Category Archives: Politics

Trump approval rating may not matter

As much as I hate the current incumbent in the White House, his family and his supporters–the one thing to remember is that his election proved there is a flaw with polling. So while his approval rating may be at an all time low the only poll that really matters is the one on Election Day.

Both Sanders and Corbyn are widely popular in their home countries, despite being hated by the transatlantic liberal elite who said neither of them could ever catch on with the public. The liberal discourse is disproportionately a professional-class party over tapas and Chardonnay. It will never be the bellwether for socialist politics.

From Jacobin

How to be a political opposition and more than just resistance

This is a great little piece by Umair Haque which basically states that in order to be successful in the opposition to Trump and his allies, we have to offer up a strong platform.

What does opposition do that resistance doesn’t? It offers a positive agenda for a better social contract, embedded in institutional transformations. Like, for example, everything that Dems don’t ever propose: real universal healthcare, public media, public higher education, debt relief, real safety nets, and so on. A social contract?—?whole and full and true.

There is a lot we can learn from what Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters were able to achieve in England. They put forward a platform that the public got behind. 

Macron wants to turn France into an anti-labor startup economy?

While I was glad to see France turn back the right-wing virus that has been wreaking havock globally. I wonder about Macron

Creating his own En Marche! campaign after leaving the previous Socialist government, Macron made much of the idea that he was combining both left and right: in other words, a coalition of the whole political mainstream. His support includes ministers from both the last Socialist government and the center-right administrations of the 1990s. Yet his explicit goal is to reorder France on the model of a “start-up,” an ecstasy of entrepreneurial vim and cutting back supposedly “restrictive” workers’ rights.

Atrios’s excellent point on Dean’s 50 State Stratagem

Bring Howard Dean and Tim McMahon back to the DNC.

One thing that I think people tend to forget is that Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy wasn’t simply about fighting everywhere, it was about shoveling money out of DC before the vultures there could get their hands on it. It was about the idea that people who run campaigns out of Washington don’t know what the hell they’re doing, but that as long as the money was sitting there, candidates didn’t have much choice but to deal with them.

via Eschaton: The 50 State Strategy.

Photo by eli867

Racialized space enables the advocates of expressly racist policies to disavow any racial intent. They speak on behalf of whiteness and its accumulated privileges and immunities, but rather than having to speak as whites, they present themselves as racially unmarked homeowners, citizens and taxpayers, whose preferred policies just happen to sustain white privilege and power.

source: libcom.org

Obama’s veto pen

Now that the Republican Party controls both houses of the United State Congress, people are expecting President Obama to unsheathe the veto sword and charge into battle.

An article in The Nation. magazine referring to a past era with similarities to yesterday’s election results mentioned this tidbit about Truman’s expected use of his veto pen after Republicans took both houses.

If he uses the veto, and the threat of the veto, with shrewdness and courage, he may get better results from an opposition Congress than from an undisciplined mob of legislators only theoretically controlled by his own party. He has the choice of taking a strong lead, with the hope of preserving the prestige of his office and his party, or of allowing the government to wallow for two years in uncertainty—with sure defeat at the end of the road and something like national paralysis en route.

So if the Republicans actually plan to govern instead of obstructing this might be a good opportunity for the president to get some things done instead of having gridlock. He can use the threat of a veto to shape legislation a little bit more to his liking.

Or we’ll just continue to have gridlock and this highlights the main problem with Congress ever since the GOP has controlled the House and have been stymieing things in the Senate. A someone recently said, President Obama could come out against third degree burns and you’d have Republicans lining up to douse themselves in flames.

Photo by DonkeyHotey

So you lost a midterm election

As bad as things may seem remember a few things. A lot of the seats that were up for grabs were in conservative states. I can’t fathom why Maryland would elect a Republican governor but oh well.

The truth is that both political parties are miserable failures. Progressives work hard to elect Democrats because the Democrats are the lesser of two evils. On social issues Democrats are way more liberal and un-draconian and regressive, but on economic issues they aren’t that great.

Neoliberalism is the ideology that both major political parties subscribe to. The Obama administration is pushing some of the worst trade deals we’ve seen since NAFTA and CAFTA. When it comes to war and the defense industry the parties can sometimes be indistinguishable. Let’s not forget why we can’t seriously get anything done on climate change. The truth is that the real problem is money in politics and until you do something about that we’ll continue to have rule by the elite.

So work with people like Lawrence Lessig and Rootstrikers to get the money out of politics altogether. Elections should be publicly funded it’s the only way to ensure that politicians aren’t influenced by special interests. Sure even with money taken out of the picture there might still be candidates who favor corporatism, neoliberalism and all the nasty things that conservatives stand for, but when elections are publicly funded it changes the dynamic of campaigns completely. People aren’t flooded with waves of propaganda for starters.

You can also start to seriously look at third parties like the Green Party and the Working Families Party.

Photo by Coventry City Council

The left needs to continue running against the two party system

The Greens and other left alternative candidates need to keep this up.

The silver lining is this “extreme center,” as Tariq Ali describes it, has opened up space in countries like Spain, Iceland, and Greece that left parties have used for mass mobilization. There are flickers of hope in the United States with Socialist Alternative candidate Kshama Sawant beating Democrats in Seattle and Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins giving New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo headaches in the upcoming election. But it’s a long row to hoe.

I still support the Working Families Party because of what it can do to pull both main political parties to the left, but I also support challenges from left candidates whether from the Green Party or elsewhere.

Photo by katijagruene