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What’s wrong with us? (0.44%)

12:23 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

To tell the truth, I’m still reeling from the November elections, a big, hard topic to write about. But it looks like, from the tone and high quality of recent comments here at MyFDL, maybe now is the time. Recently received an e-mail from Diane Gee of Wild Wild Left, a nice smaller blog asking for the return of former writers who’d drifted off during the 2012 election hell/season. My response gets into those damn election results (and my lament):

Diane and all,

Thanks for the e-mail and all the responses to the e-mail. Times are remarkably dark for the left as evidenced by the presidential race and results. I think we are all still reeling from them, which no one at my main blog, myfdl, has written about, me included. (I think the expression of anger and dark thoughts actually are just starting to come out now). Obamney received 98.33%, the far right 1.11%, and the left (Stein, Anderson, Barr) 0.44%. 0.44%. How do you grock that? How do you ‘build’ on it?

I think we need to breathe in and make sense of how remarkably bad left _politics_ are for it to have achieved point zero four four fucking percent in THIS economy. Until that reckoning comes to pass and the right things are done about our too comfortable, too set-in-its-ways house of the left, what is there to say when no one is listening?

fairleft

The problem isn’t just us, of course, it’s the times. This cool comment by chicago dyke (under one of those ‘faux clueless’ “we gotta hold ‘em accountable” posts by someone ‘left-famous’) makes a lot of the foundational points that might help us lefties figure out what’s wrong with something (link added):

chicago dyke January 9th, 2013 at 2:30 pm @55

personally, i think it’s too late and the one world “government” by the superrich is here to stay for a while.

that said, if you’re the hopeful type, spend your time organizing initiatives and ballot movements to do what they did in CA, and end the practice of gerrymandering. sort of amazing what neutral citizens were able to accomplish there, no?

also: note how the interwebs are a curse and a blessing. you know what is very noticeable about sites like this one? our age. where are the teens? i was politically active when i was young; why don’t we have lots of those here? i’m not trying to say the people here do a poor job; this is an excellent blog. but i can’t help but note i’m probably one of only a handful of people who have an electronica collection. and that’s dating myself compared to the 25 and under set.

finally, life at 10$/hr is harsh, and doesn’t leave for a lot of time for political activity. the death of the labor movement in this country, along with the decline of quality public education, is what is making all this horror possible. recognize we’re entering into a new “lost generation” and all that entails.

i don’t mean to sound hopeless. but i agree with a friend of mine (we were just talking about this yesterday) it will be at least ten years before a new, probably unpredictable political movement rises in this country and demands and enacts reform. if not revolution. so many of us are locked into a system that does not allow us to achieve such, right now.

(Electronica?) My response:

fairleft January 9th, 2013 at 10:21 pm @76 (In response to chicago dyke @55)

Yeah, yours is the good common sense assessment of what has already happened to the political/media system. “What should we do about it?” was my comment way up at @4.

Hell, I don’t know, but I think a lot of us older folks are just on automatic pilot, ’cause political discussion is part of what happened at dinner tables and in colleges back thirty, forty years ago. Younger people, the cut-off is really around 40, almost never have that background. Political discussion around the dinner table died because it’s embarrassing to do that unless you have an actual democracy that listens to you and doesn’t treat you like a sucker. And very few could pretend Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan were serious, honest people rather than ‘anything it takes’ salesmen. A couple of manipulating scam artists, and the same with the sold-out parties they belonged to – crass vehicles for redistributing income up. And more recently their successors Obama and Bush, the same thing.

Occupy was a failed attempt to at least have an actual democratic politics in the space of small downtown parks. It briefly inspired a lot of young people, but its failure and partial cooptation into ‘those scary Republican’ electoral politics surely has done the opposite.

Not much to work with on the hope front.

The only thing I’d say is that ten years is much too long a time frame. We could have very different politics soon if Obama continues to grind the economy down and redistribute money up. Basically, when the rich run things they do a progressively crappier job of it from the perspective of the bottom 80%, and we do have ways of letting our masters know we’re pissed off. Take a look around two years from now.

Okay, enough whining about post-democracy. I hate elections. No, better end on a more civilized note. Colin Crouch, from the preceding link:

Post-democracy is like post-industrialism. … All the institutions of democracy remain – we use them. It’s just the energy of the political system and the innovative capacity have moved to other spheres … to rather secret private discourse between great global corporations and governments.

All-Out Obama & Media Blitz for $3 Trillion in Social Welfare Cuts

11:36 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

That 2008 ‘Hope’ now comes down to hoping for the failure – by some miracle or screw-up – of the media and Obama full-court press for $3 trillion in social welfare cuts (in order to ‘solve’ a fake crisis which the Republicans (through Mitch McConnell) have already capitulated on). But have we ever seen President Obama so ‘hard ball’ and animated as he is now, fighting to, for example, cut Social Security benefits that average only $13,000 a year? (Note that the lying way inflation is computed has already effectively cut Social Security benefits 7% since 1998.) So, hey, don’t get your hopes up, progressives: this is not the concede-before-bargaining inept Obama of every progressive fight of the last two-and-a-half years. No, he’s a man transformed, skilled, on a mission, pulling out all the stops, not for our team but he’s showing how it’s done when you really want it done.

On the other side, better than nothing but very little opposition by progressives, because most (Yeah, you, Bernie Sanders and Raul Grijalva, yah stupid suckers!) have signed onto the Herbert Hoover economics of “shared sacrifice,” promoted by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

All the common-sense, Keynesian in the broad sense economists — Paul Krugman, Brad DeLongDean Baker, and James Galbraith, for example – must be in deep despair this weekend. They know this impending doom is entirely unnecessary. And I’m sure they too hope for, but are not gambling on, the failure of the very loud corporate media and uni-party crusade for an era (a decade of cuts is in the works) of utterly counterproductive and inhumane austerity.

As I’ve said, the left needs a powerful and attractive counter-narrative, led by the ‘meme’ “shared prosperity,” but, surprisingly, no one can hear me outside this blog. Till we turn the tables we’ll be abused by Obama-Sanders-Boehner-Hoover classical economics, a replay in the 2010s of the mass human tragedy of the 1930s. Here in the U.S. since 2008 we’ve only experienced a taste of that. I’m talking real, mass, and unrelenting austerity, Greece or Ireland, as long as we let the DemoRepublican uniparty, which the Congressional Progressive Caucus rhetorically supports, run the economy into the ground with ‘shared sacrifice’ or whatever their real slogan is (‘I got mine, Jack’).

Shared Prosperity NOT Shared Sacrifice!