Steve Pollock

Since 1963.

Category: Politics

‘Splaining Things to the Kids

A Democratic Socialist explains «what Democratic Socialism actually is»: Not just a return to the halcyon days of the New Deal.

“I’m a staff writer at the socialist magazine Jacobin and a member of DSA, and here’s the truth: In the long run, democratic socialists want to end capitalism. And we want to do that by pursuing a reform agenda today in an effort to revive a politics focused on class hierarchy and inequality in the United States. The eventual goal is to transform the world to promote everyone’s needs rather than to produce massive profits for a small handful of citizens.

“Democratic socialists share goals with New Deal liberals. But they want to go further.

“Pooling society’s resources to meet people’s basic needs is a tenet of social democracy, one that’s been advocated domestically by much of the labor movement and many of its political supporters among New Deal and post-New Deal liberals. This is a vision we share. But we also want more than FDR did. A robust welfare state in an economy that’s still organized around capitalists’ profits can mitigate the worst inequalities for a while, but it’s at best a temporary truce between bosses and workers — and one that the former will look to scrap as soon as they can.”




There is brilliance «here» by Matthew Stewart:

“Here’s another fact of life in West Egg: Someone is always above you. In Gatsby’s case, it was the old-money people of East Egg. In the Colonel’s case, it was John D. Rockefeller Jr. You’re always trying to please them, and they’re always ready to pull the plug.
“The source of the trouble, considered more deeply, is that we have traded rights for privileges. We’re willing to strip everyone, including ourselves, of the universal right to a good education, adequate health care, adequate representation in the workplace, genuinely equal opportunities, because we think we can win the game. But who, really, in the end, is going to win this slippery game of escalating privileges?”
The Atlantic

And this:

“In Trump, the age of unreason has at last found its hero. The ‘self-made man’ is always the idol of those who aren’t quite making it. He is the sacred embodiment of the American dream, the guy who answers to nobody, the poor man’s idea of a rich man. It’s the educated phonies this group can’t stand. With his utter lack of policy knowledge and belligerent commitment to maintaining his ignorance, Trump is the perfect representative for a population whose idea of good governance is just to scramble the eggheads. When reason becomes the enemy of the common man, the common man becomes the enemy of reason.
Did I mention that the common man is white? That brings us to the other side of American-style resentment. You kick down, and then you close ranks around an imaginary tribe. The problem, you say, is the moochers, the snakes, the handout queens; the solution is the flag and the religion of your (white) ancestors. According to a survey by the political scientist Brian Schaffner, Trump crushed it among voters who ‘strongly disagree’ that ‘white people have advantages because of the color of their skin,’ as well as among those who ‘strongly agree’ that ‘women seek to gain power over men.’ It’s worth adding that these responses measure not racism or sexism directly, but rather resentment. They’re good for picking out the kind of people who will vehemently insist that they are the least racist or sexist person you have ever met, even as they vote for a flagrant racist and an accused sexual predator.”

And then he brings it home:

“No one is born resentful. As mass phenomena, racism, xenophobia, anti-intellectualism, narcissism, irrationalism, and all other variants of resentment are as expensive to produce as they are deadly to democratic politics. Only long hours of television programming, intelligently manipulated social-media feeds, and expensively sustained information bubbles can actualize the unhappy dispositions of humanity to the point where they may be fruitfully manipulated for political gain. Racism in particular is not just a legacy of the past, as many Americans would like to believe; it also must be constantly reinvented for the present. Mass incarceration, fearmongering, and segregation are not just the results of prejudice, but also the means of reproducing it.”

Where then shall we go thither?

“The United States, to be clear, is hardly the most egregious offender in the annals of human inequality. The European nations from which the colonists of North America emigrated had known a degree of inequality and instability that Americans would take more than a century to replicate. Whether in ancient Rome or the Near East, Asia or South America, the plot remains the same. In The Great Leveler, the historian Walter Scheidel makes a disturbingly good case that inequality has reliably ended only in catastrophic violence: wars, revolutions, the collapse of states, or plagues and other disasters. It’s a depressing theory. Now that a third wave of American inequality appears to be cresting, how much do we want to bet that it’s not true?”

If I have quoted rather liberally, it is to be sure because the piece deserves to be quoted liberally across the land. Read the whole thing.

Reg Dwight Gets Hitched

High-profile celebrity civil commitment ceremony: check. Quaint British setting (the same location as Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles’ ceremony in April): check. Crowds of paparazzi: check. Almost as many everyday well-wishers: check.

Only, the couple is Elton John and David Furnish, and for some reason, in the UK (and in Canada, and in a number of other Western countries) it just really isn’t that big of a deal. “He’s a queen, but he’s our queen,” one Brit cracked, as she held aloft a banner congratulating the couple. When the first ceremonies were held in Belfast (Belfast! ! !) on Monday, there were a number of protesters, to be sure. But I didn’t see a single torch, pitchfork, or gibbet.

Meanwhile, politicians in this country do everything in their power to make sure that not only gay weddings, but any law or resolution that sanctions same-sex relationships, is a crime against the state. You are made to feel like a felon (or worse, as though you are un-American) for wanting to visit your partner if he’s incapacitated and winds up in a hospital bed.

There was a long article in last Sunday’s Washington Post Magazine about a two-woman couple from Fredericksburg, Virginia who left the state for Maryland because of that state’s restrictive laws against same-sex couples. The reporter had an online exchange with readers after the story appeared, and along with the expected rage from those who questioned why so much space and time was wasted on a same-sex couple (and, as well, the surprising numbers of Virginians who expressed their regret that the couple left the state) were a few messages from readers who said that they knew gay people and thought they were “nice” but didn’t see why they should be making such a fuss.

I can actually muster more comprehension for the messages from the people who said that all gays currently living in Virginia should pack their bags and leave the commonwealth (with good riddance).

Mike Cox: Republican Hypocrite

Before I forget, I didn’t fail to notice that the « Fascist Michigan attorney general who is trying to strip faithful Michigan couples of all their health insurance is himself an adulterer »:

‘Attorney General Mike Cox announced Wednesday he had an extramarital affair and accused the state’s most famous attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, of threatening to expose him unless Cox dropped an investigation into Fieger’s alleged violation of campaign-finance laws. “A number of years ago, I was unfaithful to my wife, Laura,” an emotional Cox said at a news conference, as his teary-eyed wife stood by his side in his Detroit office. “What I did was inexcusable and it was entirely my fault.” Cox said he told his wife about the affair in 2003, three months after he took office.’

Interesting how the family values crowd was stone cold silent when, according to the Leviticus that they love to quote, they should be throwing stones.

Despicable. Disgusting.


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