Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Weekly Update


Dear Supporters (and any casual observers),

It has been a quiet week, outwardly, for the campaign. We are launched and now it is a matter of communicating more effectively with voters. We found a Communications Director – another parent from my daughter’s class – who is very experienced with social networking technology. His name is Michael and you all will hear from him starting next week. Also next week we hope the web site host migration will be complete and we will finally have campaign email addresses. To date the volunteers have been using their own and I have been using email from my personal web site. Next week we shift into a higher gear.

Financially we are doing well, that is we are in the black. We want to print hundreds of yards signs and other materials so we do need more money for that. If you can please donate whatever you are able. The web site has details The FEC requires this: campaign contributions are not tax deductible and the individual donation limit for primary campaigns is $2,400. If you donate more than $200 (and we hope some of you are able to do that) then in addition to your name and address we need your occupation, employer, and their state.

Thank you!

The rest is my weekly comment on the state of the world. For new people, I try to write up something profound (or aiming for profound) about politics in the previous week.

Have a good week!

In news this week, I was quite disturbed to read the following from Chris Hedges (from TruthDig, 3/29/10):

“The longer we appeal to the Democrats, who are servants of corporate interests, the more stupid and ineffectual we become. Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the country is in decline, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, and they are right. Only 25 percent of those polled said the government can be trusted to protect the interests of the American people. If we do not embrace this outrage and distrust as our own it will be expressed through a terrifying right-wing backlash.”

On the same day I read this from Seattle Times columnist Jerry Large:

“It’s [the supposed health care “debate”] become part of a clash of ideologies that can’t be reconciled, but more than that, the opposition is a vessel for the expression of anger and fears that are dangerous.”

What Jerry was getting at is the visceral outrage at literally nothing that has marked reaction to the new health care law. I think most of us are pretty clear that this new legislation does very little of any good and very little of anything at all. To be outraged that it marks a government take over of something unspecified is sheer insanity, yet it is not random insanity but rather well organized insanity.

What Chris Hedges sees that Jerry Large is missing is that the outrageous behavior of opponents of the legislation is not just ill mannered, much of it illegal, no, it is proto-fascist and that is the real concern.

Fascism, according to the guy who popularized the term (his name was Benito Mussolini), is the marriage of government power and corporate interests. On that most literal version we have had a fascist state for at least the last half century. What actually mark the fascist movements of the 20th century are their beginnings with mobs following fear mongers. For Hitler in Germany it was the Sturm Abteilung (Brownshirts), for Mussolini in Italy it was the Squadristi (Blackshirts), for Franco in Spain it was the Falangistas (Falage was the core fascist group Franco used when he took power). For would be fascist leaders here it is the Tea Partiers, Patriot Movement and their ilk.

Any serious student of history can see the parallels. When angry mobs react to things that are functionally irrelevant to them or actually useful to them because they have been riled up by evil demagogues then you can see fascism in action. To some it may seem outlandish to suggest that people like Glenn Beck are agitating for a fascist takeover of America, but only if one knows nothing of history. It is happening. We are, as Hedges is warning us, seeing the birth of a full blown fascist movement rising up before our eyes.

Most importantly, Hedges is also warning us that if we rely on the Democrats to provide a bulwark against this new form of fascism then we are fools. The Democratic Party is completely out of touch with America and the real life struggles of the American people to survive (or they are actively a part of this fascist transformation). Both parties are parties of war and parties of empire, both lie incessantly to us and themselves. They do not understand or will not understand modern economic theory. They do not understand or will not understand modern history. They do not understand or will not understand basic principles of ethics. To think the Democrats are part of the solution is to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the problem. To think Republicans are part of the solution is simple madness (they can’t even figure out the basics of political philosophy so why would anyone with more brains than a flea trust them! to run anything?).

Consider these recent quotes:
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN): "I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous….having a revolution every now and then is a good thing."

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH): "Take [Democratic Congressman] Steve Driehaus, for example. He may be a dead man. He can't go home to the west side of Cincinnati."

Rep. Steve King (R-IA): "Let's beat that other side to a pulp! Let's take them out. Let's chase them down."

It is not a clash of ideologies, as Jerry Large would like to believe, but a predictable reaction to economic and social collapse. The patterns by which fascism operates are not mysterious to anyone who studies them, but they are quite mysterious to those who don’t. What we are witnessing is a clash between corporate dominated culture and human beings. Corporations have taken over our economic life, cultural life and political life and have wreaked all in the process. People are struggling and they are afraid. Scared people often turn to demagogues. It is easier to believe their cheap lies than to confront the reality of corporate totalitarianism.

This campaign offers something different. I am not hiding my head in the sand about the economic depression, I am not hiding my head in the sand about the legal reality that we are lead by war criminals, and I am not hiding my head in the sand hoping Democrats will save human beings (because we all know they will save corporations first). The vast majority of the American people agree with me on these issues. But we do not have a voice since the media is owned by corporate interests that have always liked fascists when they have been in power.

Democracy is hard. It is especially hard when the economy is collapsing. But there is nothing to do but to fight for democracy. The demagogues will be all too happy to take over for us, to take us over, but that is not a live option – it is the folly of fools who do not know history. And it will be hard to explain to people who follow these demagogues that fascism is not about helping them – the leadership of these nascent fascist movements don’t care about people, they want to use and abuse people for profit. They are good at confusing people and offering the wrong focus for what is very legitimate anger. People should be angry, but they need to recognize that they have to stand up for themselves and assert their power over corporations, not fall for the lies and distortions of the hacks who front for these corporations.

The status quo never likes change but in the face of economic and environmental collapse we simply must change our usual way of thinking about politics and elections. We cannot treat Republicans and Democrats as idols to which we pray for solutions. Democracy is hard because we must come together ourselves and forge a renewed America built in the interests of all America not just corporate Amerikkka.

All the best,

No comments:

Post a Comment