by William Skink
Man, I hate it when I’m an unwitting dupe of the fascists. If you didn’t know it yet, let me be the first to tell you Black Lives Matter is a movement funded by billionaire George Soros who is obviously using these black puppets who can’t think for themselves to take down Bernie for Hillary.
While that angle is certainly plausible, considering Soros does use his billions to destabilize other countries, what’s more likely is the two woman who stormed the stage in Seattle are opportunists co-opting BLM to get attention for their own message:
According to a group familiar with BLM operations on the ground in Seattle, Johnson and fellow protester Mara Jacqueline are “opportunists” from a group called Outside Agitators 206 who co-opted the BLM label — an easy thing to do considering that BLM is essentially a leaderless movement.
And what is that message? Here is part of the message from their press release:
Bernie’s arrival in Seattle is largely significant in the context of the state of emergency Black lives are in locally as well as across America. The Seattle Police Department has been under federal consent decree for the last three years and has been continually plagued by use-of-force violations and racist scandals amongst their rank and file. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has refused to push any reform measures for police accountability, not even the numerous recommendations of his self-appointed Community Police Commission. The Seattle School District suspends Black students at a rate six times higher than their white counterparts, feeding Black children into the school-to-prison pipeline. King County has fought hard to push through a plan to build a $210 million new youth jail to imprison these children, amid intense community criticism and dissent. The Central District, a historically Black neighborhood in Seattle, has undergone rapid gentrification over the past few decades, with Black people being displaced from the only neighborhood that we could legally live in until just years ago. While white men profit off of the legalization of marijuana, our prisons are still filled with Black people who are over-incarcerated for drug offenses.
This city is filled with white progressives, which is why Bernie Sanders’ camp was obviously expecting a friendly and consenting audience for today’s campaign visit. The problem with Sanders’, and with white Seattle progressives in general, is that they are utterly and totally useless (when not outright harmful) in terms of the fight for Black lives. While we are drowning in their liberal rhetoric, we have yet to see them support Black grassroots movements or take on any measure of risk and responsibility for ending the tyranny of white supremacy in our country and in our city. This willful passivity while claiming solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement in an effort to be relevant is over. White progressive Seattle and Bernie Sanders cannot call themselves liberals while they participate in the racist system that claims Black lives. Bernie Sanders will not continue to call himself a man of the people, while ignoring the plight of Black people. Presidential candidates will not win Black votes without putting out an explicit criminal justice reform package. As was said at the Netroots action, presidential candidates should expect to be shut down and confronted every step along the way of this presidential campaign. Black people are in a state of emergency. Lines have been drawn in the sand. You are either fighting continuously and measurably to protect Black life in America, or you are a part of the white supremacist system that we will tear down in the liberation of our people.
Is this a part of a divide and conquer strategy to benefit the plutocrats? Is exacerbating racial tensions designed to distract from the class issues Bernie Sanders has made the focus of his campaign? Do they truly see Bernie as a threat? I mean, he is now leading in New Hampshire.
Personally, I think presidential politics is a waste of time. I tend to agree with Paul Street’s assessment of why movements shouldn’t get bogged down by presidential electoral politics. Here is an excerpt from his article Why Bernie Sanders is No Great White Hope for Black America:
…there’s a big difference between assisting a great grassroots struggle for social justice like the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and running for the White House under the banner of the corporate and imperial Democratic Party. The first form of activism is a worthy commitment. The second is not. It encourages people to link their hopes for progressive change and social justice to a reactionary political party with a long and deserved history as the graveyard of social movements. It channels popular anger and excitement into a dead, money-soaked political and elections system and its staggered, quadrennial, highly personalized and mass-marketed corporate media-ted candidate-centered electoral spectacles – as if that’s the real and only politics that matters.
The development of grassroots social movements strong enough that they can’t be ignored by concentrated wealth, privilege, and power is far more significant. As Howard Zinn explained seven years ago, criticizing the “election madness” that had “egulf[ed] the entire society, including the left” in the year of Brand Obama’s ascendancy, “Historically, government, whether in the hands of Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, has failed its responsibilities, until forced [to act in accord with popular needs] by direct action: sit-ins and Freedom Rides for the rights of black people, strikes and boycotts for the rights of workers, mutinies and desertions of soldiers in order to stop a war. Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.”
Don’t get me wrong, I think it would be great if Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in the primary battle, but even if Bernie Sanders were to win the presidency, not even an avowed socialist in the White House is going to be able to reverse the destruction of late-stage crony capitalism. More likely, a Sanders presidency would keep American foreign policy tied to the psychotic state of Israel and the western war machine chugging toward a suicidal confrontation with Russia. At least that is what Bernie Sanders’ record suggests.
The office of president has power, but there are other centers that are easily seen to have more power – Wall Street banks, arms manufacturers, the military, AHIP and PhRMA for example, ahve all run roughshod over Washington these past decades. A quick perusal of history easily shows how those sectors exert influence to overcome executive power when pushed. Here’s an interesting take, however:
Back in the early sixties, the steel industry raised prices over the objections of President Kennedy. He objective, and using executive power canceled military contracts with those manufacturers that raised prices. He is, as far as I can tell, the last executive to exercise the power of the office in that manner.
Best evaluation of Bernie and his proposals. Sorry for the length but it’s worth every minute. Don’t expect the true devotees to view it but sums socialism up nicely. Free stuff isn’t free.
I listened to the first thirty minutes, Swede, taking notes. My notes were basically those things he said that needed to be challenged, like the percentages he used for who pays what in our tax system, all wrong. Then I realized that this is the problem – his ideas are presented in a vacuum. There’s no one there to call bullshit on him.
Our system of jurisprudence depends on the adversarial system to function – prosecutors present evidence, but then defense attorneys attack the evidence and present their own. Ideally, out of that system, comes some measure of truth.
If listening to someone you know you are going to agree with do a one-hour monologue is how you learn, then you are missing out on the most important part of learning, not ideas, but rather conflict of ideas.
Anyway, back in the 70’s I read a long, long article in National Review by Richard Brookhiser, and I just thought it was marvelous. What I needed at that time was not a Brookhiser monologue, but a debate, him on one side, and those he attacks on the other. But National Review would never allow that.
I also thought wow, Molydiex is still spouting the same stuff today that Brookhiser was in the 1970s! But that’s what happens when you live in a vacuum. You never grow.
Some time give us a video of a debate among intelligent people who disagree on these matters. It would be far more useful.
PS Swede, I do not claim to know that Molydiex is wrong about things. I am just saying ideas need to be fleshed out in the heat of reasoned exchange. I do not know enough to know if, at the end of the day, his ideas are wrong or right.
Swede? Swede? Swede? Why you always disappear when someone calls you out?
How can you argue with someone who believes a couple million women and infants were killed by Americans in Iraq and no one died in the planes that hit the twin towers?
Besides you got Rob to play with.
You wanted verification on some percentages? I just read this earlier has over twenty supporting footnotes/links.
To answer your baseless taunts is a diversion. You’re dodging the issue. You want to talk about that stuff (you don’t), you know where I live. I’ve got evidence. You have only belief. Try me.
You brought to us a one-hour video of a man in a vacuum engaging in an unchallenged monologue, and suggested it would be good for us. I suggested that information presented in an adversarial forum has far more value. Your guy has to get out and take some heat. Has he ever done that?
You fell back on ad hominem.
When’s the last time you actually watched or read something you did not know in advance you’d agree with? September 23, the year of neverever?
“verification on some percentages?” That’s not verification. That’s just more co firm action bias by The Swede.
You’re an incorrigible parrot. Some time I’d like to know your own thoughts in any subject.
“Confirmation bias” that should read, your trademark.
Bernie Sanders is a senator from Vermont. Senators make lousy Presidents, in Rome, in the US, any senator, anywhere. How’s that for an ovely broad statement with no dissenting view?
Sorry, just checking something.
Mr Skink,, I appreciate your much better researched and nuanced piece up top.
But yet again, i want to emphasize why I see this particular Presidential race as unique. Bernie has said that after he wins (and he’s still quite a long shot, but far less of one than a couple of months ago) he will invite an army of political activists to march on Washington and demand the change we need. He plans to bring a million people in to demand change. He is running for pres, and he’s fronting a movement simultaneously.
Also, I think Bernie is fearless. He knows he could be taken out at any time, yet he’s a vigorous old man who knows he’s going to die anyway in 20 to 30 years and would rather seize the day and bring about some real meaningful change,
I see it as the organizing opportunity of a life time, if you are at all into that kind of thing. With both an election and a movement there are civil spaces available like never before. And both tracks feed each other.
There is a very big pent up demand for Bernie’s message. of single payer health insurance, free college, a 15 dollar minimum wage, racial equality, police reform, cut the pentagon. put people to work end the war on drugs. There’s enough needs doing, that’s for sure.
His odds have increased from zero to slight but if he keeps going in the same direction that he’s been going since he started, then things could get interesting.
And his reciprocal use of the Democratic Party for ballot access is interesting too. The Dems get public interest, increased activity, and some down ballot help, Bernie gets ballot access which is critical for electoral politics which is critical for movement politics. because you can organize the movement around the campaign. So this whole thing is a lot bigger than just if Bernie makes it to the White House. But if he does make it he will make it with a political movement.
There is a very big pent up demand for Bernie’s message. …
This has always been the case. The leadership of the two parties has always rested far to the “right” of the American public. Attempts to work through the Democratic Party are always thwarted in the end. It is the bottling-up mechanism for progressive politics, where movements go to die.
Generally, when a true progressive, say Dennis Kucinich, makes a run, he is ignored, snubbed, and polls, which tend to be self-fulfilling, don’t mention his name. (He was usually placed far off to the end of the panel in “debates,” and not asked any questions perhaps save one perfunctory one. He finally spoke up one time in a CNN debate hosted by Larry King, saying “Larry, it’s all right to talk to me,” or something like that.) (In the end, poor Dennis was stripped of his congressional seat. This is why I suspect he was genuine.)
Now comes Bernie, who gets major news mention and features prominently in polls, giving him name recognition and suggesting to people they should support him, self-fulfilling. He benefits huge from power of suggestion,usually reserved for insiders. This suggests power behind him, which regular progressives do not have. Maybe he’s genuine and a tool, but I cannot help but think he serves some purpose beyond his own candidacy. But Bernie’s issues are always there, and never addressed. That they are now, in the midst of another Bush/Clinton show, is odd.
No, it hasn’t always been the case. Ask Dr Richard Wolff.
Americans self identify as far more conservative than their support of issues would suggest. That’s very true.
I like Kucinich. I like Sanders. Is that a problem?
Deciding who is pure and who is evil based on some randomly applied criteria is meaningless. Your “If they are alive they are CIA” test is stupid. It’s also interesting that since you are alive, and haven’t been barred from word press, that you haven’t conclude that you are a tool. I guess there are always exceptions to the rule. 🙂
I think of myself as conservative. I even know what the word entails, and know that there are but a few true conservatives in this land. There are right wingers, extreme right wingers, and Nazis. Within that narrow band, somehow we describe people as “liberal” and “conservative,” an absurdity.
Regarding specific issues, aside from ideological labels, the CFR of Chicago has long polled the American public on issues, for benefit of its members, and found that the public is consistently to the left of the leaders. I would link you to that, but you can find it on your own as well. I take that as strong evidence, as CFR in doing the polling is not attempting to influence public opinion, merely to measure it. Public opinion does not affect public policy, but does affect perception management techniques.
Political polls, as we are seeing right now, are for two unstated purposes in addition to any real ones: Name recognition and suggestion. When a poll tells us someone is “surging” in the polls, that only happens because the polls are suggesting to people that they surge.
I do not have a sensor that read Bernie’s character. I did listen to him for years on Thom Hartmann every Friday, and found him distinctly unsatisfying, having words but not music, if you understand what I mean. But that does not mean he is not genuine. He just did not resonate with me.
Your characterization of my views regarding CIA are ill-considered, as I am not knee-jerk in that regard, and only search to learn what is true. It’s a hall of mirrors. I have learned more than I ever set out to learn in these past decades, and indeed feel that I would be better off had I just stayed unread.
What I do see is this: It is patently clear that our political system does not solve problems. Elections have no affect on public policy. Obama turned out to be Bush. And yet, as with Charlie Brown and Lucy holding a football, once every two or four years, people lose their sensibilities and jump right into it again, as if the outcome this time will be different. It’s about personal validation more than anything else, our political system acting as a religion, a tiny voice in our heads saying “Jesus loves you.”
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — `Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance, 1841
“I have certain rules I live by. My first rule I don’t believe anything the government tells me. and I don’t take very seriously the media, or the press, in this country.”
George Carlin. Pretty consistent, having rules and all …
Are you shapeshifting?
Let’s just say that I think both Carlin and Emerson were great men. Isn’t it odd that neither are likely misunderstood?
Yes, shapeshifting again.
Ever watch the Bourne Legacy? They use an animatronic wolf in a scene, seamlessly interwoven with real and half wolves. Amazing cinema.
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