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LWolf's Journal
LWolf's Journal
August 30, 2015

Thank you for making this an OP.

Your response is thoughtful, accurate, and powerful.

I think you nailed something important about the envy. You are responding to statements about the Clintons and Obama, but I think that envy extends to many of their supporters, as well.

Not all, of course. But many. That's why, in my view, there are so many "sour grapes" posts that don't do anything to rebut Sanders on anything, and why so many repeated attempts to mislead, to make something out of nothing, or a mountain range out of a hummock, appear here daily. They're bitter before a primary vote has been cast.

It's not too late. They haven't missed their moment, if they can let go of their own pre-conceived perceptions and conventional "wisdom" about the coming primaries and GE. They can join the revolution, and I think some will. The stronger Bernie gets, the harder it will be to resist.

I've been reading about the changes that Democrats want for 13 years now on DU, and about how they can't ever be achieved because we can't elect those who are best on issues, or because we can't effect change without more Dems in Congress, or...there are always excuses.

This time, there aren't any. The opportunity is before us. We can take it, or reject it, but those who reject it ought not to complain when the nation continues it's staggering journey into fascism.

With the enthusiasm that Sanders is generating, if we get him nominated, I think he'll have some really long coattails in the GE. That's what I'd like people to understand. As he says, it's not about him. It's also not just about the presidency. The political revolution needs to occur, and will occur, at all levels. His leadership is generating the energy and enthusiasm to make that happen, and all of us who want to change the nation's direction need to be on board and busy, taking advantage of this opportunity.

August 28, 2015

Gentrificationís Ground Zero

In the ten years since Katrina, New Orleans has been remade into a neoliberal playground for young entrepreneurs.

As a teacher, I was aware of what happened to the public school system in NO after Katrina; it's mentioned in this article. I didn't know about the rest. This was well worth reading, and highlights why I oppose neoliberalism regardless of what party is promoting it.

The radical downsizing of public employment and more stable blue-collar jobs in favor of an economy clustered around creative enterprises progressively narrows employment opportunities for working-class residents, who will be forced to rely on service and tourism sector jobs — both known for low wages and just-in-time scheduling practices.

This manifestation of neoliberal expansion also diminishes the political and economic power of working-class residents. Start-up culture condones and encourages the anti-union, non-salaried ideology already prevalent in tourism-driven economic models, exalting job instability and impermanence as the new economic model of growth.

This is the real legacy of post-Katrina reconstruction. As education profiteers, speculative developers, and tech companies continue to gain in both capital and power, their success and maintenance necessitates the subjugation of working-class residents and regressive use of public resources. The creative economy only exacerbates the impact of revanchist policies that undermine social welfare and public employment.

In aiming to finish its nearly half-century-long project of making New Orleans’s workers invisible, the urban elite has reclaimed its place on the crest of the city’s new sinking levees.

August 24, 2015

I don't really understand what you mean

by "weaponizing" racism.

I disagree with you about "little individual focus." I think there was quite a bit of focus over those 50 years, just from a more integrated perspective than some want it. I also think that the "little individual focus" you refer to is MORE than you'll find in the record of the other candidates, and I wonder why you are focused on Sanders' perceived weakness, and not the rest.

I agree with you about it being okay to critique a lack of outreach to minorities. I think it's disingenous, though, to hold one candidate to a higher standard than others, to critique a lack of outreach, and then reject that outreach when it happens. To demand something, to get it, and then to reject it tells me that there's something more than just wanting a candidate to listen and respond going on. I'd rather those critiquing be up front and open about that.

I agree with you when you say that a failed message is a legitimate topic for discussion. What I haven't seen are comparisons of that message with other candidates', and discussions of why one is better or more valid than another. Maybe those discussions are happening, and I just haven't been around at the right time. No matter when I AM around, though, I see a hell of a lot of discussion WITHOUT explaining why one candidate's message is stronger or weaker than another's.

I'm a strong Sanders partisan; I've never pretended anything else. That doesn't mean I think he's without flaw. It just means he is the best candidate, on issues and record, for what I want in a nominee and a POTUS. What you see as a weakness on many levels, I see as a learning process for me, and for him. For him? I see that he moved quickly to address that weakness, and I appreciate the fact that he listens, that he's open, and that he reaches out. For me? I realized that I wasn't paying enough attention, and wasn't listening. I'm trying to rectify that. I think I'm making progress. I know that I have not earned the vicious vitriol slung my way because I am a white female Sanders supporter.

I'm okay with people pointing out my candidate's weaknesses. I haven't blamed anyone for doing so. I think there would be more honesty and integrity to that process if it were happening to all the candidates. I also think that some pointing out those weaknesses need to be able to tolerate criticism of their methods to the same degree that you want Sanders partisans to tolerate criticism of Sanders.

I disagree with you when you say "Trying to pretend those weaknesses are the fault of those pointing them out just shows how deeply that weakness penetrates their candidate." Sanders hasn't been trying to pretend anything. If any of his supporters are, that's on them, not him; it's their weakness, not his.

If a message is important, it's important to analyze it, and its delivery, to address weakness, and to strengthen it. This is true for candidates' messages, and it's true for the message BLM is delivering.

August 15, 2015

I hope Bravenak will be back soon.

This was a good read, and food for thought.

Some of my initial thoughts and reactions:

The Pacific Northwest is so overwhelmingly white that some jokingly refer to it as the Great White North. In a region where white people are so overwhelmingly the majority, racism becomes all the more difficult for the white majority to see.

Yes. I love my state for many reasons. Its whiteness is not one of them. My state was, quite frankly, founded in racism, passing exclusion laws and including exclusion in the first constitution. With that history, it's not surprising that, 150 years later, it's still very white. I'm not in Washington, but it still applies.

We should be listening if we are concerned about the crisis of racism in America because acting on that concern must begin with consideration of our own racism. And isn’t that the demand that angered folks the most?

THIS. I don't consider myself a racist. YET, I've spent an adult lifetime trying to be aware of my own biases in any area under discussion or action, and trying to make sure that I didn't allow those biases to blind me or limit me or dictate my reactions. I'm aware that I've got them, I know why, and I try to let that awareness regulate my thinking about things. So, while I don't consider myself to be a racist, I AM very aware of the racism that is so deeply embedded in the culture I was born into and raised up in, and I know that, consciously or subconsciously, I'm not pure. I'm willing to consider my own biases about race as well as anything else. Is that what the demand was? If so, wording it as "white supremacy" probably kicked that emotional response, always so ready to react before reason and logic, into gear. In reality, the world as we know it was built on a foundation of assumed white supremacy, whether we support that assumption or not.

People simply find it difficult to get past that immediate emotional response. Marketers know it, and build it in to their marketing strategies. Politicians know it, and build it into political speeches, ensuring that they never really have to get specific, and that people will be "inspired" by vague words with emotional triggers.

In this case, what WAS the goal of the two women? To get white liberals to stop, think, and listen? If so, then the method may not have been the most effective way to do so; triggering the limbic response instead of reason. It seems counter-intuitive to us, to think that the way to get us to stop, listen, and think, is to "shut us down." Yet, I can't deny that, while I thought I understood, BLM has been successful in getting me to examine those understandings and grow from there. Not the Seattle thing; I'd already started that process, and thought I was making progress. The NRN thing was successful in convincing me that I needed to do a better job of listening, and to see beyond what I thought I understood. Bravenak helped with that, too.

The trouble is, too many whites can’t seem to see that white progressive politics is identity politics, which means it is rooted in the white experience, just as much as is Black movement politics, Asian movement politics…all politics. The personal really is political, not just for women and people of color, but for everyone. And white is an identity forged of fear of the other and entitlement to race privilege.

This is something I need to spend some time with. I'm not really a fearful person, and while I'm aware of white privilege, I don't think I've ever, at least consciously, thought that I was entitled to it.

If you agree, then consider this. Maybe when white progressives see a man like Bernie Sanders, a courageous leftist undertaking the bodacious act of running for president as a self-proclaimed socialist, they identify with him not just as a progressive, but as a white man – as representative of them. Sanders, in this scenario, serves as a redeemer of white identity, lifting it above racist, reactionary, angry white conservatives who have so dominated our political culture.

By doing so, maybe Sanders is feeding not just a desire for vindication, but a sense of entitlement to recognition and respect that can’t be separated from whiteness without some winnowing. Maybe.

I know that this is not true for me, personally. The author clearly states that he's referring to white progressives as an aggregate, not individuals, so I don't need to take this statement personally. My identity, which shapes my politics, is less about race and more about gender, class, and a couple of other classifications. I'm not used to thinking about myself in terms of race, which is part of the author's point.

For many white progressives, getting right with this reality will mean having to figure out how to address race and class at the same time. I know a lot of folk find that a rough road to walk, but it might help to consider this: race is a form of class.

I get this.

Those issues have been around for generations. Black leaders have been fighting to end racial profiling, harassment, violence, and mass incarceration for decades. In fact, these demands have been made in explicit, detailed terms again and again at every level of government for as long as there has been an NAACP, the Urban League, and numerous other Black-led national policy advocates, and hundreds of local Black-led organizations active at the city and state level. Specific proposals have been presented, specific demands put on the policy making table and presented to the general public, repeatedly, and largely to no avail.

That Black leaders have been willing to rise above the humiliation of being patronized and tokenized while their issues have been ignored – that so many have stayed in the fight in the face of this – is nothing short of amazing. It is a demonstration of political maturity and determination from which all of us can take a lesson.

This I know. I learned it young. I was 11 or 12 when my mother took me to hear Angela Davis speak on this topic, and I remember being shocked. It was my first introduction to something that wasn't spoken about, until then, in my world. And what has changed since then? Not much.

Yet, as a Party, Democrats have done next to nothing to earn those votes except make the Party out to be the lesser of two evils.

What this amounts to is exploiting Black oppression. Yes, I know it’s not the intention, but the road to rally disruptions is paved with good intentions.

Interestingly, there are many, many white progressives who feel the same way: the party has not earned our votes except by being the lesser of two evils. And some of us think it's been oppressive to the left. So yes, I can really see this.

It's interesting that so many of us supporting Sanders are doing so for that very reason: we don't want a lesser evil.

I feel very strongly about this part:

We progressives may be growing as a portion of the electorate, but we are still underdogs in an uphill fight. We can’t afford to alienate our natural allies, and, have no doubt, people of color whose interests have been forged in the fires of racial injustice are natural allies of the progressive cause. We understand justice and have less to lose and more to win by laying it all on the line for progressive change.

Moreover, the discussion following that incident feels like it’s turned into a referendum on a whole movement

I won't turn Seattle into a referendum on BLM. I would ask the same of BLM and supporters: Don't turn Seattle into a referendum on Sanders supporters.

I am still saying: let's be united, not divided. If I don't get it, tell me in a way I'll understand. I'm still listening.

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