PANTSUITS & SAFETYPINS

Pantsuits & Safetypins His father fought in World War 2 His mom fought wars at home With lots of kids and little money She always felt alone But now the shit is going down: They´ll be sent back…

Source: PANTSUITS & SAFETYPINS

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Beyond Niemöller

A lot of people are sharing the Niemöller poem (“First they Came….”) in response to the election. But I would say we are well along that trajectory the poem follows, rather than at the beginning. “They,” the US government, came for the Muslims long ago in the aftermath of 9/11.  A registry was set up for non-citizens from Islamic countries. Detention centers were opened, filled with people who were rounded up and held without charge and subject to abuse – many for long periods – not knowing when or how they would get out or what would be their fate. Some were released, others deported. No one spoke for them because the association of Islam with terrorism was so strong in the public mind.
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There was an immediate backlash, paranoia and persecution followed at the level of civil society. Americans were told by government to report any “suspicious behavior.” Everything was suspicious to people in this tense atmosphere, even seeing Muslims out in public together. Acts of popular violence and hate crimes targeting Muslims, and even non-Muslims who simply “looked Muslim” or like they were from the Middle East, were many. Because how can Americans tell who is who? No one spoke for them.
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Congress almost unanimously voted for war in response to the attacks of 9/11. The full force of the US military was brought to bear on Afghanistan and Iraq, destroying and permanently destabilizing them, killing countless people and reigning torture and terror down on populations who had nothing to do with attacks on the US. Civilian casualties were called “collateral damage.” No one spoke for them because people wanted to believe the government was fighting terrorism to protect Americans.
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Black sites and Guantanamo Bay facilities  across the world were filled with victims whose detention and abuse violated the US constitution, a number of international human rights accords, and nullified Habeas Corpus. Weapons of mass destruction and illegal chemical weapons like depleted uranium were used in Fallujah, causing horrific birth defects to spike. No one spoke out.
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Some tried to speak out for these victims of US terror. But their voices were drowned out by a loud and militant nationalist chorus. Patriotic outbursts and slogans calling on all to “support the troops” were all that were heard. People who dared question or criticize the violent imperialism of the United States were labeled “Un-American” and subjected to shaming and hate. Manipulatively named ” Patriot Acts ” were passed that legalized intrusive forms of surveillance- even wire-tapping- on Americans and residents in the name of fighting terrorism, further weakening constitutional rights.
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When Obama came everyone hoped for change. But then Libya was bombed, various government coups backed, and terrorists supplied to escalate war with an eye to regime change in the Middle East and Latin America to uphold US interests. Drone attacks were launched across borders, even those of our purported allies. No one spoke out for the victims because Democrats were in charge. And bad things aren’t bad when Democrats do them.
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In the US, the Secure Communities program was unleashed on the undocumented who were subjected to violent ICE raids that dragged people away in the night and terrorized families and communities. More people were detained in private-for-profit detention centers, where they suffered horrible abuses, including rape and physical abuse, until they could be deported. Many were deported – 2.5 million deportations since 2008. How many died following deportation to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, all victims of decades of US imperialism backing military coups. No one spoke for them.
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Blacks and Native Americans, including children, have been gunned down with impunity by cops and self-appointed vigilantes like Zimmerman, disproportionately, all over the country. Until BLM no one noticed or came for them. The Justice Department did not come for them, and all we hear are complaints about blocking traffic.
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President Obama signed into a law a National Defense Authorization Act that allows the indefinite detention of American citizens, even though Obama said it would not, severely circumscribing the right of protest.  No one spoke out.Even progressive Democrats voted aye.
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Rather than changing course and abandoning these persecutory policies of the past 15 years, the Democratic party promised more of the same, opting for a status quo candidate deeply implicated in all of these crimes, and just as fiercely committed as Obama to the debilitating neoliberalism that has encouraged the rise of fascism.
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Now we have a fascistic American version of Silvio Berlusconi at the helm and a Republican congress bent on even more draconian legislation, some of which will further constrict the right of protest, by imposing harsh penalties on the destruction of property and obstruction of transport, making these felonies and widening the net of accountability to include those who fund organizations that sponsor protests.
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Sadly, there is no one in the world to speak for us. Only ourselves. And God only knows what is in store for everyone. If only more people had spoken out.
Will we unite against further persecution or stick with the same pattern? Only a strong anti-capitalist movement on the left can fight fascism, history has shown.

The Strange Death of Liberal Wonktopia, Day 5, part 2: The Years of Magical Thinking, part 3.

Of Safety Pins  and Solidarity, Carrot and Kings It is incredibly hard to get people to change their thinking, the only thing that generally does it is exposure and trauma, but the latter often bac…

Source: The Strange Death of Liberal Wonktopia, Day 5, part 2: The Years of Magical Thinking, part 3.

The Strange Death of Liberal Wonktopia, Day 5: The Imperial President or the Cult of Milquetoast Personality

“Present-day politics places emphasis on personality. An entire party, a platform, an international policy is sold to the public, or is not sold, on the basis of the intangible element of per…

Source: The Strange Death of Liberal Wonktopia, Day 5: The Imperial President or the Cult of Milquetoast Personality

The Strange Death of Liberal Wonktopia, Day 3, Part 2: A brief autobiography, or, why I am not a liberal

Some of what I am about to say is not common knowledge even to my friends. I am taciturn and particularly private man. I have only written about my personal life in detail once in a political conte…

Source: The Strange Death of Liberal Wonktopia, Day 3, Part 2: A brief autobiography, or, why I am not a liberal

The Strange Death of Liberal Wonktopia, Day 2: I am Sancho Panza, We should be Sancho Panza

The Strange Death of Liberal Wonktopia, Day 2: I am Sancho Panza, We should be Sancho Panza

Tough truths for liberals to face here. Time for reflection and unqualified abandonment of bankrupt liberal politics that have led us to this juncture.

Symptomatic Commentary

I am running a fever as I write this, watching without any particular strong emotion, President Obama, having to eat crow and welcome President-elect Donald Trump to the White House.   As my friend Arya said, “What a fitting way to end a presidency, by a man who forfeited all his principles in order to maintain a face of political modesty, and shall now open the White House doors to welcome President-elect Donald J. Trump.”  In this moment, as being on a podcast too late may have weakened my fight against a desert fall cold, I am probably going to alien more “left liberals” who feel disgraced and embarrassed for their country, but refuse to see their role in any of it.

So I got angry at the left and liberals on a podcast last night.   For months, I have been calling this a race to bottom, and it…

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The Strange Death of Liberal Wonktopia: Some thoughts on Trump as he appears to win from an expatriate “leftist”

The Strange Death of Liberal Wonktopia: Some thoughts on Trump as he appears to win from an expatriate “leftist”

Symptomatic Commentary

I am sitting at my work desk at school on the edge of the desert, near the outskirts of Cairo, where the wealthy developments have moved away from the slums around the Nile.  Here the government is talking about building a new city Akhenaten-style away from the bustle of Cairo, which has been the seat of some of the Egyptian government for most of 4000 years. Cairo itself is an Islamic city, but the Hellenistic Roman settlements that made up coptic Cairo were right near by and so was the ancient capital of Memphis and the tomb complex at Giza.  The reason for this is that Egypt has had to make hard choices:  float the currency to get more imports in and hurt the poor, or continue subsidies but get have no cash to buy imports and hurt the poor that way.  Given the number of impoverished here, either choice…

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