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  Another hurdle for those who wish to change society.

“Social scientists spend a lot of time and effort criticizing, deconstructing and otherwise problematizing various systems, institutions, ideologies and policies. However, it is much less common for researchers to develop alternative social arrangements that could be plausibly implemented in the “real world.” And it is exceedingly rare for social scientists to meaningfully engage with the public and policymakers in order to help translate those possibilities into realities. However, these latter steps are arguably the most important for actually mitigating the social problems researchers identify and analyze.

Again, people tend to stand behind established orders, even ones that are highly dysfunctional, even ones they don’t particularly like or believe in, unless and until there is a viable and attractive alternative they can rally behind instead.  Absent options, critique approaches futility.

Social science could be much more impactful, therefore, if researchers utilized their expertise to not merely articulate what doesn’t work (and why)—but to really push themselves to think through what could work better. And not, could work in an ideal world, or what would’ve worked in a counterfactual past, or what will work in an envisioned future (assuming x, y and z). The focus should be on what practical steps can be plausibly taken, by actual agents, here and now, to make headway on social problems.”

 

Full Article by available on Counterpunch.

 

  There is a frighteningly large segment of the population of Alberta that thinks that what the Republican Administration down south is gang-busterly-amazing-awesome-fantastic (full disclosure – by exhibiting knowledge of uncommon adjectives I disqualify myself from said group).

The Republicans, led by Trump, are merrily deconstructing American civil society; whether through willful action or diligent buffoonery, it matters not, as the end result is the same.  The glimpses I’ve seen of the full throtle shit show going on in the USA should be serving as a cautionary tale writ large for the gentle-folk of Alberta.

The Republicans and Trump’s toxic corporatism burnished with a faux veneer of populism is poison toward the idea that society should be a place for everyone and that caring for your fellow human being is a good thing.

2020 isn’t coming fast enough for America and the rest of the world.

Apparently though, here in my home province of Alberta, Jason Kenny and the possibly united right wing parties have seen the dumpster fire that is the Republican administration and have decided – “Wow, we should do that in Canada! Stat!”

*blinks*

Finding words to describe the incredulity I’m experiencing is difficult.  Here in Alberta, we’ve just come out from some 40 years of right/centre right governance.  The people of Alberta decided to vote in a centre-left party (led by a woman, no less) and have given Rachel Notley and the New Democratic Party a five year term to run the province not explicitly beholden to business and the corporate class.

It’s been a bit of a bumpy ride, but things are going fairly well.  Rather than imposing austerity on the people of Alberta, the NDP government is running deficits to keep education and healthcare funded and spur employment in the public sector by encouraging civic projects and the like.  The last government of Alberta talked a mean game about diversifying Alberta’s economy, the NDP is making a bit of headway in that area introducing a carbon tax and providing incentives for businesses to get into the renewable resource sectors and technology.  The price of oil has for much too long dictated the overall welfare of the province.

A return to right-wing policies would be detrimental to the welfare of the policies.  The same could be said and more for the antediluvian, obtuse, and generally batshite-crazy that is currently passing for policy in the US.  We need less of this, not more.

I can only hope that the people of Alberta are more astute than our southern brethren.

The plan at the base of Trumerica is this.  Blame all woes on the other and then feed the 1% and military industrial complex money to solve problems they have no business trying to solve.

Menon summarizes the current administration quite succinctly:

“Trump also seems determined to stay the course on America’s forever wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Neither he nor his generals show any sign of abandoning the Obama-era strategy of whack-a-mole drone strikes and raids by Special Operations forces against terrorist redoubts around the world (as witness a recent failed special ops raid in Yemen and 24 drone strikes — half of the maximum number that the United States launched against that country in any preceding year). Trump has already deployed 400 Marines as well as Army Rangers to fight ISIS in Raqqa, Syria, and another thousand troops may soon be heading that way.  And General John Nicholson, commander of the US-led military coalition in Afghanistan, has called for “a few thousand” additional troops for that country.

So expect President Trump to dwell obsessively on threats that have a low probability of harming Americans, while offering no effective solutions for the quotidian hardships that actually do make so many citizens feel insecure. Expect, as well, that the more he proves unable to deliver on his economic promises to the working class, the more he’ll harp on the standard threats and engage in sabre rattling, hoping that a continual atmosphere of emergency and vulnerability will disarm critics and divert attention from his failures.  

In the end, count on one thing: voters who were drawn to Trump because they believed he would rein in interventionism abroad and deal with festering problems at home are in for a disappointment.”

Looks like good times ahead, let us hope the American people can keep their eyes on what is actually important as opposed to the crazed side show this administration is putting on tap.

 

[Source:Tom’s Dispatch]

One of the criticisms of the progressive politics is that the Left has no plan to replace the current maldistribution of power with anything better, or even worse, a sickly mirror image the creates oppression with a different face.

People are organizing on the ground and this is what part of the solution looks like.

“The J – K Plan has three fundamental programmatic components that are designed to build a mass base with the political clarity, organizational capacity, and material self-sufficiency to advance core objectives of the plan. The three fundamental programmatic components are:

Building People’s Assemblies
Building a Network of Progressive Political Candidates
Building a broad based Solidarity Economy”

I highly recommend you go to the Malcom X Grassroots Movement page and check out their entire plan.  But here is an excerpt that I found both inspiring and encouraging with regards to the regrowing of fruitful democratic processes.

“MXGM firmly believes that at this stage in the struggle for Black Liberation that the movement must be firmly committed to building and exercising what we have come to regard as “dual power” –  building autonomous power outside of the realm of the state (i.e. the government) in the form of People’s Assemblies and engaging electoral politics on a limited scale with the express intent of building radical voting blocks and electing candidates drawn from the ranks of the Assemblies themselves. As we have learned through our own experiences and our extensive study of the experiences of others that we cannot afford to ignore the power of the state.

First and foremost our engagement with electoral politics is to try to negate the repressive powers of the state and contain the growing influence of trans-national corporations in our communities. From police violence to the divestment of jobs and public resources, there are many challenges facing our communities that require us to leverage every available means of power to save lives and improve conditions.  We also engage electoral politics as a means to create political openings that provide a broader platform for a restoration of the “commons”[2], create more public utilities (i.e. universal health care and comprehensive public transportation), and the democratic transformation of the economy. One strategy without the other is like mounting a defense without an offense or vice versa. Both are critical to advancing authentic, transformative change.

Fundamental to our engagement with electoral politics is the principle that we must build and employ independent political vehicles that are not bound to or controlled by either of the two monopoly parties in theUnited States. We are particularly focused on building an independent political force that challenges the Two Party monopoly and empowers oppressed people and communities throughout the state of Mississippi. In the effort to build on the legacy of independent electoral engagement by Blacks in Mississippi, MXGM’s members are all registered members of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MSFDP) and are starting to work as activists within the party to extend its reach and impact.

It is this combination of building and exercising dual power – building autonomous People’s Assemblies and critical engagement with the state via independent party politics – that are the two fundamental political pillars of the Jackson Plan.”

The springs of hope bubble quietly.  They require, at first, nothing but an acknowledgement that they exist.  Take your first step.

 

sunnyways    It would be nice if our political class would make the effort to look like they give a damn about breaking their promises to the electorate.  Assigning inexperienced junior ministers to such an important issue, combined with a milquetoast online survey  is setting up the entire process for failure.  And of course, surprise of surprises, the process did not work.

Similarly – here take this ironing board, 3 pennies and a stick of gum – now go make the speedboat of your dreams…   If you aren’t MacGuyver, and clearly the political hacks assigned to this half-dug latrine were not, unspectacular results happen.

“In the lead-up to the 2015 election, Trudeau pledged that a Liberal government would ensure a new electoral system was in place for the next federal vote.

The Liberals regularly repeated that promise through their first 15 months in office, but on Wednesday the government announced electoral reform was no longer a priority.”

See?  The gift of unspecularity is graced on the Canadian electorate.

“In the House, Trudeau said reform might produce “an augmentation of extremist voices in the House,” a potential result that is sometimes associated with proportional representation.

The Liberal cabinet is said to have been overwhelmingly opposed to proportional representation, which aims to allot seats in the legislature in proportion to the national popular vote. Ministers, the source says, believed Canada was better served with broader “big tent” parties.

The source added the ministers were concerned that proportional representation could open the door to smaller regional or fringe parties in the House of Commons, including the alt-right, a loosely defined political movement that includes white nationalists and white supremacists.

The spectre of such a party holding the balance of power in Parliament is said to have been raised.”

This excuse is the offspring of what happens when two lame ducks come together in unctuous union.   The alt-right holding the balance of power in Canada?  It would have been more convincing if you has said that if we had PR the ghost of Brian Mulroney (yes, he’s still alive, but ethereal BM is much more scary) would appear in Canadian’s bedroom closets and read his memoirs to them.  Now that is some chilling shit right there.  *shiver*.

Give us a frack’n break Liberals.  :/

“Beyond the government’s lament that no “consensus” on the issue of electoral reform had been achieved, the prime minister’s comments in the House suggested a concern about the risk of moving forward.

“It would be irresponsible for us to do something that harms Canada’s stability,” Trudeau said Wednesday.

“The fact of the matter is that I am not going to do something that is wrong for Canadians just to tick off a box on an electoral platform,” he later added. “That is not the kind of prime minister I will be.”

During question period on Friday, NDP democratic reform critic Nathan Cullen responded to Liberal concerns about fringe or alt-right parties. 

“In their desperate attempt to justify their betrayal on electoral reform, Liberals are reaching for any excuse, however ridiculous or absurd,” Cullen said.”

I see you have no problem in harming the political future of the Liberal Party in Canada.  JT, you just shat the bed of credibilty with your base, the swing voters, and the ABC crowd.  Those poor bright clear eyed liberal youth just experienced why you shouldn’t trust your political leaders.

Maybe now all you young pups can just back the fuck down a bit and take this bitter pill to heart and start to understand the older generation and their cynicism when it comes to politics.

Nah, probably not, Mr.Sunny-Ways won’t stop the reefer train so he’ll still get your vote.  I hear the Ganja dulls the senses – makes you less likely to hear the tortured screams of our Democracy that just got drug out behind the woodshed for a good beating.

“Donald Trump got elected on first-past-the-post with no problem. A fair voting system is the actual antidote to such campaigns like his…. Proportional representation elects more women, more diverse parliaments and forces parties to work together and bring a country like Canada together.”

Cullen alleged that the Liberals abandoned electoral reform “not because it was a threat to Canadian unity, but because it was a threat to the Liberal party.”

Always good to keep one’s political priorities straight.  :/

 

[Source: CBC]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where do elite priorities lie?  Follow the coverage.

“Q: Moving on, has the media changed landscape since you wrote ‘Manufacturing Consent’ in 1989? Is the media manufacturing consent now?

A: Well, we didn’t actually say that media is manufacturing consent; we said that -that is what they are trying to do. We discussed the nature of the media. There’s a separate question – to what extent is it effective? And that’s an interesting question, but we didn’t discuss it. They’re still doing it in the same way. In fact, dramatically. Take November 8, two things of critical significance happened on November 8. One of them was massively reported, the other, which was much more important, received no report – that was the Marrakesh Conference of two hundred countries that tried to implement the Paris programmes to try to save the human species from destruction. That’s a lot more important than what happened in the US election. And, in fact, it was undermined by the US election. What happened in Morocco is astounding if you look at it; one country was leading the way to try to save civilization from self-destruction. One country was way behind, trying to lead the way towards self-destruction, the first was China the second was the United States. That is a remarkable spectacle. Did you see a comment on it?

Q: Nothing.”

 

Noam Chomsky interviewed in the Sri-lankan Daily Mirror.

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