Tag Archives: left-wing

The Left steps across a line and embraces political violence

Summary:  People on the Left have become disoriented by Trump’s win, and become ever more dysfunctional. Now they take a big step to embrace political violence, from reformers of America to its enemies. It’s a small step over the line. Unless they rethink and pull back, expect more serious violence coming. It might be back to the future, back to the violence of the 1960’s and 1970’s — which contributed to the start of the Left’s long decline into political irrelevance.

“Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot of blowing up the White House, but I know that this won’t change anything.”
— Madonna at the Women’s March. Trump is fortunate that she didn’t calculate that it would change things! Transcript here; video here.

"No Violence" by shit2009

“No Violence” by shit2009.

America’s bien pensant leftists have gone quite bonkers at the rise of Trump. Before the election they condemned Trump for saying he might refuse to accept the election’s results as legitimate, and for failure to condemn political violence (some of which was by his supporters; most was by the left against his supporters). Now they refuse to accept the election’s results as legitimate (on the flimsiest of evidence) and advocate personal violence against those who disagree with them. Both are potentially destabilizing for the Republic; the latter especially so.

The latter is displayed and explained at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. Richard Spencer, a white supremacist, was sucker-punched by a good leftist — which they applauded. Daniel Nexen (assoc. prof of government at Georgetown) wrote “How is this Even a Thing?“, a tepid condemnation of “some dude {who} sucker-punched an asshole racist neo-Nazi (or post-Nazi or whatever) who was giving an interview.” The comments were mostly full Stalinist, cheering street violence against the enemy of the people.

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The Left sees President Trump and goes mad

Summary: Sometime in 2015 the Left caught fire. This fire still burns hot, with a flame pleasing to the Right. It shows that the Left is lost in their delusions, and will offer only loud but ineffective resistance to Trump.

The Death Of Humanity

Good liberals look at the American people and see themselves (i.e., the good and the wise). They see the loyal minorities. They see the deplorables. It’s a political vision incompatible with winning.

“But I think there’s an explanation {for Trump’s win} that runs more true to the facts and human psychology. These voters want to divorce themselves of responsibility for doing anything for the folks falling down the ladder. “They’re f**king assholes.”

— Once posted at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. I don’t see it now. Perhaps it was deleted.

Benjamin Franklin in the film 1776 gave a good reply to this.

“These men, no matter how much we may disagree with them, are not ribbon clerks to be ordered about – they are proud, accomplished men …And whether you like them or not, they and the people they represent will be part of this new nation that YOU hope to create. Now, either learn how to live with them, or pack up and go home!”

Many good Leftists explain the election results as a result of American’s racism. They have their own values, which they wish to impose on America.

“Speaking only for myself, I’m committed to open borders as a moral position rather than an economic one. So it doesn’t have a lot of relevance in discussions about the relevant economics.”
— Comment posted at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. I don’t see it now. Perhaps it was deleted.

How many immigrants would the US have with open borders? Could we culturally or economically absorb them without massive damage? No problem! Being a leftist means never having to say you’re sorry.

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A new era of protests by the Left: recruiting voters for Trump

Summary: America’s Left has suffered large defeats in US elections, but began a new era of public protests. Occupy Wall Street, Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, and others. Have they found the path back to political power, or have they turned onto a dead end road? Four more years of this and a Trump win in 2020 will provide the answer.

Protests

The New Left at work: blocking traffic as a protest tactic

Protesters Chain Themselves to Upper Level of George Washington Bridge,
Blocking Traffic”, 16 October 2016.

The Left has found a new way to alienate millions. Not quite on the scale of idiocy as the 1960’s tactics of blowing up buildings and encouraging inner city people to burn down their neighborhoods — but still an impressively counter-productive way to recruit voters for Trump. The WaPo gives a typically one-sided look at the latest tactic of the Left, “Why highways have become the center of civil rights protest“.

“‘When people disrupt highways and streets, yes, it is about disrupting business as usual,’ said Charlene Carruthers, an activist in Chicago and the national director of Black Youth Project 100. ‘It’s also about giving a visual that folks are willing to put their bodies on the line to create the kind of world we want to live in.’

“…Researchers at the Rudin Center for Transportation at New York University, in a forthcoming study, counted more than 1,400 protests in nearly 300 U.S. and international cities related to the Black Lives Matter movement from November 2014 through May 2015. Half or more of the protests in that time in Saint Louis, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., wound up shutting down transportation infrastructure. ‘We systematically show that the political protest today is now almost totally focused on transportation systems, whether it’s a road, a bridge, in some cases a tunnel — rather than buildings,’ said Mitchell Moss, the director of the center and one of the authors of the study.

“what’s different today may be the occupation of urban interstates for the purpose of bringing them to a standstill. Protesters in Selma, Moss argues, wanted to use the Edmund Pettus Bridge — on their way to Montgomery — not block it.”

Some sane voices on the Left have spoken out against this madness. Such as Wes Messamore at the Independent Voters Project: “Let’s All Agree On This: Stop Blocking Traffic for Protests!“.

“There’s a lot that American voters may be divided over, but there’s one issue that hopefully we can all get together on and embrace a nonpartisan, obvious, and sane position. Demonstrators who have been blocking traffic on streets and highways as part of your protests: please stop! Stop the madness now.

…Even when traffic obstruction doesn’t have dangerous or deadly results, it is so aimlessly destructive of people’s time and interests, so incredibly inconsiderate of other people who might even be on the same side of a political issue as the protesters. The road is not an appropriate place to protest elections and policies. People don’t drive on roads for a political purpose. When most of these protests happened, most of the people on the road were just trying to get home and be with their loved ones.

What’s happening with protests?

I wonder if American’s have lost their tolerance for mobs chanting in the street. Rather than gaining public support for an issue, protests might alienate the public. See the ease with which the government gained support for the brutal crackdowns on the Occupy camps. I don’t know why this has happened. The Left’s widespread speech suppression on US colleges — restricting conservatives’ freedom to protest, even speak (one of countless examples here) — makes their own use of mass protests look hypocritical.

Our increased tolerance for government surveillance might indicate a growing loss of support for basic civil liberties. The war on drugs has massively eroded civil liberties. The war on terror began a second stage of erosion, as tools developed for overseas use — or for use against domestic terrorists — become “normalized” and routinely used. For example, the Patriot Act allowed Federal agents to burglarize homes — quietly break in and steal whatever they believe might be evidence. They call these black bag operations “sneak and peaks“.

The next phase of mass protests: not just suppression, but prohibition

Expect to see more of these, as reported by the Detroit News.

“Republicans in the Michigan House voted late Wednesday to make it easier for courts to shut down ‘mass picketing’ demonstrations and fine protesters who block entrances to businesses, private residences or roadways. Under the legislation, which Democrats decried as unconstitutional prior to the 57-50 vote, individuals who return to a disruptive demonstration already blocked by a court could face fines of up to $1,000 a day. Unions or other organizing groups could be fined up to $10,000 each day.

“Michigan law already prohibits certain forms of mass picketing, but sponsoring Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland, said a spate of recent incidents make it apparent that ‘the current penalties are not sufficient to deter already-illegal activity.’”

Protest in Iran’s 2009 “green revolution“. They failed.

2009 protest in Iran's Green revolution,

The future of protests

Protests probably still have a role in building mass movements, if done with skill and discipline. That means forsaking the trendy leaderless style — and cosplay. Or perhaps protests no longer work, replaced by sophisticated modern marketing methods and social media.

What about the recent protests?

The protests at police killings — in Ferguson, by Black Lives Matter, have had little visible political effect. Ditto for the Occupy protests. Large resources concentrated on a small area can have a useful effect — as at Standing Rick. But I doubt this will have any substantial effect on either public opinion or US policy. If so, it will have burned scarce resources on the Left for little gain. The Right has already developed an effective response: privatizing Indian land.

A small example of the Left’s bizarre thinking

See this advice from the Left about how to use babies as props in your protests still & keep them safe! Next, a look at the Left’s use of tactic that alienates millions of people, fast and easy.

Even Little Kids Are Protesting Trump”  by Maria Luisa Tucker at AlterNet.

“Here’s How to Keep Them Safe on the Frontlines.
Activist moms explain how to protest with your babies in tow.”

No, the babies are not “protesting Trump”. The article opens with a moment of good sense, and then goes bonkers.

“Martha, a Brooklyn mom and activist, wants to take her 16-month-old daughter to the Women’s March on Washington on January 21 , but her husband doesn’t like the idea. ‘He worries that my daughter could get hurt in some way: tear gas, overcrowding, etc. and that we could never forgive ourselves if something unexpected happened,’ she says. ‘I understand his point, and honestly, it makes me feel like a bad mom for wanting to go.’

…”It’s also a teaching opportunity for parents and their kids. Sarah DiGregorio, a Brooklyn cookbook author, will be bringing her 2-year-old daughter to the D.C. march. “I want to instill in her the idea that it’s important to speak up and organize, that she shouldn’t shrink from those things.”

Good luck teaching her two-year old daughter about the importance of protesting!

For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about protests, about ways to reform America’s politics, and especially these…

Posts about OWS and the Tea Party: Why OWS was another futile peasants’ protest.  Lessons from the failure of OWS, and its lasting legacy.  OWS & the Tea Party are alike, both trying to save America through cosplay.  How do protests like the TP and OWS differ from effective political action?

The protesters at Ferguson might have won, but chose to lose.  The protests in NYC repeat those in Ferguson, and probably will end the same – as wins for the 1%.

About the mechanics of protests

See the Left’s mad response to Team Trump (they’re plutocrats, not fascists)

Summary:  How much Trump accomplishes will depend in part by how effectively the Left opposes him. A few on the Left have seen the essential element for success, but overall their early responses suggest that the Left will remain dysfunctional. Perhaps a few years in the political wilderness will bring new insights to them. But they are some hopeful signs out there…

The Left’s response to Trump is fantasy, making effective resistance impossible.

Trump as Hitler

To see the Left’s (broadly speaking) response to Trump, look at the social scientists writing at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. It suggests that the Left will be incapable of mounting an effective defense. For a start, there is refusal to accept the election result (as they predicted Trump would if he lost).

“In other words, by taking full advantage of various combinations of judicial skullduggery, journalistic malpractice, and foreign intrigue the GOP has pretty much flat-out stolen two of the last five presidential elections …”
— “The fraud against America” by Paul Campos (Prof of Law, U Co – Boulder).

How will they follow-up? By doubling-down on the tactics that failed in the election. Such as accusing Trump of being another Hitler (as was Bush Jr. and Obama). See “Do Something” by Erik Loomis (asst prof of history, U RI).

“We have two choices in the Trump era. You can fight back. Or you can live your everyday life and acquiesce. People have long wondered how the German people let Hitler take over their nation. We are living how it happened. Too many people just decided to put their heads down and go on with their daily lives. You must not do that.”

I respect Professor Loomis and his work, but this comparison of Trump with Hitler is absurd for two reasons. First, Hitler did not just walk into Berlin. He took power in 1932 after 12 years of development. The Nazi party was founded in 1920. Hitler staged the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923 and published Mein Kampf in 1925. This is unlike anything in Trump’s history.

Second, there is little basis for these claims. Experts have debunked claims that Trump is like Hitler and that he is a fascist. Trump’s appointees are neither revolutionaries nor fascists. They have standard conventional backgrounds and typical conservative (often right-wing) views; most are either rich, CEOs, generals, or elected or appointed officials of the Federal government. They look nothing like the experienced revolutionaries that Hitler brought with him into the Chancellor’s office.

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The Left goes hysterical over Trump, giving him a free ride as President

Summary: The Left’s hysterical reaction to Trump’s win is good news for him, since doubling down on what failed in the election eliminates them as an effective opposition. It’s bad news for America, allowing Trump enact unpopular far-right policies and rolling back years or decades of hard won progress.

Odd that these fears didn’t defeat Trump.

Donald Trump's nuclear threat

We face a new stresses as Trump moves into the White House, one of America’s least qualified Presidents. The Left has gone hysterical, which is bad news for America — guaranteeing that Trump will have little effective opposition.

For example, I respect the professors who write at Guns, Lawyers, and Money — but they’ve lost their minds. Erik Loomis (asst prof history, U RI) — whom I greatly respect — says he expects to be put in a concentration camp (e.g., here, here, and here). Meanwhile, the posts at LGM (and even more so the commenters) try to outdo themselves in predictions of the fascist era coming soon — despite the experts who say the comparison is weak or bogus. Trump’s statements in 2015-16 are not remotely equivalent to those of Hitler in 1930-31.

Professor Loomis also says “I don’t actually have confidence that we will have a functional democracy by 2020.” Ezra Klein gives us a similar, and equally unfounded, warning: “Imagine if he were to refuse to accept the outcome of the next election once he is the president, and after he has appointed loyalists to control America’s security apparatus.” Their usual evidence is that Trump wouldn’t accept the election outcome, much as many on the Left don’t accept Trump’s win.

For another example of the Left’s disinterest in analysis about the election, let alone learning from it, see this election “post-mortem” by artist Beth Spencer at LGM. My favorite part is her anger that “We live in a country awash in misogyny–even lots of women don’t give a shit about the kind of lechery and disrespect Trump exhibited.” Those darned women, not thinking like feminists want them to! (Even in the new order women are told how to think and behave.)

The rise of Trump and the Left’s reaction provides more evidence that there is as yet no “reality based community” in American. Until that changes, I doubt reform is possible. Even effective opposition to Trump might be impossible.

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An anthropologist looks at the narrow choices we’re offered in Campaign 2016

Summary: From the sturm and drang about Campaign 2016 we might believe it offered us a wide choice of candidates and policies. Much of Trump’s platform is standard right-wing doctrine (e.g., bomb the Middle East, tax cuts for the rich). Clinton offers standard doctrines of the center-left Goldman-neocon-neoliberal alliance. Here anthropologist Maximilian Forte looks at Sanders, representing the half-heads. Let’s start soon to do better in 2020.

Halfheads

Half-Heads: A Dominant Force in US Politics

By Maximilian C. Forte from Zero Anthropology.
Reposted with his generous permission.

Half-head”: this signifies a way of approaching problems that involves efficient thinking, where efficiency comes from an intensely selective focus. A half-headed approach could be a combination of unspoken or unconscious interests, the accumulation of taboos around certain subjects, the desire to appeal to select audiences, the product of an ideology — some or all of these, and perhaps a few more. While a half-head can produce answers quickly, the answers are always half-answers at best.

While the imagery produced for this essay implies mockery, and suggests that a half-head is somehow brain damaged or deficient, the objective here is not to laugh at half-heads. In fact, if having a half-head is a problem, then it is a fairly ordinary and widespread problem, where most of us are half-heads, at least half the time. The objective is instead to point out how the half-head dominates US political discourse, possibly more now than previously (say, at Eisenhower’s time). A half-head will only give us half the story. While one might think that two half-heads are as good as one, so that all we have to do is add half-answers together, the solution is a little more complicated than that. First, let’s describe the problem in specific instances.

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An anthropologist looks at the empty identity politics of America’s Left

Summary: Here is the last chapter of anthropologist Maximilian Forte’s series about America’s New Victorianism. It explains many of the otherwise baffling aspects of Campaign 2016. This essay is worth a ton of journalists’ reporting about the sound bite circus that dominates the news.

Queen Victoria and family by Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1846)

Queen Victoria and family by Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1846). It could be a modern campaign portrait.

The Working Class, Identity Politics and New Victorian History

Against the Labouring Classes: Identity Politics in the New Victorian Age.
By Maximilian C. Forte. Part 4 of 4.
From Zero Anthropology.
Reposted with his generous permission.

The New Victorianism serves to not only divert politics into issues of morality and identity, it works to obfuscate the bases of increasing inequality. Focusing on the Democratic Party, and its abandonment of the working class over the past forty years, Adolph Reed Jr. (professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania) would appear to have seen from early on how these issues are linked — though he does not use the phrase “New Victorianism,” he describes it in other words. Speaking of Democrats and liberals in general, he wrote of,

“their capacity for high-minded fervor for the emptiest and sappiest platitudes; their tendencies to make a fetish of procedure over substance and to look for technical fixes to political problems; their ability to screen out the mounting carnage in the cities they inhabit as they seek pleasant venues for ingesting good coffee and scones; their propensity for aestheticizing other people’s oppression and calling that activism; their reflex to wring their hands and look constipated in the face of conflict; and, most of all, their spinelessness and undependability in crises”.

— “Liberals, I Do Despise” by Adolph Reed, Jr. in The Village Voice, 12 November 1996.

Twenty years ago he criticized “their refusal to face up to the class realities of American politics” and how liberals “avoid any linkage of inequality with corporations’ use of public policy to drive down living standards and enhance their plunder”. Instead, when it comes to the marginalized within the US they opt for a maudlin “save-the-babies politics” that demonizes working-class parents, much the same way that the right-wing has done. He concluded that liberal politics are “motivated by the desire for proximity to the ruling class and a belief in the basic legitimacy of its power and prerogative. It is a politics which, despite all its idealist puffery and feigned nobility, will sell out any allies or egalitarian objectives in pursuit of gaining the Prince’s ear” (Reed, 1996).

Reed’s critique later expanded beyond the confines of the Democratic party, moving to include left activists and the labour movement, raising an issue that I recently touched upon when I wrote that, “it now seems clear that every single sector and shade of the US left has made some sort of peace with neoliberalism, with the basic structure of the status quo, from which their hopes hang even if by the thinnest of humanitarian, cosmopolitan and reformist threads”. This is how Reed argued the point…

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