Comments of the Week: From Tuesday’s Primaries to Sunday’s Shooting Tragedy
Reposted from Sunday, June 12.
It’s been quite a week, and one in which a single event creates “before” and “after” pictures that show a far-reaching change, even if opinions vary as to how and why the event happened.
In this case, the incident in question was, of course, Sunday’s horrific attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
The week was also significant in terms of electoral politics, as we saw the last Super Tuesday come and go, shifting the country’s fortunes at the polls.
This week’s roundup of some of the most insightful and interesting comments begins with WindyCity1949’s helpful continuation of Chris Hedges’ thread about nonviolent civil disobedience in his latest column, “We Must Understand Corporate Power to Fight It”:
Non-violent civil disobedience can take a variety of forms. In general, an act of nonviolent civil disobedience involves a deliberate refusal to obey laws, demands, or commands of a governmental power. Here are a few examples: illegal sit-ins, marches, demonstrations, strikes, or blockades. The overriding principle of such actions is nonviolence, a commitment on the part of participants not to initiate or to respond to violence with violence. The civil rights movement was largely organized around acts of civil disobedience. Rosa Park’s refusal to obey an order to move to the back of a city bus is a famous example of it. Hedges is calling for masses of people to disrupt the activities of corporations or the state which are destroying the ecosphere, threatening to take away civil liberties, or violate human rights. He sees this as the only recourse left to the citizenry to fight back against what Sheldon Wolin called “inverted totalitarianism”.
Next up is a combination of a comment and a call to action to loosen the stronghold the two-party model has on the U.S. political system. This one was composed by Ted Apelt and posted under this A/V Booth story about Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s primary night visit and discussion at Truthdig HQ:
Thanks so much for talking about ranked choice voting (aka Instant Runoff Voting or IRV). This is the only hope we have of getting more than two parties involved in the political process in any meaningful way.
Every 20 years, Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission meets to discuss changes to Florida’s Constitution without the need for gathering over 600,000 signatures. The last time they did this we got Revision 11, which made ballot access rules the same for all parties. The next time they meet in 2017 (There will be a series of meetings all across the state, and anybody can go to the meetings and address the committee.) I want them to have a ballot proposal for IRV. I would love to help the Green Party accomplish this.
Your move, Green Party.
Now for james barklow’s four-point breakdown of how Sen. Bernie Sanders might ultimately effect change regardless (to an extent) of other candidates’ prospects. We always appreciate when commenters — or any other contributors to the site, for that matter — get into talk of ideas and solutions:
If Bernie wants his movement to succeed with revolutionary promise, he should have his name placed in nomination at the convention then give a rousing speech on national television. Then he should continue his candidacy as a Green or independent. Sanders-Stein. To be sure he would get the 15% necessary to take part in the debates. This scenario has the following possible outcomes: 1. He could win the general election. 2. He could throw the election to Trump, culminating in a presidential disaster that would end the Republican Party as a national party, and open the way to a multiparty system. 3. He could amass enough electoral votes to throw the issue into the House, whose Republican majority would be put in a position where, if they reject Trump and therefore their own party’s electorate, the party is destroyed; if they elect him, the party is destroyed.This will be the first step toward abolishing the electoral college, a progressive victory. 4. Clinton wins, but narrowly and at a price: no mandate or consensus, the likely outcome anyway. If Bernie wants to avoid the dustbin of history, this is what he must do. His revolutionary movement must include (a.) The abolishment of the electoral college and (b.) The end of the two party system. Now is the time.
Take note, Sen. Sanders.
Next we come to Joan Meijer’s cautionary comment for all news organizations, posted under Bill Boyarsky’s critique of the Associated Press:
It doesn’t take much any more for a news organization to discredit itself…The NY Times did it over the Iraq War, the LA Times did it by becoming a conservative rag, the Washington Post did it and continues to write opinion pieces as “news”. I used to avidly read those papers….now I scan headlines, check to see the source and if it’s any of the above usually pass on wasting my time on those rags. Now it’s AP who will get scanned and passed.
Message sent … and received, considering the target audience of Meijer’s warning.
And closing out this week’s batch is commenter past tense, who posted a comprehensive case against a racist law enforcement system under Sonali Kolhatkar’s story about Pasadena, Calif., police and legal officials’ treatment of Black Lives Matter activist Jasmine Abdullah:
the only “lynching” being done here is by law enforcement and the prosecutor. in practice, law enforcement monitors social media to see who is active in “controversial” activities and targets those individuals. the purpose of the prosecution is to silence an activist. that much is apparent by the prosecutor seeking an order from the judge to ban ms. richards from being able to go to the park where social activist activities are organized and staged.
the criminal legal system is racist today because it has a history of being a racist institution. in the case of ms. richards, the fix was in when the prosecutor stacked a jury with no black people (a common prosecutorial tactic). in the sentencing phase, the “anger management classes” was just used by the judge as a way to humiliate ms. richards.
furthermore, the probation order is a way to further harass ms. richards and a way for the government to impose fines on her for any further activism. the probation system is so abusive that when rapper “too $hort” was given the option of 3 years of probation or 60 days in jail, he took the jail sentence. the purpose sought by the criminal legal system in this case is to continuously harass ms. richards, by looking for any excuse to allege that she violated her probation, in the hope that it will discourage her from any further activism for a long enough period of time that she would be considered irrelevant. the system will then, of course, move on to other targets. this is, in its barest form, the use of the criminal legal system to violate a person’s first amendment rights under color of law.
the reason why the legal system remains racist, in fact, more racist than society in general is because it is a closed sub-society; it’s a bit like a fraternity. so once you get “in” the system reinforces it’s racist values on new entrants. thus, you see the kind of racism in prosecutors offices that you see described in the book “crook county” (about the cook county illinois prosecutors office): junior attorneys come into the system, discover how the system of incentives and rewards works, and they mold their behavior to the system.
that is why some of the abuses that were described in the report on the st. louis county legal system, in which black people disproportionately received tickets and fines are structurally the same as was the case 150 years ago. the difference was, when black people were targeted for arrest 150 years ago, the purpose was to force them back into slavery. today, the purpose is to force black people to bear the cost of funding government so that local governments don’t have to impose higher taxes on white people. and the economic effects are the same over the 150 years: in each case, the system keeps black people in poverty.
today, what is happening, and not just in pasadena, is that the racist legal system sees social movements like the “black lives matter” campaign as a threat to the racist social caste system in this country and is using the legal system to shut it down. the reason why this nation continues to be a racist nation and continues to maintain a caste system is because those in power seek to perpetuate the lies that assert that this country has a 200+ year history of “freedom and democracy” and that, unlike many countries, the U.S. has never had a caste system. racism in U.S. society is like alcoholism; you’ll never stop being an alcoholic if you deny that you have alcoholism.
That’s all we have time and bandwidth for this week — we’ll pick another list next Sunday. Thanks for reading and commenting.
–Posted by Kasia AndersonWait, before you go…
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