The Coming Collapse
“The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny. The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate power and the mandarins of the two major political parties, in which we don’t count. We will wrest back political control by dismantling the corporate state, and this means massive and sustained civil disobedience, like that demonstrated by teachers around the country this year. If we do not stand up we will enter a new dark age . . .
. . . “The leadership of the party, the Clintons, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Tom Perez, are creations of corporate America. In an open and democratic political process, one not dominated by party elites and corporate money, these people would not hold political power. They know this. They would rather implode the entire system than give up their positions of privilege. And that, I fear, is what will happen. The idea that the Democratic Party is in any way a bulwark against despotism defies the last three decades of its political activity. It is the guarantor of despotism.” . . .
What Did Cedric Robinson Mean by Racial Capitalism?
This essay is the introduction to Boston Review’s print issue, Race Capitalism Justice. Inspired by Cedric Robinson’s work on racial capitalism, this themed issue is a critical handbook for racial justice in the age of Trump.
“Robinson’s critique of political order and the authority of leadership anticipated the political currents in contemporary movements such as Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter—movements organized horizontally rather than vertically. His monumental Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition (1983) takes Karl Marx to task for failing to comprehend radical movements outside of Europe. He rewrites the history of the West from ancient times to the mid-twentieth century, scrutinizing the idea that Marx’s categories of class can be universally applied outside of Europe. Instead he characterized black rebellions as expressions of what he called the “Black Radical Tradition,” movements whose objectives and aspirations confounded Western social analysis. Marxism also failed to account for the racial character of capitalism. Having written much of the book during a sabbatical year in England, Robinson encountered intellectuals who used the phrase “racial capitalism” to refer to South Africa’s economy under apartheid. He developed it from a description of a specific system to a way of understanding the general history of modern capitalism . . .
Robinson was a challenging thinker who understood that the deepest, most profound truths tend to bewilder, breaking with inherited paradigms and “common sense.” When asked to define his political commitments, he replied, “There are some realms in which names, nomination, is premature. My only loyalties are to the morally just world; and my happiest and most stunning opportunity for raising hell with corruption and deceit are with other Black people.”
JULY 6, 2018
It is estimated that between 5 and 8 percent of children and teens are addicted to this form of entertainment. In recent days, the World Health Organization (WHO) has categorized video game addiction as a mental health disorder, an opinion that is not shared by all experts on these games.
One of the conditions that make their use attractive for children is that they can be practiced with very few elements, unlike more traditional games. At the same time, they allow children to have an escape from the difficulties and demands of the real world.
Racism is a feature of the Trump administration, not a bug. Like demagogues before him, President Trump and his aides consistently single out one group for scapegoating and persecution: nonwhite Hispanic immigrants.
Trump doesn’t much seem to like nonwhite newcomers from anywhere, in truth — remember how he once expressed a fond wish for more immigrants from Norway? — but he displays an especially vicious antipathy toward men, women and even children from Latin America. We have not seen such overt racism from a president since Woodrow Wilson imposed Jim Crow segregation in Washington and approvingly showed “The Birth of a Nation,” director D.W. Griffith’s epic celebration of the Ku Klux Klan, at the White House.
The former slave imagined a better America than this. Too many white people want to go backward: But there’s hope
OUR COMMON GROUND Voice, CHAUNCEY DEVEGA
JULY 4, 2018 10:00AM (UTC)
Frederick Douglass knew that America has a white democracy problem. That rot was never corrected. The result? Donald Trump and his human deplorables. Racism is destroying American democracy. But then again racism is the real foundation of this country.
“Every year, on America’s birthday, I read Frederick Douglass’s essay “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”
I was first introduced to Frederick Douglass while in elementary school. My sixth grade teacher, a stern but kind black woman, knew that I, the only black boy in her class, would benefit greatly from his wisdom and example. She was right.
The book “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” was wondrous.
It was the amazing adventure of a man who fights to free his people by first liberating his mind and then his body from the evils of white-on-black slavery.
Douglass tricks gullible white children to teach him how to read . . . ”
ABOUT CHAUNCEY DEVEGA
Chauncey DeVega is a politics staff writer for Salon. His essays can also be found at Chaunceydevega.com. He also hosts a weekly podcast, The Chauncey DeVega Show. Chauncey can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.
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“Ocasio-Cortez deserves credit for beating a corrupt but powerful system.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a living Rorschach test for leftists. Her primary win over incumbent Joseph Crowley in a New York City congressional district is impressive on many levels. But the reaction to her victory demonstrates the sad state of affairs of left wing politics in this country.
The contradictory responses from people who are otherwise in agreement is the result of defeat after defeat and the lack of consensus on how to change the paradigm. The Democrats are the putative party of progressives but over the years they have morphed into a center right formation that differs all too little from the far right Republicans.
Regardless of motive Crowley was, as the saying goes, “phoning it in.” He had a lackluster debate performance and then didn’t show up for another. Instead he sent a former City Council Member to represent him. That level of disrespect was punished when voters went to the polls. It is true that turnout was low but such is the always the case in primary races. A win is a win and Ocasio-Cortez deserves credit for beating a corrupt but powerful system.
“The Democratic Party gas lighting which blames Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders or Vladimir Putin has been all too successful.”
Now the Democrats can’t even muster a “lesser evilism” argument after having lost state houses, Congress and, finally, the presidency. Left wing disdain for them is well deserved but there is still no agreed upon mechanism for ending their rule. In addition, the fear of being labeled a spoiler is still quite strong. The unbridled racism of the Donald Trump administration doesn’t make the debate any easier. The Democratic Party gas lighting which blames Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders or Vladimir Putin has been all too successful. The protection racket for failure has worked quite well.
Ocasio-Cortez is in the unenviable position of being dismissed by some leftists because she is a Democrat at all or lionized by others when she ought to be called to account. The Democratic Party bosses have already dismissed the significance of her win over a man who had a 10:1 fund raising advantage. That in itself is reason to give her credit. A large war chest is used not just to defeat but to scare off challengers before they can even mount a campaign. It isn’t surprising that Democratic Party leadership seek to minimize her achievement. If others follow in her footsteps the house of cards may begin to wobble.
“Ocasio-Cortez’s Peace Economy platform disappeared from her campaign website.”
Even Latino political leadership didn’t back her. Crowley’s debate stand-in was Latina and even Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz, Jr. lamented Crowley’s loss. “It’s unfortunate he had a primary,” said Diaz. “We need him in Washington D.C. Washington is about consistency and seniority.” It seems that black people aren’t the only group with a misleadership class.
But Ocasio-Cortez can’t be let off the hook either. Astute observers noticed that her Peace Economy platform disappeared from her campaign website. She blamed a volunteer-run web team and promised to “look into it.” A few days later the statement reemerged but doubters such as this columnist believe that it would never have reappeared if she hadn’t been questioned about its absence.
Ocasio-Cortez is expected to be all things to a desperate group of people. She both benefits from her connection to Bernie Sanders and is tainted by his sheep dogging for the Democrats. Yet she is rightly held up as a hopeful sign by people eager to see even a small chance of progressive politics taking hold. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is actually not the only issue for debate. The discredited Democratic Party and the inability of leftists to mount a successful attack against it should also be a focal point of discussion.
“Even Ocasio-Cortez falls prey to using liberal gibberish about America being a ‘force for good.’”
The Democrats have purged any semblance of progressive politics from their ranks. Democratic party attacks and Republican chicanery were used to end Cynthia McKinney’s congressional career. When Ohio lost a congressional seat after the last census it was no surprise that Dennis Kucinich ended up with the short straw. There isn’t one Democratic member of congress who consistently advances an anti-war platform. Even Ocasio-Cortez falls prey to using liberal gibberish about America being a “force for good” and demanding congressional approval for wars that should never be waged at all. But if she wins her general election in November she will be the lone member who says anything at all about the issues of war and peace.
Yet it is proper, indeed it is necessary, to call her to account when she follows Bernie Sanders and others in repeating unproven assertions that the Russian government helped Trump to victory. She can’t be held up as a progressive icon if she sounds like the imperialist democrats eager to deflect blame for their failures.
“There isn’t one Democratic member of congress who consistently advances an anti-war platform.”
In the final analysis progressives should keep Ocasio-Cortez under scrutiny lest she fall prey to big money and the pull of a partywhich wants to stamp out any and all divergence from their losing but powerful apparatus. The Democrats are openly backing former intelligence operatives and ex-military candidates to win in November. Ocasio-Cortez should be supported if only to fight against the Democrats and their ever more rightward moves.
The fight isn’t hers alone. The difficult discussions, debates and struggles must be waged by everyone. If not the leftist perpetual beat down will go on without resolution. We will be left with endless and useless argument rather than finding a way to make successful progressive politics a reality.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com . Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.