America is the land of opportunity, just for some more than others.

That’s because, in large part, inequality starts in the crib. Rich parents can afford to spend more time and money on their kids, and that gap has only grown the past few decades. Indeed, economists Greg Duncan and Richard Murnane calculate that, between 1972 and 2006, high-income parents increased their spending on “enrichment activities” for their children by 151 percent in inflation-adjusted terms, compared to 57 percent for low-income parents.

But, of course, it’s not just a matter of dollars and cents. It’s also a matter of letters and words. Affluent parents talk to their kids three more hours a week on average than poor parents, which is critical during a child’s formative early years. That’s why, as Stanford professor Sean Reardon explains, “rich students are increasingly entering kindergarten much better prepared to succeed in school than middle-class students,” and they’re staying that way.

It’s an educational arms race that’s leaving many kids far, far behind.

It’s depressing, but not nearly so much as this:

Even poor kids who do everything right don’t do much better than rich kids who do everything wrong. Advantages and disadvantages, in other words, tend to perpetuate themselves. You can see that in the above chart, based on a new paper from Richard Reeves and Isabel Sawhill, presented at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s annual conference, which is underway.

Specifically, rich high school dropouts remain in the top about as much as poor college grads stay stuck in the bottom — 14 versus 16 percent, respectively. Not only that, but these low-income strivers are just as likely to end up in the bottom as these wealthy ne’er-do-wells. Some meritocracy.

What’s going on? Well, it’s all about glass floors and glass ceilings. Rich kids who can go work for the family business — and, in Canada at least, 70 percent of the sons of the top 1 percent do just that — or inherit the family estate don’t need a high school diploma to get ahead. It’s an extreme example of what economists call “opportunity hoarding.” That includes everything from legacy college admissions to unpaid internships that let affluent parents rig the game a little more in their children’s favor.

But even if they didn’t, low-income kids would still have a hard time getting ahead. That’s, in part, because they’re targets for diploma mills that load them up with debt, but not a lot of prospects. And even if they do get a good degree, at least when it comes to black families, they’re more likely to still live in impoverished neighborhoods that keep them disconnected from opportunities.

It’s not quite a heads-I-win, tails-you-lose game where rich kids get better educations, yet still get ahead even if they don’t—but it’s close enough. And if it keeps up, the American Dream will be just that.

Left anticommunists find any association with communist organizations to be morally unacceptable because of the “crimes of communism.” Yet many of them are themselves associated with the Democratic Party in this country, either as voters or members, seemingly unconcerned about the morally unacceptable political crimes committed by leaders of that organization. Under one or another Democratic administration, 120,000 Japanese Americans were torn from their homes and livelihoods and thrown into detention camps; atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki with an enormous loss of innocent life; the FBI was given authority to infiltrate political groups; the Smith Act was used to imprison leaders of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party and later on leaders of the Communist Party for their political beliefs; detention camps were established to round up political dissidents in the event of a “national emergency”; during the late 1940s and 1950s, eight thousand federal workers were purged from government because of their political associations and views, with thousands more in all walks of life witchhunted out of their careers; the Neutrality Act was used to impose an embargo on the Spanish Republic that worked in favor of Franco’s fascist legions; homicidal counterinsurgency programs were initiated in various Third World countries; and the Vietnam War was pursued and escalated. And for the better part of a century, the Congressional leadership of the Democratic Party protected racial segregation and stymied all anti-lynching and fair employment bills. Yet all these crimes, bringing ruination and death to many, have not moved the liberals, the social democrats, and the “democratic socialist” anticommunists to insist repeatedly that we issue blanket condemnations of either the Democratic Party or the political system that produced it, certainly not with the intolerant fervor that has been directed against existing communism.

If we in the pro-choice movement don’t start paying serious attention to the ways in which our own practices contribute to the dehumanization of people with disabilities, we can’t keep claiming to operate under a reproductive justice framework at all.

… I have a problem with the idea that certain fetuses are more available for abortion because of their apparently disabled futures. When people who aren’t usually pro-choice (like most Texas legislators) start making exceptions for fetuses with “abnormalities” in the same way that feminists do, I get nervous. I have to conclude that the rhetorical choice to justify abortion this way sacrifices the humanity of all people with disabilities on the altar of feminism.

… At the same time, as a young, queer, poor mother of color who has experienced disabilities and sometimes still does, I understand the fear of giving birth to a baby with disabilities. It is incredibly difficult to raise children with disabilities in a neoliberal, capitalist society that creates obstructions to accessibility for them and those who support them. I can never condemn anyone who has been in the position of having to make that decision.

So I’m not interested in criticizing individual choices. Rather, I’m calling attention to the (supposedly) feminist discourse that reproduces stereotypes about people with disabilities, in turn reinforcing the barriers to rights they already confront. My focus is on those who shape the debate: media outlets, organizations, corporations, and people who are trying to change the culture around abortion. Because if we’re truly interested in crafting a just movement, we have to stop emphasizing narratives that implicitly encourage the abortions of fetuses with disabilities.

All I ask is that feminists acknowledge the systemic pressures felt by pregnant people whose fetuses have been diagnosed with a disability. I want to open up space for individuals to come forward and talk about their abortions without censorship. But if we don’t encourage a variety of narratives, we are contributing to the idea that certain abortions are justified and others aren’t. Until feminists begin to openly recognize and work against this argument, people with disabilities and those who care about them will continue to be alienated by pro-choice rhetoric. If feminists are going to claim to use a reproductive justice lens, we had better stop marginalizing the very people whose lives we’re claiming to save.

In all struggles, the way a result is obtained is just as important as what is obtained. Even in regard to immediate efficiency, actions organised and led by workers themselves are superior to actions decided and led bureaucratically. They alone create the conditions of progress, for they alone teach workers to run their own affairs. The first criterion guiding the activity of the revolutionary movement should be that its interventions aim not at replacing but at developing the initiative and autonomy of workers.
—  Cornelius Castoriadis, Redefining Revolution

anonymous said:

There's something I've been wondering, people keep saying that Hitler was a conservative/republican and that fascism is really capitalism. There are people saying that socialism and fascism are nothing alike. They claim that Hitler hated socialism. Some seem to use that to claim that socialism is is obviously the good and just system while capitalism is evil.

That’s because simple-minded socialists have no real understanding of history and political theory.  They’re basing everything they know on an incorrect political spectrum that shows communism on the far left and fascism on the far right.  In reality, communism and fascism both split from socialism or even more primitively, collectivism.  They are just different approaches.  If you look back at the key philosophers behind both communism and fascism, they all tie together in mutual respect and idealism.

This is a good video:

The revolutionary movement must become the place (the only place in contemporary society, outside the factory) where an increasing number of individuals learn about collective life, run their own affairs, and fulfil and develop themselves, working for a common objective in reciprocal recognition.
—  Cornelius Castoriadis, Redefining Revolution
The Long March
  • The Long March
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  • PRC
Play

The Red Army fears not the trials of the Long March,
Holding light ten thousand crags and torrents.
The Five Ridges wind like gentle ripples,
And the majestic Wumeng roll by, globules of clay.
Warm the steep cliffs lapped by the waters of Golden sand,
Cold the iron chains spanning the Tatu River.
Minshan’s thousand li of snow joyously crossed,
The three Armies march on, each face glowing.

Revolutionary song written by Mao Zedong, in 1935.

Before Marx the dominant school of socialism was that of the ‘Utopians’, such as Saint-Simon and Fourier of France and Robert Owen of England. The Utopians specialised in drawing up grandiose schemes for the future organisation of society but lacked any strategy for bringing them about, apart from appealing to the goodwill of the ruling class.

Marx was determined to differentiate his scientific socialism from this middle class daydreaming. He stressed that socialism could arise only from the actual contradictions in capitalism-the anarchy in capitalist production, and the antagonism between the working class and the bourgeoisie. This set very strict limits to predictions about the organisation of socialist society, limits which excluded any attempt at a detailed blueprint. In the main these limits remain in force today.

Since socialism emerges out of capitalism as a result of a successful struggle against it by the working class, the specific measures introduced by the revolutionary socialist government will obviously depend on the particular economic, social and political conditions at the time.

We cannot know in advance what those will be any more than we can now forecast the date of the revolution. Also, since the whole point of the socialist revolution is to place society under the conscious control of the working class, there are many questions which it is quite futile to try to answer in advance and which must simply be left to workers of the future to decide. There is, for example, no point in trying to draw up plans now for the design of housing in a socialist society. It will all depend on the kind of houses people in the future choose to live in.

Nevertheless questions remain. If people are to take up the struggle for socialism, they want to know what they are fighting for. This is especially true when the matter has been so clouded by the phenomenon of Stalinism in Russia and Eastern Europe, and by the numerous other regimes around the world which claimed the title ‘socialist’.

There is a need in socialist propaganda for angry denunciation of capitalism.

There is a need for hard headed analysis of the strategy and tactics of the workers’ movement. But there is also a need for inspiration, for a vision of the goal which makes the struggle worthwhile.

Moreover, in certain respects we are better placed than Marx to answer some of these questions. A further century of capitalist development has involuntarily prepared the ground for socialism in many ways and made it easier to envisage how certain goals set down in principle by Marx-such as the achievement of material abundance or the overcoming of the division of labour-can actually be realised.

Also we have the advantage of a century of workers’ struggle. We do not as yet have experience of full socialism in the Marxist sense. But we do have the experience of a few years of socialist revolution in Russia, and of numerous near misses - the workers’ revolutions that failed like those in Spain 1936 or Hungary 1956 - which contained the seeds of socialism.

— 

- The Future Socialist Society, John Molyneux

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