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Gender: Male
Hometown: Washington, DC
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Jan 28, 2016, 04:01 PM
Number of posts: 1,151

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Hearing more whining about "identity politics" from "progressives".

Thanks for letting us know where your bread is really buttered. Used to be only the angry right-wingers cried about that shit.

Posted by forjusticethunders | Sat Apr 30, 2016, 04:29 PM (0 replies)

How is that red baiting?

In any case, what has generally been tried in the 20th century is a violent overthrow of existing capitalist oppressive systems, declaring a new socialist republic, and then trying to implement socialist policy from the top down from the vanguard. This has been a failure every time it's been tried, AND requires the situation to descend to a level of poverty and deprivation that makes overthrowing the existing system almost a matter of life and death, or a major worldwide disruption like the Great War (and even then revolutionary socialism went something like 1 for 10, though it came damn close in Germany). This is not realistic in most developed countries, the very countries that Marx stated need to go socialist first.

So how do you get a socialist revolution in the USA? You're not going to overthrow the USA militarily; that's more or less the same kind of fantasies the birthers/truthers/right-wing survivalists engage in. There just isn't enough deprivation to say, launch a general strike that shuts down the nation's industry. So that means you need to engage in a long march strategy where you build grassroots support among the dispossessed, create intersectional movements that fight for progress on specific issues (if you can't get the marginalized groups on your side, you might as well not even bother), try to translate that power to the ballot box, and win progressive change which creates a different socio-political ecology for further change. This also has the benefit of creating bottom-up, grass roots institutions that can both provide an alternative to capitalist power and step in whenever that critical mass for major change does come.

Is it incremental? Yes. Do you have to make compromises as part of a longer game to get what you want? Yes. But is it more likely to not only establish a true base for socialism, but not hurt the working class in the process (because I notice a lot of "socialists" are really sanguine about hurting the working class through accelerationist bullshit to get to their idea of socialism, never mind that such an approach is more likely to lead to fascism just like it did in Germany in the 30s).

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/04/erik-olin-wright-real-utopias-capitalism-socialism - This post is in a similar vein.
Posted by forjusticethunders | Fri Apr 29, 2016, 11:03 AM (1 replies)

Simple questions regarding UBI:

1: How much should an UBI be?
2: How much of the current social safety net should said UBI replace?
Posted by forjusticethunders | Fri Apr 29, 2016, 09:09 AM (3 replies)

Well, the way to frame the discussion is

"What are you getting with your taxes?"

Take the F-35 program (the one even Sanders lobbied to get in his state). That program alone could have covered free college for everyone for a couple decades. There is lots of money being sunk into crappy programs that Republicans and 1%ers love. I would have framed it as "Hey would you rather pay 30-35% of your income to buy jets that can't fly, subsidies for corporations, and tax cuts for rich people, or pay 40-45% of your income to get good schools, nearly free healthcare, no worries about educating your kids, and a safety net for if things go wrong for you?"

One big missed opportunity was not counting the "FREE STUFF" meme with a meme showing all the free stuff conservatives like.
Posted by forjusticethunders | Thu Apr 28, 2016, 02:26 PM (0 replies)

I don't think Bernie's economic message *doesn't* resonate

The problem is that there's a perception that Bernie hasn't really walked the social justice walk up in Vermont. If only the Bernie campaign had really understood what John Lewis meant when he said "I never saw him" instead of getting defensive the way white progressives ALWAYS do.

Whenever you challenge white progressives on race, oftentimes many of them get defensive as FUCK, and you often see the dog-whistles come out because for them black people are just a means of virtue-signaling.
Posted by forjusticethunders | Mon Apr 25, 2016, 03:48 PM (1 replies)

The Intersectional Working Class Shall Be The Human Race (rough draft)

The 2016 Democratic Party primary has revealed some fundamental divisions in the left-wing progressive movement, divisions that, while not sufficient to prevent victory in November, will continue to be a sore spot going forward, with little sign of either side waning in power or influence. On one side, we have Bernie Sanders, championing a struggle against the class oppression represented by Wall Street, the banks and the entrenched political interests and a voice for disaffected movement progressives and millenials struggling with the uneven economic recovery, on the other side, we have Hillary Clinton, who represents the continuation of the power and strength of the "Obama coalition" - people of color, women, LGBT people, a demographic that has experienced significant oppression beyond class and economic issues, and appreciate Hillary Clinton's record of leadership and outreach despite various missteps over the years.

The question that emerges is, looking at the inability of the radical, class-oriented socialist (albeit a very moderate kind) of Sanders to gain a foothold among the Obama coalition that has become the base of the Democratic Party, what are economic progressives to do? Luckily, the failures of the Sanders campaign and the success of the Clinton campaign provides an answer that can potentially unify the two sides of the divide, expand the appeal of the message, and ultimately provide the political framework for radical change in America - a revolution if you will.


First off, the question must be asked: What is the "Working Class"? It's a question that seems easy to answer, but in reality it's complex. Obviously if one is a worker, they are part of the working class. But when it comes to identification, how many people identify themselves as a "worker" first? The purely economic view of identity fails to capture all the various aspects of oppression that are distinct from economics, and not taking these factors into regard is a recipe for failure. So how would one rectify this? Simply put, while class and economic disprivilege impacts everyone without said privilege, different groups experience class oppression differently. So while a class approach can and will appeal to different marginalized groups, the socialist progressive must be cognizant, understanding and articulate in how class intersects with specific marginalized people. For example, take Ferguson. The killing of Michael Brown, while a major sparkpoint for the BlackLivesMatter movement, was a single incident in an entire system of racialized oppression where the black residents of Ferguson were, according to the Department of Justice report on Ferguson, used as a funding source for the city - excessively ticketed, excessively policed, excessively fined, etc.

To quote the report:

The department found that Ferguson Municipal Court has a pattern or practice of:

•Focusing on revenue over public safety, leading to court practices that violate the 14th Amendment’s due process and equal protection requirements.

•Court practices exacerbating the harm of Ferguson’s unconstitutional police practices and imposing particular hardship upon Ferguson’s most vulnerable residents, especially upon those living in or near poverty. Minor offenses can generate crippling debts, result in jail time because of an inability to pay and result in the loss of a driver’s license, employment, or housing.

This is where class, economics and race intersect. The socialist progressive politician MUST be able to speak to these issues. Equal pay is both a class issue and a gender issue (women are often the first to be fired during cutbacks, are often passed over for promotion, are often relegated to low level, low wage jobs, particularly women of color). Class impacts, say, a gay person's ability to escape a homophobic family, or a trans person's ability to begin transition (a process that involves significant financial expenditure) or move out of a state like North Carolina.

The socialist progressive must be able to accurately and insightfully see how the economic intersects with the personal, and adroitly shift between articulating this insight on many issues, and then tie all of this together into an intersectional working class program that not only addresses the shared issues that the working class shares, but addresses the unique issues that the various marginalized groups of the working class share.

One issue that many leftists have is with communication and listening. All too often, people on the left are content to talk at people, or lecture, or preach about THEIR view of what the people they're supposedly serving need. It says a lot that a listening tour is treated with derision as opposed to encouraged. The socialist progressive who wishes to build an intersectional coalition must do the work of reaching out to their potential constituency, finding out what they want and need, finding out what issues they want the politician to amplify and work towards, and weave those issues into their platform. Furthermore, it is important not to denigrate the value of symbolic displays. When you make a speech and you're surrounded by a rainbow of POC, a diverse mix of men and women, and has LBGT representation, and even disabled persons, it sends a far different and more inclusive message than a speech showing you surrounded by largely white males. This should also be reflected in one's campaign staff - it shows a desire to listen to different voices (this especially applies if the politician is white and male, but even say, an African American person can't disregard Hispanic or Asian voices or representation). Diversity is strength. Finally, if a group criticizes you, or accuses you of being tone deaf, listen. Examine your policies and message and determine what about your message is causing that reactions. Having an ideology and message is important, but modifying that message based on feedback from the people you are fighting for is critical to creating an investment and connection from those people with you.

Organizing. This is what pulls people into your movement. But you need a coherent theory of organizing if you want to be successful. Now, let's say you're starting at the bottom - no national figures, not a lot of money, etc. How do you organize? This is where you apply the issues talked about previously. Get out into your local communities, find out what people are concerned about, find out how you can help, emphasize the potential power of the people to make change on a local level. Be responsive, be active, be involved. Furthermore, even if you are an insurgent or an outsider, it is critical to work with existing political structures, even if it requires compromise. Oftentimes, the existing local infrastructure already exists, it just needs an infusion of energy and passion to make it work to build local strength. And while internet/online organizing cannot replace boots on the ground, it CAN link local and state movements to similar ones in other states, and potentially "nationalize" certain issues (min wage, labor laws, LBGT rights) etc. Above all, do not fall into the trap of saying "both parties are the same" even if you have major disagreements with the Democrats - firstly, the Republicans are far worse no matter what, secondly, this line will alienate more people than it attracts, especially in states where the Democratic Party is the only defense for oppressed and marginalized people against a full on fascist onslaught, and finally, critical support (aka voting for the best option available) makes incumbent politicians more beholden to your movement - after all, a politician needs to listen to their voters to win.

Also critical to organizing is attracting non-voters, and registering them. Any political movement MUST have a robust and reliable apparatus for getting voters registered, especially in states with restrictive ID laws. Produce pamphlets, cards and other media that detail the process of getting registered, how to get the required ID, where and how to do it online, and depending on area, both in English and Spanish. Set up phonebanking campaigns through online media and if you have a lot of young volunteers, emphasize how important this is to the campaign. Encourage people to turn out for midterms even if you're not on the ballot. Get voters to see voting as an act of self-empowerment that is connected to their personal struggles and activism done on their behalf.

It's important to remember that this takes lots of time and a good amount of money and a good amount of legwork, and it won't see results right away. And in most cases, the socialist progressive will have to settle for changes short of their ideological leanings. But this cannot be seen as a defeat because firstly, incremental progress still will improve people's lives, which is why the socialist is in this fight to begin with. And furthermore, incremental progress often sets the stage for major progress. Civil Rights came about not just as large bills and court decisions, but due to a critical mass starting with the New Deal and building during World War II. LBGT rights started as a fringe, hated idea, growing through the decades into a massive expansions of both social acceptance and legal rights.

Negotiating and Compromise

Now that you've created a beachhead within a wider left-leaning movement, you will find that not everyone is as radical or as ambitious as you. You may have to work with people who are more conservative, more pragmatic/risk-averse, or may be intimidated by local or national or multinational business interests. For example, let's say you're running in a small Midwest precinct and you want to push through a minimum wage increase. One of the first things you need to do is talk with the local capitalist oppressors (speaking tongue in cheek of course) and at least hear what they'd be willing to accept. Obviously, if 15 dollars an hour will put them out of business, they're going to vigorously oppose you. But if you compromise and get 12.50 with either tax credits or subsidies then the resistance of all but the most ideological free marketeers may soften, even if they would have really wanted 10 dollars, 8 dollars or no minimum wage and the repeal of child labor laws (actually that last group are the people you probably won't be convincing). The key thing is that you've gotten positive change, you've created a positive working relationship with people who are technically your ideological adversaries, and you've built up your reputation in terms of "getting things done". It's that kind of stuff that will make that moderate conservative business owner think the following:

1: Hey, those pinko commies aren't so bad!
2: I'd vote for the Republican but they're running Trump again and this time he wants to build a wall around the entire planet to protect us from REAL aliens. Guess I'm sending 25 dollars to the socialist.

Again, obviously this guy is not your base, and you shouldn't be giving too much leeway, and there will obviously be times you need to say not no, but hell no, to some new tax cut or fracking permit. But being a good politician is knowing when to hold, and when to fold and when to bluff. The key is being willing to settle, but starting negotiations from as left a point as you can. Furthermore, having access to business means that you become a vector through which the voices of the marginalized can be heard by the powerful.

More on Marginalized People

Try to speak out on as many issues affecting marginalized persons as you can, both local and national. Depending on your profile, you may even want to go there in person. Establish a strong record of fighting those intersectional fights. If you're running in a state with a bathroom bill, protest it as much as you can, and don't be shy about going for a symbolic message if you simply don't have the power to stop it. Speak out on women's issues, LBGT issues, Hispanic issues, use access gained through political power to speak for the oppressed, etc etc. Sample issues:

Equal pay (especially when the pay differential stems from discriminatory attitudes like a bias against married/pregnant women, or a lack of promotion opportunities)
Access to treatment for trans and gender-nonconforming people especially via medical coverage
Anti-bullying and pro-tolerance education in schools

It was stated before but the composition of your staff is very important. POC, women, trans people, make them your constituency and reflect that in who you pick to advise you. This isn't pandering or machine politics or anything like that, this is showing that you value their voices and perspectives which you may have.
Posted by forjusticethunders | Mon Apr 25, 2016, 09:41 AM (18 replies)


Out of many reasons I ended up voting Hillary, that one is part of it. The campaign itself is in many ways a job interview for the presidency, and Bernie bombed it, over and over and over and over again. It's about hiring the right people (not perennial loser Devine and Reddit brogressive Jeff Weaver), formulating a strategy based on real data, communicating with voters on all levels and listening to their needs and concerns. Making everything focused on rallies and online excitement was a LOSING STRATEGY, one because rallies = / = votes, and two, rallies like that tend to create a false impression of where your campaign is at, and leads to thinking like "I'm losing because the process is rigged", not "I'm losing because I'm doing something wrong".

Of course, Bernie had some real, fundamental issues beyond just his campaign (ideological purity and selfishness, no real connections with POC from his time in Congress outside a few instances like the Florida emergency meeting, poor communicator on a personal level) but he could have overcome them, but he didn't, if anything it got worse. Bernie needed to tie Latinos at worst nationally if not outright win (for example he did well in the Mountain West among Latinos, but Texas and New York...ughhhhhhhh) and he needed to get AT LEAST 35-40% of the black vote (which I think was feasible for him based on polling if he wasn't so damn tone deaf on our issues so often especially since Hillary honestly wasn't doing much better, but she's built up so much political capital with African Americans because the Clintons were the light at the end of the tunnel after the Reagan/Bush years that it didn't sink her the same way it would have sunk another candidate, honestly I should write an OP wrt Bernie and the black vote).

Anyway, since Bernie is losing the primary essentially because he's losing black people 80-20 nationally, that was a failure in strategy. Yes he needed the early caucuses for momentum, but he was going to face a bloodbath on Super Tuesday and he needed to do as much damage control as possible, and he didn't.

Strategy also goes into preparedness. It's really amazing how he walked into that NYDN interview and didn't sound prepared. Yes it wasn't AS bad as it was portrayed, but in this day and age, you need to be detail oriented and concrete; that approach might win a GOP primary but not a Dem primary. A lot of us, myself included, have kind of bought into the whole "If Canada can do it, why can't we", and while we *can* do it, there needs to be a clear path, consideration of the political environment, sure tearing it down and starting over might be bette in the long run, but it's also dangerous and disruptive to real people and real lives, and that lack of consideration for that disruption seems to always bedevil leftist movements.

The nomination was there for a progressive challenger, but Bernie screwed it up, and what's worse, the "movement" is defensive and childish and refusing to accept that fact, which will make future progressive challenges more difficult.
Posted by forjusticethunders | Fri Apr 22, 2016, 03:43 PM (0 replies)

Donald Trump Thinks North Carolina Got It Wrong On Anti-LGBT Bathroom Bill

Source: Huffington Post

During a town hall on NBC, Trump said North Carolina’s anti-LGBT bathroom measure, which has hurt the state economically, wasn’t necessary and sought to address a problem that wasn’t really a big issue. The bill also prohibits local municipalities from passing additional measures to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination.

“North Carolina did something that was very strong and they’re paying a big price. There’s a lot of problems,” Trump said. “You leave it the way it is. There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom they feel is appropriate, there has been so little trouble, and the problem with what happened in North Carolina is the strife, and the economic punishment that they’re taking.”

Advocates of the North Carolina law, which only allows people to use the restroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate, say it is necessary to protect the privacy of children. As Trump pointed out, the suggestion that allowing transgender people to use the bathroom they want will jeopardize the safety of other people is a myth.

Trump’s position is a clear break from his rival for the Republican nomination, Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), who has called the North Carolina bill a “perfectly reasonable determination for the people to make.”

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-north-carolina-bathroom-bill_us_5718ca1ee4b0c9244a7aec8c

All I can say is what a fucking world.
Posted by forjusticethunders | Thu Apr 21, 2016, 12:03 PM (20 replies)

"Independent", "Democrat" and opting out versus opting into the system

Let's say I, justicethunders, is a socialist lefty who wants to see my views represented in national politics. I have 3 choices:

1: Not get involved
2: Get involved with a 3rd party with no chance of winning
3: Support the Democratic Party while trying to move them left but at the same time compromise with more conservative members of the party even if I vociferously disagree with them and debate with them.

Which option is the MOST likely to give me influence?

The problem is that a lot of people on the Left have this cartoon version of their own history where the people "rise up" and "overthrow the system" and everything was hunky dory. But this ignores the years and decades of underground, behind the scenes organizing, debate, persuasion and outreach that led up to those big conflagrations and big realignments. And yes, oftentimes it requires compromise, it requires some level of acceptance of the system even if you find it inherently unjust, because the endgoal is to help the people downtrodden by the system. Socialist and Social Democratic parties have been compromising with the Establishment for decades, often after life and death battles with said Establishment. Yeah, it doesn't jive with the cartoon revolutionary fantasy of overthrowing your ideological class enemies and shit. But when Von Bismarck implements national healthcare and welfare, or Dwight Eisenhower sends in the troops to integrate the school and his Republican Party are extolling unions, does it matter that the process wasn't as pure as you'd like? Yes you can try for a straight overthrow if things get bad enough, but things in America aren't nearly that bad yet, and revolutions have a lot of unintended consequences that you want to avoid if you possibly can. But if the Left opts out of the "corrupt" system (instead of say, trying to make it less corrupt), stops trying to struggle at the small and medium scale level, and gets lost in symbolism, then that clears space for other forces - aka corporate forces - to take over. The DLC filled the vacuum that unions and other legacy left institutions left behind in order to continue winning elections. Thus, the rise of the Third Way in the face of Republican dominance.

Ultimately, there is a large and powerful movement for a more progressive framing of society. I support this reframing but it's not going to happen through a political overthrow, not because of "corruption" but because many normal, everyday people struggling in this system see the Democratic Party as their lone bulwark against rightist oppression, despite the many flaws and shortcomings of the Establishment, and the wishes and aspirations of those people must be respected. The forces of the Left, represented by Bernie, failed to do so, and spectacularly so. But what CAN be done is, through negotiation, respectful debate, compromise and mutual understanding, the party can be moved, but it won't happen if progressive forces opt out of the process or decide that a fascist Trump/Cruz presidency should fall on the heads of the most oppressed people in society for having the temerity to not vote for the favored progressive candidate. Yes, it sucks to settle for incrementalism but if we had settled for incrementalism in 2000 or earlier than we'd be a lot farther along in 2016.
Posted by forjusticethunders | Wed Apr 20, 2016, 03:17 PM (27 replies)

When's the last time he's actually *been* to E. 26th Street?

Maybe that will drive it home that you need to show up more than once every few decades if you want to gain grassroots support from people who you want to vote for you.
Posted by forjusticethunders | Wed Apr 20, 2016, 04:11 AM (0 replies)
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