“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
… what it actually says.
From July 25 to 28, the people will be peaceably assembling in Philadelphia. Nobody is forgetting 1968, but we all know that this is not 1968. Sanders people are negotiating details for four demonstrations, one at FDR Park, about a half mile from the Wells Fargo Convention Center, and others scheduled at a much smaller plaza four miles away. Sanders organizers are working with city officials to keep everything “peaceful and constructive,” and are expecting upwards of 30,000 people. Plans are already in motion to line up busloads and accommodations for Philly, and state organizations have begun raising money specifically for the demonstrations.
With a sincere “thank you” to the January 1973 National Lampoon!
The important thing
is to pull yourself up by your own hair
to turn yourself inside out
and see the whole world with fresh eyes
— Marat/Sade, act 1, scene 12
Our current political landscape is unprecedented. The Republican Party is coming apart at the seams. The Democratic Party is broken, the rift between Wall Street Establishment and populist insurgents grows ever deeper. It is generally recognized that there are now roughly four social forces — no, not just four nominal factions, but four distinct social forces, POLITICAL FORCES — contending for the soul of America. Distinct not merely by programmatic nuance, but by fundamental social vision. They are:
- Establishment (Wall Street) Democrats trying to maintain the old post-WWII consensus;
- Establishment (Wall Street) Republicans who would rule through the sheer power of money;
- the Trump insurgency, taking the rage of the working class and trying to harness (divide) it in terms of race and nationality;
- the Sanders insurgency, taking that same rage, and trying to unite it in terms of racial and economic justice. In terms of human solidarity.
The opening moves have been played. The fight has taken shape. We are well into the middle-game.
During the March 9 debate, Hillary Clinton inadvertently got herself redefined. Again. Sanders had already permanently branded her as a tool of Wall Street. Then the former Secretary of State and major celebrity in the Clinton Foundation (called during 2013–15 the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation) blundered by attacking Sanders for acknowledging the impressive achievements Cuba has made in healthcare (now sending doctors all over the world) and education (each-one-teach-one). Glen Greenwald stated in The Intercept that she “sounded like a right-wing, red-baiting Cold War cartoon”:
It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and YOU WILL ATONE!
— Ned Beatty as Arthur Jensen,
berating Peter Finch as Howard Beale, in the movie Network
The Democratic Party has declared war on Bernie Sanders. Now we hear a carefully orchestrated funeral dirge, the Black vote is Sanders’ fatal weakness, and he should “suspend” his campaign, concede defeat, and make good on his pledge to support the party’s nominee, even before Hillary Clinton is actually the party’s nominee. They want Sanders to hit the Kill Switch on his own campaign, save them the trouble. But as the Empire Strikes Back, their every move blows up like an exploding cigar, and feeds ammunition to the growing Sanders army. It is time for the Political Revolution that Sanders and his supporters are fighting for to stand on its own feet.
Millions have been energized, enlisted and mobilized into the Sanders campaign under the banner of the Political Revolution. But as Charlotte Corday sang in the play Marat/Sade, “change meant one thing to you I see / And something quite different to me.”
At a December gathering of Tampa Bay area Sanders volunteers, national staffer Corbin Trent was asked what the Sanders campaign was planning to do to organize the Black community in Florida, given that Sanders was “getting creamed” with the Black vote in South Carolina. His answer: make lots of phone calls to white voters in Iowa.
well, you know …
The Bernie Sanders message: “This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders. It’s about putting together a grassroots movement of Americans who stand up and say: ‘Enough is enough.’ This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.”
In his closing remarks at the last Democratic Party televised debate, Sanders concluded, “Please be part of the Political Revolution!”
It was this message, and this call to action, that have galvanized 100’s of thousands of Americans across the country this past year. The surge in Sanders’s numbers was exhilarating. More volunteers were pouring in than the campaign knew what to do with. While refusing corporate contributions, grassroots fundraising was setting records. The media was taken aback — and disturbed — by the immense crowds flocking to Sanders at every stop, including “Red State” locales like Arizona. Continue reading
“You liberals won the day. Now political reactionaries are taking over ‘cause you liberals won and anything goes.”
— Dr. Fred Newman, 1996, from the play “What Is To Be Dead? (Philosophical Scenes)”
When I first saw that play so many years ago, those words lingered because I had to struggle to understand them. Almost 20 years later, I finally get it — in all its horror. Maybe I needed the passage of time. Fred Newman was a visionary and he saw the writing on the wall far better than I, back when I was only 26 and didn’t understand politics beyond the limited walls of my own angry and injured psyche. In 1996, there had still been some ability for humans to communicate. We didn’t abbreviate all our sentences (LOL!). At the dawn of the age of the internet, social media was just coming into its own, not yet the all-pervasive behemoth as it exists today. (However, the internet on its way to becoming a major force in politics and social interaction was one of the few things I saw coming better than Dr. Newman was able to.)
It was the day the killing stopped, 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of November, 1918. The killing had included 10 million soldiers and some 7 million civilians.
At the front, there was no celebration …
From the account of Colonel Thomas Gowenlock, an American intelligence officer on the front line that November morning:
“All over the world on November 11, 1918, people were celebrating, dancing in the streets, drinking champagne, hailing the armistice that meant the end of the war. But at the front there was no celebration. Many soldiers believed the Armistice only a temporary measure and that the war would soon go on. As night came, the quietness, unearthly in its penetration, began to eat into their souls. The men sat around log fires, the first they had ever had at the front. They were trying to reassure themselves that there were no enemy batteries spying on them from the next hill and no German bombing planes approaching to blast them out of existence. They talked in low tones. They were nervous.
— Submitted by Jeff Roby
September 11, 2015
“A state of consciousness is characteristically very transitory; an idea that is conscious now is no longer so a moment later, although it can become so again under certain conditions that are easily brought about.”
— Sigmund Freud. The Ego and the Id. 1923
“I can clearly see your nuts!”
— psychiatrist to patient wrapped in cellophane
At the risk of blasphemy …
… consciousness alone don’t do shit! Only people can “do” anything. Consciousness may influence and even determine what actions people take. But the bottom line is that if people don’t act, don’t do, then all the advanced consciousness in the world is as “transitory” as Freud describes.
— Submitted by Jeff Roby
August 29, 2015
Thus far I have explained the phenomena of the heavens and of our sea by the force of gravity, but I have not yet assigned a cause to gravity. Indeed, this force arises from some cause that penetrates as far as the centers of the sun and planets without any diminution of its power to act, and that acts not in proportion to the quantity of the surfaces of the particles on which it acts (as mechanical causes are wont to do) but in proportion to the quantity of solid matter, and whose action is extended everywhere to immense distances, always decreasing as the squares of the distances.
— Sir Isaac Newton
The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687)
Lost in Space.
Thus the moon orbits the Earth, rather than the Earth orbiting the moon. Thus with political parties. The smaller body is drawn into the orbit of the larger. Thus the Left is drawn into the orbit of the Democratic Party. Too simplistic? Perhaps, but the Left’s failure to achieve “escape velocity” and break out of orbit is in large part due to it being oblivious to this obvious fact.