Keep On Keepin' On
A ‘Show and Tell’ Chart for a Lesson on Applying Gramsci to ‘Common Sense’
By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On
This interesting and current chart shows what Gramsci means by the ‘common sense’ of conflicted consciousness. ‘If the poor worked harder, they wouldn’t be poor’ is the main item featured. That’s only one piece of it. Actually, nearly all the opinions held by those of either party on this chart don’t hold up well to analysis. It’s Just ‘common sense’ expressed in a variety of ways.
But it’s where we start. Our task is to learn how to use the levers of those conflicts, in all their variety, to energize the transformation of ‘common sense’ into ‘good sense,’ Gramsci describes our task here as becoming ‘permanent persuaders’. He also urges us all to become philosophers, but not of the ordinary sort. He wants use to drop any pretense of being nonpartisan, but instead to become the largely self-taught intellectuals ‘organic to our class’ and partisans for it.
In that practice, moreover, resides the origin of a wider revolutionary consciousness. Most important of all is to consolidate the workers and their allies thus awakened to this new outlook into our organizations, the revolutionary parties, what Gramsci called ‘the Modern Prince’, or in our case, in a far more diverse country, into a radical gathering of the tribes, into a Modern Tecumseh. Hopefully, it will succeed where the earlier Tecumseh failed. 
It’s up to us. each of us, and no one else. The emancipation of our class is done by the working class itself. And as Marx said, we are bound with ‘radical chains’, meaning that when we break them and cast them off, we free not only ourselves, but all humanity.
Now along with a good cup of coffee, that should fire you up for the day!

A ‘Show and Tell’ Chart for a Lesson on Applying Gramsci to ‘Common Sense’

By Carl Davidson

Keep On Keepin’ On

This interesting and current chart shows what Gramsci means by the ‘common sense’ of conflicted consciousness. ‘If the poor worked harder, they wouldn’t be poor’ is the main item featured. That’s only one piece of it. Actually, nearly all the opinions held by those of either party on this chart don’t hold up well to analysis. It’s Just ‘common sense’ expressed in a variety of ways.

But it’s where we start. Our task is to learn how to use the levers of those conflicts, in all their variety, to energize the transformation of ‘common sense’ into ‘good sense,’ Gramsci describes our task here as becoming ‘permanent persuaders’. He also urges us all to become philosophers, but not of the ordinary sort. He wants use to drop any pretense of being nonpartisan, but instead to become the largely self-taught intellectuals ‘organic to our class’ and partisans for it.

In that practice, moreover, resides the origin of a wider revolutionary consciousness. Most important of all is to consolidate the workers and their allies thus awakened to this new outlook into our organizations, the revolutionary parties, what Gramsci called ‘the Modern Prince’, or in our case, in a far more diverse country, into a radical gathering of the tribes, into a Modern Tecumseh. Hopefully, it will succeed where the earlier Tecumseh failed.

It’s up to us. each of us, and no one else. The emancipation of our class is done by the working class itself. And as Marx said, we are bound with ‘radical chains’, meaning that when we break them and cast them off, we free not only ourselves, but all humanity.

Now along with a good cup of coffee, that should fire you up for the day!

Photo: Phil Locker, campaign manager for the victorious Socialist Alternative  city council candidate in Seattle, Kshama Sawant.
Why Socialists Need to Run in Elections, and What They Can Do When They Win
By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On
Jan 5, 2014 - Since Khsama Sawant’s victory in Seattle, there is renewed discussion on the left about elections. Some are still rather wary of the idea, and come up with a range of objections.
One point made in a recent post on the North Star blog was that these victories helped to show our power. While not wrong, it passes over a more important point
The main reason for entering electoral or even government terrain and waging struggle there is not so much to ‘show’ the power of our organizations. Rather it is mainly the matter of an earlier step: to build these organizations in the first place, or to take the miniscule ones we have now, and through these struggles, grow and multiply them.Does anyone doubt, for example, that Socialist Alternative in Seattle, is now likely several times larger than it was before this race? Or that it has vastly expanded its reach nationwide? Or that it will continue to do so precisely because Sawant’s council seat provides her with a wider platform to speak as a ‘tribune of the people,’ at least as she has done thus far in the current Boeing strike?It’s true there is a danger of being transformed in a bad way by such victories. I think it was Lenin (at least repeated by Mao) who referred to parliaments as ‘yellow dyeing vats’, ie, your delegates went in red and came out yellow. Yet the Bolsheviks still made good use of their platform in the Duma, and while Debs never won, his campaigns, and many more at lower levels who did win, helped the growth and scope of the Socialist Party considerably.Any socialist elected to office has two tasks. One is to be the voice of a prophetic and militant minority, from his or her seat, doing the work of radical agitation and education. The other is to help assemble and lead a progressive majority, a coalition necessarily with those to his or her right, to define and pass legislation meeting the immediate demands or launching the projects of the workers and their allies, or at least blocking against the measures of the most reactionary elements in those bodies. Bernie Sanders is an example of one who does both. He rarely wins everything, but his voice is one the left would do well to make better use of.Finally, one can be corrupted or co-opted in many ways, not just by electoral or trade union posts. People can be corrupted or co-opted via well-funded NGO groups that have little to do with unions or elections. They can also be corrupted by dire poverty and the lack of resources, as we saw in a number of former revolutionaries (Huey Newton comes to mind) corrupted by the ‘underground economy.’ There is no vaccine or guarantee against this in any arena, save for the political and moral training, solidarity, supervision and discipline one can find in revolutionary organization. Class warfare sees its casualties, but that is no reason not to wage it. It is a reason, however, to be less amateurish and more professional in the process.

Photo: Phil Locker, campaign manager for the victorious Socialist Alternative  city council candidate in Seattle, Kshama Sawant.

Why Socialists Need to Run in Elections, and What They Can Do When They Win

By Carl Davidson

Keep On Keepin’ On

Jan 5, 2014 - Since Khsama Sawant’s victory in Seattle, there is renewed discussion on the left about elections. Some are still rather wary of the idea, and come up with a range of objections.

One point made in a recent post on the North Star blog was that these victories helped to show our power. While not wrong, it passes over a more important point

The main reason for entering electoral or even government terrain and waging struggle there is not so much to ‘show’ the power of our organizations. Rather it is mainly the matter of an earlier step: to build these organizations in the first place, or to take the miniscule ones we have now, and through these struggles, grow and multiply them.

Does anyone doubt, for example, that Socialist Alternative in Seattle, is now likely several times larger than it was before this race? Or that it has vastly expanded its reach nationwide? Or that it will continue to do so precisely because Sawant’s council seat provides her with a wider platform to speak as a ‘tribune of the people,’ at least as she has done thus far in the current Boeing strike?

It’s true there is a danger of being transformed in a bad way by such victories. I think it was Lenin (at least repeated by Mao) who referred to parliaments as ‘yellow dyeing vats’, ie, your delegates went in red and came out yellow. Yet the Bolsheviks still made good use of their platform in the Duma, and while Debs never won, his campaigns, and many more at lower levels who did win, helped the growth and scope of the Socialist Party considerably.

Any socialist elected to office has two tasks. One is to be the voice of a prophetic and militant minority, from his or her seat, doing the work of radical agitation and education. The other is to help assemble and lead a progressive majority, a coalition necessarily with those to his or her right, to define and pass legislation meeting the immediate demands or launching the projects of the workers and their allies, or at least blocking against the measures of the most reactionary elements in those bodies. Bernie Sanders is an example of one who does both. He rarely wins everything, but his voice is one the left would do well to make better use of.

Finally, one can be corrupted or co-opted in many ways, not just by electoral or trade union posts. People can be corrupted or co-opted via well-funded NGO groups that have little to do with unions or elections. They can also be corrupted by dire poverty and the lack of resources, as we saw in a number of former revolutionaries (Huey Newton comes to mind) corrupted by the ‘underground economy.’ There is no vaccine or guarantee against this in any arena, save for the political and moral training, solidarity, supervision and discipline one can find in revolutionary organization. Class warfare sees its casualties, but that is no reason not to wage it. It is a reason, however, to be less amateurish and more professional in the process.

Brownfields, Cleanups and Anti-Union CranksBy Carl DavidsonKeep On Keepin’ OnMy home town of Aliquippa once hosted one of the largest steel mills in the world. Now, after the shutdowns and job exporting of the 1980s, it has one of the largest ‘brownfields’ in the world. That’s seven miles of highly polluted empty land along the Ohio, It’s hard even for weeds to grow there.So Aliquippa had the good luck Dec 24, Christmas Eve, to be on the receiving end of a $3 million grant from the state to help clean it up, in order to prepare for new industry. Most people praised our Mayor, Dwan Walker, for helping it along. But not some, such as one letter-writer in our local paper who asserted that retirees of the ‘greedy union’ should clean it up, since they made the mess and ‘profited’ from it.The notion of ‘greedy unions’ tells us all we need to know about this guy.The workers at this steel mill and others earned every cent they got, and then produced the profits for the bosses as well. Where do you think wealth comes from? And some paid a heavier price—I had a grandfather and a cousin killed there.In the last days, the union, nearly to a fault, made every concession it could to keep the mill open. But the owners decided they wanted to gamble in oil futures instead. ‘I’m in business to make money, not steel’ was the famous boss quote of the day.That tells you the nature of finance capital vs. productive capital. They ‘make money’ but they do not make wealth. Same as the folks who own casinos and race tracks. They make money, but no real wealth.Cleaning up this ‘brownfield’ creates infrastructure that can attract some productive capital—and labor along with it—to make new wealth.Whether workers are hired locally and get a decent wage and a union is a point of struggle. We’ve always had to organize and fight to get anything. Otherwise, we’d still be working for slave masters or bowing down on our knees to Kings, Queens and the Lords on the Manor.The workers did indeed see the land being poisoned, and most supported the EPA rules against it. It was the owners who exported mills to Brazil and others places without EPAs.Why do you think the frackers are afraid of union labor? Because union members have the backing and the backbone to report on toxic spills. Why are they afraid of local labor? Because the families of local workers live here too, and they also thus have good reason to oppose toxic dumping.But perhaps our ‘greedy union’ critic is right in a backhanded way. It may very well be that we can’t have capitalism along with jobs for all, a living wage and a healthy environment—not because it can’t be done theoretically, but out of sheer greed and stupidity. If so, I thank him for making my case for moving to socialism of the 21st century.

Brownfields, Cleanups and Anti-Union Cranks

By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On


My home town of Aliquippa once hosted one of the largest steel mills in the world. Now, after the shutdowns and job exporting of the 1980s, it has one of the largest ‘brownfields’ in the world. That’s seven miles of highly polluted empty land along the Ohio, It’s hard even for weeds to grow there.

So Aliquippa had the good luck Dec 24, Christmas Eve, to be on the receiving end of a $3 million grant from the state to help clean it up, in order to prepare for new industry. Most people praised our Mayor, Dwan Walker, for helping it along. But not some, such as one letter-writer in our local paper who asserted that retirees of the ‘greedy union’ should clean it up, since they made the mess and ‘profited’ from it.

The notion of ‘greedy unions’ tells us all we need to know about this guy.

The workers at this steel mill and others earned every cent they got, and then produced the profits for the bosses as well. Where do you think wealth comes from? And some paid a heavier price—I had a grandfather and a cousin killed there.

In the last days, the union, nearly to a fault, made every concession it could to keep the mill open. But the owners decided they wanted to gamble in oil futures instead. ‘I’m in business to make money, not steel’ was the famous boss quote of the day.

That tells you the nature of finance capital vs. productive capital. They ‘make money’ but they do not make wealth. Same as the folks who own casinos and race tracks. They make money, but no real wealth.

Cleaning up this ‘brownfield’ creates infrastructure that can attract some productive capital—and labor along with it—to make new wealth.

Whether workers are hired locally and get a decent wage and a union is a point of struggle. We’ve always had to organize and fight to get anything. Otherwise, we’d still be working for slave masters or bowing down on our knees to Kings, Queens and the Lords on the Manor.

The workers did indeed see the land being poisoned, and most supported the EPA rules against it. It was the owners who exported mills to Brazil and others places without EPAs.

Why do you think the frackers are afraid of union labor? Because union members have the backing and the backbone to report on toxic spills. Why are they afraid of local labor? Because the families of local workers live here too, and they also thus have good reason to oppose toxic dumping.

But perhaps our ‘greedy union’ critic is right in a backhanded way. It may very well be that we can’t have capitalism along with jobs for all, a living wage and a healthy environment—not because it can’t be done theoretically, but out of sheer greed and stupidity. If so, I thank him for making my case for moving to socialism of the 21st century.

STRATEGY, the Left and Doing Battle in the Electoral Arena. A new Slide Show in our ‘Study Guides’ section prepared by Carl Davidson, National Co-Chair, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, CLICK TITLE ABOVE TO DOWNLOAD.To get regular updates, be sure to ‘Like’ us at http://facebook.com/ouleft.org You can also ‘subscribe’ to our FB page and send in articles for our blog at the OUL main site, http://ouleft.org/

STRATEGY, the Left and Doing Battle in the Electoral Arena. A new Slide Show in our ‘Study Guides’ section prepared by Carl Davidson, National Co-Chair, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, CLICK TITLE ABOVE TO DOWNLOAD.To get regular updates, be sure to ‘Like’ us at http://facebook.com/ouleft.org You can also ‘subscribe’ to our FB page and send in articles for our blog at the OUL main site, http://ouleft.org/


Untangling ‘Class’, ‘Identity’ and Other Features of Our Conflicted Consciousness
By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On
If you’re politically active at all, and often even if you’re not, you’ve likely run into debates and squabbles over ‘class analysis’ vs. ‘identity politics.’ Either side of this debate can get you tangled up in ‘political correctness’ disputes that go around in circles. A common one is quarrels over whether there is such a thing as a ‘identity of whiteness’ backed up with a system of white-skin privileges, especially when it pertains to the working class. 
The divisions can be heated and frustrating. But it doesn’t have to end up that way. ‘Class’ and ‘Identity’ are really the apples and oranges of political analysis. Viewed properly, they can go together quite nicely. 
I start with the notion of ‘conflicted consciousness’ on the matter, a concept borrowed from Hegel, Gramsci and W.E.B. DuBois. Viewed singularly, any given human consciousness is a hologram of colluding and contending interests, identities, core values and beliefs. It contains both the ‘I’ of reflectiveness and the ‘me’ shaped by our social transactions.  
I prefer it to ‘false consciousness,’ (a term Marx never used, by the way, and Engels only used it once, in passing) because that ‘false’ implies a ‘true consciousness,’ which, in my opinion, is a slippery slope to both metaphysics and a backward elitism. 
All this is my way of holding that it’s not ‘class’ VERSUS ‘identity’. One’s class interest is shaped by one’s relation to production, while one’s identities—and there are a lot of them—are shaped by one’s family history, intimate relationship status, position in a social order, biology and so on. Values are often embedded at an early age by family and church, and new values can replace older ones over time. 
As an organizer, one of my tasks is the practice of what’s called the ‘mass line,’ whereby you talk to people, gather up their ideas, reflect on them critically, and take them back to them for review, back and forth, in an ongoing cycle.  The aim is to draw people out on key matters, so in the process I try to gather up all the contradictions in their conflicted consciousness, (and also learn some new things myself, since I am likewise one with a conflicted consciousness), and then try to find a progressive path, mobilizing all positive factors in our thinking, isolating the negatives, so we can move toward a more ‘wide awake’ and all-sided revolutionary consciousness. 
Finally, I’ll end by noting that the ‘mother lode’ on privilege and class is Ted Allen’s seminal work, ‘Invention of the White Race’ (Two Volumes, Verso). Ted was Marxist to the core, and saw the white-skin privilege, a term he coined, in class terms, ie, as a social control instrument reinforcing a notion of ‘race’ that has no existence in biology, but rather useful in the hands of a ruling class for dividing all those under its boot. Allen also saw it as not in the class interest of any worker, any more than ‘the worm on the hook is in the interest of the fish.’  Others may have made different uses of the term, but I’d go to the source for a deeper understanding.

Untangling ‘Class’, ‘Identity’ and Other Features of Our Conflicted Consciousness

By Carl Davidson

Keep On Keepin’ On

If you’re politically active at all, and often even if you’re not, you’ve likely run into debates and squabbles over ‘class analysis’ vs. ‘identity politics.’ Either side of this debate can get you tangled up in ‘political correctness’ disputes that go around in circles. A common one is quarrels over whether there is such a thing as a ‘identity of whiteness’ backed up with a system of white-skin privileges, especially when it pertains to the working class.

The divisions can be heated and frustrating. But it doesn’t have to end up that way. ‘Class’ and ‘Identity’ are really the apples and oranges of political analysis. Viewed properly, they can go together quite nicely.

I start with the notion of ‘conflicted consciousness’ on the matter, a concept borrowed from Hegel, Gramsci and W.E.B. DuBois. Viewed singularly, any given human consciousness is a hologram of colluding and contending interests, identities, core values and beliefs. It contains both the ‘I’ of reflectiveness and the ‘me’ shaped by our social transactions. 

I prefer it to ‘false consciousness,’ (a term Marx never used, by the way, and Engels only used it once, in passing) because that ‘false’ implies a ‘true consciousness,’ which, in my opinion, is a slippery slope to both metaphysics and a backward elitism.

All this is my way of holding that it’s not ‘class’ VERSUS ‘identity’. One’s class interest is shaped by one’s relation to production, while one’s identities—and there are a lot of them—are shaped by one’s family history, intimate relationship status, position in a social order, biology and so on. Values are often embedded at an early age by family and church, and new values can replace older ones over time.

As an organizer, one of my tasks is the practice of what’s called the ‘mass line,’ whereby you talk to people, gather up their ideas, reflect on them critically, and take them back to them for review, back and forth, in an ongoing cycle.  The aim is to draw people out on key matters, so in the process I try to gather up all the contradictions in their conflicted consciousness, (and also learn some new things myself, since I am likewise one with a conflicted consciousness), and then try to find a progressive path, mobilizing all positive factors in our thinking, isolating the negatives, so we can move toward a more ‘wide awake’ and all-sided revolutionary consciousness.

Finally, I’ll end by noting that the ‘mother lode’ on privilege and class is Ted Allen’s seminal work, ‘Invention of the White Race’ (Two Volumes, Verso). Ted was Marxist to the core, and saw the white-skin privilege, a term he coined, in class terms, ie, as a social control instrument reinforcing a notion of ‘race’ that has no existence in biology, but rather useful in the hands of a ruling class for dividing all those under its boot. Allen also saw it as not in the class interest of any worker, any more than ‘the worm on the hook is in the interest of the fish.’  Others may have made different uses of the term, but I’d go to the source for a deeper understanding.

Clean, Endless and Inexpensive Power—Brought to You by a ‘Green New Deal’
By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On

'We Have a Right to a Clean Environment' is the title of a letter to the editor in today’s Beaver County Times by Bob Schmetzer, a local PDA leader and IBEW retiree now very active in the protests around ‘fracking’.
"Dear Mr Schmetzer," one reader asks, quoting Bob’ "There is an inexpensive and plentiful supply of renewable energy. Each leaves no toxic waste for generations to maintain forever." When you find these magical sources you speak of. Please by all means be the first to get rich bringing them to the rest of us. Meanwhile we have to survive on what we know works and has worked for 100’s of years."
There is nothing ‘magical’ about the point. The inexhaustible (and plentiful) source of renewable energy Mr. Schmetzer refers to is in front of your nose. It stems from the constant interactions between the Earth, Moon and Sun. The Sun is a fusion reactor, radiating energy to us 365/27/7. With the new solar arrays, cell and collectors, it’s easy to convert it to electricity. With a global ‘Smart Grid, it can be stored and delivered everywhere.  The interaction with the Moon gives us tides every day, and there are now tidal generators that will convert the energy in the rise and fall of seawater into electricity. The interaction of all three—Sun, Moon and Earth—gives us wind, which again can be turned into electricity, and stored and delivered via the Smart Grid.

You can even install solar collectors and small wind turbines on your own homes, (see photo above) supply your own power, and sell the excess to the grid for a profit (this latter means is already wide-spread in Germany and has outdone the output of their nukes, which are being phased out.We currently offer huge subsidies and tax breaks to oil, especially when you factor in the military costs to secure the supply of oil, such as the wars in Iraq.In fact, if you factored in these ‘hidden costs,’ carbon-based fuels would be much more expensive. Better to shift them to renewables. We could create millions of jobs building the Smart Grid, which will take unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled labor, plus the building of the the solar, wind and wave generators as local public power plants. It’s called the ‘Green Deal Deal’, and its time has come. Scientists estimate that by 2050, if we went at it seriously, we could be more than 95% solar. All we need is an informed public and political will organized into some serious clout to counter the military-carbon-burning-industrial complex, replacing those jobs with green jobs and a healthier future for our children.

Clean, Endless and Inexpensive Power—Brought to You by a ‘Green New Deal’

By Carl Davidson

Keep On Keepin’ On

'We Have a Right to a Clean Environment' is the title of a letter to the editor in today’s Beaver County Times by Bob Schmetzer, a local PDA leader and IBEW retiree now very active in the protests around ‘fracking’.

"Dear Mr Schmetzer," one reader asks, quoting Bob’ "There is an inexpensive and plentiful supply of renewable energy. Each leaves no toxic waste for generations to maintain forever." When you find these magical sources you speak of. Please by all means be the first to get rich bringing them to the rest of us. Meanwhile we have to survive on what we know works and has worked for 100’s of years."

There is nothing ‘magical’ about the point. The inexhaustible (and plentiful) source of renewable energy Mr. Schmetzer refers to is in front of your nose. It stems from the constant interactions between the Earth, Moon and Sun. The Sun is a fusion reactor, radiating energy to us 365/27/7. With the new solar arrays, cell and collectors, it’s easy to convert it to electricity. With a global ‘Smart Grid, it can be stored and delivered everywhere.  The interaction with the Moon gives us tides every day, and there are now tidal generators that will convert the energy in the rise and fall of seawater into electricity. The interaction of all three—Sun, Moon and Earth—gives us wind, which again can be turned into electricity, and stored and delivered via the Smart Grid.

You can even install solar collectors and small wind turbines on your own homes, (see photo above) supply your own power, and sell the excess to the grid for a profit (this latter means is already wide-spread in Germany and has outdone the output of their nukes, which are being phased out.

We currently offer huge subsidies and tax breaks to oil, especially when you factor in the military costs to secure the supply of oil, such as the wars in Iraq.

In fact, if you factored in these ‘hidden costs,’ carbon-based fuels would be much more expensive. Better to shift them to renewables. We could create millions of jobs building the Smart Grid, which will take unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled labor, plus the building of the the solar, wind and wave generators as local public power plants.

It’s called the ‘Green Deal Deal’, and its time has come. Scientists estimate that by 2050, if we went at it seriously, we could be more than 95% solar.

All we need is an informed public and political will organized into some serious clout to counter the military-carbon-burning-industrial complex, replacing those jobs with green jobs and a healthier future for our children.

Purge the Tea Party, Save Democracy

By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On

It’s time to take the gloves off and purge the Tea Party. I’m sure we can fit extortion and obstruction of the Constitution into ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ and get the ball rolling with Articles of Impeachment—which, you know, isn’t limited to something done to Presidents. If not that, we need to prepare now to expunge them at the polls in 2014.

Not a single decent or progressive thing is going to get through Congress until we do.

I’m not even talking about their racist shenanigans on the Mall last week, demagogically trying at a vets’ rally to blame Obama for shutting down the WW2 Memorial they had shut down. Nor the anti-Muslim tirade and waving of the Confederate flag as they marched on the White house.

That was simply reactionary farce. More sinister was their action in the House early this month when they changed the rules, stripping every Member of Congress on one of their rights, and handing it over only to Rep. Ed Cantor ‘or his designee.” It was exposed on the House floor by Rep. Chris van Hollen (D-MD). According to CNN reporter Jake Tapper Oct 14, quoting van Hollen:

"Under the Rules of the Hous Standing Rules of the House so only Cantor or his designee could bring up Senate bill for a vote. I am told that we never played with this Rule when we were last in Majority and we are looking into the earlier history of this matter. In other words, they shut down the government and then changed the House Rules to keep it shut down.’"

In other words, the GOP-dominated House Rules Committee just told 434 House members to sit down and shut up, and that they had no rights the Tea Party was bound to respect.

To the rest of us, the clear message is that they don’t give a damn it the economy is wrecked and the working class suffers. They want to destroy the first Black Presidency at any cost, even if it means going against their Bankster backers on Wall St for a spell.


We need to put the heat on the offices of every Member of Congress, of either party, left, center or right. Strangle this proto-fascist maneuver in its crib. Don’t give them an inch, or we’ll regret it further down the line. Rather than ‘compromises’ like cutting Social Security or Medicare, now is the time for steel backbones and fierce organizing.

Oct 8-11 is the anniversary of the ‘Days of Rage’ in Chicago, and the appearances of the SDS faction known as the ‘Weatherman’. What is not so well known is there were two actions in Chicago that day, the other led by the SDS ‘RYM2’ faction, of which I was a member, along with the Black Panther Party and the Young Lords Organization, a Puerto Rican group. It was tagged the ‘Rainbow Coalition’ by Fred Hampton of the BPP, later murdered in his bed by Chicago police and FBI. This is a news piece done on the anniversary of that day a few years back, with Bill Ayers and myself representing the two sides of the argument.

It’s the ‘politics of self-expression’ vs. the ‘politics of strategy’ in sharp relief. In the end, both are needed. But the science and art of radical change is knowing which to emphasize, and when. In these circumstances, given the years of mass action and mobilizations to come, including the largest ever, 5 million out of 8 million students on strike after Kent and Jackson State killings, over a million marching in DC for the moratoriums, the GI revolts and so on, the WUO clearly made the self-destructive and poorer choice. Some have owned up to it, some have not. Were it not for the liberal media being drawn to anarchist violence like a moth to a flame, and writing our history accordingly, the Weathermen would be long forgotten. Unfortunately, they continue to serve as a prop in the theater of someone else’s strategy, neither ours nor theirs.

What in the World is ‘Duverger’s Law’ and Why Does It Matter?
By Carl Davidson
Why Progressive Democrats of America makes sense as a tactic of the left in national elections…
…and why Working Families Party makes sense in New York and South Carolina, and the Greens make sense in the Bay Area.
If you want your politics based on actual conditions, if only to change those conditions, check out this wiki entry for the answer…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duverger%27s_Law

What in the World is ‘Duverger’s Law’ and Why Does It Matter?

By Carl Davidson

Why Progressive Democrats of America makes sense as a tactic of the left in national elections…

…and why Working Families Party makes sense in New York and South Carolina, and the Greens make sense in the Bay Area.

If you want your politics based on actual conditions, if only to change those conditions, check out this wiki entry for the answer…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duverger%27s_Law

The Political Pathology of Flame Wars
By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On

Why does debate and discussion on the internet frequently degenerate into nasty name-calling and over-the-top rhetoric? 
It’s largely because the net is ‘asynchronous.’ That’s an adjective meaning  “…of two or more objects or events not existing or happening at the same time.” 
To put it more clearly, such debate is not face-to-face and not held in real time. This has consequences often unnoticed. The most important is that there are no non-verbal feedback loops, i.e., communications of the kinds of expressive facial and other body language signals that lead everyone to self-edit and temper themselves for sake of civility. 
Off the net, we can see it in the ‘road rage’ that occurs when you can’t see the eyes or face of your imagined or real adversary. On the net, it’s the main factor behind ‘flame wars’ over email and the comments sections of the blogosphere. 
For political organizers, it’s a reminder that the net is only an adjunct tool for organizing. Solid relationship building is still done face-to-face. 
Of course, it may not be nearly as much fun in venting your spleen with a cyber-string of raunchy expletives, but that’s another matter.

The Political Pathology of Flame Wars

By Carl Davidson

Keep On Keepin’ On

Why does debate and discussion on the internet frequently degenerate into nasty name-calling and over-the-top rhetoric?

It’s largely because the net is ‘asynchronous.’ That’s an adjective meaning  “…of two or more objects or events not existing or happening at the same time.”

To put it more clearly, such debate is not face-to-face and not held in real time. This has consequences often unnoticed. The most important is that there are no non-verbal feedback loops, i.e., communications of the kinds of expressive facial and other body language signals that lead everyone to self-edit and temper themselves for sake of civility.

Off the net, we can see it in the ‘road rage’ that occurs when you can’t see the eyes or face of your imagined or real adversary. On the net, it’s the main factor behind ‘flame wars’ over email and the comments sections of the blogosphere.

For political organizers, it’s a reminder that the net is only an adjunct tool for organizing. Solid relationship building is still done face-to-face.

Of course, it may not be nearly as much fun in venting your spleen with a cyber-string of raunchy expletives, but that’s another matter.