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Thu May 19, 2011 at 08:06 PM PDT

The marginalization of Cornel West

by rossl

If you've been watching the recent controversy over Cornel West's statements that Obama is "a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats," among other things, you have been witnessing an interesting phenomenon.  What you are seeing - perhaps most prominently from West's Princeton colleague Melissa Harris-Perry, although certainly extending to other sycophantic academics and corporate commentators craving to be seen as the most centrist - is the use of a familiar tool of those who hold the power in our country.

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This is going to be short.  I have a clear and succinct point to make.

Wisconsin unions can now either give it all they've got, or they're done for.

Right now, after Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Senate Republicans have pushed through this step in the decades-long corporate assault on labor, the unions really have their backs against a wall.  Membership has declined, manufacturing has gone oversees, the national Democratic Party has abandoned them, and the cancer of the corporation has metastasized over not just government, but society.  If the unions don't rediscover their past, if they don't turn around their more recent history of capitulation and infighting, they'll die soon enough anyway.  It's their choice:  militancy or death.

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So often, those in the tea party equate progressives and Democrats with socialists, communists, Nazis, and whatever other word fits their particular hatred.  Meanwhile, in the Democratic Party, progressives can't seem to go a day without reminding themselves why it's a great thing to live in fear of the latest loon on the right.

Despite great rhetorical and, yes, political differences between the tea party and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, the view presented in Adam Levine's recent piece in CounterPunch, "Shared Delusions," is absolutely correct.  Both groups have allowed themselves to be entirely deluded by the ruling class, enabling the corporatization of America.

What makes this possible are the many disempowered voters who are impervious to reason and indifferent to facts; people who fervently believe, for example, that the way to stick it to the Wall Street schemers and gamblers who do them harm is to funnel wealth their way, immiserating themselves...

...Obama apologists have a long way to go too, but their folly is of a different kind. They are like abused spouses who hold on to the belief that their abuser is a "good man" (read "progressive") despite everything.

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Reprinted in full, with permission, from Ballot Access News, the newsletter of highly respected ballot access expert Richard Winger.

Government-printed ballots in the United States were first created in 1888, and almost from the start, opponents of new and minor political parties started manipulating the ballot access laws to keep certain parties off the ballot...In over a century of struggle to avoid monopolization of the general election ballot to just the two major parties, there has never been a pressure group that worked in favor of restrictive ballot access laws, until very recently.  Leaders of the former New Alliance Party, who have renamed themselves several times, now call themselves IndependentVoting.org.  They hold themselves out as the leaders of independent voters, but they have become a pressure group working to limit choices on the general election ballot to just Democrats and Republicans.

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Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 09:16 AM PST

'Don't Go, Don't Kill'

by rossl

In the past few weeks a series of reforms have been passed which some are saying justify President Obama's, the Democratic Party's, and American liberals' extreme moderation and corporatism (or, in some cases, a mere subservience to, if not an outright embrace of, this horribly corrupt form of capitalism).

However, I would advise you to consider these words which Malcolm X uttered in another terribly corrupt and unequal world which, as the US continues its decline as an empire and omnipotent economic presence, even many liberals and radicals are starting to get nostalgic for:

You don't stick a knife into a man's back nine inches, pull it out six inches, and call it progress.

That is, if you ignore the context in which these mild reforms are taking place, you are ignoring the fundamental problems which need to be solved.  This is particularly apparent in the case of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

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Originally posted at Polizeros.com

Bloggers like Bob Morris of Polizeros have pointed out that even some who are typically rebellious in their rhetoric are condemning Julian Assange (while there are people like Jonah Goldberg and Chuck Schumer calling for his head), so I think it’s worth pointing out how historically important Assange (and Wikileaks, of course) could be.  With the caveat that we have all yet to see the effects of what Wikileaks is doing, he has the potential to play two essential and complementary roles: radical anti-authoritarian and someone who makes it safe for others to voice similar opinions.

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As we all know, there was a rally in Washington, DC on Saturday.  It's gotten tons of attention in the media and had some high profile guests, like The Roots, Jeff Tweedy, the Mythbusters and, of course, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

Its aim is...well, nothing.  Just to get together on the national mall, have some laughs, and get the Viacom-sponsored duo some attention.  And there's nothing wrong with that.

But my previous enthusiasm for the rally and for the brave master satirists hosting it has been tempered lately.  It seems not to be any kind of beneficial political activity, but, as Irregular Times put it, a promotion of "inactivism."

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Every so often, you'll read a book or an opinion piece or something else that is revelatory.  It changes your outlook on some aspect of the world.  Today, I read such a piece, concerning the erosion of liberal power in this country over the past 30 years and its effect.

If you're reading this, you're probably aware of the steady climb in corporate power and the corresponding loss of liberal power since about 1980.  The narrative, which I do believe, goes that after the social revolution of the '60s and '70s, corporations realized that they needed to stay on top, and so they organized.  They out-organized us.

In his column this week, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges examines a theme he has talked about a few times in the past:  that loss of liberal power, which he calls the "collapse of liberalism."

The liberal class...refused to act. It failed to defend traditional liberal values during the long night of corporate assault in exchange for its position of privilege and comfort in the corporate state.

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Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 11:29 AM PDT

Nonviolence does not equal complacency

by rossl

I went to a protest in Philadelphia this past Saturday, and it was more disheartening than anything else.  It was against the wars and various other injustices, with a special focus on he recent FBI raids of peace activists and Pennsylvania Homeland Security spying on innocent civilians (myself included) and activists.

By the end of it, I kind of just felt like going up to the megaphone and asking, "How much moral outrage can one person muster?  There are more people handing out fliers here than not, and with this country committing so many disgusting, outrageous acts, I don’t blame you."  I won’t lie, I handed a few out myself.  Yet the contrast between the righteous causes featured in the speeches and on the signs and on the fliers and the, as a fellow protester said to me, "complete lack of solidarity" was striking.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting four public information meetings on the proposed study of the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and its potential impacts on drinking water...The meetings will provide public information about the proposed study scope and design. EPA will solicit public comments on the draft study plan.

The public meetings will be held on:

   * July 8 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. CDT at the Hilton Fort Worth in Fort Worth, Texas
   * July 13 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. MDT at the Marriot Tech Center’s Rocky Mountain Events Center in Denver, Colo.
   * July 22 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT at the Hilton Garden Inn in Canonsburg, Pa.
   * August 12 at the Anderson Performing Arts Center at Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y. for 3 sessions - 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT

Go below the fold for more essential information.

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This is a repost from the other day so that more people see it.  If you know of other protests, post them in the comments.

 title=
(Image from Greenpeace)

Hello all - hopefully I can make this into some kind of a short series or get someone to help me with this, but if not you'll probably see at least one more diary on the subject from me.  Basically, here's a post where I'm trying to assemble all the information for protests that you need to know in order to take action against BP and for some kind of a clean energy future.

Go below the fold for a list of events/websites/facebook pages/etc.

(Just because of my own time constraints, I've only listed events in the US)

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 title=
(Image from Greenpeace)

Hello all - hopefully I can make this into some kind of a short series or get someone to help me with this, but if not you'll probably see at least one more diary on the subject from me.  Basically, here's a post where I'm trying to assemble all the information for protests that you need to know in order to take action against BP and for some kind of a clean energy future.

Go below the fold for a list of events/websites/facebook pages/etc.

(Just because of my own time constraints, I've only listed events in the US)

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