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July 17, 2020

Comments

Do you envision Florida and Georgia in the same region or different ones?

For that matter - does anyone envision Miami and Gainesville in the same region?

Especially given that Miami is a major Latin American city...

We may have been inadequately precipitate in letting last night's deadline pass so casually for the overthrow of our imposed theocratic authoritarian government:

“The Lord and the Founding Fathers created executive orders because of partisan bickering and divided government,” Navarro said. “That’s what we have here, but the President has taken action.”

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/navarro-trump-executive-orders-covid-relief-negotiationss

It sounds better in Chinese.

What are you guys doing NEXT Saturday?

Closer to home, I'm thinking that we have separate regions for
a) Washington, Oregon (and British Columbia)
b) Northern California (and northern Nevada)
c) Southern California (and maybe Las Vegas)
d) Arizona (and maybe Las Vegas for them as an alternative)

And that's just the West Coast.

the US is not going to break up.

The US is going to become toothless and the actual governance will happen through a political league formed by compacts between the big cities. The disconnect between urban and rural will grow. The rural areas will be ignored except for when they sabotage more coordinated action at the federal level.

We will continue to have clashes between left and right leaning revolutionary groups as a proxy war between feds and city leagues.

Not sure if this is a SF novel or an RPG I have going here.

That leaves only one alternative:

To be ruled by genocidal mass murderers:

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/08/outlier

the US is not going to break up.

Thank you.

Closer to home, I'm thinking that we have separate regions for...

My answer to this kind of fine partitioning proposal is usually, "Look at where Southern California gets its energy supplies." It is in their interest to have a single government across an area that stretches as far east as New Mexico, northeast into Utah (relatively soon to Wyoming), and north as far as the Oregon/Washington border. Southern California has a big interest in how the Columbia River is managed.

If the western states are serious about all-renewable energy supplies, it is in their interest to have a single entity managing all of the current Western Interconnect plus the Bonneville and Southwestern Power Administrations. Large regional investments will have to be coordinated. There are only a couple of viable topologies for the network that shuffles power around, and the one that seems to be emerging right now would mean California and the other western states need each other.

the US is not going to break up.

Of course not. It's just an amusement for people who have been sitting home too long.

The reality is that there are way too many people who really do love this country. Plus, the fanatics (left and right), who might support a break-up, generally wouldn't agree to letting anybody get away from their plans for a perfect world. It's the all or nothing mindset.

Fumble fingers. Western Area Power Administration, not Southwestern. Despite it's name, the Southwestern doesn't extend any farther west than Kansas and Oklahoma.

Not to get in the way of the fun that's being had here talking about the country splitting up (which is really annoying, but I'm trying to ignore my feelings about that), we have a huge problem in that many states have vote-by-mail (some having recently approved it in order to make voting easier, obviously a good thing). Unfortunately, Trump may be successful at screwing up the USPS so badly, that votes made by mail won't count.

First of all, if you live in a state with in-person absentee voting at the registrar's office, allowing you to vote early without a long line, I'm thinking that's the best way to go to minimize Covid-19 risk, and also have your vote counted. Please pass that along, for what it's worth. If you must vote by mail, please do it as early as possible, but voting in person might be the least risky for your vote, even though Covid is a different story.

And as long as we're fantasizing, let's fantasize about what we're going to do if the election is intentionally tampered with, and we lose because of that. It has happened before in our lifetime, but we shrugged and said "well, peaceful transfer of power, blah blah blah, and maybe we should get more people to vote, blah blah blah." We need to have a Plan B if we care at all about our country. Plan B is not "split the country up", since 1) that's not going to happen, and 2) if it did, there would be millions of people to whom we are saying: sucks being you.

So, let's start thinking about it, shall we? What are we going to do?

the US is not going to break up.

Most likely not. I'm the first to admit that on this particular topic I'm way out on the lunatic fringe. But thinking about the question, "Are there conditions under which the 11 contiguous western states could become a separate country, and could those conditions occur?" is more entertaining than thinking about whether or not Mississippi and their two Senators can be fixed in my lifetime.

To sapient's 3:35 remark on the US Mail, with this president and this Senate's leadership I see only one way to stop the administration from fncking up the mail for the election: sue their asses in federal court and hope the SCOTUS is willing to entertain the notion that fncking up the mail while there's a pandemic and vote-by-mail has become this common is a violation of the Voting Rights Act. I don't hold out a whole lot of hope for that. The only real chance would seem to be Gorsuch. He's from a vote-by-mail state, VBM is extraordinarily popular here, he still has family here that he visits, and he probably dislikes having people spit at him. It's possible: I believe Kennedy voted to interpret "legislature" in the Constitution to include ballot initiatives because at heart he was still a California boy.

I believe Oregon is the obvious lead plaintiff for a vote-by-mail lawsuit. IIRC, they don't have an alternative to the mail ballots.

I fully expect Trump to halt postal delivery completely on October 25 to "protect our wonderful, really, really patriotic voters from catching the Covid-19 from infected union workers."

Postal workers who expect to return to work for the Christmas season will have to each pay an insurmountable fee to an unmarked bank account in the Caribbean somewhere.

There will NOT be a peaceful transfer of power.

What are we going to do?

Try not to get shot by murderous conservative movement militia, as you figure out what to do.

The conservative movement knows exactly what it is going to do, win or lose, the day after the election.

Violence is off the table for the Left, but not for the Right, by many means, so enjoy those pinto beans you've been hoarding for the Civil War.

I think that, instead of the country splitting up, there will be a devolution of federal power and influence. Nullifications of federal laws by states and localities. That's already happening to a degree with sanctuary cities.

the US is not going to break up.

probably not in 21 or 41 years, or maybe ever.

what the US *is* on its way to doing, is becoming increasingly incoherent.

what is this country about? it's not that we don't have an answer, we have too many answers, and no consensus.

Michael Cain at 3:58, thank you. I too hope it's enough.

what the US *is* on its way to doing, is becoming increasingly incoherent.

Not sure about this. Could you explain?

We have a very divided country, as we have for most of our history. Because the Union won the Civil War, we remained a Union. In the 1930's and '40's, because of the Great Depression followed by the most cataclysmic war in history, the people seemed to accept the federal government as giving the country coherence - this lasted for several decades, and the country prospered and improved for the most part.

Now we're fighting the Civil War again. Same ol' same ol'.

No offense to anyone here, and I'm not calling out anyone as racist, but the history of dividing the country up is racist. The Civil War, obviously. Putin, who is a racist, is encouraging dividing the country up. Dividing the country up would currently hurt huge numbers of people living in places whose governments have been working to disenfranchise and exclude people of color. I object to the discussion of secession, etc., because I think the impact would affect people of color in a very negative way. I absolutely don't think that's the intent of the people suggesting it - I realize that there are different interests in the West, along the Northeast Corridor, in the Mid-West, in the South, etc. But, really? I think if we're fantasizing about this, we need to stretch our thinking far enough so that we understand the impact it would have on various American citizens.

And, of course, the Trump administration isn't where to start as the best the "United" States can do for its people.

What to do if an election is stolen again?

Riot.

No, seriously. That's how this all works.

Take all of the fun and profit out of the Law and Order schtick. Make it cost more than the needed reforms. Then keep it up past the inevitable backlash.

What to do if an election is stolen again?

Riot.

Okay. Wouldn't it be better if it were organized to riot against people other than neighborhoods? I am not against violence if that's the only way.

I am not against violence if that's the only way.

Oh, and if there's a chance that it will work.

And, in light of sapient's comments at 5:19, I return to a point I have made here before. When you are playing a game with rules (which is, after all, what politics is, albeit with real stakes) all players have to agree to follow the rules. If one player decides to stop following the rules in order to "win," then the other players have to either kick the player out of the game or find a way to persuade the player to follow rules - either by force or by negotiation.

Partition is the first of these options, but it is not the choice made by the remaining players, it's the choice forced on them by the player who refuses to honor the rules.

Negotiation and persuasion will require concessions or reframing the nature of the rules in a new way that is mutually acceptable to all players. That requires mutual engagement and compromise and good faith and finding a way to persuade the cheater to re-engage. What parts of the current conflict are we all willing to forego in order to restore the state of play? And how do you do that without suspending the existing rules in some way? Either way, though, this necessitates a ceding of some agency to restore an imperfect, and very contingent, state of play.

Or one side finds a way to force the other side to follow the rules through compulsion and enforcement. How do you propose we squeeze the dissenters hard enough that they are forced to fall in line?

And if the dissenters refuse to engage and the rest refuse to change the rules for everyone to appease the dissenters, all that is left is either partition* or compulsion.

*Geographical, or economic, or whatever - some level of separation of societies.

Riots tend to happen in the places where the enforcers of the regime being rioted against are weakest. It would be great to riot against people or against very selected targets, but those things are where the regime concentrates its enforcement.

Nullifications of federal laws by states and localities. That's already happening to a degree with sanctuary cities.

I'm aware of "sanctuary cities" saying that they will not cooperate with ICE enforcement efforts. Which, after all, are not really their jurisdiction; enforcement of Federal laws is a Federal function, not state or local. But I'm not aware any city or state actively thwarting ICE agents trying to do their job -- which is what nullification would require. Are you?

Riots tend to happen in the places where the enforcers of the regime being rioted against are weakest. It would be great to riot against people or against very selected targets, but those things are where the regime concentrates its enforcement.

That's why riots aren't effective, so maybe riots aren't really the solution. I'm not saying that violence isn't a solution because sometimes it is, but I think it has to be better targeted.

As to games, I certainly think that games can help people to understand reality. But the rules have to be similar to the reality rules, so people have to understand law (reality rules, at least some of them) and other human behaviorial rules (political entities not in government, organized crime, etc.) in order to figure out the game. At least that's the way it seems to me. Seems like a complicated game. We're all playing it, but someone's experience with games doesn't necessarily translate.

So, I don't like thinking in terms of "games."

So then how do you propose to make the other citizens who are doing unconstitutional things to follow the protocols outlined in the constitution? And how do you do that when they use their refusal to follow the constitution as a means of seizing control of the institutions that enforce the constitutional protocols? That is still the big problem at hand.

And no, games are not an analogy for government. Government is the application of game theory to the organization of societies.

That is still the big problem at hand.

I totally agree with this.

And because people in government aren't doing the job of playing by the rules [following the law] the citizens who want the same rules to be enforced have to take targeted action. Riots are action against random people; not targeted action. Citizens have to organize to take targeted action against [anti-]government rulebreakers. That may involve violence. I'm not sure it's safe or wise to set out a playbook here - maybe John Thullen is brave enough, but it involves targeting the actual perpetrators, not random shop owners. Maybe it involves a general strike (that would be a nonviolent solution, and probably the best way, although with Covid, not sure how effective since so many are out of work anyway). But, it requires an organized effort, which also requires people onboard to convince others [not Trumpers, but our people], that our tactics are necessary.

I'm writing a dystopic novel here.

No riots. Pointless.

Go utterly silent. There will be a public mass presence but it must be heavily armed and disciplined, as in any demonstrator so much as breaks a window will be shot dead by fellow anti-conservative movement demonstrators.

Unshakable. I want to hear a pin drop at these demonstrations. But I want the fury of the cheated electorate and the poor to shine through at the same time, via the silent, millions of stone-faced visages standing in military readiness to topple republican fascism.

No fucking chants or banners. One speaker demanding all conservatives and republicans have 24 hours to vacate governments they are misgoverning.

Let them start the violence.

Nullification. Don't make me puke. Republicans at the Federal and State levels are nullifying the powers of the governments closest to the people, if they are led by anyone to the left of Barry Goldwater.

But there will be a shadowy network of assassination cells throughout the country, hundreds and thousands of them highly trained and independent, to the naked eye, from each other, each with assigned targets within all aspects of the conservative movement.

They will not strike all at once. Over time. Let the suspense build among the targets.

Maybe they will commit suicide like Hermann Cain did.

A national strike.

Shut all of it down. Wall Street. All transportation.

Attend conservative churches. Steal all of the money that have stolen from their so-called parishioners.

Families members and friends in allegiance to trump will be sternly shunned.

Poison their Thanksgiving dinners. Tell the cops that were known to be imbibing bleach and other unapproved nostrums.

Find QAnon and the anonymous filth on 4Chan and 8Chan.

Terminate them. They are al Qaeda.

That's an outline of the novel. I don't have an ending yet, other than ham sandwiches all around afterwards as we muddle through after dispensing with pure EVIL.

That's an outline of the novel. I don't have an ending yet, other than ham sandwiches all around afterwards as we muddle through after dispensing with pure EVIL.

I like it. But could we make it fried tofu burgers? Ham is offensive to so many people in so many ways.

The comment, in general, is so wise.

Statues of these two students should be erected in every town and city center in America.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/students-get-suspended-for-posting-pictures-of-schools-crowded-halls-now-several-people-have-been-infected-2020-08-09?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

We were talking about school names the other week.

Name every other one after one or the other of these heroes.

Prosecute the admin staff who canceled them.

Apparently Trump's glorious visage has ALREADY been carved into the ample backside of Mount Rushmore.

http://www.newsbiscuit.com/2010/04/16/giant-buttocks-found-carved-in-the-other-side-of-mount-rushmore/

It's his best side.

They are going to place a large map of the country directly below his likeness so he can continue to shit all over America for eternity.

because people in government aren't doing the job of playing by the rules [following the law] the citizens who want the same rules to be enforced have to take targeted action.

I think it's important to note that this should be "some people in government aren't ... playing by the rules". (Unfortunately, many of them people at the top.) But the fact is, the vast majority of government employees are following the law. Hence the complaints about the "deep state".

If the majority weren't following the rules, we would be lost beyond hope. As it is, we still have a chance.

But the fact is, the vast majority of government employees are following the law. Hence the complaints about the "deep state".

Agree entirely. My bad.

But I'm not aware any city or state actively thwarting ICE agents trying to do their job -- which is what nullification would require.

Exactly. Under current Supreme Court decisions, the cities are not practicing nullification. The federal government cannot legally require them to enforce federal laws. Nor are cities/states allowed to pass their own laws pertaining to immigration status.

As a former federal government employee, twice over, for relatively short durations of time, including with the once apolitical competent U.S. Census Bureau, I can testify that by and large current federal employees, pretty much across the political spectrum are appalled and frightened by the conservative movement deep state junta that has seized the reigns of abusive, harassing power across the agencies.

They are ready to cleanse the government of the vermin conservative deep state crooks and liars.

They follow the rules, which is why the conservative movement hates them and will kill them just as Timothy McVeigh did, given the chance.

Also, for clarification, I don't imagine that rioting is a good solution, or an efficient solution, or a preferable solution to any problem that can be solved through negotiation.

I merely observe that most of the serious problems of representation that the US has faced which were not solved by actual war were accomplished only after a protracted period of large scale rioting involving loss of life. Most of those riots did not start as riots, but as mass demonstrations that devolved into riots after TPTB sent in their enforcers and initiated the violence (Army, National Guard, Pinkertons, etc.).

But change only came after the enforcement angle became too costly to sustain.

So "riots" is not my choice of strategy. I'm just naming the one thing short of war that has, historically, made compromise more attractive than escalating enforcement.

And no, games are not an analogy for government. Government is the application of game theory to the organization of societies.

Okay. So, nous, I had responded to some of your comments about real history with examples of post-WWII international cooperation. Also, other stuff.

I think that with your games and interest in the Middle Ages, you [maybe - not an accusation - see this as a question] have a WWII and post-WWII knowledge gap? You've missed it more than once.

We're all playing the "game". Let's talk about what we're including in the rules. Law, political interests, economics, personal avarice and such. Some of us are specialists in one or the other, and are blind to some of the rest of it. Do you think you have all of the rules at your disposal?

I ask that you reply, please, because you ignored my suggestion that the United States has been willing to "share power" (and that Germany and "Nordic countries didn't invent that concept) as was shown from history.

Years ago, really a lot of years ago, maybe on C-Span late at night, I watched the snide, ruthless Grover Norquist in his tax pledge heyday and his callow sidekick, the, bowtied, prep sissy boy with the high register voice and nearly a girlish giggle and titter when Norquist became particularly aggressive in his questioning, the very young but clearly racist "Tucker" Carlson, when the latter was still sniffing out his place in the grand conservative movement grift, interview five republican primary candidates for, I think, a state legislature election.

The questions, led by Norquist, were hard and aggressive, Tax cuts forever, all had signed the pledge to drown the gummint fetus in its final week of gestation, and guns and guns guns. Each candidate, four men and one woman, was interrogated on the number and caliber of each of the guns they kept in their households, with the ones who had the fewest weapons having the fiercest Norquist eye cast at them.

My God, those five groveled. One of them broke into a flop sweat but they kissed Norquist's brass balls, Tucker tittering demurely like Ed McMahon fluffing Carson's audience, during that entire session.

The gist of the Norquist questioning about armaments and ammo came down to how these five filthy lickspittle conservatives were going to resist government and government's taxation.

At another time, I witnessed Norquist answer this question: "But how will you stop the agricultural support programs", ..... by threatening violence: "Well, we'll have five million heavily armed farmers at our backs, won't we."

So any violence mentioned here, even in novelistic from, has ample precedent in the utterances of the subhuman architects of the conservative movement.

John Wilkes Booth is their spiritual father.

The Bundys are still at large, aren't they?

There you go.

I merely observe that most of the serious problems of representation that the US has faced which were not solved by actual war were accomplished only after a protracted period of large scale rioting involving loss of life.

I will offer the example of direct election of US Senators, where the power was given to the electorate (as defined then) rather than to the state legislatures and their very strong conservative filter. But the threat of a constitutional convention, which we were within a very few states of, is even scarier to the status quo than urban riots violence.

Myself, I think I would have preferred to have the convention outcome. It was a progressive era. Power was going to be pushed down.

But change only came after the enforcement angle became too costly to sustain.

You haven't really connected the dots. There was a national will in the 1930's to solve the Depression. Then, Roosevelt was popular, and not-Nazis abroad seemed the thing to support.

You're giving a huge amount of undeserved credit to domestic unrest. It was a nothingburger.

sapient - my dissertation was heavily invested in historicist readings of texts from and about WWII. I'm not a WWII historian, but I have read dozens of scholarly and literary works about the conflict. I think there were about 40 of them on my MA exam lists.

Whether or not the US has chosen to share or cede power in the past is not relevant to what I am arguing here because the US was giving up power to entities that could not take that power from the US. It was a sovereign act by the US and UK as enforcing powers, not a mutual, negotiated act.

Do you believe that the segment of the right in the US is likely to choose to act as the US did for Germany or for European allies for the greater good (and against the perceived threat of the USSR)?

Do you believe that any electoral victory of any margin by The Libs will reduce the supporters of the current administration to the straits that the Axis powers were in following WWII?

I don't see any way in which the majority of voters can gain the sort of power advantage that must exist to make this sort of solution likely.

You haven't really connected the dots. There was a national will in the 1930's to solve the Depression. Then, Roosevelt was popular, and not-Nazis abroad seemed the thing to support.

Haymarket riots.
Coeur d'Alene.
Colorado Labor Wars.
Ludlow Massacre.
Battle of Blair Mountain
Ford Massacre
Bonus Army
The Civil Rights era riots (Detroit, Watts, etc.)

Michael Cain - thanks for the example of direct election. Are we there yet with the culture wars?

It was a sovereign act by the US and UK as enforcing powers, not a mutual, negotiated act.

Isn't that an even more significant (and benevolent, although also self-serving) act of power sharing?

Do you believe that the segment of the right in the US is likely to choose to act as the US did for Germany or for European allies for the greater good (and against the perceived threat of the USSR)?

No, because that's the difference with the "right" and the rest of us. Right?

Do you believe that any electoral victory of any margin by The Libs will reduce the supporters of the current administration to the straits that the Axis powers were in following WWII?

Don't know what you're saying here. [Sorry, intellectually defunct.]

I want to fight them. Nonviolently, preferably. If violently, I don't want it to be random attacks on my neighbors. I want it to be targeted to the people who made this happen.

Do conservative filth still want to arm the teachers?

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/georgia-school-reopenings-paint-a-bleak-picture-for-the-school-year-153337845.html

Could be a lot of gunfire in them thar schools as teachers try to protect themselves from children of genocidal conservative families.

Haymarket riots.
Coeur d'Alene.
Colorado Labor Wars.
Ludlow Massacre.
Battle of Blair Mountain
Ford Massacre
Bonus Army
The Civil Rights era riots (Detroit, Watts, etc.)

Those things happened. Mass shootings happened. Hurricanes happened. No dots.

Remember when children in "shit hole" African, South American, Asian and middle Eastern countries were enlisted and armed as unwilling troops by various ruthless murderous genocidal revolutionary movements to topple their enemies.

Trump is just Pol Pot with a luxury hotel.

I want to fight them. Nonviolently, preferably. If violently, I don't want it to be random attacks on my neighbors. I want it to be targeted to the people who made this happen.

Precisely. A riot that burns out NYC or San Francisco or Boston does nothing to address the problem.

sapient - what I am saying is that I find it unlikely that the people who are causing our collective problem will change their minds, and if they are willing to defy an election result to the point of using violence against the majority, then they are not going to be swayed to change by magnanimous gestures.

What would it take for them to surrender unilaterally without conditions? What mutual threat to our common existence do they acknowledge which would make them stop fighting?

We do not have uncontested control of our context. Their willingness, or lack thereof, to engage constrains us both.

Riots that burn those cities cost millionaire lobbyist assholes a lot of money and stress.

When paying the hoi polloi social welfare costs less than they are getting from hammering them with their police forces, the policies will change.

That's the "welfare as social control" argument in a nutshell.

We do not have uncontested control of our context. Their willingness, or lack thereof, to engage constrains us both.

I wish I knew you better, because I agree with so much of what you say. I can't really continue with this now, but - your views are really valuable in what comes next, although I'm not fully in sinc.

Your 8:24, nous, I don't get that, sorry.

Political scientists of the "social control" school point out that the people with "the franchise" or control of government act to protect their own property and capital. They are willing to spend a lot of money on Law & Order to protect that property and capital from those who are not in control in order to preserve their status, so long as the enforcement is getting results and does not cost so much that it eats up all of their status gains.

When the cost exceeds the gains, they go through a period of sunk cost stubbornness, then give in once it becomes clear that the situation is too costly.

Reforms are enacted or the franchise extended. The cycle begins again.

I lean toward's nous' take on this and this op-ed is related imo

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/04/bill-clintons-misunderstanding-what-stokely-carmichael-brings-black-americas-long-struggle-freedom/

Clinton’s remarks failed to comprehend the complexity of a Black freedom struggle that, despite the illusions of White people and politicians, has always been multilayered. Integrationists marched alongside black nationalists, and advocates of self-defense at times strategically joined nonviolent demonstrations. Black Americans have always carried both the political sword and shield, deploying tactics and strategies based on historical and political conditions.

When the cost exceeds the gains, they go through a period of sunk cost stubbornness, then give in once it becomes clear that the situation is too costly.

What does "give in" mean here?

It would be interesting to learn how this concept applies to the 1968 riots.

As to the Lewis/Carmichael relationship, this interview excerpt is interesting.


I lived in the Washington DC suburbs in 1968, and spent two more decades there, many years working in DC. I don't know of anything good that happened as a result of the destruction in that city. I would be happy to learn otherwise.

This article from the Grio
https://thegrio.com/2020/07/31/clinton-dragged-stokely-carmichael-john-lewis-funeral/

Has an interesting speech by Lewis (in a tweet) at a banquet honoring Ture, which took place after the 1973 interview you quote (here's a direct link, it was in 1998)
https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4896877/user-clip-john-lewis-honors-kwame-ture

I like reading the website, good to help get out of a white perspective.

I saw that speech while I was looking, lj, and probably should have included it. But since the occasion called for an encomium (which was no doubt sincere), it wasn't going to be a balanced assessment. I felt that the interview excerpt was a bit more honest. Lewis seemed to believe (my take - obviously he speaks for himself) that the Black Power movement as led by Carmichael was alienating allies.

I don't like "what if" games in analyzing history, and am not in a position to be critical of any aspect of the civil rights movement. I think Clinton would have done well to be silent on Carmichael. That said, he was invited to speak and was entitled to his view.

Possibly of interest is an article regarding MLK's view.

1973>>1998 People's opinions change. I'm not claiming any special insight into John Lewis' opinion, but if he really didn't like Ture, he probably wouldn't have accepted the invitation. I never got the impression that he didn't speak his mind.

And it's not really a what-if game, it's a what do we think we should do now and what we should understand may happen now. Slapping down people who suggest that violence has historically been a necessary ingredient to change seems counter-productive.

Clinton didn't say that Lewis didn't like Carmichael. He said "There were two or three years there where the movement went a little too far toward Stokely but in the end, John Lewis prevailed." This was an acknowledgment of a disagreement between them, which was real.

What we should do now is an important discussion. Is rioting is productive? Violence can be productive, but I think it has to be targeted.

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a33561544/belarus-contested-election-trump-2020/

Here's a timely article about Watts.

The people there do not support rioting.

Lewis seemed to believe (my take - obviously he speaks for himself) that the Black Power movement as led by Carmichael was alienating allies.

From my own memories of the time, it was.

The argument was over whether the loss of potential allies was offset by the gains of intimidating opponents. I incline to think not. But then, I wasn't a black person in the Deep South at the time.

Here's a timely article about Watts.

The people there do not support rioting.

Protesting your economic treatment by burning down your own home definitely seems counterproductive. (Even if it is a more convenient and readily accessable target.) Sort of like protesting covid-19 restrictions by going to an event full of people without masks and bunched close together.

But then, I wasn't a black person in the Deep South at the time.

Stokely Carmichael was born in Trinidad, and grew up in the Bronx. During the 1968 riots, he was in Washington, DC. It's my understanding that Carmichael advocated violence in self-defense, not riots.

At different times, different forms of protest or resistance have been effective.

What I think about the current moment is that violent resistance is not likely to be that useful.

The kind of peaceful civil disobedience employed by King is attractive for a lot of reasons, but I'm not sure this is the moment for that, either.

What we're looking at right now is less a matter of extending civil rights to a marginalized subset of the population, and more a matter of resisting a government that lacks legitimacy.

The representatives of a minority of the country are obstructing the will of the majority. This is not a matter of the majority "trampling the rights" of the minority, because minority rights are not being trampled. It's a matter, not of rights, but of policy.

The legitimate will of the people is being thwarted, by a minority party that is gaming the institutions that were created to protect minority rights.

"Minority" here not meaning racial minority, but a minority of the population as defined by social and political preference.

More people support policies characteristic of the (D) party than policies characteristic of the (R)'s. And the (R)'s thwart that.

Violent revolution is not a good solution here because the institutions of government per se are not inherently dysfunctional.

Peaceful resistance is not a good option because the people we would need to persuade don't give a flying f***.

You think you're gonna shame the Steven Millers and Mitch McConnells of the world into a change of heart?

In terms of protest, what I think would be useful would be to find ways to basically shut things down. Something like a general strike, more or less. Something that creates a tangible effect, not just something symbolic, but also something more strategic than just blowing stuff up.

A plain show of numbers would probably also be useful. Which is much harder to do in COVID times than otherwise. But if it were possible to put a few million people in the street on a regular basis, that might be useful.

But really, the solution here is to get people to vote. So even better than a protest would be direct action to make sure people can vote.

I agree with russell at 11:46. I'm worried that votes won't count, and what we will do then. Certainly, a general strike, meaning to shut down all supply lines, might be helpful, except that the wealthy will probably manage, and the rest of us will starve. Maybe that's where we start though.

violence has historically been a necessary ingredient to change

I'm not sure this is always so.

The Black Panthers, Carmichael, and Malcom X were facing a nation that could, and did, kill black people at will and at random, with impunity. Taking up arms in self-defense in that context is more than reasonable.

The labor movement at the turn of the 20th C was facing employers with private armies, frequently with an assist from police and the US military, and were facing labor conditions that not infrequently killed or maimed them. And, were facing conditions of employment that kept them just beyond starvation, and frequently made them utterly dependent on their employer for everything - not just wages, but housing and access to any kind of services.

If it's fight or die, then fight.

It hasn't always been fight or die. And even when it has been, sometimes other thing work better.

For most of the issues on the table right now, this isn't a matter of fight or die. It's a matter of fight or watch the nation descend into a banana republic.

Figure out who benefits from the nation descending into a banana republic. Make it not worth their while.

I don't think you're gonna accomplish that with guns, because not only do they also have guns, the nation is awash in guns, and awash in people who have spent the last 30 years or so waiting for an excuse to use them.

It won't end well.

Figure out who is benefiting from the nation turning into a banana republic. Figure out what their vulnerabilities are, what makes them tick. And squeeze the bastards until they decide they'll be better off not turning the country into a banana republic.

Peaceful resistance is not a good option because the people we would need to persuade don't give a flying f***.

You think you're gonna shame the Steven Millers and Mitch McConnells of the world into a change of heart?

Certainly it won't persuade those scumbags. But are they really the people you need to presuade? I'd say that the folks you need to persuade are those who have supported McConnell and/or Trump in the past, but are getting badly hurt by their actions now.

You want to find a way to get past their filters, so they shift to something different. Is peaceful resistance, in some form or another, the way to do that? I suspect it's a better bet than non-peaceful actions. But peaceful actions which focus, not on attacking Trump and company, but on ridiculing them may be the most fruitful. See this on how it worked during the fall of the Soviet empire.
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/08/how-beat-populists-when-facts-dont-matter/615082/

the wealthy will probably manage, and the rest of us will starve.

Create alternatives to the existing supply lines so that the rest of us don't starve.

If the wealthy want to hide in their gated communities, fine with me. At some point, they're gonna want to leave their wealthy ghettos. And then they are vulnerable.

Not to violence, but to having to deal with other people.

No Doordash for them! Make them go to the grocery store.

But all of that takes a lot of organization. It's do-able, but it's not simple.

Much, much, much simpler to get people voting.

I don't know how to address the USPS issue, but if there is one single thing to tackle right now, that is probably it.

Maybe some kind of public action focused on getting DeJoy the hell out of the USPS.

Or, something as simple as funding OT for USPS workers, from now through the end of the year.

Maybe as simple as telling Amazon to f*** off and deliver their own packages, and let USPS staff deliver mail.

But yeah, that is probably top of the list.

The view of protest and social reform that I have outlined here comes out of the work of France Fox Piven and Richard Cloward. Their two main books on the subject are Regulating the Poor and Poor People's Movements. I have read neither, but I was introduced to the concepts in my Poli Sci classes and both works have been cited thousands of times and remain in print.

I'm not surprised that the people in the neighborhoods where rioting happened remain affected, or that they are against rioting as a political act. I'm not surprised that rioting drives off potential allies. I've seen plenty of that amongst people I know. Riots are tragedies. But so are the histories of bigotry and exploitation that lead to the riots in the first place.

The questions are ones of net effects and unintended consequences. And those are outside of my professional sphere.

I'd say that the folks you need to persuade are those who have supported McConnell and/or Trump in the past, but are getting badly hurt by their actions now.

You want to find a way to get past their filters, so they shift to something different.

I guess that's possible in theory, but the way to do it is well beyond my personal pay grade.

I basically assume those folks are unreachable.

We're talking about something like 30% of the population here, so to be honest IMO it'll be more effective to just work around them.

But if you have any good ideas about how to persuade those folks, I'm all ears. No snark.

We already tried the Mudcat Saunders thing, no joy there.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/racist-rhetoric-opposing-dc-statehood-keeps-federal-government-dysfunctional

They will not be persuaded. They are unreachable. They have pledged to God and each other to remain that way for eternity.

"just work around them"

They are closing down all normative institutional and governmental avenues .... voting, the U.S mail, deliberately bankrupting state and local governments with pandemic costs ... of working around them.

They are training the American people to completely give up on government as a means to any constructive end.

Arthur Laffer (like vampires, the same old monsters rise and suck blood again and again) is counseling Trump and Republicans to tax non-profits to hobble their efforts, closing off another normative workaround.

Natch, not the grifting, thieving crypto-Christian conservative churches.

So, yeah vote them out.

They will still be around to sabotage everything. They will not melt away after a bucket of cold water is thrown over them.

They are demons. Yeah, use their vernacular. EVIL.

They are racist, period. It doesn't take all of them to be racist, and certainly not all of them are, but when all of the top elected honchos are racist and prejudiced against any Other besides their own white victimized butts, then all of them get credit for being fucking racists.

If we don't vote them out, well, there are no visible alternatives but the very worst.

And the very worst is not a ham sandwich, but we'll give that a go one last time.

Guerilla street humor is fun:

https://twitter.com/RetiredMaybe/status/1292858428096950272

As you can see, they are oblivious.

Deliver them to oblivion.

wj, that from the Atlantic is another good Applebaum piece. I think her international examples and comparisons are very valuable, as they were in the Complicity/collaborators article too. Just one example:

A couple of years ago, I took part in a project that looked at foreign influence in the 2017 German parliamentary elections. We found, among other things, that the overwhelming majority of Germans—left, right, and center—follow a mix of big newspapers, magazines, and television outlets, including public TV. But many of the Germans who vote for the far-right Alternative for Germany—the number hovers between 10 and 14 percent—get their news from a completely separate set of sources, including a heavy dose of Russian-funded German-language media, such as Sputnik and RT. The voters in the far-right bubble don’t just have different opinions from other Germans; they have different facts, including “facts” provided by a foreign country.

The point I am making here is not about Russia. It is about the deep gap in perceptions that now separates a tenth of German voters from the other 90 percent. Is that chasm permanent? Should the other German political parties try to reach the people in the populist bubble? But how is it possible to reach people who can’t hear you? This is not merely a question of how to convince people, how to use a better argument, or how to change minds. This is a question about how to get people to listen at all. Just shouting about “facts” will get you nowhere with those who no longer trust the sources that produce them.

Obviously, this particular extract about "facts" and "reliable sources" played into my own tedious obsession (with which you are all too familiar), and God knows we have seen an example of the same phenomenon she describes play out here. But actually, the piece is about plenty more, and at least points tentatively to constructive possibilities.

Comment from Thullen yesterday at 6:36 PM, on the subject of the kids who posted pictures of the Georgia school with a maskless horde in the corridor, freed from the Spam folder.

Note that the school has now been shut down again, due to a burst of covid-19 cases. Gosh, what a surprise!

what is this country about? it's not that we don't have an answer, we have too many answers, and no consensus.

for quite a few people, this country is about the infrastructure (legal, economic, physical, cultural) that supports their businesses, livelihoods and their life in general.

most people simply don't give a crap about politics, at any level. they don't care if the Senate distorts the balance of power between large and small... zzzzz. but they do know how to navigate and utilize the US in general. they know how to live their lives in it. things are generally stable and that makes it possible to live.

ask them if they want to give up that stability and they won't even know what you're talking about until you start enumerating the things The US provides. and they'll look at you like you're crazy if you suggest getting rid of X, Y and Z.

that's the US.

IMO.

I read the Applebaum piece. All good.

Here is the thing. I am not one of the people who is going to be able to reach out to Trump supporters. Trust me on this.

I can talk to Trumpies without offending them, I can be clear about my point of view without getting into a poo-flinging contest. I've done this many times.

What is pretty much beyond my meager superpowers is changing their minds. They're on their side, I'm on my side. The distance I have to cross to even be basically credible is so vast that it's just not a practical exercise.

The people who could make a dent are people like McK, or Marty, or wj. People who are identifiable as conservatives, but who don't support Trump.

I invite them to step up and speak out, to their Trump-supporting colleagues. Speak clearly, take a position. You don't have to be obnoxious, make your points diplomatically, with respect and humor.

But take a position.

You can reach them. I can't.

for quite a few people, this country is about the infrastructure (legal, economic, physical, cultural) that supports their businesses, livelihoods and their life in general.

agreed. further, I'm basically one of those people. my primary interest in government is keeping the lights on.

the only thing that makes me a "lefty" is believing (a) that infrastructure should be available to everyone equally and (b) that infrastructure should foster equitable outcomes. i.e., people who work for a living shouldn't have to pick between prescriptions and rent. i.e., people with different skin colors shouldn't be incarcerated at dramatically different rates.

what those folks need to realize is that (a) the infrastructure doesn't just happen all by itself, and (b) it's falling apart.

Most of those folks are ideologically opposed to infrastructure.

they like it just fine, when it supports what they want to do.

look at them chattering in terror at the idea that the police will get a dollar less this year than last.

They're opposed to "infrastructure" when it is stuff primarily (as they see it) for "those people." When it's for stuff that they use, they're all for it.

From which we see that you can get their enthusiastic support if you just show them how it's stuff that they will get some use out of.

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