In Washington, Democrats are grappling with what it means to be a minority party in the age of Donald Trump. In the rest of the country, populist followers of Sen. Bernie Sanders are mounting a sustained effort to answer the question from the bottom up.
In California, supporters of the 2016 presidential contender packed the obscure party meetings that chose delegates to the state Democratic convention, with Sanders backers grabbing more than half the slots available.
Bernie Sanders’ vision of a political revolution in which millions of people stand up and fight back against the establishment by getting involved in the political process is no longer an inspiring vision but a fact of life and a force to be reckoned with.
First there was the ‘yooj,’ historic Women’s March the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as president of the United States organized by Planned Parenthood and other establishment liberal groups.
1. Create Chaos: Trump’s executive order implementing ‘extreme vetting’ for people traveling to the U.S. was not vetted by any U.S. government agency — not the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the State Department, or the Department of Defense, nor the National Security Council (NSC). The agencies responsible for carrying out Trump’s travel ban — Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services — were briefed on the order only as Trump was signing the final text.
So the public, U.S. government agencies, the media, and travelers from abroad were all shocked when the order was announced because it was effective immediately. Protests at airports erupted immediately as travelers with lawful permanent residence status (called green card holders) were and remain unlawfully detained by federal authorities. Continue reading →
Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s “fact finding” trip to Syria is guaranteed to find only ‘facts’ that benefit the regime of Bashar al-Assad. As guests of Assad’s regime, foreign dignitaries and politicians enjoy neither freedom of movement nor freedom of speech; all of their activities are tightly controlled by the military-security apparatus and so are their interactions with ordinary Syrians. Even people who travel there for the sole purpose of writing pro-government propaganda for Western consumption describe the intensity of regime control over foreign visitors as “scary.” Continue reading →
As we celebrate his birthday, it is easy to forget that Rev. Martin Luther King was a democratic socialist.
In 1964, accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, he observed that the United States could learn much from Scandinavian “democratic socialism.” He often talked about the need to confront “class issues,” which he described as “the gulf between the haves and the have-nots.”
In 1966, King confided to his staff:
“You can’t talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry. Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism. There must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.”
Steve Early’s Refinery Town is a compelling read on multiple levels. It paints an interesting portrait of Richmond, CA (pop. 110,000), a Bay Area city that is home to a massive Chevron refinery. It also works as a journalistic deep dive into contemporary municipal politics, with a cast of reformers and establishment actors clashing over approaches to problems in a city wracked by disinvestment, toxic waste, corruption, and crime.
In November 2016, the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) won a majority on the City Council, overcoming massive campaign funding for their opponents by Chevron. Continue reading →