The Nature of Liberalism

For decades, “liberal” has been bandied about as a term of abuse in US politics. The term “liberal” has been defined as “soft on crime,” “soft on communism,” soft on defense,” and “tax and spend,” among others.

Political figures defined as “liberals” have never challenged the capitalist system; they believed that “capitalism works wonderfully, but we have to fix the problems it creates, such as unemployment, poverty, and corrupt government.” So, liberals have advocated such regulations on corporations as occupational safety and health, pollution, racial and other forms of occupational discrimination, etc. In the liberal scheme, capitalism is monitored, but it stays intact.

The Origins of Contemporary Liberalism in the United States

The New Deal of FDR, coming upon the 1929 Stock Market Crash and subsequent depression and the resulting unemployment of millions of workers, along with the fear of, if not the real possibility of, revolution-was the basis of contemporary liberalism. To head off the danger of revolution or other upheavals by workers and low-income people who lost their jobs and so turned against the economic system, FDR implemented series of programs that collectively were called the New Deal; there was no strategy involved, it was a series of expediencies that took place in order to put unemployed workers to work immediately, and to place corporations under control so that a depression would not occur in the future.

After consulting with the British economist John Maynard Keynes, the FDR administration took the risk of bringing the federal government into deficit, to put workers to work in public works jobs so they would have money to spend in local stores to stimulate the economy. Keynesianism was a doctrinal basis of the New Deal, giving it a strategy.

Throughout all this, the liberals of the FDR administration never challenged the idea of capitalism, , denying that they were seeking “socialism;” but conservatives, through the FDR administration and beyond, complained that the administration was leading the country into “socialism” and eventually “communism,” with its effort to control the worst parts of capitalism and thus avert social upheaval.

The Conservative Reaction To The New Deal

The movement known as “conservativism” also began with the 1929 Depression; but it was a reaction against the New Deal, attempting to reestablish total corporate control without any government regulation, denying that the capitalist system needed any policing, clinging to the faith that the system would correct itself.

Corporate leaders are convinced of their superiority as a class, resisting the idea that they needed policing of their management of their corporations by the government or workers organizing themselves into unions.

Thus, much of what we know today as “liberalism” and conservativism” is descended from the struggle over the New Deal and the 1929 Crash era. The corporations were placed under regulation, but they were never disbanded or nationalized; however, the popular belief in their infallibility, cultivated during the “prosperity” of the 1920s prior to the Crash, fell apart, and many corporate leaders, such as Henry Ford, expressed admiration for the fascist regimes in Europe, admiring how they kept order and averted the communist threat.

Liberalism and Conservativism After The Second World War

After the Second World War, conservatives sought to regroup as a political and intellectual force. During the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, the established economic belief was one of a tripartite system of government, private enterprise, and unions, with the NLRB, workers had the legal right to establish unions for their mutual benefit.

As a movement, conservativism carried with it a sense of superiority, in moral behavior and “knowing how the world really works,” with the aura of past beliefs accepted over decades, ridiculing and mocking liberals for challenging their privileged position or these long accepted beliefs that have been accepted as reality.

Conservatives see the advancement of former outcast groups-workers in the 1930s; African-Americans, LGBT, and women in the 1960s-as interlopers people who stole their rightful position of dominance, and blame liberals for accommodating them and supporting their advancement with the use of the government apparatus; but in the liberal scheme, the rise of the former out-groups is within the established economic and social structure, with the legitimacy of neither capitalism or the government challenged. The dream of conservatives has been to regain their power and dominance. To them, the rise of the former out-groups was conducted by the federal government, under the control of people whom conservatives have lumped together under the title ‘liberal,” whether they truly deserved the title or not. Any concession to the former out-groups was looked upon by conservatives as s sign of weakness, and the conservatives have insisted that the out-groups be smashed down and put in their place.

The real idea of liberalism, however, is to raise up the out-groups within the social system as it is established, while keeping the social system intact, utilizing the federal government and political apparatus to elevate the out-groups; and at the same time, trying to manage and direct the movements of the out-groups, to absorb its members into the political and social apparatus to deal it their issues.

Liberalism and conservativism, consciously or unconsciously, are two sides of a continuum, a line, a gauge, like a thermometer, compatible to the good-cop bad-cop routine you see in police dramas; the “bad cop” tries to terrorize the perpetrator into submission, whole the “good cop” tried to “befriend” and soothe the perp into cooperating with the police, i.e., the state and the society it serves.

Often, socialists, progressives, “radicals,” people favoring more advanced policies than liberals have offered, have gone along with the liberals, for practical purposes of getting the legislation passed in the legislative system, operating through public demonstrations, journalism, scholarly research, and often electoral campaigns; but often the liberals, closer to conservatives in wanting to keep the social-economic system in place, try to control the “radicals,” telling them “don’t go too far,” (whatever that is). At this point, the “radicals” have to decide whether to go along with the liberals, who are closer to the established powers, or go it alone and risk the wrath of the police system and its repression, which often liberals have gone along with? Which actions on the part of the ‘radicals” would be most effective-civil disobedience, street demonstrations, or selective acts of violence against state facilities?

These are no small questions; mainly it would be a matter of tactics. I do not have any answers, I simply want to raise questions.

 

 

 

 

 

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The High Holy Days

The High Holy Days-Rosh haShona and Yom Kippur-are almost upon us. this is the time when we are called to look at our lives, look at how we behaved in the past year, noted where we dome well as people, and where we need to improve.

this is the time to put our mistakes and errors of the past year behind us, and to forgive ourselves of them, and know we can be better people. To any person I may have offended, I ask your forgiveness; and to all who have offended me, I forgive them.

One practice I have is my Resolutions for Rosh HaShona, like the resolutions I write also for the New Year-and for my birthday and Pesach. Here they are:

I will continue conduct myself with self-live, self-esteem, and self respect. I will not be bound by errors of the past, but continue to improve as a person, to think positively about myself and my life, and challenge negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts.

I will continue such spiritual practices as Torah study, yoga, affirmations, meditation, etc.

I will continue my art and business as a writer, seeking journals, attending writing events, practicing writing, etc. I will continue my activism for my various social and political causes.

I will continue to be loyal to Jewish relation, culture, history, Israel, etc.

The Mason Missile, November 26, 2016

Greetings, and happy holidays!

Yes, I am over the shock of the reality of Donald Trump becoming the next president of the United States, keeper of the nuclear codes, leaders of the “free world.” How did it come to this? Was Trump really the avatar for change he made himself out to be?

Donald Trump-a billionaire (as far as we know) real-estate tycoon who inherited the business from his father (who discriminated against minorities renting is apartments; who used his father’s connections to attain deferments from the draft for Viet Nam; who has insulted almost every one of the “other” demographic groups-Mexicans, Muslims, the physically handicapped; who acts like women are his playthings to just grab wherever he chooses; who offered simple sound-bite rhetoric to complicated foreign policy issues, like the civil war in Syria; who joined the ‘birther” crusade that said Obama was not born in this country; who, in spite of his “protectionist” talk on trade, had his brand of ties made in china, his brand of clothing made in Mexico, and the furniture for his hotels made in turkey.

Now, barring a miracle in the Electoral College, he will be our President, the face we have to show the world who and what we are as a people. Is it anything to be proud of?

The Trump campaign has brought out of the woodwork the racism in this country, against African-Americans, Asian-descended people, Muslims, Jews, and LGBT people-swastikas sprayed on walls, arsons fires in churches, taunts of kids in schools, and physical assaults. How can we tell kids that bullying and terrorizing minority kids is wrong, when they see the President of the United States do it and get away with it?

Racism, long confined to such code works as “inner city” or “law and order,” has returned into the political mainstream, due to Trump’s campaign. Along with endorsement of such veteran racists as David Duke-who bragged that Trump campaigned on what he, Duke, has preached all along-the movement called the “alt-right” has stepped from the shadows; it shows itself to be savvy with the internet, but it’s really a rebranding of the same old racism and white supremacist claptrap.

And of course the “left-liberal slanted” commercial news media presents like there’s nothing wrong, it’s a normal transition from one administration to another, and the white supremacists around Trump are no big deal, downplaying the racist nature of the Trump support. Also, there is the tired old trope of the “white working class” which supposedly was all in for Trump, as if working-class whites are more susceptible to racism than other white economic groups. And the talk is revised complaining of “identity politics,” that in our endeavor to deal with racism and sexism in this country, we have neglected the problems of low-income white. (Calling this “identity politics” is a way of trivializing racial and gender issues; many people don’t like politics, seeing it as campaigning over nothing.)

The media idea is you have to work on EITHER race and gender issues OR class issues-as if they were separate; I have seen much overlap of them. Why not BOTH AND? We CAM and MUST simultaneously take on the issues of race, class, and gender, they are intertwined. So many occupations are dominated by particular racial and gender groups, such as the sleeping car porters, almost all African-American, organized by A. Philip Randolph. It is Native American people, standing fast at Standing Rock, North Dakota, who are taking the lead against the Dakota Access pipeline, which would run through their ancestral lands and contaminate the drinking water of everyone in several states.

(That leads me to the geniuses in charge of our glorious “free enterprise” system, the great entrepreneurs who, is you keep the government off their backs, will usher in an era of prosperity, just by allowing them to take as much money as they want for themselves. They know the technology for non-fossil energy systems in available-wind turbines, biofuels, solar panels-but they want to stick with the only thing they know about, good ol’ dead dinosaur carcasses turned into oil and gas after millions of years-the process of extracting the oil, gas, and coal has been a ruin for the environment and a disaster to surrounding communities of people who have to breathe the fumes and smoke of these fuel sources. Can’t these “geniuses” think of anything else?)

And what of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton? During the primaries, the DNC apparatus was biased in favor of Clinton against the insurgency of Bernie Sanders, a man of decades of experience in political and social activism, and who has galvanized a generation of young activists, who has identified himself proudly as a “Democratic Socialist,” and who has flooded stadiums and assembly halls with enthusiastic young supporters, and who has funded his campaign with small donations averaging $27.00 apiece, who has inspired art and song in support of him. BUT the party apparatus, in its “wisdom,” loaded the primaries in favor of Hillary Clinton, the safe, Wall Street friendly, “don’t cause the corporations to worry” choice-and failed in the long run. It’s as if our political leadership has no recourse except candidates that say nice things about racial and gender minorities but don’t want anyone to interfere with their domination of the economy, which Bernie Sanders (God bless him!) has challenged.

We have to be careful about the election results. This is from NBC News:

231,556,622 people were eligible voters;

46.9% did NOT vote;

25.6% voted for Clinton;

25.5% voted for Trump. Not much of a mandate for Trump, is it?

Recounts are taking place as of this writing, and the popular vote has been growing for Clinton. Yet Trump won the Electoral College vote, of an institution dating back to when the Constitution was written in 1787, when low-income people were deemed unsuited to decide political issues, when the vote was limited to white male property owners, the economy was primarily agricultural, and communication was through dirt roads. This is a governmental dinosaur long overdue for extinction, an elitist body that mocks whatever ‘democracy” we have left in this country.

And of course Clinton and the democrats, instead of fighting this injustice, are expected to give up, not fight it, just as they did in 2000, even with ample evidence of voter suppression in Florida-it didn’t hurt George W. Bush that his brother Jeb was Governor-and the screaming mob of Republican activists yelling while the votes were being recounted. (Liberals are expected to always defer to their conservative superiors.)

All attempts to protest these problems are called “sour grapes, get over it,” like it’s little league baseball, and not the fate of the most powerful nation on the planet. Did the Republicans graciously handle their loss in 20087 to Obama? No, they went to work almost immediately to undermine his presidency, formulating the “tea party” movement which terrorized congress-members in town meetings-as opposed to the reasoned debate we’re supposed to have in a democracy-bringing forth the “birther” movement that stated that Obama was born in Kenya and therefore not the legitimate President, putting forth racist cartoons about him, linking his policies with the now-extinct Soviet Union, and blaming Obama for George w. Bush’s trillion-dollar deficit-so much for “personal responsibility.”

(That is the point of conservative politics all along, since the New Deal- Formerly dominant groups, either based on economic class, race, or gender, have had their dominance challenged, and these former out-groups have entered positions formerly reserved by the dominant groups; the former dominant groups had the idea that if they were Not dominant, they would be subordinate, like they could not comprehend the idea of equality, which they juxtapose against “Liberty,” meaning “If the government gets out of the way and not interfere with the natural order of things, the dominant groups would stay dominant.” The former subordinate groups are seen as usurpers against the rightful rulers, affluent white males.)

And let us spend some time with the religious right movement-the same movement that would eliminate abortion and the right of women to control their bodies, would make it legal to discriminate against LGBT people based on religious excuses, and who in general would make their idea of “Christianity” the law of the land (even while getting hysterical about Islamic Sharia law). After their chosen candidates, like Ted Cruz, failed in the primaries, the religious rightists jumped on the Trump bandwagon, knowing him to be a dirty-talking whoremaster, corporate conniver, racist, and tax cheater, just so they can get some of their own people into cabinet positions. Are they facing a period of decadence, a downslide?

And, let us note the cynicism you hear out there-“Trump is in, there’s no point in protesting, they won’t pay attention, and so what’s the point?” The point is we come together as a group, to know there are many more of us who want to fight back against any injustice Trump may think up, to give confidence to politicians who want to fight the Trump agenda, and-possibly-to convince other officeholders that it’s safe to challenge trump and all he stands for.

That’s what we’ll do-take to the streets, write to our editors and politicians, and let them know how we stand-bye!

 

The High Holy Days

we are coming upon the High Holy days, Rosh ha-Shona and Yom Kippur-the new year, the time for a new beginning, where we re-evaluate our lives, where we look at what we did right and what we could improve on.

I follow the High Holy Days tradition-IF I have offended or harmed ANY person, I ask that person’s forgiveness. AND, if any person out there has harmed of offended me, I forgive them.

Here are my resolutions for Rosh ha Shona:

I will continue to conduct myself with self-love, self-esteem, and self-respect, thinking more positively about myself and my life.

I will continue to be loyal to my various social and political causes.

I will continue to develop my art and business as a writer, with writing practice, prompts, attending readings and seminars, etc.

I will continue to attend all available avenues of education and cultural advancement, such as classes, galleries, libraries, museums, plays, etc.

I will continue to enter other artistic fields, such as acting, photography, etc.

I will continue to consciously attain downtime, for my rest and recreation.

I will continue to go deeper into my Jewish faith and life.

I will continue to develop my personal relationships.

 

 

 

Get Out and VOTE!

April 26 will be the day of the primary election in Pennsylvania. I urge everyone within the sound of my blog to get their asses out and VOTE. Your candidate may not win, Lord knows I’ve backed some lost but noble causes, but it will show the political bosses we are paying attention to what goes on in the world.

With that in mind I hereby announce my endorsement for President of the United States-Bernie Sanders. I do NOT swallow the established media line that Hillary Clinton-who started as a Goldwater Girl back in the ’60s, and supports a pro-corporate agenda as bad as the Republicans-owns this or that voting block, or that she has the nomination in the bag just because the party apparatus is on her side.

The only real reason she became a Senator was by being first lady to Bill Clinton, who was as pro-corporate as any Republican Senator-he pushed the North American Free Trade Agreement, which took jobs out of this country, causing massive unemployment for American workers. Plus, after losing the 1994 congressional elections, Clinton hired Dick Morris, a conservative republican political manager, to be his political advisor in moving to the right, so therefore leaving American voters with no real choice in political options.

On the other hand, Bernie Sanders, a Democratic Socialist and proud of it, comes from outside the “two party” apparatus, (which to be is as much part of the government apparatus as the Army), and has a track record of pro-people activism, including work in the Civil Rights movement. Plus, younger people are coming up who have no memory of the Soviet Union, so the “Red Scare” of associating Socialism with Communism won’t work anymore. People are turned off anymore by the “two-party” system, whereby one party does not check or balance the other party, but they have the same corporate paymasters donating to their campaigns.

With the people on the streets, and the artistry going on-the kind of stuff you would not take place in any regular political campaign-it’s not just a campaign, it IS a revolution going on, a serious upheaval, a big change coming on in this country. Be a part of it and vote.

In 2014 America Abandoned Its Constitution And Devolved Into a Fascist Theocracy

In 2014 America Abandoned Its Constitution And Devolved Into a Fascist Theocracy

via In 2014 America Abandoned Its Constitution And Devolved Into a Fascist Theocracy.

GOP Self-Destruction Complete: Millennials Officially Hate Conservatives | Alternet

GOP Self-Destruction Complete: Millennials Officially Hate Conservatives | Alternet

via GOP Self-Destruction Complete: Millennials Officially Hate Conservatives | Alternet.

Heavily Armed Officials Raid Voter Registration Group At Direction Of GOP Gubernatorial Candidate | Liberals Unite

This is a disgrace, using thug tactics for purely political purposes, two-bit Gestapo tactics. Are we going to put up with this? I hope there are other groups to take up where Houston Votes leaves off.

Heavily Armed Officials Raid Voter Registration Group At Direction Of GOP Gubernatorial Candidate | Liberals Unite

via Heavily Armed Officials Raid Voter Registration Group At Direction Of GOP Gubernatorial Candidate | Liberals Unite.

Republicans Continue To Revive the Jim Crow Rhetoric and Tactics They Say Don’t Exist Anymore

Welcome to America, kids, Land of the Free-except if you have to register to vote, in which case the forces of the State pile up on you. The Republicans are so SHAMEless about repressing voting rights, including Gestapo tactics and lies. Which means Abbott and the rest of the Republicreeps are leading us towwards Fascism, in which case we’ll fight for our rights.

Republicans Continue To Revive the Jim Crow Rhetoric and Tactics They Say Don’t Exist Anymore.