beyond democracy

Are You Not Alarmed?

Donald Trump told The Washington Post that he may have military parades in America like this one in North Korea in 2015. Ed Jones/AFP/Getty

By Charles M. Blow for The New York Times. January 19, 2017 [x]

Donald Trump may push us into another war.    

I continue to be astonished that not enough Americans are sufficiently alarmed and abashed by the dangerous idiocies that continue to usher forth from the mouth of the man who will on Friday be inaugurated as president of the United States. 

Toss ideology out of the window. This is about democracy and fascism, war and peace, life and death. I wish that I could write those words with the callous commercialism with which some will no doubt read them, as overheated rhetoric simply designed to stir agitation, provoke controversy and garner clicks. But alas, they are not. These words are the sincere dispatches of an observer, writer and citizen who continues to see worrisome signs of a slide toward the exceedingly unimaginable by a man who is utterly unprepared. 

In a series of interviews and testimonies Donald Trump and his cronies have granted in the last several days, they have demonstrated repeatedly how destabilizing, unpredictable and indeed unhinged the incoming administration may be. Their comments underscore the degree to which this administration may not simply alter our democracy beyond recognition, but also potentially push us into armed conflict. 

Last week, Trump’s secretary of state nominee, Rex Tillerson, said during his confirmation hearing that the United States had to “send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops, and second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.” 

The only way to do this is with some sort of naval blockade, which China would undoubtedly interpret as an act of war. 

Indeed, as Business Insider reported, Chinese state-run media responded in an editorial, “Unless Washington plans to wage a large-scale war in the South China Sea, any other approaches to prevent Chinese access to the islands will be foolish.” 

Business Insider quoted Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia and the director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who pointed out that Tillerson’s position could easily result in war. 

If the United States put “a cordon of ships around one or all of the islands, and the Chinese flew in aircraft to one of their new islands, what are we going to do? Shoot it down?” Glaser asked. “We’d certainly end up in a shooting war with China.” But even short of the conflict over the islands, The Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Browne suggested Tuesday, Trump’s talk on trade alone could escalate into an armed conflict with China. Trump has said he will make continued adherence to the “one China” policy — which recognizes Beijing as the sole government of China — conditional on negotiations over what he sees as currency manipulation and other unfair trade practices by China. 

As Browne points out: 

“The gambit has profound security and military implications. Taiwan is a regional flash point. Beijing regards the island as an inalienable part of Chinese territory; ‘One China’ expresses not just its political desire for unification but a core part of Chinese identity. Chinese leaders will fight for it. They can’t lose Taiwan.” 

Make no mistake: As bad of an actor as China is, the United States actually depends on China. It is one of our biggest trade partners, but furthermore it is one of the last remaining checks on an erratic North Korea. China could simply stop using its influence to make North Korea behave. 

And as you may recall, during the campaign Trump suggested that the way to contain North Korea was for nuclear proliferation in the region. In March, Trump said of nuclear weapons: “You have so many countries already — China, Pakistan, you have so many countries, Russia — you have so many countries right now that have them.” He continued: “Now, wouldn’t you rather, in a certain sense, have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons?” 

Then there is the destabilizing and downright frightening random rhetoric. Trump has suggested that he equally trusts America’s friend-in-arms Angela Merkel and his friend-in-spirit Vladimir Putin. 

Trump told The Washington Post this week that he may start having military parades in major American cities à la North Korea: 

“Being a great president has to do with a lot of things, but one of them is being a great cheerleader for the country.” He continued: “And we’re going to show the people as we build up our military, we’re going to display our military. That military may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military.” 

And, Trump continues to trash NATO, calling it “obsolete.” This is insanity. But too many Americans don’t want to see this threat for what it is. International affairs and the very real threat of escalating militarization and possibly even military conflict seems much harder to grasp than the latest inflammatory tweet. 

Maybe people think this possibility is unthinkable. Maybe people are just hoping and praying that cooler heads will prevail. Maybe they think that Trump’s advisers will smarten him up and talk him down. 

But where is your precedent for that? When has this man been cautious or considerate? This man with loose lips and tweeting thumbs may very well push us into another war, and not with a country like Afghanistan, but with a nuclear-armed country with something to prove. 

Are you not alarmed? 

moorhead, minnesota. november 2016. 

it wasn’t punditry, strategic error, or even a weak democratic candidate. the stone cold truth is that we live amongst millions of selfish, complacent, imbeciles who, in 2016 with the entire world at their fingertips, obtsinately refuse to see beyond themselves. democracy itself can never work with an electorate that seethes with anger at thoughtfulness, at pragmatism, at compassion despite difference, and at smart people.

the think pieces trickling in calling liberals out for losing because of an “elitist attitude” are terribly, terribly misguided. to villify the young, moderately well-educated people that overwhelmingly voted for hillary – most of whom are crippled by student debt – for not caring to understand the plight of the supposedly oppressed masses of middle america is bullshit. on the contrary, we are deeply thoughtful, we are deeply concerned, and we surely care about their well-being more than they care about anyone other than themselves. we are the ones racked with anxiety over climate change, over equality, over the fate of the world and we therefore unequivocally occupy a moral high ground when all is said and done. it is now high time we begin villifying the trumpisti and their retrograde “values” of anti intellectualism, fear, and every man for himself. this will be a rough four years, but i still believe the idealists, the readers, the travelers, and the artists own the future. on pense, donc on est.

to the deplorables: enjoy your new jobs shoveling coal, assholes.

anonymous asked:

Hello, can you please help me understand why some communist/anarchists are against religion other than the point that they impose hierarchical structures ? This would be very useful & please anyone add additional information that maybe relevant. Cheers.

Not all communists and anarchists are opposed to religion and spirituality, actually. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that they oppose the hierarchical and oppressive aspects of institutionalized religions, but as far as I’m concerned, there is no internal contradiction between believing in a higher power of some kind and believing that human society ought to be as horizontal as possible. A popular anarchist slogan is “No Gods, No Masters”, but there are also Christian anarchists, for instance. Likewise, spiritual Marxists are somewhat common – hell, I consider myself one. I think most leftists may be nonreligious (or at least not conservatively religious), and many argue that capital R religion as an institution will wither away when class society is abolished, but I don’t know any leftists who actively oppose the idea of people and groups being religious/spiritual of their own accord. Metaphysically, I generally don’t care what you believe – if you push for direct democracy beyond class society, then you’re probably my comrade.

I’m legitimately baffled that Trump has this much of a lead. I apologize to all of you for being so cocky over the past couple months, with regard to me saying how definitive it would be in Clinton’s favor. This is….shit.

Friends: Now more than ever we’re gonna need to build some anti-capitalist alternative. A labor party with working class interests needs to be built from the disparate leftist factions and organized into a cohesive opposition against the reactionary right. Worker councilism as an idea needs to gain traction so that socialism can once again earn favor among working class folks who are ignored by the two-party system. Electoral politics alienates people left and right; we need to bring politics to the grassroots level and the workplace level. Now more than ever, a genuine alternative to neoliberalism, to imperialism, to capitalism is needed. It won’t take form through the Democrats, guys – we need to build something truly revolutionary here, something that takes the energy of the Sanders campaign and multiplies it tenfold towards full economic democracy beyond capitalism.


The Democracy Scam

Tom takes on a sacred cow with Frank Karsten, co-author of Beyond Democracy 

zoayyyyy  asked:

hey i'm legitimately curious, I've seen some posts about the negatives of capitalism, which do make quite good sense. But, in your opinion, if you could get rid of capitalism what would replace it?

A democratic economy.  Ideally I’d say that it would feature strong local level democracy (instant recall of representatives, people who represent both the workplace and those who aren’t working), with an equal distribution of wealth and voting on projects and stuff.

However you can’t have a perfect idea of what the next society is going to look like when you start your work.   The Founding Fathers and the French Revolutionaries alike were both anti-feudalism and pro-democracy but beyond that they didn’t know what their actions were going to lead to modern liberal democracy but their actions led to it all the same.  While we should have an idea of what we want next, it’s not something we can force the particulars of.

Mod R