? well, it's a big thing. the mainstream white left is really confused about race, it's blowing up these days and they're looking for shortcuts. there's been a level of shock at the existence of white supremacist groups, that they have an actual role in current politics, and that such a wide base stood behind a candidate that appeals to those groups.. with racially charged motivations seemingly on the rise. some focus more on the Donald as the real perp, as he dishes out instructions on where to aim those white rural grievances. that may be easier to digest, but it remains that a large portion of the population is ready to quickly hop on board with those instructions. and it's not just a working class thing. i think it's less that white supremacy and racism is spreading, so much as it just got tapped, is feeling empowered, one last stand for the Confederate flag, the south will rise. it goes beyond the south but the former slave states are the primary concentration.

      of course, fear of immigrants and racism aren't the only reasons Trump got votes. when i was in DC for the inauguration i met a black guy staying at the hostel who was all jazzed up for Trump. his support was largely based on the belief that Trump would work some magic on trade deals and bring jobs, and he's not alone. is it troubling that he would accept the totality of Trump's rhetoric in favor of that issue? maybe, but there's a good deal of populism there, a belief in just trying something different. so, we can't call the whole thing racism, but as far as it DOES go i think there's a positive in that it's really just been exposed more than it's on the rise, as is a big fear.

      i've seen numerous folks on the telly making comments like "i just thought we were past this sort of thing" in reaction to rallies and related shit. this is similar to shock over police brutality. some folks were saying "things are getting crazy" but really, it's a combo of having a movement to create that exposure and the fact that virtually every American is walking around with a video camera in their pocket. plus, the internet. and there's where i see a level of racism in much of the white left. black folk aren't shocked at police brutality or the existence of racism. it's like ya, been trying to tell you that for awhile. ya know, a lot of people mean well but have been living in a bubble of entitlement. ya got black friends, listen to black music, voted for the half-black president, so racism must be down to a trickle and certainly has nothing to do with oyu, right? now, you start finding out that things are way shittier than you thought but you still want to contain it as a right wing problem only. get rid of Trump, drown out the anti-Sharia folks, tear down a Confederate statue and stomp on it.. it all looks to me like the shortcut to absolution. if you can identify the racists, then you're not racist. i guess the real shock comes when you realize you might have a responsibility in all this, that this is some deep-rooted long-term shit to deal with. probably natural to resist that kind of revelation.

      no, we're not all immigrants. most of us are on stolen land. and for some of us our ancestors were brought in chains. white people just don't think about that as much as native people and descendants of slavery, those who deal with the resultant modern injustices on a personal level. the increased focus is positive, but i think it's yet to really get very self-reflective, or discussed in systemic terms. hey, maybe white folks will stop out-PCing each other in an holier-than-thou quest to gain the edge on who's least racist, and maybe they'll quit trying to be super-allies by posting angrily about every right-wing racist thing that hits the news cycle. i mean ya, listen to what black folks have been saying. listen to those rural folk, listen to the native people. some of it will be misguided, too. being oppressed doesn't automatically generate an amazing answer, but we need to be able to hear the emotional struggle. me, i think reconciliation implies systemic change. i'm not alone on that, but i'm guessing i'm in a minority. to realize the suffering one group of people endure for the privilege of another is to start seeing the flaws of the system. and as far the historical sacrifice, it goes beyond just shifting some resources. there's relationships and trust to build. we might really have to question what equal opportunity means? how is it possible?

      ok i ranted, but i'll stop there. this isn't really a piece on strategies or something. my comment on the vid just got bigger and bigger, basically some of what i see as the current tempo. good to consider the landscape for us systemic types. if there's anything interesting there or worth discussing, i'm open. cheers for now.

      (also, i wrote this before seeing your newer comments below, so i haven't really soaked that up yet and just posting under your original)


    • Bat Chainpuller 18th Jan 2018

      Thoroughly enjoyed reading this Alex. That it is long and content/idea/thoughts rich stands in contrast to the video I self in a way, and also the penchant for shortness in social media and pretty much everything else out there.

      Fuck, I might try to do an Albert type reply, where you reply to each paragraph...but maybe not.

      One thing that arose in my mind was that at least IOPS, as an org, has in the background, always this notion of systemic change. It is always there, like the background radiation from the start of the universe Big Bang inflationary style...that is if you are NOT an electric universe person! It kind of informs discussion around pretty much anything even if it’s not up front for all to see. I talk to my sisters, I have four of them, my daughters, two, my wife, my cat, also female, about feminism and what they have endured just in a day to day basis over their lives, things I haven’t heard before,that they’ve kind of kept to themselves, and you can kind of see it all connected to the wider picture that renders all that reactionary anti-feminist some-of-my-best-friends-are-women stuff as a maze of minutiae designed to daze and confuse in order, even if unconsciously, to keep what you refer to as “the last part”, out of the picture. Like that no one’s illegal slogan, not many really think through the implications of it on a structural level.

      Maybe you should post this rant on faecebook and see what happens...”fuck man, you writing a fucking book, I got shit to do, I can’t be reading books.”

      Will dwell on it some more.


    • Bat Chainpuller 18th Jan 2018

      Yep, that’s “Barney’s”. Oh my, my fucking throat

    • Bat Chainpuller 18th Jan 2018

      Barnesy not Barney’s. Was lead singer of local aust band Cold Chisel.

    • Alex of... 20th Jan 2018

      hey thanks, glad you enjoyed. i think there's a couple holes in what i said, that could mostly just be explained a little better. there's a lot i didn't get to saying, and some pretty big topics sprinkled in that could be expanded. so, maybe i AM writing a book! to be honest, i would probably feel a bit snobby myself posting that on FB, at least the way it's currently written. but all in all, i think my critique of oversimplified reactionary slogans by the white mainstream left (not entirely limited to) has some general accuracy.

      in part, i watch all this trying to find where the systemic conversation has its openings. it's possible that the blame game has swelled past its peak now, or is just getting there, and more interesting ideas start to surface. some related bits...

      was watching DemocracyNow today with some commentary by author/teacher Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor referring to the course set out through "the racism of Donald Trump and the sort of “alt-right” racism of the Republican Party... to basically explain away the conditions of and the—what I think is legitimate economic anxiety of ordinary white people, and say that it’s the Muslim, it’s the Mexican, and it’s the blacks." further into the conversation Amy Goodman asked about a recent Quinnipac poll showing an "overwhelming percentage of African Americans supporting Bernie Sanders?" she starts her response:

      "Well, I think that, hopefully, it begins to shift the very narrow discussion that the Sanders phenomenon was driven solely by the, quote-unquote, “Bernie bros,” that African Americans are not interested in socialism, African Americans are not interested in Bernie Sanders. In fact, this poll showed that Sanders had the highest favorability rating among African Americans, by a country mile compared to white people. I think it was 43 percent of whites had a favorable view of Bernie Sanders, compared to 70 percent of African Americans and 55 percent of Latinos."

      she furthered "And I don’t think that this is a complicated question. Why is that? Because I think most people understand, black people understand, that if Sanders’ program, the things that Bernie Sanders advocated and argued for—the redistribution of wealth from the top to the bottom, universal healthcare, a living wage, so on and so forth, the redistribution of resources, from the criminal justice system to the war machine, to public services and public institutions—that that would have an immediate impact in the lives of black people and in black communities, immediate positive impact. And people know that."

      this is interesting. i might disagree about it not being a complicated question considering the lack of support i mentioned during the primaries. this seems to be a shift after the final election results and perhaps revelations about the DNC's drive to prop up Hillary. i've wondered if the primaries might have turned out different if the process hadn't started in the southern states. it wasn't until Bernie won some of those northern states that the media could no longer discount his support and was forced to report on him.

      i don't have a specific set of data on this, but it seemed to me that i only started seeing stronger black support and organizing attempts mid-way into to the primaries, at a point it was probably too late– observations largely through social media. here i'm treading on dangerous ground again, but i wonder if some of this may be due to the high activity level of the BLM movement at the time, which was decidedly against attaching itself to candidates. the idea as far as i've understood was to keep things critical and autonomous, something that can't be done by doling out political endorsements from the heads. obviously there's nothing monolithic about participants of that movement, or black culture and beliefs, so i don't want to generalize, but i 'm probably safe to say that BLM has been at the center of black issues these recent years. as someone who is highly critical of the system myself, it makes total sense to me to not allow a broad movement to get funneled into party politics, so my question is more about an atmosphere of general rejection...

      it rippled across national media when two young black women, as BLM organizers, confiscated the mic at a small Bernie rally, centered on Social Security, at Seattle's Westlake Park, shortly before his larger offical rally was to take place. as Bernie got off one sentence they had approached the podium and demanded to be heard, claiming they would shut down the event if not. of course, the crowd was not too pleased, booed and chanted for Bernie to speak. Marissa, one of the two activists, shot back by calling them racists and white supremacist liberals, which they didn't like either, Bernie stepped aside and she was ultimately allowed to speak. ok, so i'm not against dispruptive tactics, but it should be noted that it had nothing to do with asking questions or challenging Bernie at all. it was a high profile opportunity for what Marissa called 'agitation work' in a later interview, as well not being for any politician and believes the system should be dismantled.

      on that topic in the following weeks, my FB feed was blowin up with opinions and arguments and people calling each other racists, mostly white for the latter.. plus, a few theories that the activists were paid by the Clinton campaign. a lot of commentary out there simply reported that BLM activists shut down a Bernie Sanders rally, likely leaving the reader to conclude it was aimed AT him. i don't know how much that picture of Bernie, as the person BLM shut down, effected voter opinion directly, though i did see comments out there calling him a racist because of it. what i was thinking is that when the largest concentration of energy for black organizing is going into a kind of apolitical movement, there's not a lot of room for, or that much interest in organizing for a presidential candidate, even one that is likely better for your cause. i haven't come across articles really exploring this stuff much, so it's really just some observations and questions. but, there's a definite contrast in that poll and support during the primaries.

      the gooder news, i've heard a lot more black voices saying something about uprooting and replacing the system since BLM. as far as what Marissa said about not supporting any politician, i'd say it doesn't require support to choose the better option for immediate results. i've of course known others that believe participation with the system or state equates to support, perpetuates its existence and stagnates radical change. but, ya better have pretty serious numbers and ability to institute that radical change, otherwise you're just allowing others to choose which politician without your influence. and, if ya think it doesn't matter which one, because the system sucks... perhaps this past year has changed some minds, haha.

      i guess it all comes back to what systemic change actually means to people.

      so anyways, a little more on some of the landscape as i ponder it. couple other things i was thinking of, but i'll stop there fer now. thanks for sharing the comment on chats with the ladies of your life. its that unconscious part that's the worst.. the manufactured consent and socialized behaviors we have. bit sleepy now. i dunno if you have access to Netflix, or maybe there's a torrent, but there's a couple recent Dave Chappelle releases that are pretty interesting i think. the shorter one - less than an hour, he's doin a little comedy club, and not a routine. he's funny, but he also gets pretty serious. talks about the PC thing, some analogies between black history and the current women's movement, pimps and capitalism, the potential of Trump as a catalyst for positive change. you get to laugh AND think.

      other stuff blah blah blah

      maybe the problem is that people always say uproot and rebuild or dismantle and replace... so everyone is only getting as far as their thoughts on the removal part, and get stuck there. i might be more into replace and dismantle.

    • Alex of... 20th Jan 2018

      DemocracyNow piece reference:

      interesting piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates:

  • Bat Chainpuller 17th Jan 2018

    Some excerpts from Assembly (Heretical Thought), Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

    “In contrast to leadership, identity continues to play a central role. Schmitt grasps the most enduring characteristic of right-wing movements, in fact, in the mandate to restore or redeem the identity of the people, which is constantly under threat from those alien to it. 5”

    “Right-wing movements operate on the logic of a clash of civilizations defined primarily in terms of religion, race, or both. Such civilizational identity, Schmitt asserts, is the psychological and ontological basis for political interest and desire: “Down, inside, to the deepest and most instinctive stirrings of his emotions, and likewise, in the tiniest fibre of his brain, man stands in the reality of this belongingness of people and race.” The primary political obligation, then, is to defend one’s own kind against aliens.”

    ““An alien wants to behave critically and also to apply himself shrewdly,” Schmitt writes, “wants to read books and to write books, he thinks and understands differently because he is differently disposed, and remains, in every crucial train of thought, in the existential condition of his own kind.” 6 The central point is that the unity of the people is always characteristic of the (real or imagined—sometimes primordial) past social order that the right-wing movements seek to defend against aliens, to reclaim, and to redeem. These movements are populist in the strict sense that they focus on the identity of the people and the exclusion of others.”

    “Tea Party supporters, according to Christopher Parker and Matt Barreto, should be considered not “conventional conservatives” but “reactionary conservatives” because in addition to their libertarian economic arguments they seek to “turn back the clock” and restore an imagined national identity that is primarily white, Christian, and heterosexual.”

    “The Tea Party’s core mission—and this is key to understanding contemporary right-wing movements in general—is to affirm the unity of the people and to defend or restore it against all who are alien. Sovereignty can be achieved only in those terms. Even when right-wing movements don’t preach racist slogans openly, turn over the rock just a little and their core mission to defend the racial, national, or religious identity of an imagined people against aliens creeps out.”

  • Bat Chainpuller 17th Jan 2018

    Not sure if relevant but here’s some more...I’ve never read these guys before...heard of ‘em and some of it seems relevant. At least contribute to dissection.

    “The two qualities that most centrally characterize contemporary right-wing religious movements, as we said, are, on one hand, their aim to construct identity and defend its purity and, on the other, the resentment of wrongs at the hands of outside political forces. The focus on the purity and stability of identity is why religious movements often tend toward dogmatic closure, expressed both in theological and political terms, and why religious movements can communicate and mix so freely with movements based on racial or civilizational identity. Some claim that the depersonalizing and alienating effects of globalization have contributed to the resurgence of religion in the public sphere and the increased power of religious identities along lines of the long tradition of the politicization of faith. It is not surprising that such identities return in periods of instability and crisis. Such movements typically shift quickly from morality to politics, and soon—once they gain hegemony—transform faith into an instrumentum regni.

    These identities are activated and consolidated by mobilizing resentment and indignation regarding the humiliations suffered or the poverty imposed by foreign powers. Sometimes the wrongs invoked are quasi-mythical events but often they are very real. Many contemporary religious movements focus the attention of believers on the misery created by the politics of neoliberalism and others highlight the legacies of and continuing forms of colonial domination by Europe, the United States, and the current supranational power structures. These are echoed, in effect, by the resentments regarding the racial forms of exclusion and subordination in European cities. “We are not facing a radicalization of Islam,” writes Alain Bertho, with regard to the poor suburbs of Paris, “but an Islamization of the anger, disarray, and hopelessness of the lost children of a terrible era, who find in Jihad the meaning and weapons for their rage.” 17 We have to recognize, on the one hand, that such resentment and indignation cannot be eradicated by fiat because there is some truth to it. On the other hand, however, this indignation, even in reaction to real injustices, even when it echoes the reasoning of liberation movements, is enlisted in projects of another form of enslavement. The cult of identity, religious fanaticism, and social conservatism are interwoven in a deadly and explosive mix of sad passions that nourish violence and totalitarian tendencies.

    The military developments in Syria and Iraq from 2014 to 2015 organized by ISIS and factions of al-Qaeda represent an extreme example of this explosive mix of resistance and domination in the name of religion. Religious sectarianism intersects here with popular resentment against some real wrongs, including the territorial organization of the Middle East in the twentieth century established univocally (with long-term effects) by colonial powers and subsequently the twenty-first-century foreign interventions, especially the US war on terror and its occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. The amalgam of religious extremism and anticolonial sentiments makes meaningless, in the abstract, political designation of these forces as belonging to the Left or Right (even though they do explicitly reject those powerful socialist and secular tendencies such as Nasserism that emerged in the region in the late twentieth century). Don’t think that because we recognize that some of their resentment has a real foundation we are “sympathizing with terrorists” or justifying their actions. No, the only effective way to oppose them is to disentangle the strands of truth from falsity and separate the elements that at least ape projects of egalitarianism and emancipation from economic misery and colonial subjection from the barbaric and totalitarian framework of the movements as a whole. It is impossible to say at this point whether people’s desires for freedom and autonomy can be extricated from the fanatical religious regimes that now dominate and can then be redirected toward projects of liberation—or whether such projects could be conducted on the religious terrain. Even if they were possible, there remains the strong possibility, we fear, if they still center on the construction and defense of identity, that they would only lead to the reconstruction of barbaric and fascistic states.”