The Definitive Take on Donald Trump

by Corey Robin on March 13, 2016

No, not really. Just my self-aggrandizing way of introducing this Salon column I wrote about Trump and what he means within the long arc of conservatism. My frustration with much of the discussion about Trump is that it presumes he’s a complete outlier within the conservative tradition, that he simply crashed the party. Not so: in many ways, he’s a classic conservative. But there are some elements in his campaign that are new and that make him dangerous. But those elements have less to do with Trump, the man, than with the state of play of the conservative movement.

Here are some excerpts. My apologies in advance for all the paradoxes and dialectical twists; I went heavy on the Louis Hartz here:

If Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination and the general election in November, it will be a victory for the GOP—and a defeat for conservatism. Not because Trump isn’t a conservative but because he is.

The right has a task: against a revolutionary or reformist left’s claims of freedom and equality, it must reinforce the ramparts of privilege. From the French Revolution to the New Deal to the Civil Rights Movement and women’s liberation, conservatives have always defended social hierarchies, doling out rights to the few and obligations to the many.

What Burke learned on his way to the counterrevolution was that the greatest enemy to the established elite was…the established elite. Most elites were timid, inept, unimaginative, rule-bound. “Creatures of the desk” was how he described them. Pencil-sharpeners and paper-pushers, they lacked “the generous wildness of Quixotism.” They were weak and spineless, too cozy in their comfort to crush their enemies.

To defend the established hierarchy, the counterrevolution would have to be as energetic and immoderate, as wild and unpredictable, as the revolution it sought to overthrow. “To destroy that enemy,” Burke wrote of the Jacobins, “the force opposed to it should bear some analogy and resemblance to the force and spirit which that system exerts.” Zealotry, daring (“every little measure is a great errour”), and intemperateness: these were the qualities that were needed. “The madness of the wise,” Burke reminded his comrades on the right, “is better than the sobriety of fools.”

To make privilege popular, Burke’s successors have had to conscript these lower and middling orders into their armies of inequality.

Since the 19th century, nativism, nationalism and racism have been been ideal recruitment devices. “With us the two great divisions of society are not the rich and the poor, but white and black” declared the slaveholder statesman John C. Calhoun; “and all the former, the poor as well as the rich, belong to the upper class, and are respected and treated as equals.” Men and women at the near bottom of society have little money and even less power. But no matter how low they are, they always can lord their status and standing over those even lower than they. As John Adams so brilliantly recognized in his “Discourses on Davila”: “Not only the poorest mechanic, but the man who lives upon common charity, nay the common beggars in the streets…plume themselves on that superiority which they have, or fancy they have, over some others.”


For Nixon and Reagan, these others were blacks (sometimes coded as criminals or welfare cheats). For Trump, they’re Muslims and Mexicans.

Conservatism has one fatal flaw, however: Sometimes it wins. Once it beats back or destroys the left, the right loses its reigning purpose, its energy and élan. It is “in times of crisis,” the British conservative Roger Scruton once observed, that “conservatism does its best.” According to Friedrich von Hayek, when the defense of the free market was influential, it became “stationary.” When it was put “on the defensive,” it gained traction, depth, and force.

And here we come to the actual novelty of Donald Trump. Since Bill Clinton declared in 1996, “The era of big government is over,” the left has oscillated from retreat to defeat. Whoever the occupant of the White House, all post-Reagan presidents have beat the GOP drum of low taxes and standing tall, small government and a big military.

Which is why it has been so easy for Trump to take the car off-road. To experiment, however erratically, with ideas like defending entitlements, raising trade barriers, funding Planned Parenthood. All conservatives experiment: as Burke reminded an aristocratic émigré from revolutionary France, any restoration of the old regime would “be in some measure a new thing.” But such experiments have always been disciplined by the fear of the left. Since the 1960s, modern conservatives have had to make coded rather than overt appeals to racism. It was only by doling out the smallest portions of red meat that they got their tax cuts and military budgets, their deregulation and majority on the Supreme Court.

And this, in the end, may be why Trump is so dangerous. Without the left, no one has any idea when his animus will take flight and where it will land. While counterrevolutionaries have always made established elites nervous, those elites could be assured that the wild Quixotism of a Burke or a Pat Buchanan would serve their cause. As today’s Republicans and their allies in the media have made clear, they have no idea if Trump won’t turn on them, too. Like Joe McCarthy in his senescence, Trump might try to gut the GOP. At least McCarthy had a real left to battle; Trump doesn’t.

Trump is dangerous, then, not because he is an aberration from conservatism but because he is its emblem. He’s a threat not because the movement he aspires to lead is so strong but because the one he will lead is so weak. It’s weak not because it has failed but because it has succeeded.

 

{ 477 comments }

1

bruce wilder 03.13.16 at 4:34 pm

There is no left. Where have I heard that before?

2

kidneystones 03.13.16 at 4:49 pm

Just curious, Corey. What sources (specific) do you use to characterize Trump’s views on Mexicans and Muslims. We’ve disagreed on French conservatives before, but I don’t see anything remotely conservative in Trump. I’m listening to Trump right now ( again) and he spends at least as much time talking about welcoming legal immigrants as he does about talking about ‘building the wall.’ He’s not talking about allotting privilege, ever. He’s talking about punishing every company that relocates to a nation using cheap sweatshop labor with a 35 percent tariffs. This is real, if he follows through and he seems dead serious about it. I don’t doubt for a second that he’d like to move towards devolving power to local authority, especially schools. So, I guess I’d like to see what you’re actually using as evidence for your argument – which speeches, which policy statement? Then I’d like you to explain how trade protectionism, nationalism, and increasing the living standards for the middle-class fit with your notion of conservative.

There isn’t much sensible commentary re: Trump. I agree completely that Trump’s temperament might take him/us anywhere. I seriously doubt that he’s going to be worse than Reagan (not that high a bar). I’m actually inclined to believe he’s going to drop just about all his rhetorical trash-talk and act exactly what he’s been all his life: a liberal NY plutocrat who pals around with folks like Bill, Hillary, and the Kennedy clan.

So, do most NRO conservatives, who are positively crapping themselves over what Trump and his supporters are doing to ‘their’ party. I take that as a very promising sign.

3

Gary Othic 03.13.16 at 5:02 pm

Interesting analysis.

Trump’s success I think is at least partially the result of what happens when you have a culture that hagiographies wealthy businessmen as the Greek gods of their age and then one of them decides to run for President.

David Cameron and Boris Johnson are obviously what happens when you have a culture that hagiographies posh berks as the Greek gods of the age, but that’s a different long-standing problem…

4

bruce wilder 03.13.16 at 5:05 pm

I listen to Trump, and I hear a word salad. A practiced huckster, he says not what he believes (and he may not believe in anything but himself), but what he knows will get a reaction that he can work with. There is no sustained argument in a logical sense, just a stirring up of people who have long felt themselves trapped in personal and national decline.

I wonder at all attempts to put Trump into any category as a political actor, let alone philosopher. He is the flailing conductor out in front of a self-assembled orchestra, playing a cacophony. The phenomenon of mass dissatisfaction in dialectic with an uncomprehending elite — that is what I see.

5

Plume 03.13.16 at 5:11 pm

kidneystones,

Trump is pushing classic fascist tropes, which makes him a right-winger. One could quibble and say that conservatives aren’t as far right as fascists, but at least in America, they’ve been playing much the same game. As Corey mentions, bringing in Calhoun and company:

“Since the 19th century, nativism, nationalism and racism have been been ideal recruitment devices. “With us the two great divisions of society are not the rich and the poor, but white and black” declared the slaveholder statesman John C. Calhoun; “and all the former, the poor as well as the rich, belong to the upper class, and are respected and treated as equals.” Men and women at the near bottom of society have little money and even less power. But no matter how low they are, they always can lord their status and standing over those even lower than they. As John Adams so brilliantly recognized in his “Discourses on Davila”: “Not only the poorest mechanic, but the man who lives upon common charity, nay the common beggars in the streets…plume themselves on that superiority which they have, or fancy they have, over some others.””

“Conservatives” are, when it comes to appeals to nativism, in opposition to minorities and all variations of “the Other,” basically polite fascists.

6

kidneystones 03.13.16 at 5:16 pm

Oh yeah. How does Trump’s promised defense of Social Security fit with the classic conservative model. Trump actually brags that he’s the only Republican running who promises not to cut Social Security benefits.

5 Hi Plume. Thanks for your comment. I won’t read any of it, but I at least wanted to acknowledge your contribution ’cause I’m polite.

7

Anarcissie 03.13.16 at 5:17 pm

I perceive the Democratic Party leadership as conservatives in the sense of being those who try to maintain and preserve the established order (plutocracy, neoliberalism, neoconservatism, cautious imperialism, etc. etc.)

I haven’t been able to detect much of any coherent ideology or policy in the Republican Party, or Trump, or his followers. A racist, xenophobic, protectionist, Welfare-statist/social democratic movement would recall major aspects of the pre-Civil Rights Democratic Party, but I wouldn’t call it ‘conservatism’.

8

rootlesscosmo 03.13.16 at 5:23 pm

I wonder about the claim that “McCarthy had a real left to battle.” Who? When? The CPUSA was pretty well marginalized by 1950, having responded to the domestic Cold War by the decision to go semi-“underground” which only isolated it more. The labor movement had amputated its Left wing after Taft-Hartley, the Henry Wallace Progressives were in full collapse, the non-Communist Marxists–Trotskyists and Norman Thomas Socialists–were politically negligible. The emergent Civil Rights movement was careful to avoid too-close identification with figures like Paul Robeson. And the elements that would coalesce in the New Left after 1962 (Maurice Isserman’s “If I Had a Hammer” is a good study of this) were still too scattered to be a threat, even in McCarthy’s paranoid vision of politics.
Only tangential to the topic of Trump, I realize.

9

kidneystones 03.13.16 at 5:30 pm

Hi Corey. Read the Salon piece. I’m not persuaded, as if that matters.

@7 Succinct and hits the right notes. Thanks.

10

Plume 03.13.16 at 5:35 pm

Kidneystones,

“5 Hi Plume. Thanks for your comment. I won’t read any of it, but I at least wanted to acknowledge your contribution ’cause I’m polite.”

If by polite, you mean a pompous ass, yeah. You’re polite.

11

bruce wilder 03.13.16 at 5:42 pm

“classic fascist tropes” Like there’s some catalog where he ordered them for next day delivery?

Actual, historical fascism formed strange political chimera out of the broken pieces of post-WWI national polities, particularly ones with the remnants of hereditary aristocracy and authoritarian religion side-by-side with elaborate socialist ideologies and the promises of rapidly advancing modernity. The psychology of mass mobilization from the common experience of the war shadowed everything.

Our experience could scarcely be more different. Wolin called our political form, inverted totalitarianism, for many good reasons, so opposite have been the lines of development.

12

whathogwash 03.13.16 at 5:51 pm

Imagining that Salon has the “definitave take” on anything other than the swamp vapors of what passes for the “mind” of the Left is absurd, and should how superficial you are as an intellect.

13

Lord 03.13.16 at 5:58 pm

While retreat to defeat has some truth to it, it is also misleading. Much of what was abandoned was good intentions badly executed, misguided attempts, and government programs and regulations that didn’t work and often damaged more than helped.

14

kidneystones 03.13.16 at 6:07 pm

As good as the analysis and commentary at CT generally is, this analogy from the NYP tells me more about the forces driving voters to Trump and Sanders: http://nypost.com/2016/03/11/the-ugly-truth-about-obamas-pretty-darn-great-economy/

“Over the 6 ½ years since the recession ended in the second quarter of 2009, real GDP has grown by a total of 14.5 percent, or at an annual rate of 2.1 percent,” according to Jeffrey Schlagenhauf, a former senior adviser to the congressional Joint Economic Committee.

“Other post-1960 recoveries averaged total growth of 28.4 percent (annual rate of 3.9 percent) over the comparable 26 quarters. The Reagan recovery of the 1980s saw real GDP grow a total of 35 percent, or at an annual rate of 4.7 percent.”

To put this more vividly, imagine that you are in a car riding shotgun next to Ronald Reagan. You just left New York City and are heading south on Interstate 95. You zoom along in the fast lane, at 78 mph. You just passed a sedan in the next lane. A totally average motorist drives it and strictly obeys the 65 mph speed limit. And way back, in the rear-view mirror, a third auto slouches in the slow lane. Behind the wheel is Obama, plodding forward at 35 mph.

Statistically, the Reagan, average and Obama recoveries have advanced at speeds equivalent to those of these three vehicles.

To illustrate what this means over time, picture where these cars would be after 10 hours of nonstop travel: Reagan would be about 20 minutes north of Savannah, Ga. The average driver would find himself about 20 minutes past Florence, SC. And Obama would be crawling through the northern suburbs of Richmond, Va…

Why are Americans so angry? Picture yourself on I-95, creeping onward at a mere 35 mph, itching to get ahead. And this time, you are trapped in Obama’s car, listening to him insist that everything is — as he said last week — “pretty darn great right now.”

The Reagan analogy leaves me cold, but there’s no way I’ll accept that a continued decline in our standard of living is beyond our control. As for O telling us how good things are right now? That’s how I feel whenever people tell me to that HRC is the best we can expect. I expect better – like tuition-free education.

15

Layman 03.13.16 at 6:11 pm

“Statistically, the Reagan, average and Obama recoveries have advanced at speeds equivalent to those of these three vehicles.”

There’s a basic error here even a child could see.

16

Layman 03.13.16 at 6:17 pm

With respect to the OP, the Trump phenomenon strikes me as the simple affection of the mob for the man on the horse. The interesting question is how a soft, doughy real estate mogul became that man. Though if it worked for a failed painter, I guess it can work for anyone.

17

bruce wilder 03.13.16 at 6:26 pm

k @ 15 of course not everyone’s standard of living has declined.

18

geo 03.13.16 at 6:26 pm

OP: Whoever the occupant of the White House, all post-Reagan presidents have beat the GOP drum of low taxes and standing tall, small government and a big military.

For a masterly elaboration of this point (though he dates it to before Reagan), see Thomas Frank’s about-to-be-published Listen, Liberal.

19

Anarcissie 03.13.16 at 6:26 pm

But every mob is a particular mob.

20

Layman 03.13.16 at 6:33 pm

@ Brett Bellmore, what is it that the base wants but the party hasn’t delivered?

21

bob mcmanus 03.13.16 at 6:37 pm

B W, 1: There is no left.

The Left comes into being in the event of mobilization.

22

AnthonyB 03.13.16 at 6:39 pm

Trump’s support of Social Security is a holdover from the Second Reich (Bismarck’s social welfare programs).

23

Plume 03.13.16 at 6:40 pm

Reagan was able to spend himself out of recession, and he tripled the debt in the process. Deficits didn’t matter for him or his Republican successors, and the Dems didn’t stand in his way on this. They only start mattering to “conservatives” again when a Democrat is in the White House, likely because they know austerity measures cripple demand and the economy. They sabotaged the economy for their own political gain, and it worked.

Of course, Obama never should have succumbed to this perverse narrative/vision. He should have pushed for massive direct hiring and major spending from Day One, and made his case for this. He never should have held a deficit summit in the middle of recession. He should have held an inequality and jobs summit instead, while inviting hordes of actual leftist economists, labor, consumer and green activists.

Reagan, Bush Sr. and Dubya all oversaw the addition of more than a million new public sector employees on their watch, as they fought economic downturns — again, by spending their way out of them. Obama is the first modern president to oversee a net loss in the public sector in the face of a recession. He wasn’t able to spend his way out of it, hence the limping economy and shaky, limited “recovery.”

24

CJColucci 03.13.16 at 6:47 pm

Brett Bellmore, what is it that the base wants but the party hasn’t delivered?

Layman, you don’t want to know. Which is just as well because Brett doesn’t dare tell you.

25

kidneystones 03.13.16 at 6:48 pm

18 bw True and worth noting. Many can’t seem to wrap their minds around the fact that an ever-increasing number of Americans (it seems) have decided the screwing stops here and now. Even two months ago, Sanders-Trump might been a 2016 twist on the ever-declining road to more of the same only worse. Low and behold a whole lot of voters are no longer willing to go back to brand Z. HRC and the DNC ought to be down on their knees thanking Bernie, cause without the enthusiasm his presence generates Democrats would be bleeding even more voters than they are. I noted elsewhere that Ben Carson is the wedge Trump needs to pry of more minority voters. As ridiculous as Carson’s faith is to many, faith is mother’s milk to a significant percentage of minorities, African-Americans and Hispanics. Carson is already the poster-boy for a generation of aspiring young African-Americans and Carson showing up in churches and schools across America stumping on Trump’s behalf will have an impact.

Also noteworthy is the sudden silence of the “Trump can’t possibly win” crowd. The professionals get paid to spin the Donald can’t win argument, but that’s a universe away from Trump will definitely fade. My guess is this weekend’s teapot tempests get him several more record turn-outs. Or, GOP voters go for safe and sound Marco and John.

Either way, Trump will still be controlling the news cycle through coming weeks and months.

26

b9n10nt 03.13.16 at 6:57 pm

Protectionism and tight borders form Trump’s consistent advocacy of economic nationalism. But the goal of this economic nationalism is not to liberate the working classes and tame the cosmopolitan elite; crucially, that form of economic populism would not include regressive tax cuts and would not endorse geopolitcal bellicosity. Rather, this is right-wing economic nationalism: add the tax cuts and the militarism and the cult of “winners” vs. “losers” and you have a coherent pattern of defending privilege, as Corey argues. The nation over the international, the religious-ethnic majority over the minority, the rich over the poor. The strong over the weak.

As a primary campaigner, Trump will emphasize those privileges that flatter his most tenuous voting bloc: white nationalist authoritarians.

The Republican Elite don’t like Trump for a couple of reasons: he’s not submissive to the entrenched party hierarchy (notice that Cruz is a black sheep for the same reasons; still no one argues that Cruz is a liberal wolf in sheep’s clothing), he is a political entrepreneur that similarly offends a culture of privilege that would occasionally like to attain or retain a degree of “Old Money”, paleoconservative status, and he also exposes the Party’s neoliberal, cosmopolitan faction (which itself was a strategic adoption of the Right before and during the Cold War, when mass politics required some form of internationalism).

There’s a silver lining here: to the degree that Trump’s coherent politics are reactionary, they are a mark of success of the Left project. Privilege is not comfortable: the white majority is waning, socially-excluded groups have gained status, tribalism and religious authoritarianism are weakening, the Right’s push to roll back New Deal institutions has revealed the resiliency of redistributionist programs. Trump and the Republican Party more generally should be angry and afraid: disturbing the comfortable is always s necessary half of the Leftist project.

27

bruce wilder 03.13.16 at 6:57 pm

The character of the Republican coalition changed markedly from 1980s. The leftist theory that traces movement conservatism as a linear development, from Goldwater and Nixon tends to miss the shift in the 1990s, when religious theocrats and billionaires and corporate lobbyists displaced the petite bourgeois chamber of commerce Episcopalians.

The thesis that a Republican base of followers is angry at being betrayed by a cynical group of grifters running fake candidacies isn’t entirely wrong, but it is mistaken if it imagines the Republican followers have any choate preferences or agenda.

28

kidneystones 03.13.16 at 7:04 pm

@24 I disagree. Trump is a NY liberal and lifelong supporter of Dem politicians and policies. It’s more likely Trump’s support of Social Security has its roots in NY than Bismark. You’re onto something, in the larger sense, however. I do think there are echoes of Bismark in Trump’s message. It should also be noted, however, that Bismark was never more than a tool for the ruling elite. I’m not sure Trump is that.

One final point – liberals of my generation are very often white/European who spend relatively little time in close proximity with large numbers of ‘others’. I am one of the exceptions to that rule. I get a big kick out listening to folks who consider a trip to abroad as a visit to the exotic tell others to get over their irrational fears of minorities. Which is why I suspect Trump’s message strikes a chord with many of this group, loathe as they may be to acknowledge the sensation. See Easton-Ellis on secret Trump supporters in la-la land. If Donald doesn’t flame out he could win big. If he pivots successfully to the center, he may win Reagan big. Right now, the safe money says he will.

29

Plume 03.13.16 at 7:07 pm

bruce @30,

Which leftist has that “linear” theory? Haven’t bumped into her or him.

And I’d move that shift you mention back to the 1980s for the theocrats, beginning with the rise of the Moral Majority in the 1970s. Plus, billionaires basically unionized in earnest in the early 1970s (after the Powell memo, especially), after being somewhat lax in their solidarity, in relative terms, during the so-called Keynesian age.

Obviously, there isn’t any kind of straight line to these things. Zigzagging all over the place, parallel lines opening up, dying out, cross-breeding, etc. etc.

I also think a lot of people are “angry” because the media is telling them they are. Our media creates fictions/imagined orders that all too many buy into, and then suddenly realize they believe X, Y and Z when they never really did before. And then they back date that.

30

kidneystones 03.13.16 at 7:14 pm

#30 Excellent, especially the last clause. Thus, we see Trump and ‘Make America Great Again’ as anything anyone wants. Most important to realize and remember is: ‘there is no left in America.’ If Trump scares enough people Sanders may yet cross the line. I don’t see HRC’s coalition beating Trump even with the piles of cash Republican and Democrat elites are certain to throw her way. Personally, I can’t wait for the Kochs and the Club for Growth to come out of the shadows and form a PAC to elect HRC.

31

Layman 03.13.16 at 7:26 pm

@ Brett, that’s pretty thin gruel. I can’t pictures today’s working class white mom and dad sitting around the kitchen table, looking at the pile of bills to be paid, and the vanishingly small checking account balance, and sighing wistfully “if only Gingrich had given us term limits and a balanced budget amendment, like he promised.”

I can see that they’re enraged about illegal immigration, but that rage strikes me as fundamentally irrational. The absolute number of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. today is virtually the same as in 2005; if anything, the number is slightly lower, meaning illegal immigration over that period has been net negative. More illegal immigrants have left, either voluntarily or as a result of deportations, than have arrived – due in a large part to the actions of the current administration. The anti-immigration crowd won that fight, but their leaders don’t want to tell them that.

32

Layman 03.13.16 at 7:32 pm

Trump is saying, more or less openly, that politics have been perverted by plutocrats, who buy politicians and subvert them to their bidding, to the detriment of the ‘real people’; and that the solution to this is to reject the politicians, and vote directly for the plutocrats, who will then act to the benefit of the ‘real people’. Barnum underestimated the problem.

33

Fardels Bear 03.13.16 at 7:36 pm

“Trump is a NY liberal and lifelong supporter of Dem politicians and policies.” Which explains why he is running as a Republican.

34

js. 03.13.16 at 7:47 pm

Well, this thread has made a mockery of my abysmally low expectations for it.

Also, what rootlesscosmo said.

35

jake the antisoshul soshulist 03.13.16 at 7:50 pm

kidneystones: I can’t decide if you are trying to make a #slatepitch case for Trump, or if you just think Clinton would be bad in a centrist establishment way.
I can’t see the Kochsuckers going for Hilary. I don’t think Trump scares them that much.

Anarcisse: I commonly describe the US as having a conservative party with a social-democrat wing and a right wing party with a christian nationalist wing. The former being the Democratic Party and the latter being the Republicans.

36

Jeff Ryan 03.13.16 at 8:07 pm

No. Just, no.

To grasp what can be expected from a Trump administration you are on entirely the wrong track. In fact, you are trying to make predictions based on the actions and words of a totally rogue player. Worse, a player who can never be reliably predictable.

You have to look at Trump the man himself, because he has no center, no core, except what Trump thinks is best for Trump. At best, he is an outlier, but even that ascribes a consistency and predictability that simply isn’t there.

Trump is an incredibly insecure thug who was born to money, but not to class or acceptance. His entire life he has been viewed by those he considers the elite to be just what he is: a wannabe player. And in the stratosphere of moneyed elites, he never has been, and never will be, a player. He is painfully aware of this, yet can’t resist “doubling down” (a now-cliched, but in this case apt, analogy).

His entire life consists of “look at me!” moves. And that is his animating force: Not conservatism, just “look at me!” He has always chosen his political positions from a buffet of fashionable opinions, understanding nothing of how they became fashionable in the first place, nor, more importantly, what they actually mean. He has lived his life without accountability, hence his dealings with New York and Philadelphia mobsters. He operates on whim, not philosophy. One day he’s a university founder, the next a purveyor of fine meats. Because he has no follow-through, such vanity dalliances tend to wither from neglect. No matter: Each succeeds in its only true purpose. Getting his name out there. Can you imagine, say, Henry Ford deciding to expand Ford Motor Company into higher education and high-end gastronomy? Of course not. Ford had a reason for his company, and understood that it was his rock. Trump flitters about. He gets inspired, spends other people’s money, and then gets bored. He walks away as these ventures serially fail, always blaming others. And that, too, is a consistent characteristic. Nothing is ever his fault. He never makes a mistake. But most important for each of his failed businesses is that each results in more name recognition, and more illusions of success.

You err by ascribing to him a philosophy that simply doesn’t exist. Want to understand Trump? Just think of a 12-year-old who has never been invited to the cool kids’ table. That’s all you need to know.

37

Anarcissie 03.13.16 at 8:31 pm

jake the antisoshul soshulist 03.13.16 at 7:50 pm @ 38 —
But social democracy / the Welfare state isn’t at all antithetical to conservatism or authoritarianism. It’s a means of conservatism, of buying off the proles, and could certainly be turned to authoritarian uses (Bismarck; other unpleasant European politicians; the ‘Welfare-warfare’ state).

The more people get and have, the more they want, and the more they hate the poor. As things seemed to be getting better in the ’80s and the ’90s, the ‘revolt against the poor’ gathered strength, and so Clinton and company assuaged it with ‘the end of Welfare as we know it.’ Mr. Sanders’s ‘revolution’ seems to be not much more than a full recovery of the New Deal, and slightly less overseas truculence and ‘resolve’. It’s a curious revolution that proposes tuition-free higher education when we already had these things in New York and California and a lot of other places fifty years ago. Maybe Mr. S should be classed as a reactionary.

I can’t make anything coherent out of the contemporary Republican Party. Incoherence may account for the present nihilism and paralysis of its leadership.

38

anon 03.13.16 at 8:46 pm

A modest proposal. There are surely many people planning to vote Clinton in the primaries for strictly strategic reasons: they prefer Sanders but don’t think he’ll win the GE.

And for every person planning to strategically vote for Hillary in the primary, there is surely a Sanders supporter refusing to strategically vote for Hillary in the general.

So let’s trade. Sanders supporters: find a strategic Hillary supporter and promise to vote for Hillary in the GE if and only if they, in exchange, will vote for Sanders in the primary.

39

kidneystones 03.13.16 at 8:47 pm

@38 Fair enough. The only candidate I’d like to see win is Sanders. After that, it’s a list of disappointments ranging to terror. Of those currently in the ring worst to best – Cruz, Rubio, HRC, Sanders. Trump doesn’t scare me, but despite the fact that he’s been running for months, I’ve no clear idea what he’ll do. I’m not sure he does either.

@36 Trump is running as a Republican because the fix is/was in for HRC. Plus, he can have a lot more fun in the clown-car. HRC has already attracted Robert Kagan and other neo-cons. Somewhere along the line, some seem to have convinced themselves that Dems don’t enjoy firebombing brown people as much as Republicans. All those little match-sticks in Viet Nam and Japan say different. Nader had it right – the presidency is a corporation masquerading as an individual. Once brand R was used up, the plutocracy lined up at the Donkey trough. The last eight years has seen everyone lose money except the 1%. Change!

40

LFC 03.13.16 at 8:51 pm

Corey’s argument, boiled down, seems to be that Trump’s rise (and his ability to deviate in certain respects from conservative orthodoxy) has been enabled by the conservative movement’s relative weakness and lack of direction, which has resulted, paradoxically enough, from the ongoing triumph of conservative/Reaganite ideas and assumptions.

What this misses, istm, is that Trump’s appeal, while fueled by playing on nativism and xenophobia (and racism, no doubt), is also rooted in economic realities (e.g., wage stagnation, deindustrialization) that are partly the result of structural changes in the global and domestic economies — changes that Reaganism might have accelerated but that probably would have occurred anyway to some extent, regardless of what administrations were in power or what policies they followed. Thus ‘Trumpism’, to some extent, marries a generalized discontent with the effects of ‘neoliberal globalization’ to a longstanding animus on the part of certain voters/constituencies to foreigners, minorities, etc. This is cemented by Trump’s perceived bluntness, candor, and disdain for the niceties of usual campaign discourse.

In other words, the Trump phenomenon can’t be fully explained by the disarray produced by the inverse relation between the vitality/unity of the conservative movement and the ‘success’ of conservative ideas. It’s also a result of what has happened in the global and the domestic economy in recent decades and the impact of those changes on parts of the U.S. electorate.

41

Layman 03.13.16 at 9:07 pm

“In other words, the Trump phenomenon can’t be fully explained by the disarray produced by the inverse relation between the vitality/unity of the conservative movement and the ‘success’ of conservative ideas. It’s also a result of what has happened in the global and the domestic economy in recent decades and the impact of those changes on parts of the U.S. electorate.”

This seems right to me, but the success of conservative ideas plays a further role. The conservative view won, but that didn’t mean Republicans always won the elections. Sometimes they lost, and they always had to compete. How do you compete with the other side, when they’ve adopted most of your ideas? You have to lie about them, say their ideas aren’t conservative, and espouse more extreme ideas of your own to highlight the difference between ‘true’ conservatism and what your opponents do. In other words, you have to create a false narrative, in which the other side are at best fools and at worse traitors, and destroy confidence in any institution which counters that narrative. Then along comes Trump, who uses your party and your methods to tell his own self-serving lies, and you’ve trained your base to believe him.

42

js. 03.13.16 at 9:19 pm

I think this Jamelle Bouie piece makes a lot of sense.

43

LFC 03.13.16 at 9:20 pm

Layman @43:
yes, tend to agree.

44

Lupita 03.13.16 at 9:23 pm

I see imperialism, the crumbling of the empire actually, as the central theme of this election. Of course, Trump expresses this fear in fascist ways, by framing it in terms of loss of virility and honor, but also in business terms, as a deal gone bad.

The anti-Trump protesters also seem to be wallowing in feelings of loss of dignity produced by Trump’s discourse and are intent in regaining their honor by disrupting his rallies. I see them just as macho as Trump.

Then there is Sanders, who has tip-toed around the topic of imperialism. Maybe he wants it to just disappear on its own or he thinks it is too humiliating a topic to broach. Again, the fascistic sense of honor. Or maybe its political correctness. In any case, nobody mentions how much money flows from the 3rd world into the 1st, the dividends of having the world’s reserve currency, of being the policeman of the world, that the suffering American 99% is actually the top 15-20% of the world, part of the privileged few.

This election is about how to phase out empire without mentioning it and provoking a crash but, above else, without wounding American virile pride and honor.

45

Fardels Bear 03.13.16 at 9:31 pm

“Trump is running as a Republican because the fix is/was in for HRC.” And all those Republican primary voters can’t wait to vote for a liberal Democrat! Amazing!

46

Corey Robin 03.13.16 at 9:33 pm

LFC at 42: The problem I have with this argument — it would be foolish to deny its role entirely — is that this was precisely the argument of Pat Buchanan in 1992. None of it is new; we’ve been hearing this song for decades. But Buchanan got nowhere. What explains the ability of Trump, who makes many of the similar moves that Buchanan made, to get as far as he has? You could say that economic conditions have gotten worse, that’s true. But equally important is the inability of the GOP to impose any kind of leadership or discipline on the movement the way they were able to — historically able to I might add — in 1992. I think that, more than economic conditions, is what explains Trump and that is definitely the product of the dynamics I’m talking about in the piece.

47

js. 03.13.16 at 9:41 pm

CR @48: It’s an interesting take, but I think the Bouie piece has a simpler and more compelling argument, esp. re the timing.

48

Omega Centauri 03.13.16 at 9:51 pm

Lupita @46. The explanation is that as imagined from the 99% (of Americans) it is the third world types (foreign as well as domestic (blacks, and illegals mainly)) that are taking away from them. No one with any political ambition dares take on this severe reality distortion field, because it would be a career ending move. So the distortion becomes an unchallenged part of the political discussion.

49

Omega Centauri 03.13.16 at 9:56 pm

Cory @48. I think Trump is just very very good at channeling those forces, and Buchanan was just mediocre. Also the degree of hate/misdirection has had a couple of decades of rightwing media to help it metastasize. Also Trump is a master at WWF style shallowness entertainment.

50

Jeff Ryan 03.13.16 at 9:56 pm

Um, precisely how stupid do you think we are? “Please vote to nominate Sanders, and after we’ve beaten Hillary and got what we want, we’ll make a useless pledge to vote for her in the general”?

“Please stop hitting yourself”!

51

Anon 03.13.16 at 9:59 pm

The Bouie piece is the same old identity politics magical thinking idealism: that racism arises ex nihilo from the essentially bad wills of the evil and ignorant, from bad ideas rather than bad material conditions that incentivize and aggravate those ideas. And so the solutions is magical, the idealist rationalism of a Socrates or the idealist moralism of a Jesus: don’t improve their condition, just tell them to cut it out. And then feel good about your superior to the evil, ignorant rubes.

52

LFC 03.13.16 at 10:08 pm

Corey @48
Frankly I hadn’t really thought about the Buchanan parallel, but I see your point. I’ll have to think about this some more.

53

Corey Robin 03.13.16 at 10:10 pm

Omega at 51: I think we tend to over-estimate skill in politicians, particularly the successful ones. That said, Buchanan was an extraordinarily skilled politician: he gave us Richard Nixon. Bernie Sanders is, you have to admit, pretty flat-footed, not terribly agile, certainly not as deft as Clinton is: and look at him, he’s running circles around her. Timing, context, circumstance: these all matter a lot more than we give them credit for. It’s a favorite American past time to personalize political leaders and see what they achieve as a function of them and their character, skill, talent; a fair amount, I’d say, has to do with other factors.

54

js. 03.13.16 at 10:14 pm

Anon — If you’ve actually read the piece, all I can say is… wow. If not, I suggest maybe read the piece. Beyond that, My original instinct not to get involved with the abject idiocy of this thread (with a couple of notable exceptions) was evidently the right one.

55

Layman 03.13.16 at 10:17 pm

“My original instinct not to get involved with the abject idiocy of this thread (with a couple of notable exceptions) was evidently the right one.”

If only you had the courage of your instincts!

56

PGD 03.13.16 at 10:24 pm

Especially in light of the very real and substantial absolute decline in living standards among the white working class population, I think it’s obnoxious to continue to bang on the drum of relative status, this argument that somehow white people are aggrieved because it is supposed to be harder to look down on black people these days. It’s a very patronizing and insulting argument and there’s little real evidence for it. When you’re quoting Calhoun’s foolish justifications for an unjustifiable slavery-based society, which date from almost two centuries ago, you’re really desperate for evidence.

57

js. 03.13.16 at 10:24 pm

Seriously, right!? Major character flaw in my life right there. For what it’s worth tho, Layman, I thought you had some of the more sensible comments on this thread.

58

Val 03.13.16 at 10:47 pm

js – word of warning, you seem to be getting a bit close to the Rich Puchalsky school of argument – ‘everyone on this thread except me and three other people is stupid’.

That said, Anon @ 54 is a strong piece of evidence for my theory that the term “identity politics” is mainly used on CT to diss feminists or people of colour.

59

Ronan(rf) 03.13.16 at 10:51 pm

“and there’s little real evidence for it. When you’re quoting Calhoun’s foolish justifications for an unjustifiable slavery-based society, which date from almost two centuries ago, you’re really desperate for evidence.”

Whatever about the argument, there’s a good bit of evidence for it quoted in js’ s link (which also doesn’t ignore material conditions, as claimed by anon)

60

js. 03.13.16 at 11:02 pm

Val — Fair enough. I was gesturing at the fact that the first 40 comments or so were Brett Bellmore, kidneystones, and Bruce Wilder holding court and others responding to them mostly—which isn’t to say that the responses were idiotic, abjectly or otherwise, but still, you’re caught up in that dynamic at that point. Maybe there’s hope yet!

61

Omega Centauri 03.13.16 at 11:11 pm

Cory: I think you underestimate how much American media coverage has transformed presidential politics into a superficial battle of personalities. Sure its media coverage/storytelling, not the actual mind of the voters, but this constant repetition of a theme has an effect.

62

Jacob McM 03.13.16 at 11:15 pm

@kidneystones,

Fortunately, the last few days have been enough to convince many liberals with previously sanguine assessments of Trump’s candidacy that he does indeed represent a unique danger to liberal democracy. As bad as Rubio or Cruz would be as president, Trump is far worse.

See:

http://www.vox.com/2016/3/13/11214140/trump-is-terrifying

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/03/trump-poses-unprecedented-threat-to-democracy.html

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/3/12/11211898/donald-trumps-ideology-of-violence

63

UserGoogol 03.13.16 at 11:24 pm

Anarcissie @ 7 I perceive the Democratic Party leadership as conservatives in the sense of being those who try to maintain and preserve the established order (plutocracy, neoliberalism, neoconservatism, cautious imperialism, etc. etc.)

Well Corey’s whole point is that that’s a misleading way of defining conservatism. I’d go further and say such so-called conservatism is actually on the left, even if undeniably a flawed version of the left. The flip side of saying that tearing down the status quo is necessary to maintain the broader inequalities it stands for is that directly preserving existing institutions is progressive.

64

anon 03.13.16 at 11:34 pm

@62 Val “Anon @ 54 is a strong piece of evidence for my theory that the term ‘identity politics’ is mainly used on CT to diss feminists or people of colour.”

On what grounds? Bouie is not a serious journalist–his last 100 articles have been utterly bottom of the barrel cheerleading for Hillary.

Look, there are real, respectable forms of feminism and identity politics that are worthwhile because they’re not idealist in foundation, they don’t make ideas–beliefs and values–causally primary. Instead they recognizes that racism and sexism are bound up with, and depend upon for their ability to enforce their bigotry, real material social and economic conditions. But Bouie ain’t it.

In fact, the *majority of the history* of both feminism and identity politics is the Real Thing. Look at Fanon, or any major feminist writer before the 90s, or the later stages of the civil rights movement, or the black panthers. All of them, all of them, made critiques of capitalism and class inequality fundamental. None of them would moralistically sniff down their superior noses about concerns that racism and sexism have economic underpinnings.

So, no, “dissing” cheap contemporary versions of identity politics is not equivalent to dissing feminists or people of color. And calling people who disagree with you racists or anti-feminist is not a legitimate or honest form of argument.

65

js. 03.13.16 at 11:59 pm

But seriously tho, did you actually read the article I linked? And you actually think it doesn’t mention material conditions?

66

Tom M 03.14.16 at 12:06 am

Conservative and/or the GOP, take your pick has already won, it’s now an argument over only the most visible spot on the pyramid. Governors, the House, the Senate and most of the state legislatures are all GOP. Local school boards and on and on.
I suppose I am glad all those state legislatures don’t have the ability to appoint electoral college.
Democrats seem able to only motivate enough of their base every four years.

67

Anarcissie 03.14.16 at 12:38 am

UserGoogol 03.13.16 at 11:24 pm @ 67 —
In my peculiar vocabulary, a ‘conservative’ is someone who wants to conserve something, or acts or speaks in a restrained manner (for example, ‘conservative estimate’). I know people use the word otherwise, especially in popular American political discourse, but to me that usage is so incoherent as to be meaningless. It is possible to be both conservative and progressive in the sense of desiring careful improvement which preserves the order of things. Rational conservatives know that to maintain the existing good one must cut, prune, graft, fertilize, repair, if I may parody a famous fictional politician. I think this is what the Democratic Party leadership believes it is doing. For them, preserving existing institutions is indeed progressive. After all, only they are wise and cool and educated enough to guide the state forward, and the alternative is descent into chaos. Their beliefs accord well with the mandarinism and plutocracy they practice.

As the Democrats have taken over the Republicans’ traditional political terrain, the Republicans have been driven into raiding the lower reaches of the Democrats’ plantation for racists, bigots, religious fanatics, social reactionaries, but unlike the Democrats they have been unable to control and divert them. These people call themselves conservatives, but they are not conservative. Hence the opening for a person like Trump.

68

Jacob McM 03.14.16 at 1:33 am

Oh, and here’s one more important recent take on the danger presented by Donald Trump. It’s by Dartmouth poli sci professor Brendan Nyhan:

https://storify.com/DemFromCT/brendan-nyhan-on-the-mutifactorial-institutional-f

>People’s vulnerability to Trump-like figure hasn’t changed. What changed is that the institutions of Am. govt./party system legitimized one

>Shockingly few public figures and elites are defending the norms of public debate and restraint from violence that Trump is bulldozing.

>These norms are fragile precisely because, per @emilythorson, they are not formal or legal. And they are hard to restore once breached.

>A major party nomination is a powerful thing. Millions of people will instinctively support Trump. Many/most GOP pols will back him.

69

Val 03.14.16 at 1:40 am

js @ 64
I see what you mean about letting certain people set the debate. For that reason I’m going to jump past what I see as the bs parts of this identity politics stuff, and address what I think might be the substantive complaints underlying it.

I think some of the white male lefties here feel that feminist and black movements had a real radical force but to some extent they got coopted by neoliberalism in the 90s, hence the phenomenon of support for Hillary Clinton by older women and people of colour. And to some extent I think there is something in that.

I think though that the question they fail to ask themselves is why? I think they are unconsciously thinking that we are a bit inferior, naive, gullible, greedy, whatever. One person on here (I think it might have been Plume) said that the left welcomed women and people of colour. What he didn’t see though is that that sounds like ‘welcoming you into our movement’ and the corollary is that we were junior partners – that we would keep playing the same subordinate role we always had.

Whereas neoliberalism, on the other hand, even though it was the same old capitalist unequal bs, at least offered that some of us would have a presence. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Beyoncé – they’re all I guess products of neoliberalism to some degree. But at least they’re visible – they have a presence and voice. And the traditional male left, as represented on CT, doesn’t offer that. All too often it comes across as suspicious and patronising – accepting us only as long as we defer to their wisdom.

70

Plume 03.14.16 at 1:58 am

Val @74,

Please don’t use my name in one of these threads when you’re not sure what was said. You’re better than that.

I’ve never even remotely suggested what you say above. That is your misreading of what I said, and we’ve already been through this. Come on. Seriously. I don’t see myself, or white people, or men, as “owning” keys to a clubhouse to dispense to others. It’s not ours. It never was ours. It’s everyone’s. There are no junior partners. There are no subordinates. Sheesh. The entire point of my own belief system is just that. We’re all freakin’ equals and of equal worth as human beings! That’s the goddessdamn point of it all!

No hierarchies. No gods, no masters. What more do I have to say about our foundational premise? A fully egalitarian, radically democratic society, without hierarchies, including patriarchy. An end to them. An end to all apartheids, including economic apartheid.

How on earth can you read into that your ongoing complaints?

71

Plume 03.14.16 at 2:04 am

Brett @75,

Trump is a fascist piece of garbage, and he’s inciting violence. It says a lot about your highly authoritarian nature that you think he’s the victim.

And those protesters, usually alone, usually no more than one or a handful of people, have absolutely zero ability to shut down anything. Trump has the megaphone. He has the security teams and the police. His brown shirts outnumber those exceedingly brave protestors hundreds to one. Trump just fans the flames of this by stopping his fascist word salad to mock them or tell his goons to beat them up, or shout USA USA USA like they’re in Nazi Germany.

I have no idea why anyone would actually want to hear anything Trump has to say, but if they really want his rallies to continue on, just ignore the protesters, leave them in peace. You’ll still be able to hear Trump’s hate-filled garbage loud and clear over them.

72

js. 03.14.16 at 2:13 am

Bernie Sanders is, you have to admit, pretty flat-footed, not terribly agile, certainly not as deft as Clinton is

This is exactly wrong. Clinton’s main strength (aside from establishment support) is that she is seriously fucking unflappable.* But good god could she use a bit of deftness and agility.

*Anyone who doubts this should rewatch the Benghazi “hearings”.

73

Rich Puchalsky 03.14.16 at 2:17 am

Plume: “Please don’t use my name in one of these threads when you’re not sure what was said. You’re better than that.”

No, she’s really not. She already went with my name too: it’s something she always does.

What I’m interested in about this phenomenon is how frankly authority-defeerring it is. Namely, Corey Robin can say pretty much the same exact thing as BW or other commenters (there is no left, Trump is not really that different from previous GOP candidates, HRC could have particularly bad outcomes, etc.) and there isn’t any of this “OMG these people are worshiping the Old Left.” Because he’s a poster? It’s puzzling.

74

Anarcissie 03.14.16 at 2:18 am

Val 03.14.16 at 1:40 am @ 74 —
The near ‘Left’ — the proggies — were dying for Elizabeth Warren to run. But she chose not to in spite of her star power. And a lot of people of regardless of sex, race, age, class, etc. etc., are attracted to power. They want to get things done. The Left has no organizational power, nothing practical to offer — just its circular firing squads.

75

alsoanonymous 03.14.16 at 2:21 am

Layman @ 35: Trump is saying, more or less openly, that politics have been perverted by plutocrats, who buy politicians and subvert them to their bidding, to the detriment of the ‘real people’; and that the solution to this is to reject the politicians, and vote directly for the plutocrats, who will then act to the benefit of the ‘real people’. Barnum underestimated the problem.

Explained more fully by anarcissie @ 72.

You forgot the mulch. Helps a lot in a xeric environment

76

js. 03.14.16 at 2:27 am

Anarcissie — Just out of curiosity, where are are you with respect to the “circular firing squad”? In it? Out of it? Way to the left of it?

77

js. 03.14.16 at 2:29 am

And for the record RP, I think Corey Robin is exactly as wrong as Bruce Wilder.

78

Plume 03.14.16 at 2:36 am

Rich @79,

Agreed. Some people are bound and determined, regardless of all the evidence going against them, to find something, anything wrong with what we say. Between the lines, between lines that don’t even exist. And since they don’t exist, they have to create them. They seem almost giddy in the production of new fictions.

And what is really puzzling? All of this effort against people who are on the side of equal rights, women’s rights, human rights, etc. etc. It’s as if they really want to drive people away so they join the other side. They can’t take “yes” for an answer.

79

Plume 03.14.16 at 2:43 am

Anarcissie @80,

The way things are going on the left, that circular firing will soon run out of potential shooters and victims. Soon to be a firing trio or some such. Not many people left on the left who don’t attack one another . . . . and even calls for solidarity and equality are met with accusations of sexism, racism and whatnot.

“OMG!!! He’s saying we should all work together as equals!! He’s saying he once worked with a group of people who welcomed everyone!! He’s got to be a misogynistic bastard!!”

The right must be laughing all the way to the bank. Endlessly.

80

Layman 03.14.16 at 2:44 am

“That’s an interesting response to the “#shutitdown” movement, who Trump is a victim of.”

One of the perks of age is that I can recall conservatives who accused minorities of ‘rights babble’ – claiming that anything that happened was an affront to some imagined rights – and can now enjoy the irony of watching conservatives demonstrate that they have no idea what their rights are. Trump wants to shout at crowds, while other people want to shout at Trump. Both are private citizens. Why is it that Trump is exercising his rights when he speaks, but those who shout back are ‘victimizing’ Trump or somehow infringing on his rights?

The right to free speech is a prohibition on the behavior of the government, FFS. It does not prevent me from shouting down Trump’s (or Brett’s) nonsense, and when I do so, I am not victimizing them, I’m exercising the same rights they are.

81

Layman 03.14.16 at 2:46 am

Also, too, js @ 78 is exactly right about HRC.

82

Alan White 03.14.16 at 2:54 am

I posted a half-way tongue-in-cheek response last night to the effect that Trump could be explained in chaotic terms modelling physical theory, but I did actually mean it as a partial explanation. The primaries isolate factions of voters like local climates in weather, where small-scale initial conditions might be magnified through complex media interactions to produce wholly unpredictable local results: previous norms of sub-group political behaviors indeed have been falsified. The question is whether those local political climate surprises might further be amplified to global political ones.

83

Rich Puchalsky 03.14.16 at 3:00 am

Layman: “The right to free speech is a prohibition on the behavior of the government, FFS. It does not prevent me from shouting down Trump”

Well… a heckler’s veto is something that can pretty reasonably be stopped by public speakers, even though it has nothing to do with prohibitions on the behavior of the government. If Trump is up there to speak and people are shouting him down, then yeah people are kind of victimizing him. At least, that’s how you’d describe it generally if it didn’t apply to Trump.

I’ve never been sure how a heckler’s veto is supposed to work on comment threads, though. I mean, you can shout all you like, and your comments will still appear perfectly separated from their comments and both yours and theirs will be readable. It’s not really the same thing.

84

Layman 03.14.16 at 3:07 am

“If Trump is up there to speak and people are shouting him down, then yeah people are kind of victimizing him. At least, that’s how you’d describe it generally if it didn’t apply to Trump.”

I would not. No one has a right to the silent acquiescence of others, and a counter argument is not an assault. If you invite strangers to come listen to your musings, you should expect that some will want to express their disagreement.

85

Val 03.14.16 at 3:26 am

Woo Rich and Plume, sensitive to criticism much? Do you honestly believe I am making all this up in order to have a go at you personally? But you know, go for it, feel free, cut me out of the discussion and agree amongst yourselves that anything I say that’s even vaguely critical of you must be for bad motives and in order to destroy the left. Party on guys, great way to build solidarity and be allies.

86

Val 03.14.16 at 3:27 am

Anyway to bring this back to topic, it does seem like there is a whole field of ‘hurt white men’ on the left and the right.

87

RNB 03.14.16 at 3:29 am

Of course js is right to link to the Jamelle Bouie piece. Why talk about Trump and presidential politics without talking about the birther movement he spearheaded? This is where Trump set himself up to be presidential by challenging the President. Why not talk about the emotions that could sustain such a crazed movement against evidence for so many years?
I think Bouie can be amended just a bit. The birther movement was not just racist, though that it was. It was also nativist, obviously. It may have used the language of national belonging as a way of bringing a black man down; that is, its racism was disguised as nativism: “we’re not opposed to Obama because he is a black man presiding over us but because he is not really an American.” But there was also this sense that Obama in virtue of a foreign father, a foreign-sounding name and a foreign upbringing in Indonesia would compromise the strength of the country. He would stop America from winning anymore, as the chant has become.
So there is some thinking to do about the racism and nativism that demagogues whipped up to oppose Obama, and have now taken on a life of their own.

88

John Holbo 03.14.16 at 3:54 am

Well, I dunno. This seems pretty definitive:

http://boingboing.net/2016/03/10/who-is-the-republican-monster.html

89

RNB 03.14.16 at 7:01 am

@94 Funny! And more truth in it than in a lot of Trump commentary.

90

bruce wilder 03.14.16 at 7:29 am

I have not followed the demographics of the Trump phenomenon. My superficial impression is that Trump voters are lower income, educational attainment and social status than Tea Party Republicans circa 2009. Is that wrong?

91

kidneystones 03.14.16 at 7:58 am

@67 No. I won’t be visiting Ezra’s meme shop for ‘information’ because I spent a large part of 2005-2007 pumping out the same sort of biased fact-free swill. I’ll explain what is taking place in Right-Left terms to make it easy. When the Right looks at the Left, they see only who represents the greatest threat – the constant in determining which candidate is the ‘most dangerous’ is popular support. The candidate with no support represents no threat in an election. The leading candidate on the Left will always be the greatest threat because this candidate has the greatest chance of depriving the Right of power. Doesn’t matter who the individual is because the Right is only interested retaining power.

Now, comes the difficult part for you and the rest of Donkey herd – the Democrats are the establishment now and have been for large parts of the last century. Ezra and company are defending the architects of Syria, Libya, and the screwed-up management of Iraq, to name but a few establishment failures. As such Ezra and the rest of Dem media herd (of which I played a tiny, tiny, tiny part for a few years) will continue to demonize which ever candidate Republicans gather around as the ‘the greatest danger since Hitler’. Hitler revisits us every election cycle – whether the candidate is named Bush, Palin, or Trump. All Republicans are sociopaths is an accepted fact for some in CT land.

I contend that we know nothing about what Trump may do. I’m old enough to recall Jesse Jackson Jr and host of Obama supporters explaining to a whole bunch of bobble-heads that Bill and Hillary and their supporters were ‘racists’. I recall clearly in fact Dems who’d spent their entire lives trying to advance the cause of minorities in tears because they weren’t ready to sign on for Hope and Change. When Democrats defined Bill and Hillary and Geraldine Ferraro as ‘racist’ I decided to get off that particular bus. The accusations of racism directed at me specifically were, at first, shocking.

Yet, living as I do in a sea of people from a different gene pool with a spouse from that pool and two wonderful mixed gene pool offspring, I realized that the reality of my position played no part in the dialectic. I didn’t support O, so I must be racist. I don’t support HRC, so I must be racist. I’m not afraid of Trump, so I must be racist.

There’s going to be a lot hot air generated by both camps. I don’t need the New Yorker, or New York magazine, or Ezra ‘explaining’ that Trump is mostest, evilist, yet. Should Cruz, or Rubio displace Trump, Ezra will pass that mantle along to the new greatest threat. Adults understand that’s part of the game and always has been.

And on a different topic, but one that’s closely related to the thread, here’s what I learned about liberals and modern slavery today: http://blog.longreads.com/2016/03/08/your-phone-was-made-by-slaves-a-primer-on-the-secret-economy/

92

MilitantlyAardvark 03.14.16 at 8:09 am

@31
“Bismark [*cough*] was never more than a tool for the ruling elite. “

It takes a certain recklessness for someone who cannot even spell the man’s name to opine on his historical significance. I am amused by the idea that Bismarck, who bullied everyone he encountered from Wilhelm I to the German Cardinals, was “a tool of the ruling elite”, whoever they supposedly were.

93

Alex K--- 03.14.16 at 8:26 am

@Anarcissie (72): I suggest putting “reactionary” in the place of “conservative”: Corey Robin’s 2011 book is called The Reactionary Mind – not, say, The Twilight of the Conservative Mind. If I understand the author’s position correctly, reactionaries, in a sense, complete the work of revolutionaries. In every revolution, there are radicals wishing to erase selective privilege (sometimes by extending it to all humans) but there is also a large group of supporters seeking mostly to include themselves into the privileged classes. Sensible reactionaries understand that this expansion should be accepted if selective privilege is to survive: “Burke’s successors have had to conscript these lower and middling orders into their armies of inequality.”

If Trump’s poorer, less educated supporters are already privileged by virtue of being white, it’s been largely a symbolic privilege for decades, not supported by tangible (at least subjectively so) economic advantages. (Why these groups, which would benefit enormously from affordable health care and education, have voted against their economic self-interest for so long, is a puzzle to me.) It’s hard to “play the part of little lords and ladies” without being able to afford decent-looking tooth crowns. If Trump is indeed a faithful servant of that base (which I doubt), he could be aiming for a nativist social democracy – a herrenvolk democracy with a safety net (for members of the herrenvolk, naturally).

That’s what reactionaries are good at, according to Prof. Robin, using leftist means to pursue their goals. As b9n10nt wrote above, “the Right’s push to roll back New Deal institutions has revealed the resiliency of redistributionist programs,” but they can be re-tuned and expanded to distribute more to some demographics and less to others.

94

Ronan(rf) 03.14.16 at 8:54 am

“No. I won’t be visiting Ezra’s meme shop for ‘information’ ..”

Couldn’t you have just left it there?

95

TM 03.14.16 at 11:21 am

Layman 86. I cannot think of any other supposedly democratic country where the police will move to expell law-abiding citizens of a certain skin color from a public assembly because a racist politician asked them to do so. This election campagin is the first time I heard about this happening and I was shocked to hear that it’s considered normal and even legal in this “land of the free”.

96

Rich Puchalsky 03.14.16 at 12:02 pm

TM: “where the police will move to expell law-abiding citizens of a certain skin color”

If the police are expelling everyone of a certain skin color, then yes that would be unprecedented since the 60s. But as I wrote to js last time, only as recently as GWB law-abiding citizens were not only expelled but pseudo-arrested by police at campaign events simply for wearing the wrong T-shirt — not even shouting at all.

The idea that a speech is just an argument and that every one of the thousand people in attendance have an equal ability to speak is ludicrous. It’s tantamount to saying that there can’t be public speeches unless they are so innocuous that no one really disagrees. I’ve both heckled and counter-heckled, all as part of politics as actually practiced, but when I did it I knew what I was doing.

97

Layman 03.14.16 at 12:56 pm

“The idea that a speech is just an argument and that every one of the thousand people in attendance have an equal ability to speak is ludicrous.”

Sure; as is the idea that Trump has a constitutional right not to be heckled, or that other people’s protests violate his free speech rights, or that their protests or heckling ‘victimize’ him. Sheer nonsense.

98

PGD 03.14.16 at 1:18 pm

Layman, if you follow someone around and scream obscenities every time they try to speak you are engaged in harassment and not speech. Similarly for a crowd engaged in disorderly conduct to prevent speech. Police have every right to stop such behavior. This is all obvious and well supported in the law, and I’m sure it would be obvious to you as well in a case that did not involve someone you politically disagreed with.

But one interesting note from free speech law — Trump’s incitements to crowds to harm peaceful hecklers are also not constitutionally protected speech. A request to have them removed from the arena (which is legal) is protected; an incitement to commit assault is not.

99

Layman 03.14.16 at 1:33 pm

“and I’m sure it would be obvious to you as well in a case that did not involve someone you politically disagreed with.”

You’re the second person who’s said that, and just as wrong as the first.

Which person is following Trump around and screaming obscenities every time he tries to speak? What disorderly conduct are you talking about?

100

Plume 03.14.16 at 2:11 pm

The complaints about Trump being the victim are ludicrous. Again, he has the microphone, brown shirts in the crowd, police, etc. etc.. Until Chicago, the protesters at his events were always in the single digits, and often a single person. No microphone. Totally outnumbered and soon swamped or beaten by Trump’s racist, homophobic and xenophobic thugs. As in, his supporters. They could barely be heard over the thundering word salad emitted by Trump, and soon, enough, from his beer-hall-putsch fanatical supporters.

Sheesh, surveys show 20% of them said Lincoln shouldn’t have freed the slaves!! A majority said the confederate flag should be left to fly, Islam should be shut down in America and a third said gays shouldn’t be allowed in the country, either.

They have monstrous views. Odious views. It’s absurd that anyone is trying to paint them or Trump as the victims here. We are watching fascism emerge and become mainstream, and anyone supporting this bullshit is enabling that fascism.

101

anon 03.14.16 at 2:28 pm

Modest proposal: if Bill was the first black president, and if Obama was arguably our first asian president, I see no reason why Sanders can’t be the first woman president. He mentioned his honorary woman designation from Steinem as a joke, but why not take it a bit seriously?

N.B. “modest proposals” are, traditionally, rarely that, as indicated by the referential use of the term.

102

TM 03.14.16 at 2:58 pm

PGD 106: “A request to have them removed from the arena (which is legal) is protected; an incitement to commit assault is not.”

Maybe it is legal to reqest somebody’s removal, but is it legal for the police to remove a law-abiding person from a public place just because a racist demagogue requested it? I would say that outside America, it most definitely is not, and I am rather shocked that Americans consider this normal.

Regarding the second part of your statement, I’m glad you point that out. I also agree that speech can represent harassment and therefore be illegal despite Free Speech rights but the bar for that is quite high. More to the point, I cannot imagine a German or Canadian or whatever politician state that only supporters are allowed to attend their campaign event, and the police enforcing such rules. They can of course organize a party conference at which only invited party members are admitted. But they can’t advertise a public campaign rally and then deny part of the public entry. They also wouldn’t be able to prevent opponents from, say, handing out leaflets at their event in a public place. That is an integral element of free speech. I’m really amazed I have to point that out.

103

Layman 03.14.16 at 3:14 pm

@ TM, I imagine these Trump rallies are considered private, not public, events. They are held in private places hired by the campaign, and I understand guests are invited and permitted entry on the premise that they are supporters of Trump. When they reveal themselves by protesting, they are asked to leave, at which point they must leave or be trespassers.

Notwithstanding that, they break no law by entering and protesting, so long as they are not violent and as long as they leave when asked to do so by proper authorities. So in no sense is Trump ‘victimized’ by them; nor are his rights infringed.

The protestors outside are indeed in a public place and, subject to their compliance with standards for peaceable assembly, similarly neither victimizing Trump nor violating his rights.

104

Rich Puchalsky 03.14.16 at 3:16 pm

Gah. Let’s not talk about rights, and instead talk about tactics. I’m used to thinking of these things within a field of tactics and counter-tactics. You have the legal ability to have police arrest and remove hecklers at your speech, and no judge afterwards in the U.S. will say that you did anything wrong as long as extreme violence wasn’t used, so rights and legalities are not really the right way to look at this.

If someone is worried about Trump being a fascist, or about his supporters being proto-fascists, then heckling him at rallies is a no good, horrible, very bad tactic. Historically, public, disorderly conflicts with the left cause fascist movements to grow. The vast middle gets frightened and turns further to thee right to restore order. And in contemporary Western societies the right is composed of people attracted to violence, the left composed mainly of people who aren’t, so escalating just puts you on worse and worse ground.

When someone heckles someone at a speech, they are trying to forcibly stop them. This isn’t “violence”, probably, because sound probably isn’t violence, but they are being “victimized” in some sense. So when someone uses this tactic, the expected counter-tactic is to present them as a victimizer and a bully. Then it all comes down to various calculations about who will be believed most. People who heckle have to expect that this will happen, complete with “They infringed my First Amendment rights”. (No one outside of politics geeks really cares about what First Amendment Rights actually are. A majority of the American public would vote against any of the Amendments if they were presented as new laws.)

And look — this is a country that actively likes to see hecklers being beaten down. The public thought “Don’t tase me bro” was the funniest thing ever. So they aren’t going to be sympathetic. Get used to that, do something else.

105

Plume 03.14.16 at 3:28 pm

Rick @113,

As a tactic, yeah, I can see what you’re saying. It probably has the opposite desired effect for the protesters, and aids Trump. Aids the right-wing narrative in general, as we saw with a good bit of the public’s reaction to Occupy.

It’s incredibly frustrating that this is the case. It’s kinda like the football player who swings back at the guy who just tried to injure him and end his career. The refs catch the guy swinging back and throw him out of the game.

All too many Americans seem to side with the refs, when it comes to our politics.

106

Lupita 03.14.16 at 3:55 pm

Another message from the anti-imperialist front:

Currently, neoliberalism enjoys the support of oligarchs and elites from around the world who would retire their support if the US no longer were to hold its side of the bargain by promising to continue
1) Accepting 3rd world disposable workers and peasants (people yearning to be free in US parlance)
2) Importing and consuming lots of cheap stuff
3) Maintaining a stable and overvalued dollar
4) Allowing tax havens
5) Policing the world

These are the deals Trump considers to be unsustainable and promises to change, just like the Zapatistas or any self-regarding Latin American socialist. The difference is that Trump is proposing all this in a very sour-grapes / macho / restoring wounded honor / fascist way which is the only way one could approach an exceptionally right-wing American electorate if one wants to win with this agenda. It is a matter of national pride.

I suppose he thinks that he will be able to defeat neoliberalism (bad deals) without crashing the system but, who knows, we must also consider imponderables such as panicky bond vigilantes and acts of both god and the devil. My point is, we all knew that dissolving the empire would be a messy business, just like the fall of the Soviet Union. Maybe Trump is the American Gorbachev. Maybe this is it.

107

Layman 03.14.16 at 4:09 pm

“When someone heckles someone at a speech, they are trying to forcibly stop them. This isn’t “violence”, probably, because sound probably isn’t violence, but they are being “victimized” in some sense.”

I take your point on tactics, but this bit is nonsense. A verbal interruption or interjection is not ‘force’. The interrupted are not victimized.

108

Lupita 03.14.16 at 4:16 pm

Are the anti-Trump protesters anti-neoliberal, anti-imperial leftists or are they just wounded souls? That is the question.

109

Jacob McM 03.14.16 at 4:18 pm

@kidneystones 98
” I won’t be visiting Ezra’s meme shop for ‘information’”

Okay, so you’re not interested in discussion. You’re just going to shove your fingers in your ear and pretend you already have all the answers and can read everyone else’s intentions. You should probably leave this site if you’re not interested in engaging with others in good faith. Right now you are trolling.

@Alex K 100
“If Trump is indeed a faithful servant of that base (which I doubt), he could be aiming for a nativist social democracy”

No, Trump is an enemy of liberal democracy, which makes it impossible to call him a “social democrat” of any sort. Fascists also sometimes offered a safety net similar to what Trump is offering, but Fascists were emphatically not social democrats. Trump’s an authoritarian nationalist conservative. He’s a demagogue and more of a threat to civil liberties than Reagan and Bush combined. Trump’s threats to open up libel laws so he could more easily sue his critics on phoney charges of libel should’ve been enough to frighten people about the prospect of his election, especially given his history of attempting to sue and intimidate those who he feels slighted him. The last week has just made what was already obvious undeniable to all but the most tone deaf. As disastrous as Reagan and Bush were, I always thought it was obnoxious and historically illiterate for liberals to call them fascists or extreme right-wingers. Likewise, I think calling someone like Ted Cruz an “extreme right-winger” is false and devalues the term. With Trump, the parallels are far clearer.

I think many discussions of Trump reveal the limitations of many American policy wonks’ analysis, because they’re not as familiar with this brand of politics as Europeans are. Because they’re wonks, they focus too much on individual policies of a politician/movement rather than the *emphasis* or the *telos* of their platform, when the latter two are much more indicative of the direction it will take. E.g., if the emphasis of a platform is authoritarianism and belligerent nationalism, then you’re going to end up with a hard right-wing program in practice regardless of Donald Trump’s irreligiosity — Mussolini was also privately irreligious.

Likewise, the American wonks don’t realize that left and right sometimes can identify the same problems or enemies (the bourgeoisie, Wall Street, etc.) and yet arrive at very different conclusions. It’s the same reason that Fascism (which was and is a right-wing movement through and through) confuses them. They see some concessions made to the welfare state and assume Fascism must be “neither right nor left” while forgetting about welfare state-friendly arch-conservatives like Bismarck. If your definition of conservative excludes a key figure like Bismarck and many other European heads of state, there’s probably something wrong with your definition.

I think looking more at emphasis rather than individual policies alone also offers a more coherent and informative definition of left and right than defining individual policies as “left” or “right.” The left tends to emphasize (as long as emphasis is not necessarily interpreted to be absolute in all cases) liberty, equality, and greater social inclusion (fraternity). The right has tended to oppose all that to various extents throughout history, though equality has always been their chief bête noire.

110

TM 03.14.16 at 4:29 pm

112: “I imagine these Trump rallies are considered private, not public, events.”

They are held in public places and policed by the ordinary police, funded by tax money. So no, these shouldn’t be considered private events. Again, this seems to be a uniquely American attitude which is unintelligible elsewhere.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/02/29/donald-trump-georgia-rally-valdosta/81129964/

“The police chief said he thinks the Trump staff made the right call — and it wasn’t a racial issue. Trump had rented the venue, so “he had the right to tell folks he didn’t want to be there, that they had to leave. I’m not campaigning for anyone. That’s not what I do. But in this case, I support them,” Childress said.”

Again, can anybody outside the US, open dictatorships aside, imagine their police chief saying that? I can’t.

111

Patrick 03.14.16 at 4:35 pm

Nobody is going to buy the “interruptions aren’t victimization in any way shape or form” narrative. No one, anywhere. The right isn’t going to buy it because to them it feels like outsiders are coming into their territory and their space and junking up the place, and no one likes that feeling. The left isn’t going to but it because the left has spent decade upon decade decrying “silencing” as an act of victimization, and no one in their heart of hearts actually believes that silencing is only wrong if your silencing efforts are efficacious.

This is a dead narrative and people who want to effectively oppose Trump need to let it go.

The fundamental operation of respectability politics is this- you make sure your group behaves on camera, and argue that anyone who doesn’t is an outlier or was otherwise justified. You focus the camera on anyone from the other side who misbehaves, and argue that they are representative of the whole.

Trump is playing this game just fine. The Secret Service agent? The narrative is that a Trump sure didn’t order that, and in any case that’s what you get when you chest bump law enforcement. The random sucker punch guy? Just one guy, and obviously justifiably mad at the way Trump can’t hold a single rally without crazy protesters coming in to disrupt it. Jumps on stage guys treatment? Had it coming, and can you imagine what would happen if someone jumped on Obama’s stage? By contrast the narrative on the “crazy protesters” focuses on how repeated, systemic, and deliberate their actions are, and redirects away from people objecting to violence or insults towards protester objections to merely being removed, thereby reframing their objections as the ridiculous complaints of entitled jerks who think they have a right to a hecklers veto. The constant refrain is “they’re scared of us, look at the lengths they’ll go to to stop us.”

The anti Trump narrative re the same events, by contrast, is a lot less focused, and a lot less effectively communicated. Trump is coming out at least even on this exchange.

112

Layman 03.14.16 at 4:44 pm

@ TM, your link confirms what I said, that Trump’s campaign is renting these facilities. They are therefore not public events.

113

TM 03.14.16 at 4:52 pm

122: And they rented the local police as well?
This was on the premises of a state university.

114

Rich Puchalsky 03.14.16 at 4:56 pm

“Victimization” in this case really has nothing to do with how anyone feels. A public speech in which one person is speaking and a thousand people are listening is impossible if people keep yelling and interjecting loudly. That has nothing to do with feelings and everything to do with the physics of how sound works. Someone set out to give a speech and made arrangements to do so, and if the heckler(s) were successful they were not able to give the speech: therefore they were victimized.

I fail to believe that there is anything uniquely American in the ejection of hecklers. It’s pretty much a prerequisite for speeches to occur anywhere if the population is impolite enough to make heckling a real possibility. There may or may not be something uniquely American in the police doing it, or in the general public sympathy for bad treatment of hecklers.

In any case this is just bad politics all around, as Patrick writes above. If this is how people think, then I am starting to get worried about Trump.

115

Layman 03.14.16 at 4:58 pm

@ TM, the link makes it clear that 1) the campaign rented the space, so it was private, 2) the police did not remove the protestors (though they would have, lawfully, had the protestors resisted being removed), and 3) the police were policing the public grounds outside the event.

I’m hardly Trump’s defender, but these are not public events.

116

bruce wilder 03.14.16 at 4:59 pm

Lupita @ 47, 115

It is hard to know on which of Corey Robin’s twin threads to drop a comment: is the definitive take on Trump the end of history? ;-)

Your analysis makes a great deal of sense to me. Trump’s rhetoric is an attempt to treat the symptoms of an underlying disease with bedside manner and voodoo. In some ways the Jamelle Bouie piece linked by js. @ 45 was making a similar point: Trump’s core supporters are hurting materially and economically, but feel most acutely the assault on ego, the wounding of narcissism. They do not understand why they hurt — hence the incoherence. Trump treats the wounded ego, without any concern to treat the incoherence.

The circumstantial context of the 2016 elections is indeed imperial collapse, the coming home to roost of chickens from many past choices, which does give the whole thing a sense of history unraveling.

Brett Bellmore, of all people, fingered a sense of betrayal by established elites in the Republican Party, but the sense of betrayal is more general than that. And, it is just a sense, not a diagnosis. The alternative is to project outward the anxiety onto “forces” and to condescend to explain the “real” reasons to the uncomprehending, who in their dissatisfaction think there might be a remedy in reversing some foolishness somewhere.

Yet, as you say, it is hard to imagine anyone ending the system without crashing the system. Promising to crash the system will not win an election, one would think. The Republicans in Washington, though, have been making noises about crashing the system for a long time.

117

TM 03.14.16 at 5:01 pm

121: “Trump is playing this game just fine.”

Trump’s people denied having expelled the black students even though the police chief confirmed on record it was done on order of Trump. Doesn’t sound like playing a good game to me. In any case, it depends entirely on the media whether they play his game or not. And to a certain degree they do but by no means is it true that Trump has done a good job, and been successful, at deflecting public attention away from the violence of his supporters. His rhetoric of open brutality appeals to some segment of the population but repels many others. And I’m wrong, if it is the case that glorification of violence is exactly what Americans want to hear, then blaming Trump’s opponents for their tactics would be totally beside the point.

118

Lupita 03.14.16 at 5:03 pm

Jacob McM @ 118

“As disastrous as Reagan and Bush were, I always thought it was obnoxious and historically illiterate for liberals to call them fascists or extreme right-wingers.”

I am not a liberal, I am a socialist. May I call Reagan and Bush extreme right-wingers without being obnoxious and historically illiterate? Because I do. All socialists do. Who cares what a faction of the right (liberals) calls them.

“I think many discussions of Trump reveal the limitations of many American policy wonks’ analysis, because they’re not as familiar with this brand of politics [fascism] as Europeans are.”

The same can be said about Europeans concerning neoliberalism and imperialism. They have not experienced them like Latin Americans have, being on the receiving end, plus being permitted to have nuclear weapons and head the IMF. Europeans are both privileged and limited in that way.

“I think looking more at emphasis rather than individual policies alone also offers a more coherent and informative definition of left and right than defining individual policies as “left” or “right.”

Individual policies the Latin American left calls “left”: anti-neoliberalism and anti-imperialism. Emphasis is left to individual discretion.

119

Jacob McM 03.14.16 at 5:13 pm

@67 kidneystones

No. I won’t be visiting Ezra’s meme shop for ‘information’ because I spent a large part of 2005-2007 pumping out the same sort of biased fact-free swill. I’ll explain what is taking place in Right-Left terms to make it easy. When the Right looks at the Left, they see only who represents the greatest threat – the constant in determining which candidate is the ‘most dangerous’ is popular support.

Forgot to add this, but if you actually bothered to read the Vox articles linked instead of ignorantly dismissing then, you’d have realized you’re objectively wrong here. One of them was written by Matt Yglesias, who, until yesterday, was rooting for Donald Trump to win the GOP nomination because he thought Trump was genuinely preferable to Rubio and the others. This despite the fact that Trump has been the front-runner in delegates for the last month and a half, and the front-runner in polls for six months.

He changed his tune on Trump not because Trump has the most popular support — otherwise he would’ve opposed him all along — but because (shock of shocks!) Trump’s own words and actions revealed him to be a grave danger to the country.

So yeah, next time maybe you should spare us your worthless, sophomoric, know-it-all posturing and actually do some reading.

120

LFC 03.14.16 at 5:15 pm

Jacob McM@118
Disagree w you re Cruz. The ‘telos’ of his platform is ‘extreme right-wing’, certainly in the context of US politics.

121

CJColucci 03.14.16 at 5:18 pm

How many of you actually know, and have talked with, anybody who would vote for Trump?

Raises hand.

122

TM 03.14.16 at 5:18 pm

126, it doesn’t give you pause that this happening is so American?

123

Jacob McM 03.14.16 at 5:22 pm

I am not a liberal, I am a socialist. May I call Reagan and Bush extreme right-wingers without being obnoxious and historically illiterate? Because I do. All socialists do. Who cares what a faction of the right (liberals) calls them.

I’m aware of the more precise differences between socialists and liberals, but you’re historically illiterate and irrational if you think liberals like John Rawls, John Dewey, FDR, and so on were a “faction of the right.” Many American liberals, particularly the rank-and-file in the northeast and west coast, aren’t really that far apart from European social democrats.

Likewise, someone who can’t see a clear qualitative difference between Reagan/Bush on one hand and Hitler/Mussolini on the other (while granting some similarities and continuities between them) is not rational.

This renders the rest of your analysis dubious. Perhaps you are conflating all liberalism with “neo-liberalism”? If so, that’s another error on your part, but I’ve never liked the term neo-liberalism for precisely this confusion it causes.

124

Rich Puchalsky 03.14.16 at 5:32 pm

And having brought this up I’m unable to resist going off into activist-organization-speak. We’ve discussed here before how there may be a left in America, but how it really isn’t an organized left. Is it possible to actually make a decision about whether to heckle or not?

Take this example, for instance, which was about an Occupy GA at which John Lewis didn’t get a chance to speak. If there had been a press flack or someone coordinating the event, they would have said “Oh God don’t stop John Lewis from speaking: let him speak.” (At least, that’s what I imagine that they would have said.) But there wasn’t. Instead the decision came down to some guy named “Joe”, or rather, there was no way of making a coordinated decision without convincing everyone. Similarly there may not really be any way of keeping people from destructively heckling Trump rallies, even though it’s a bad idea. In which case trying to plan what to do is pointless.

125

Layman 03.14.16 at 5:42 pm

“126, it doesn’t give you pause that this happening is so American?”

What, exactly? If you mean ‘people can rent places for private events and as a result exercise some control over who is present’, no, this is not particularly American. If you mean ‘the police will police public spaces around large events to ensure public safety’, again, no, not particularly American. If you mean ‘people complain that other people’s speech violates their own free speech rights’, that irritates me a lot, but I don’t know if it is particular to Americans.

I think once you grasp that these are not public events, you have to grant that the hosts can exercise control over attendance; and that the police may get involved in enforcing their control. They’re like concerts, or sporting events.

126

Layman 03.14.16 at 5:49 pm

Rich @ 124, if you’ve watched any of Trump’s speeches, you’ll have seen that he is interrupted by his fans all the time. They cheer, chant, etc, and he can’t speak or is drowned out. So is he victimized by his own fans?

Similarly, some times politicians say things their supporters don’t like, and they get booed. Are they being victimized by that?

Or do you say that if the speaker likes the interruption, s/he is not victimized, but if s/he dislikes it, s/he is victimized. Really?

127

roger gathmann 03.14.16 at 6:07 pm

I can’t really see Trump as worse than his competitors in the GOP. On trade, he’s better, on racism, worse than Rubio, about even with Cruz.
If I were asked for one sentence to sum up what motivates the rage of those supporting Trump, I don’t think I’d turn to the racist bashing of Obama that has gone on for eight years on Fox. No, I’d cull this sentence from Hilary Clinton’s town hall meeting yesterday: ‘We’re Going to Put a Lot of Coal Miners and Coal Companies Out of Business’. Her supporters will rush in to say that in the next couple of sentences, she assured us that the state will be retraining them for careers as burger flippers somewhere. But I’d say that sentence sorta sums up the neo-liberal hostility to the working class. Or as Lou Reed put it, dump em out on the street and club em to death.
I am aware that in the general, Clinton will be the best of a bad choice. What I am hoping is that the GOP will be too fractured to triangulate with, and the liberal portion of the Dem party will be too powerful to ignore. Wishful thinking, but not so far from accomplishable.

128

TM 03.14.16 at 6:08 pm

Layman, you are wrong, these things don’t happen everywhere. Get out of your American cocoon. The idea that the political space can be turned into the private property of a candidate is only understood in America.

It is actually remarkable how successful the protesters have been, precisely because Trump is such an a**hole. The Muslim woman wearing a yellow star who was expelled by Trump made international headlines. The mostly black students at Valdosta who were forced out were great. Trump’s statements about how nice it would be if people who disagree with him could be beaten and carried out on stretchers are priceless. Actually I have rarely seen protesters being so effective. And there we are on CT debating whether Trump was “victimized”. Oh my.

129

Anarcissie 03.14.16 at 6:09 pm

js. 03.14.16 at 2:27 am @ 82 —
‘Anarcissie — Just out of curiosity, where are are you with respect to the “circular firing squad”? In it? Out of it? Way to the left of it?’

Attacking (other) leftists is like hunting an endangered species.

130

Patrick 03.14.16 at 6:15 pm

You can’t stop heckling altogether precisely because there is no organized “all of the left.” That’s literally part of the advocacy strategy of a fairly large group of right wing organizations. But it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to win the real fight, which is over public relations.

Trigger warning- the following will be a purely factual description of a real life white supremacist march in a community in which I once resided. If you’re the sort to decide from my neutral tone that I must be a white supremacist, please go do literally anything else with your life.

So here’s how this went down.

White supremacists (I think neo nazis but might be wrong) register their match through all proper channels. I don’t know if they informed the media in advance, but someone sure did. They declare that the march will be through a particularly poor, overwhelmingly black neighborhood.

The police aren’t stupid. They know what’s coming. They contact local ministers and community leaders in preparation. They understand that what’s about to happen is that the Nazis will march while staying 100% within the lines of legality, some of the nearly 100% black counter protesters (most of whom are literally just people who live with walking distance, not any sort of organized counter protest group) will throw things or otherwise try to attack the Nazis, the police will be legally obliged to intervene, the growing mob will declare that the police are on the side of the Nazis, more violence will occur, people will get hurt, cars smashed, and stuff burned down.

The police hope that religious leaders urging calm will be effective.

It’s not. Everything happens exactly as the police predict, and as the Nazis planned. The Nazis arrived with about two dozen marchers, all of whom were clearly trained to maintain stoic discipline in the face of thrown bricks. The police set up lines creating a DMZ so that the marchers and counter protester never mixed. The pretty much 100% black counter protesters had a non zero number of people who threw rocks, and enough people crossed the separation line that everyone collectively started edging forward. The police, first via local religious leaders and then via riot control, tried to move the counter protesters back. So the counter protesters decided that the police were in league with the Nazis, and turned the violence towards them. Non violent counter protesters bailed, and the crowd grew more hostile.

The Nazis, having accomplished their goal, evacuated. By the end of the day they were presumably at home, editing news footage of the days events- disciplined Nazi protesters, an angry mob of black faces, the police under assault from the mob, the police falling back, a liquor store on fire as the riot continued into the night.

The religious leaders tried to claim that out of town gang members were the ones who actually rooted. I think we can all guess how that went over with the Nazis target audience.

That’s respectability politics. Mechanically, it’s barely different from Martin Luther King’s tactics. The role of the police varies, but it’s remarkably similar.

So why did I being this up if the efforts at organizing were ineffective?

First, to illustrate the system.

But second… I think the actions of the religious leaders could have been improved upon. They relied on moral authority to stop people from rioting, but no one cares about that. That just made things worse. I’m not privy to the Nazi efforts at using this protest to recruit, but I’m sure their narrative played up how local religious leaders urged non violence, but the (black) rioters rooted anyway.

Here’s what I think should have been done- organize something, anything, for people to DO, other than physically intimidate and throw rocks. A chant, a song, anything. Something coordinated and active, composed of a core group of people you can rely on who will function as models for others.

This won’t completely stop violence, heckling, whatever. But if you can at least create a zone of calm on which cameras can focus, you can recruit those who are open to that who might otherwise get violent or heckle, and you can ensure that the visuals on TV that might at least sometimes depict a crowd of people holding hands and peacefully singing, instead of tearing bricks off the wall of a local business to fling at cops.

It’s not going to stop all misconduct. But as important as that is, that’s not the end goal. The end goal is to form a coherent counter narrative.

If you want to stop Trump from winning this exchange, organize a protest outside his event. Follow the rules. Make sure media notices by telling them in advance. Make sure your own cameras are rolling when Trump supporters walk over to shout insults at you. Make sure you have an official Guy In Charge who can answer the media and say “oh, he’s not with us, but we understand his frustration, and don’t you think Trumps guys overreacted?” when some idiot climbs up on Trump’s stage or throws glitter at him or whatever.

You won’t- can’t- stop random people from doing random things. But you can ensure it isn’t all there is to talk about.

131

Plume 03.14.16 at 6:22 pm

Anarcissie @140,

This is true. Endangered species. Folks like Irving Howe have written about capitalism’s relative success at providing pretty, shiny things to enough of the right people to make the various leftist philosophies fall on deaf ears, etc. . . . . One could call this the Tantalus Effect, too.

All it really takes is for the richest 20% to stop caring about the bottom 80% for socialism and other leftist philosophies to die on the vine.

Even though liberals often (righteously) condemn right-libertarians/Randians for their “I got mine, go eff yourself” attitudes, those same liberals aren’t that far away from that view. They’re just a lot nicer about it all, and are kewl with the welfare state. But they still don’t want actual equality — which requires an end to hierarchies — which means an end to their own privileges, too.

What might cause the reemergence of leftists is when those privileged professionals and managers of capitalist lucre begin to see real dents in their own financial armor. This is happening as we speak, so who knows? The jolt needed to once again expand moral compasses to include the bottom 80% might be in the works.

132

Layman 03.14.16 at 6:31 pm

@ TM, I am surprised to hear that there are places where:

– people are not permitted to rent public facilities for private events
– if they are, they are not permitted to determine who can attend their private event
– if they are, they are not permitted to invoke laws against trespassers
– if they are, the police will not enforce those laws
– and, in any event, police will ignore the public safety ramifications of any large gathering, anywhere, and refuse to maintain order in the vicinity.

Which places are those places?

133

Rich Puchalsky 03.14.16 at 6:35 pm

TM: “It is actually remarkable how successful the protesters have been, precisely because Trump is such an a**hole. The Muslim woman wearing a yellow star who was expelled by Trump made international headlines. “

Great, international headlines are exactly what is important when convincing nativist Americans not to support someone. It played great internationally so it worked.

TM: “And there we are on CT debating whether Trump was “victimized”. Oh my.”

Oh my! There goes TM as someone who I potentially have to ever listen to.

134

TM 03.14.16 at 6:36 pm

I looked up Valdosta’s news release about the event (here: http://www.valdosta.edu/about/news/releases/2016/03/a-message-to-the-valdosta-state-university-community.php).

“While this [the removal of the students] is disturbing, it should be remembered that this was not a VSU sponsored event, but a private function. The Trump campaign, together with the Secret Service and other law-enforcement officials, had responsibility for such decisions, not VSU. As we reminded the campus via email last Friday, current federal law (HR 347) does not allow for protesting of any type in an area under protection by the Secret Service.”

HR 347 is a law passed in 2012 that forbids “knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt *the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions*, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions”.

So a campaign speech by Donald Trump (*) is now considered the conduct of “Government business or official functions”. Amazing. Now please Layman don’t tell me this is just how a normal democracy conducts election campaigns.

(*) HR 347 applies to any place “where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting”. This applies to presidential candidates.

135

TM 03.14.16 at 6:38 pm

RP, I honestly don’t know what you are trying to convince us of. In any case, nativist Americans are not the only ones who matter, last time I looked.

136

Keith 03.14.16 at 6:41 pm

@ Layman quite so. Contracts and bare licence etc

But how likely is a trump presidency to differ from any other Republican presidency?
A president trump would mean a GOP majority in Congress. How likely is that majority to apply a protectionist trade agenda? All Trumps policies are surely a violation of the treaties the US is party to and inconsistent with party policy. What they would do is cut tax for very rich people like Trump, and his poor working class supporters will be stuffed. just like all the other GOP contenders.

137

Anarcissie 03.14.16 at 6:48 pm

Alex K— 03.14.16 at 8:26 am @ 100 —
I think of ‘reactionary’ as ‘desiring return to some usually idyllic or mythical past state of the world’. Trump, for example, offers to recover or maintain important Welfare-state programs while pushing racism, xenophobia and militarism — the idyllic 1950s, at least from a working-class point of view. This was exactly the formula of the Democratic Party of that era. Since the past was not what people think, of course, serious trouble ensues if the reactionaries come to power and have to live out their fantasies. I certainly don’t think of reactionaries as conservative; conservatives know that the world changes inexorably and does not go back. The reactionary, then, is a tragic protagonist.

138

Keith 03.14.16 at 6:48 pm

TM at 145. Disorderly conduct is illegal in all countries and always has been. You have never heard of breach of the peace? A crime in England since the 13th century? This is distracting from the main discussion to no purpose.

139

kidneystones 03.14.16 at 6:50 pm

@130 I avoided dredging up Ezra and Matt’s unhappy history of colluding with other lefties to spread memes, or Matt’s celebration of death, or Matt’s contrarian streak, but I’d have thought that even you could see that citing Media Matters Matt falling in line late single data point proves my own argument in multiple ways, not yours.

The term racist has lost all traction for something like 50 percent of Americans, I’m guessing. Some outside America believes the same nation that elected O twice is filled with nothing but. I really do have to go. Be nice!

140

bruce wilder 03.14.16 at 6:50 pm

All it really takes is for the richest 20% to stop caring about the bottom 80% for socialism and other leftist philosophies to die on the vine.

I don’t think we can literally end hierarchies in economic organization, at least not without pretty much ending civilization and exterminating the larger part of the human population. So, the political problem is managing and disciplining elites, so as to prevent the shepherds from becoming wolves, or, if you prefer, retraining the wolves to become shepherds.

Any political hierarchy, however benign its design, contains the seeds of its own corruption and deterioration. But, if you cannot conduct civilization without it, your politics must be to find ways to repair and reform it. And, if those attempts by an elite to govern effectively fail, the hierarchy collapses to some extent — the society, or its political order, becomes less effective, less efficient, more predatory and oppressive.

Whether the dissatisfactions of those most oppressed can be channelled into institutional reforms has more to do with the ability of elites to sort themselves out than it does with the mentality of the oppressed and dissatisfied. The elite, who draw their own privileged existence out of controlling those beneath them in the hierarchy, face a conflict of interest: they can act to improve their own position at the expense of the larger society or they can act to improve and strengthen the society as a whole. Should they be wolves or shepherds? And, is that a continuum of choice?

141

Keith 03.14.16 at 6:56 pm

Anarcissie @ 148

“The reactionary, then, is a tragic protagonist.”

No not for me. Such people may be harmless but can be very dangerous if they get power over others. History cannot be reversed but a reactionary group if organised can try hard to attack people they hate or blame for the disappearance of a golden age, even if it only existed in their imagination or was not so wonderful in fact. Putin in Russia is a servant of oligarchs exploiting nostalgia for a past of often false glory. Lots of people in Russia and Ukraine suffer and their oppressor is not tragic, but comfortable and smug.

142

bruce wilder 03.14.16 at 6:58 pm

Reactionaries do not understand how the world works or worked, and are angry that the world does not conform to their romantic, magical expectations of it. I think of Charles X touching the scrofulous at his coronation in 1825.

143

Anon 03.14.16 at 7:13 pm

“I take your point on tactics, but this bit is nonsense. A verbal interruption or interjection is not ‘force’. The interrupted are not victimized.”

Not all attacks consist of physical violence. If someone were to thoroughly and publicly embarrass you, or disseminate lies about you that are nonetheless believed, are you not a victim?

144

Keith 03.14.16 at 7:15 pm

bruce wilder I think there are different kinds of reactionaries. Putin has brought back the KGB state so far as he can. Detailed laws and policies to suppress free speech, assembly and freedom of association. Quite rational but dictatorial.

They do have holy relics in the form of Lenin so some similarity to the right wing anti revolutionary French right. May be the Front National will restore the Monarchy if they seize power? Or Le Pen can change her name to Bonaparte?

145

js. 03.14.16 at 7:20 pm

organize something, anything, for people to DO, other than physically intimidate and throw rocks. A chant, a song, anything. Something coordinated and active, composed of a core group of people you can rely on who will function as models for others.

Indeed. Something like this perhaps. The thing that happened in Chicago was fucking awesome. The apparently complete failure to recognize that is… odd.

146

Keith 03.14.16 at 7:25 pm

At 154 Anon, it depends on context. In a public meeting held for political purposes you can call for hecklers to be removed if they will not go peacefully. Or you can argue with them. This was normal in England until TV became the main communication method and politicians lost their bottle and decided to refuse to argue back. Harold Wilson had a number of arguments with Tory supporters and held his own. You can argue that Politicians should be tough enough to handle protesters by confronting them. People in a private station in life are another matter. These are matters of custom and practice in a political context. But even party politicians some times sue for libel say or assault if they are hit etc.

147

Anarcissie 03.14.16 at 7:31 pm

Keith 03.14.16 at 6:56 pm @ 152 —
I said nothing about reactionaries being harmless. They are dangerous to themselves and others. One can only hope that the prominent ones of one’s era are hypocrites.

148

Layman 03.14.16 at 7:32 pm

TM @ 145

Again, your exerpt demonstrates that this was a private event, not a public event. Invoking HR 347 is therefore moot. As for the applicability of HR 347, it is not Trump’s speech which is the ‘government function’, but the work of his protection detail.

I really can’t grasp your objection. I’m on the side of the protestors, and dismiss the idea of Trump-as-victim as pure nonsense; but the fact remains that people can eject you from their private functions, and they can enlist the police to help them do that, and this is true in essentially every country I can think of. I have invited you to name a country where this is not the case. Will you either do so, or acknowledge the point and move on?

I note with interest that there were large protests accompanying the Conservative party conference in Manchester last year. The funny thing is, while I see stories about people marching in the streets, I don’t find any about protestors in the actual conference. Can it be that the protestors were not permitted to attend the conference – that it was a private event, and the organizers exercised control over attendance? And the reports all quote the police, who apparently policed the protests to maintain public order. How…American of them!

149

Omega Centauri 03.14.16 at 7:37 pm

There should be a dinstiction between protest that attempts to make speech impossible, versus protest which simply registers the fact, that some are in strenous disagreement. The level of the
provocation should matter greatly. Someone standing nearby holding up a sign, is not victiming
the speaker, someone who is making so much sound that it is impossible for the audience to hear
the speaker is.

150

Layman 03.14.16 at 7:37 pm

Anon @ 154, there is no contradiction between your retort and my comment. A verbal interruption is not force, and the interrupted are not victims. Words can be attacks, but are not necessarily so; and they are never ‘force’. Sticks and stones, as they say.

151

The Temporary Name 03.14.16 at 7:39 pm

bruce wilder 03.13.16 at 5:05 pm
I listen to Trump, and I hear a word salad.

Yeah, and the rest of the comment is about right. Trump’s easy for everyone to fear. He’s the devil you don’t know.

This was an interesting take: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/2011-s-grand-harmonic-convergence

Trump got stabbed in the, uh, front dontcha know, and he is enacting his revenge on anyone who’s handy. I wonder what primary he would have run in if George W. Bush had made fun of him like that? And how well he’d do?

152

Keith 03.14.16 at 7:41 pm

Anarcissie at 158. OK it depends which people we are thinking of. Many Humans are hypocrites. The threat posed by backward people varies with their social power and degree of organisation. Bigots can harm one person if they have some power, or millions if they rule a large country. With different combinations between one extreme and another. I cannot see Reactionaries as tragic but as foolish and often very nasty pieces of work. Who can say how sincere any politician is unless you have a vantage point to see behind the mask.

153

ccc 03.14.16 at 7:53 pm

Corey, I only want to say that I think this text and the earlier stuff you’ve written on Trump is great!

154

RNB 03.14.16 at 7:58 pm

Trump is inciting vigilante violence throughout the country and at his rallies (old days…carry out on a stretcher…punch him in the face). Youthful observers guess that the few people showing up to respond to racist provocations (thousands of Muslim American celebrating 9/11…Mexican rapists…ban all Muslims…police should beat up BLM protestors) or even just display protest signs or yellow stars or the finger may be beaten. So more youth show up in an act of solidarity. They are not creating a public nuisance; they are responding to one. The police should let them respond to the public nuisance in a non-violent way. Are people objecting to this? Haven’t read the comments.

155

RNB 03.14.16 at 8:00 pm

Then there’s the report of some higher up in the Trump campaign body slamming a reporter asking a question. Of course protestors have to show up. The police should absolutely allow them to carry out non-violent actions in response to this public nuisance.

156

novakant 03.14.16 at 8:07 pm

I share TMs astonishment: how can a political rally be a “private event” ?

The disconnect between “free speech” / freedom rhetoric and acceptance of the type of newspeak legalese that aims for everything to be “private”, “classified” and/or “corporate” is just weird.

I don’t think only non-US commenters feel that way, right?

157

Suzanne 03.14.16 at 8:11 pm

“That is your misreading of what I said, and we’ve already been through this. Come on. ‘Seriously. I don’t see myself, or white people, or men, as “owning” keys to a clubhouse to dispense to others. It’s not ours. It never was ours. It’s everyone’s. There are no junior partners. There are no subordinates. Sheesh.’

Sanders adviser Tad Devine: “Listen, I think it’s very important that we have, you know, diversity in our representation. And it’s great that women are getting more and more involved in politics and we encourage that.”

158

engels 03.14.16 at 8:12 pm

the fact remains that people can eject you from their private functions, and they can enlist the police to help them do that, and this is true in essentially every country I can think of. I have invited you to name a country where this is not the case. Will you either do so

UK

159

Rich Puchalsky 03.14.16 at 8:15 pm

js: “The thing that happened in Chicago was fucking awesome. The apparently complete failure to recognize that is… odd.”

I think that they lucked out, as pretty much all successful protests do. Here’s the critical paragraph:

“The plan was straightforward. Once Trump began speaking, Lewis would begin sending messages to the groups around the hall—and, so prompted, they would each stand up, chanting, and disrupt the speech. It would then build to a crescendo: right there, in front of Trump’s podium. Lewis and the other protesters in front were going to link up—“arm in arm,” he instructed the students around him—and make their presence known in a silent, but conspicuous, circle. “It will speak louder,” Lewis said, “than anybody who interrupts Trump’s speeches.””

Linking arms in a silent, conspicuous circle in front of the podium and by doing so calling on the iconography of the Civil Rights Movement is a great plan. Standing up, chanting, and disrupting the speech sounds like a kind of poor plan and would have pre-empted the second part of the plan if there had been an immediate violent reaction and / or police intervention. Because the rally was cancelled, the protesters never had to find out whether this would have happened.

I think that there’s kind of a failure to recognize that plans like this working show that Trump is still more or less within the universe of conservative U.S. Presidential candidates, not that of up-and-coming proto-fascist leaders.

160

Alex K--- 03.14.16 at 8:26 pm

@Ze K (102): Within nativism, the ethnic and the civic are often intertwined but I am not saying their mutual reinforcement is a guaranteed highway to a fascist hell. (Denmark decriminalized homosexuality in 1933, saved most of its Jews in 1941-45, and introduced same-sex unions in 1989, the first in the West.) I’m saying that sooner or later, a consistently nativist policymaker is likely to attempt social-democratic policies – say, subsidizing child care to boost birth rates and education to improve labor productivity.

On the other hand, see Edward Luttwak’s 1994 essay in The London Review of Books, Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future, a brief follow-up to his 1993 book, The Endangered American Dream.

161

phenomenal cat 03.14.16 at 8:32 pm

” Likewise, I think calling someone like Ted Cruz an “extreme right-winger” is false and devalues the term. With Trump, the parallels are far clearer.

I think many discussions of Trump reveal the limitations of many American policy wonks’ analysis, because they’re not as familiar with this brand of politics as Europeans are.” Jacob McM @118

Pray tell, how exactly would you characterize Cruz? Just an average right-winger? Should I infer you find Cruz preferable to Trump?

I don’t know what wonkian analysis of Trump you’re referring to, but it’s bound to be useless (and I do mean beyond the run of the mill uselessness typical of policy wonk analysis) because so far as I know Trump has offered no policy to analyze.

“I’m aware of the more precise differences between socialists and liberals, but you’re historically illiterate and irrational if you think liberals like John Rawls, John Dewey, FDR, and so on were a “faction of the right.” Many American liberals, particularly the rank-and-file in the northeast and west coast, aren’t really that far apart from European social democrats.

This renders the rest of your analysis dubious. Perhaps you are conflating all liberalism with “neo-liberalism”? If so, that’s another error on your part, but I’ve never liked the term neo-liberalism for precisely this confusion it causes.” Jacob McM @134

You could profit from actually considering what Lupita is saying rather than lecturing her on the parsimony political labels/terminology. You see, from perspective of people in Bolivia, for example, the question of whether someone in D.C., Brussels, London, or New York is more accurately a liberal or a neoliberal is a moot point. They’ve been fucked over by both for generations. The larger point, however, is since 2008 larger and larger swathes of the American public have begun to sense, viscerally, that the imperialist-economic exploitation that was once confined to the periphery has now taken root in the core (fun fact: this exploitation has always occurred in the core, but relative wealth and “social welfare” policies mitigated it for a while). Thus, Americans are frightened and pissed off.

Most of them couldn’t give you a coherent–never mind factually accurate– analysis as to why, but they do realize the game is systemically rigged and not in their favor. Now, none of this may end well (the most obvious outcome may well be the U.S. coming to look like any number of 20th century Latin American countries in terms of gross inequality and concentration of power), but the fact that people are pissed is a start. In any case, your concern with politically defining who’s who is mostly moribund. The categories are in the process of being redefined anyway. Very large forces are on the verge of being realigned and it is mostly meaningless that liberals in Connecticut and the Bay Area are similar to social democrats in Europe. At this point, how the fuck does that even matter? What exactly has Hollande or Tsipras done to change the status quo?

162

Plume 03.14.16 at 8:38 pm

Suzanne @167,

What is your interpretation of those very different statements? Aside from being quite different, one from the other, do you see either as bad? Or worse than bad? How do you, personally, view them (in their full context, of course)? Do they strike you as worth condemnation?

It seems likely that you have a problem with both of them, or you wouldn’t have bothered quoting them and placing them together.

So, please tell me what, exactly, is wrong with calling for actual equality for everyone, regardless of gender, an end to all hierarchies, including patriarchy, an end to all apartheid, beginning with economic apartheid . . . Because that’s the foundation for my philosophy. Equal rights, civil rights, human rights and actual participatory democracy. What are your preferences regarding the above?

As for the Sanders spokesperson: I can’t see anything wrong with what he said, either, though it may come across as somewhat clumsy. If you’ve ever watched Tad Devine speak in public, that clumsiness isn’t at all surprising.

163

Patrick 03.14.16 at 8:42 pm

I think RP is pretty much right at 169.

The Chicago protest makes great visuals if the story is “Students plan to protest Trump, Trump speech has to be canceled because Trump supporters cannot be trusted not to tear them to pieces.”

It makes less great visuals if the story is, “Entitled students organize disruptive protest by forcing their way to the front of a Trump rally and chanting while Trump tries to talk, visibly exasperated Trump rolls eyes and calls for the police to remove them, then the students whine about insults from the crowd while the police drag them out.”

Even little things about this protest kind of irk me. Good on them for having discipline and not escalating anything, that’s hard for a group to do and insanely important, but the “we stopped Trump” cheer was terrible. The goal is to stop Trump from winning, not from speaking. Americans are not going to rally in support of a group who’s goal is to stop a political candidate from being able to hold a rally. The narrative you want isn’t “WE stopped Trump,” it’s “law enforcement had to stop Trump bevause his rallies are a threat to the peace.” “WE stopped Trump” feeds into the narrative that the rally was canceled because you couldn’t be trusted. That’s the opposite of what you want.

164

js. 03.14.16 at 8:44 pm

RP — The protesters in Chicago shut down the rally. You might call that “lucking out”, I’d call it fucking fantastic. (Could it have turned out to be a bad idea to disrupt the speech? Possibly, but in the circumstances it hardly matters.)

As for “fascism”: I think it’s indisputable that Trump is openly running as a white nationalist. And from where I’m standing that’s plenty horrible enough that I don’t feel any need to get into quibbles about “fascist”.

165

Richard Cottrell 03.14.16 at 9:30 pm

Dial up James Burnham. Its all there.

166

Anon 03.14.16 at 9:34 pm

Layman @ 161, I do not contest that words are not force. I do maintain that being interrupted can render one a victim. If, for example, the intent and consequence of the interruption is to cause one to suffer injury to one’s social status or future prospects, I cannot see how the interruptee is not a victim.

167

Plume 03.14.16 at 9:34 pm

Brett,

fascism is a disease of the right. Always has been. Always will be. It’s a right-wing pathology.

If you’re claiming that leftists tried to shut things down — and there is zero evidence to support that theory — it would be something else entirely. You’d have to come up with a different term.

168

Layman 03.14.16 at 9:35 pm

engels @ 168, take a look at ‘aggravated trespass’.

169

Layman 03.14.16 at 9:40 pm

@ anon, if you utter words which are injurious to another, whether those words were an interruption or not is irrelevant. It is the content which is injurious, not the context.

Further, words may be injurious yet also be true. Is the subject also victimized then?

In general, I’d say if you find yourself arriving at the conclusion that Donald Trump (!) is the victim in these particular fracases, start over.

170

Layman 03.14.16 at 9:45 pm

@ novakant, you invite several like-minded people to your home, to discuss a political agenda you’re planning. Strangers arrive and insist on joining the meeting. Do you let them in, or not? If they insist, what then? Is it a private meeting, or a public one?

171

RNB 03.14.16 at 9:56 pm

Does cable television tend to run non-stop clips from private meetings in your home, Layman? If you are having a meeting in your home to which you invite cable television because you plan on saying horrible things that will doubtless dominate the “news” cycle and may incite violence, do you have a right to privacy?

172

Layman 03.14.16 at 10:02 pm

@RNB, you really should spend more time thinking, and less posting. I’m sure you don’t mean to say that, should you invite journalists into your home, anyone else is then free to enter.

173

John Quiggin 03.14.16 at 10:03 pm

Like Novakant, I was initially surprised to learn that political rallies are considered private events, even when they are held on public university premises (rented for the occasion). But I think this reflects a non-US background, in which a fairly wide view of freedom of speech is taken for granted. In a context where private sector employees can be fired for supporting the wrong political party, or failing to support the right one, the idea that you can be forcibly ejected from (what I would think of as) a public meeting even for silent protest* seems less surprising.

What surprises me in the anti-anti-Trump comments above is the extent to which property rights are conflated with free speech, when everything about these events shows they are antithetical.

Even when protests have been vocal, they’ve never been (AFAICT) such as to stop Trump being heard. The only case of that kind was when Trump cancelled the rally himself. So, the issue is a simple one: property rights vs free speech.

174

RNB 03.14.16 at 10:07 pm

You’re evading the question. Take this case. You ask only followers to come to your rally; you then call for the death of Jews, Father Coughlin-style. You know cable news which you have invited will broadcast your call. You have followers you know will carry out your orders once they see them on television. I am asking whether in a case like this a heckler’s veto should be allowed.

175

RNB 03.14.16 at 10:10 pm

176

Plume 03.14.16 at 10:23 pm

John,

“Even when protests have been vocal, they’ve never been (AFAICT) such as to stop Trump being heard. The only case of that kind was when Trump cancelled the rally himself. So, the issue is a simple one: property rights vs free speech.”

I mentioned this upthread. Protesters have, until Chicago, been alone or in single digits. They couldn’t have “shut down” anything. They didn’t have that power. Trump has the mic, the security forces, the police, etc. etc. It was generally a lone Muslim woman, or a lone Black Lives Matter protester, with no mic, no ability to project their voices electronically. And they were in a sea of people determined to shut them down. And they often did, by force. They — the protesters — should be admired for their courage, not condemned for “shutting down free speech.”

Anyone claiming that Trump is the victim here is crazy.

Also: I was born and raised here, and I didn’t realize that political rallies in public spaces were “private events.” I would have thought it illegal to throw someone out who wasn’t causing any harm. And according to this article, this is being done preemptively at Trump rallies, just on the say so of his supporters:

Dana Milbank: A Day With Trump’s True Believers

177

Layman 03.14.16 at 10:24 pm

@RNB, I think you left out the part where the bomb was ticking.

That aside, I’ll say I don’t think I understand the question. If I did those things you suggest, should people protest against me? Certainly, I would protest against me myself! Should they be free to legally enter my home, against my wishes, in order to protest? Seriously?

178

kidneystones 03.14.16 at 10:24 pm

@ 186 Even when protests have been vocal, they’ve never been (AFAICT) such as to stop Trump being heard.

I’m not sure what ‘shutitdown’ means to you, but denying Trump his first amendment rights in a space he rented seems to me the only possible interpretation of the protesters’ intent. The protesters intended to hijack Trump’s rally with supporters for their own purposes. Surely you don’t deny that?

The only case of that kind was when Trump cancelled the rally himself. So, the issue is a simple one: property rights vs free speech.

Free speech is limited at CT. You specifically directed me not speak of a certain topic. I certainly never tried to silence you. Yet, you threatened to ban me for simply broaching a topic as part of a larger discussion.

I’m quite convinced you are serious and I respect your right to restrict discussion on this site. Please explain why Trump should be denied the freedom to make similar decisions.

179

phenomenal cat 03.14.16 at 10:26 pm

“Like Novakant, I was initially surprised to learn that political rallies are considered private events, even when they are held on public university premises (rented for the occasion). But I think this reflects a non-US background, in which a fairly wide view of freedom of speech is taken for granted.” JQ @ 186

I don’t follow what you’re saying here John. Are saying, on average –whatever this might mean–that non-USians take a wider and/or more liberal view of freedom of speech?

In any case, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that property (rights) and (free) speech are often confound and tangled in the U.S.

180

Layman 03.14.16 at 10:28 pm

“but denying Trump his first amendment rights “

The first amendment is a prohibition on what the government can do. Only the government could be guilty of denying Trump his first amendment rights. Private citizens can’t muzzle him, and don’t enter into the qustion.

181

RNB 03.14.16 at 10:31 pm

Layman, just consider the Trump domination of cable news from the perspective of someone threatened by it.
Now I have not decided whether the free speech rights of the protestors (if they have them in this supposedly private setting) are more worthy of protection than the free speech rights of Trump or any demagogue inciting violence.
What I was getting at, is that those who feel threatened by speech that could be considered an incitement to violence have in a way been invited to the private place where those threatening comments are made since they will not be able to avoid hearing them in their own living rooms due to cable news playing clips endlessly. It’s somewhat misleading to call Trump rallies private events. They dominate public life due to the influence of the media.
It is my guess that there are many minority people in this country who feel that Donald Trump has been put in their homes and feel sickened and threatened by it. Should they have hecklers’ right to silence speech?
Probably not! Should they be able to enter his rallies to register protest without silencing Trump? I think “yes”.

182

RNB 03.14.16 at 10:35 pm

@194. Layman, you speak very confidently about what the nature of the First Amendement is. I suppose, I could believe you due to your confidence. But there is this law prof to whom I linked at 189 who gives me a different understanding of the First Amendment than you. And I’m torn: should I believe him or you due to your confidence?

183

Layman 03.14.16 at 10:41 pm

@ RNB, I believe I’ve posted too often on this point already, so this will be my last. I am one of those people frightened by Trump. Do I think people should protest him? Certainly. Do I think people should even break the law in minor ways – trespassing, civil disobedience, non-violent non-cooperation with authority, that sort of thing – in order to protest him? Yes, I do. Do I think that changes the law, and makes the unlawful magically lawful? No, I don’t.

184

kidneystones 03.14.16 at 10:53 pm

@194 Thanks for this. If it is the case that 1000 people have the right under the law to hijack an event paid for by an individual and attended by 10,000 who want the event to proceed as planned, then perhaps it’s easier to understand why so many heed Trump’s call for change.

185

RNB 03.14.16 at 10:58 pm

There is room between “hijacking” and “protesting”. The “protesting” could be intended not to hijack the event but merely to provide material for a short clip that will be endlessly recycled with a clip from Trump’s speech. It could be a great protest sign or costume. It could be counters of “racist” and “liar” to specific claims that do not prevent Trump from finishing his thoughts eventually such that they are. It could be people ripping up Trump signs for the cameras.
So what is the law? Does the law allow Trump to exclude people who will protest but not “hijack” in the rented spaces where he has his televised rallies? Must police arrest them as a matter of law as Trump is insisting? Forgive me, if I don’t take Layman’s legal opinion seriously no matter how confidently he states it.

186

ZedBlank 03.14.16 at 11:21 pm

Seems to me that the idea that a political rally can be seen as “private” is absurd, and ought to be dismissed.

As for the protesters; they didn’t shut down the rally, or hijack it, or any such thing. Trump, in classic bully fashion, was presented with credible opposition, and did that himself. The real pandemonium ensued when it became clear that the event had been cancelled, at which point the protesters exulted and the attendees had a hissy fit.

187

Suzanne 03.14.16 at 11:26 pm

Plume @ 173:

My intent in juxtaposing the two quotes was to compare your statement, which I consider to be an admirable ideal, with an example of the sort of assumption(s), conscious or otherwise, that I think Val was talking about and that you seemed to claim don’t exist – e.g., that there’s a club, or a movement, and women are welcome to join if they want, but it’s not theirs. (Leaving aside the fact that women have been active in electoral and grassroots politics for, gee, some time now.) Hard to imagine a woman making that verbal fumble, no matter how klutzy her manner of expressing herself.

And if you take a look around the internet, you’ll see I wasn’t the only one to read his remark that way. (I don’t know how else you can read it.) It is true that Devine’s words don’t flow trippingly off his tongue, but IMO that can make this sort of slip all the more revealing.

188

js. 03.14.16 at 11:36 pm

As for the protesters; they didn’t shut down the rally, or hijack it, or any such thing. Trump, in classic bully fashion, was presented with credible opposition, and did that himself.

This is true. But one does want to give the protesters some of the credit for this outcome.

189

Rich Puchalsky 03.14.16 at 11:51 pm

I’m kind of surprised by what many people here are writing not because I think that police should arrest protestors — obviously, I don’t — but because people here evidently don’t know that this is standard in the U.S. and has been so for some time. Here’s the first example I Googled. OK, a couple is on the grounds of the state capitol — clearly public space, not someone’s home or a private hall — where Bush was giving a speech. They were not even heckling or chanting. They simply had T-shirts on that read “Love America, Hate Bush.” They were told they had to leave, and when they didn’t, they were arrested. Three years later, they were paid $80,000 to make the case go away, but this kind of treatment remains standard.

To take the next tiresome misinterpretation in order, saying that something is standard does not excuse it. It does mean that if you support protestors, maybe you should have some knowledge of what they routinely face, and what the constraints on their action are, and have some idea of what is likely to happen with particular proposed courses of action.

190

hix 03.14.16 at 11:55 pm

Let me just add support to the notion that the idea that election campaigning is a “private event” and to top one can still use the police to enforce that privacy as if it were a matter of criminal not civil law is a rather unique US concept. But it’s not a trump special, as all candidates have a habit to remove all authentic speach if necessary with force from the auduenienc and replace it with posters designed by the campaign team Guess that’s why Clinton and Sanders are mainly jumping on Trumps I’ll pay legal bills of people who beat up protesters, because in every other aspect they can’t resolution to act different.

191

F. Foundling 03.15.16 at 12:03 am

@Val 03.14.16 at 1:40 am
>One person on here (I think it might have been Plume) said that the left welcomed women and people of colour. What he didn’t see though is that that sounds like ‘welcoming you into our movement’ and the corollary is that we were junior partners – that we would keep playing the same subordinate role we always had.

Wow, and here I was thinking ‘welcome’ means ‘welcome’. Turns out it means ‘you’ll be our slave forever.’ Good to know.

192

Rich Puchalsky 03.15.16 at 12:07 am

And here’s another incident that I’ve already mentioned, which occurred during a public forum by Senator Kerry. That was 2007. It also happened in public space, and this time in an event to which everyone was invited — not a “private” one in any sense.

This really has nothing to do with property rights pro or con and everything to do with the disciplinary deference accorded to police in the U.S. and to authority figures generally.

193

novakant 03.15.16 at 12:09 am

Phenomenal Cat: I don’t think we non-US people have a wider or more liberal idea of free speech, but I do think that US people tend to be incredibly confused / self-righteous / hypocritical / dishonest (take your pick) about the issue

194

bruce wilder 03.15.16 at 12:19 am

novakant @ 209 overgeneralization & multiple-choice!

195

Plume 03.15.16 at 12:19 am

Suzanne @202,

Thanks for the clarification. That helps a lot.

196

RNB 03.15.16 at 12:19 am

@207 You may be misreading steps taken for the security of a high-ranking US official as steps taken to close down dissent. In the Kerry case the student forcibly took a microphone after the questioning period was over; that does seem somewhat threatening. It could be that this was the misreading in Bush’s case, resulting in the payout to the protestors. Of course forcibly taking Trump’s podium should not be allowed; nor should veto by heckling, I believe. But I do not think any and all protest activity should be banned or criminalized. This would seem to me to violation of the free speech rights of protestors which I think can be balanced with the free speech rights of the demagogic speaker. Today’s S. Ct seems to privilege the latter, but this seems to be a rather unsettled part of the law. Perhaps a case will arise out of these protests that has landmark significance?

197

Plume 03.15.16 at 12:28 am

Brett @197,

We had similar discussions offline, and they went nowhere. Honestly, you’re too ignorant and dense to bother with.

Believe what you want. I really couldn’t care less.

198

Val 03.15.16 at 12:29 am

Suzanne @ 202 and Plume
Thanks for that Suzanne. My intention has never been to accuse Plume of being sexist, but to point out that the debates about inclusion on the left sometimes sound as if women and people of colour are being invited to participate in a debate in which the terms have already been set by white men.

To make this a bit more grounded, perhaps we can consider CT in general, and this thread as a specific example, as a space of leftish political debate. As far as I can see, it tends to be dominated by white male voices. However when someone (such as me)points this out, especially if they take a critical perspective or offer suggestions about why this might be so, it seems to be resented and to provoke anger in quite a few commenters, who feel that they are being falsely or maliciously accused of being sexist or racist (this is so common there’s a saying for it, as I’m sure you know – ‘it’s all about teh menz’).

When people start talking about things like “left wing firing squads” it gets really out of control. It doesn’t make a good atmosphere for open debate. In fact I find CT quite depressing in this respect and think maybe I should stop reading and commenting on CT for my own mental wellbeing.

I think it would be really valuable to have more feminist perspectives here on the Trump phenomenon, and on the Hillary/Bernie issue, but it’s not my country and it’s not my election so maybe I shouldn’t even try. I hope there will be people – such as yourself Suzanne maybe? – who can provide this perspective, but I also hope you don’t have to face a lot of anger and contempt from men here for trying to do so.

199

Val 03.15.16 at 12:40 am

I hadn’t seen F. Foundling’s comment @ 206 when I wrote my above comment, but I think it illustrates my point. When I suggest that something might sound differently to women or people of colour than to those who said it, apparently I am saying something far-fetched and despicable (presumably just in attempt to make men look bad, which in F Foundling’s world appears to be my sole motivation). Hard to have a discussion in these circumstances.

200

F. Foundling 03.15.16 at 12:50 am

@Suzanne 03.14.16 at 11:26 pm
>’And it’s great that women are getting more and more involved in politics and we encourage that’
> the assumption(s) … that there’s a club, or a movement, and women are welcome to join if they want, but it’s not theirs. … (I don’t know how else you can read it.)

Well, I don’t know, how about reading it as, say, ‘we are in favour of women’s becoming more and more involved in politics’?
And where, if one must spell it out:
1. ‘we’ means not ‘men’, but the political movement the speaker represents (including all of its members of all genders).
2. The reason it is appropriate to encourage or welcome women is not that politics ‘is not theirs’ (of women) *by right*, but that it used ‘not to be theirs’ in terms of their *actual control over it* due to patriarchal traditions and the gender inequality in society.
I suppose one could object that women at this stage no longer need any such encouragement from any movement, but even with the context excised it seems clear that the speaker’s point was to emphasise that his movement supports women’s participation in politics, *because someone else was suggesting it was opposed to it*.

201

Rich Puchalsky 03.15.16 at 12:53 am

Val: “it seems to be resented and to provoke anger in quite a few commenters, who feel that they are being falsely or maliciously accused of being sexist or racist”

Here is what you wrote about me, and which I mentioned taking objection to:
“js – word of warning, you seem to be getting a bit close to the Rich Puchalsky school of argument – ‘everyone on this thread except me and three other people is stupid’.”

That’s not being accused of being sexist or racist. It’s simply a personal slam, using my name. You routinely insult people and then claim that they must be anti-feminist for taking offense.

202

F. Foundling 03.15.16 at 1:04 am

@Val 03.15.16 at 12:40 am
> When I suggest that something might sound differently to women or people of colour than to those who said it, apparently I am saying something far-fetched and despicable

‘Sounds like’ means ‘is interpreted as’. And yes, I am saying that it’s an extremely far-fetched interpretation, and if anyone insists on interpreting it like this, it’s their problem, not the speaker’s. If you know that it’s not supposed to mean that, why dwell on it? If, on the other hand, you’re suggesting it really is supposed to mean that, then that is, indeed, despicable, too.

203

Patrick 03.15.16 at 1:10 am

Outside of the social justice community and campus activism where its the norm, no one, anywhere, is going to accept “but he has all the power!” as a defense. They’re going to look at the situation, see that its a Trump rally for and by Trump for and by Trump supporters, they’re going to see that some people didn’t want that to happen, and they’re going to see that steps were actively taken to disrupt the rally so that it couldn’t proceed. And they’re going to think that’s a jerk move, and that the people who did it were jerks. “He has more power!” means nothing when you self evidently had the power to annoy, and did so.

This is why I freaking hate the left sometimes, as a community. Its like there was this weird, stupid moment somewhere in the late 90s where everyone literally sat down and decided that the point of protest was to make the protesters feel better, not to convince anyone. “Respectability politics” became a swear word in certain circles. Sure, it was instrumental for the achievements civil rights movement and Obergefell, but it hasn’t solved all problems instantly and forever! So what good is it!

There’s a reason that so many random student protesters of Trump, the ones who just go outside of his events and hold up signs and then write up how they were treated, spend their time emphasizing how well behaved and quiet and non disruptive they were before enumerating how poorly they were treated. “Trump throws out non disruptive people just for disagreeing” plays well. “Students stand quietly with a sign or a t-shirt and people scream hatefully at them” plays well. People generally agree that if you buy your ticket and show up you should be allowed to watch like anyone else, even if you don’t actually like the guy on stage. They generally agree that even if everyone hates you, if all your doing is standing with a sign where people can see you, you should be left alone. They might still agree that property rights allow you to be ejected, but they’re going to look at mistreatment or hateful speech during ejection when all you were doing was standing there as something meaningful and indicative of the crowd and the candidate.

But if you ARE disruptive, and you get thrown out, no one even cares if you’re knocked around a bit while it happens.

That’s America. Welcome to it. If you can’t handle responding to its value system when trying to organize a protest, then seriously, get out of my country’s politics. Because your involvement is counter productive and an embarrassment to the cause.

If all your protests can do, if all your ENTIRE POLITICAL OUTLOOK can do, is emotionally appeal to the most leftist of leftist voters, then it isn’t needed right now.

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Layman 03.15.16 at 1:22 am

Patrick @ 219, as you note, there’s some history of success for protest-as-provocation. What are the successes of protest-of-invisibility?

Me, I think when people of good convictions decide to risk jail or worse to call attention to fascists, they deserve a pat on the back, not a lecture from you.

205

js. 03.15.16 at 1:25 am

Patrick — The protesters at Trump’s rallies are risking—and enduring—arrest and bodily harm in the full knowledge that that is what they’re doing. You— are commenting on a blog (as am I). So if I were you, I’d pull back the moral indignation just a notch.

206

The Temporary Name 03.15.16 at 1:33 am

Isn’t it inspirational that Chicago happened? Isn’t Trump wild-eyed enough that meaningful protest should happen? “Just ignore him and he’ll go away” didn’t work out well for Republicans.

207

Plume 03.15.16 at 1:33 am

Val,

As you know, I stepped back and took a break from here for many months, and may do so again soon. I’d suggest you consider the same.

Here’s why. I think if you really stepped back and reviewed your posting, you’d see that you’ve spent most of your time talking about how you aren’t able to say what you want to say here, and why others are keeping you from doing so. Thing is, you’ve managed to post often enough that you could be talking about what is important to you here, rather than your perception that you can’t. You’re kinda stuck in metaland. And it doesn’t really encourage any healthy dialogue about issues dear to your heart when you do this. Boiled down, it just creates a food fight with no winners.

As an online friend, I’d suggest a break.

208

The Temporary Name 03.15.16 at 1:37 am

Stick around Val. Jeebus.

209

js. 03.15.16 at 2:06 am

210

Rich Puchalsky 03.15.16 at 2:12 am

Broken link above I think, but CR’s most recent tweet was about Black Lives Matter changing the valence of protest, in terms of who would be blamed for lawlessness, Trump or the protestors. I still tend to think of the American public as being as it was in fall 2011, when Occupy was rolled up to general public indifference or approval. But maybe BLM really has changed things.

211

js. 03.15.16 at 2:15 am

Fixed. (I hope!)

212

Val 03.15.16 at 2:20 am

Rich Puchalsky @ 217
No Rich on another thread you actually said that there were only 3 or 4 people on it worth talking to, or something like that. I’m not going to look it up, but I know you said it, and I think you probably do too. I was just light-heartedly suggesting to js, using you as an example, that even though we all get fed up at times, it’s probably best not to go down that path.

Plume, F Foundling etc – I think if you look carefully at this thread and many others on CT, you will find that there are not many women participating and not many feminist perspectives being expressed. I had a quick check and the great majority of comments on this post come from people who are identifiably male, plus there are very few posts from women taking a feminist perspective, even though it is clearly relevant to the Trump phenomenon.

I think there is definitely a bit of ‘shoot the messenger’ going on here, and I think I have the right to say that if I’m going to be repeatedly criticised, often in very harsh terms, for pointing out the bloody obvious, then that is the reason I might choose not to be here.

213

F. Foundling 03.15.16 at 2:21 am

@Val 03.15.16 at 12:29 am
>As far as I can see, it tends to be dominated by white male voices. However when someone (such as me)points this out, especially if they take a critical perspective or offer suggestions about why this might be so, it seems to be resented and to provoke anger in quite a few commenters

Well, how should I put it: some people are more interested in what is being said than in who is saying it. If you have something interesting or important to say on a given subject, you can say it, regardless of your gender and race, and it will either convince people or it will not.

@Val 03.15.16 at 12:40 am

>presumably just in attempt to make men look bad, which in F Foundling’s world appears to be my sole motivation

Well, if you absolutely want to talk about motivation – no, I don’t think making men look bad is your motivation. I think that deep in your heart, you are like me and all of us poor sinners in this Valley of Tears, yearning for acceptance, admiration, respect, love, and a place under the sun. :)

214

js. 03.15.16 at 2:23 am

Anyway, I thought CR’s point wasn’t about the valence of protests in general but about the valence of protests against Trump. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t share RP’s worry, but it would be amazing if things had indeed changed, even in the limited way.

215

Layman 03.15.16 at 2:25 am

I think the sort of people who are inclined to revere Trump won’t budge, but everyone else can see what’s going on.

216

js. 03.15.16 at 2:27 am

If you have something interesting or important to say on a given subject, you can say it, regardless of your gender and race, and it will either convince people or it will not.

You should look up the experiences of women posting in blog comments using gender-neutral handles vs. gender-specific, i.e. feminine, handles (the same women, that is). It’s out there, I trust you can find it.

217

Val 03.15.16 at 2:29 am

@ 229
perhaps you might accept then that my motivation for pointing out that there appear to be very few women commenting on this thread, and there are definitely very few feminist perspectives, is that I think that matters, rather than that I am trying to make anyone feel bad.

I think that people here should make a positive effort to listen to feminist perspectives, even if they sound critical, without getting angry. That would be better than just saying they are welcome.

218

Val 03.15.16 at 2:31 am

I borked the block quotes, which were meant to only around ‘even if they sound critical’ but sure the meaning is clear anyway

219

RNB 03.15.16 at 2:32 am

How can we measure whether Hillary Clinton is being subjected to a sexist double standard? I am sure this will be contested, but I think that became evident to me in the way Clinton was hit hard very hard for saying that Sanders had voted against bailout money for the auto industry. It is true that Sanders was not voting against bailout money for the auto industry but the bailout of Wall Street (which I would have voted for at the time, but that is another story). But it is also true that after the defeat of the auto bailout bill was rejected, the only way available on the table to get money to the auto industry was through the second round of TARP. Larry Summers made it clear that some of the money could be used for the auto industry as long as it agreed to restructuring, which it seemed willing to do. Now Clinton’s point was that Sanders as a single issue guy was going to oppose the bailout even though it could do good for the auto industry and that he put depriving Wall Street above the auto industry. There indeed is something to weigh here. It’s a real issue. Clinton was not lying about it. Sanders voted not to help Wall Street even if it could have helped the auto industry. But jeez people including Axelrod who once went to war against her just accused her of flat out lying. It’s as if people wanted to “bern the witch”. I also think bailing out Wall Street in itself had to happen quickly in one form or another to prevent the likely implosion of the economy and that Sanders was reckless not to vote for TARP which was the only available form to stabilize the financial markets at the time. But that’s another matter. What I think revealed sexist anger was the alacrity with which Clinton was accused of lying.

220

Layman 03.15.16 at 2:38 am

@RNB, I think it’s because the accusers are Martians. Wouldn’t that explain it just as well, and isn’t it just as well founded a theory?

221

John Quiggin 03.15.16 at 2:42 am

” Are saying, on average –whatever this might mean–that non-USians take a wider and/or more liberal view of freedom of speech? “

Wider, although arguably less liberal. US-ians are exceptionally alert to overt government intrusions on free speech (for example, laws against Holocaust denial, which are widely accepted elsewhere). In that sense they are more liberal, but that’s where it stops. By contrast, in Australia we have no constitutional protections like the First Amendment and accept a bunch of laws against hate speech (Google 18C), but it’s illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of political belief. So our view of free speech is wider than an absence of legal restrictions on speech.

http://www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au/index.php/workplace-discrimination/type-of-discrimination/political-belief-or-activity

This is obvious in the Trump case. Forget the violence of Trump supporters. From the beginning, the police have routinely suppressed the speech of protestors in the name of protecting Trump’s property rights, and hardly anyone has a problem with this. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t think an Australian politician could get the police to eject hecklers, even from a hired hall.

222

RNB 03.15.16 at 2:44 am

Maybe. And I don’t know have a good way of measuring the extent to which pundits and even the Democratic electorate may be subjecting Clinton to sexist double standards, e.g. more likely to evaluate equally reasonable claims as outright deceptions and lies when she makes them. But that there does not seem to be any serious discussion at present if this is happening should not in itself be taken as evidence that it is not happening. And as you suggest, even if she is being subjected to double standards, sexism may not be motivating the unfair treatment. Still we have plenty evidence of sexism to motivate our interest in this possibility.

223

RNB 03.15.16 at 2:45 am

@238 reply to @236. @237 very interesting again.

224

Layman 03.15.16 at 3:05 am

“But that there does not seem to be any serious discussion at present if this is happening should not in itself be taken as evidence that it is not happening.”

Exactly! And that there doesn’t seem to be any serious discussion at present that they’re Martians should not in and of itself be taken as evidence that they are not Martians.

To be clear, when I say ‘Martians’, I don’t mean men-are-from-Mars stuff, I mean real actual bonafide Martians! Well, okay, not actually Martians, because of course we’re pretty sure there are none, but aliens, and not your secretly-immigrating kind (though they are secretly immigrating!), but your actual lizard-man-in-people-suit kind of aliens.

Now, I know I said lizard-MAN, so you’re prolly gonna say, see, MEN nonetheless. But for me, the LIZARD part trumps the whole MAN part, since of course any lizard-man is going to be lots more like a lizard-woman than like a real people-man, it’s the lizard bit that really matters. I mean, that part’s obvious.

How do we know it’s not teh lizard-men?

225

RNB 03.15.16 at 3:09 am

But unlike with Martians we do have independent evidence of the existence of sexism. And despite that evidence you think it’s unreasonable to wonder whether it may be at a work in the campaign of a woman candidate on the verge of the Presidency. OK, then. Val, you have a point.

226

Val 03.15.16 at 3:20 am

RNB @ 235
Very good point. It’s widely known that women are perceived as less competent and less suitable as ‘leaders’ (see eg loads of information on the Feminist Philosophers website) but very few people are prepared to admit that this affects their personal judgement. There were very similar debates in Australia when Julia Gillard was our Prime Minister – many people (including some women) on the left as well as the right, argued that she was one of the most incompetent, neoliberal and dishonest PMs ever, although I think objectively she was probably fairly average on the honesty and neoliberalism fronts and on the competence front, in some ways above average and in others below, but some of the perceived ‘incompetence’ probably related to the fact that she tried to adopt a non-adversarial style at times. (I should say that I worked with two years with JG in a former life and I like her a lot).

The question of how much sexist bias affects outcomes for female candidates is an important but difficult one I think. What I find annoying is that in spite of masses of evidence of sexist bias, many people still deny it exists.

One question that I find very interesting about American politics is, was Barack Obama’s chance of becoming the Democrat candidate (and ultimately the first black President) affected by the fact that he was also a man competing with a female candidate? Did that help him at all? Now that I think is an interesting research question, though very difficult – I’m certainly not going to stick my neck out and venture any opinion! But if Bernie Sanders wins the nomination this time, we might venture to wonder whether Hillary Clinton’s main role as a female candidate has been to make her male rivals look better in the eyes of some people!

(Any usual suspects who feel like getting angry with me for expressing these speculations, please count to ten. They are just ideas.)

227

Plume 03.15.16 at 3:21 am

Val @233,

“I think that people here should make a positive effort to listen to feminist perspectives, even if they sound critical, without getting angry. That would be better than just saying they are welcome.”

With all due respect, I don’t see it as a “feminist perspective” to insinuate that there is something wrong about “welcoming” all perspectives, including feminist. I don’t see it as a “feminist perspective” to do nothing but complain about the absence of feminist perspectives on this forum. I would love, truly, truly love to read a feminist perspective from you, especially a green feminist perspective, but I have yet to see one.

And goddess forbid that I should “welcome” this, but I do. I really, really, honestly embrace, fully embrace, with open arms, and an open heart, your desire to write about eco-feminism here. I. Want. To. Read. All. About. It!!!

But that feminist perspective can’t possibly be just that people here on Crooked Timber are meanies for not listening to you. It can’t be that men are just too stupid to realize that when they say “everyone is welcome,” this indicates terrible and sinister and condescending things.

In short, Val. Please, please just say what you want to say. Please stop telling us why it’s so terrible that you can’t say what you want to say. Just say it.

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Layman 03.15.16 at 3:22 am

Maybe. Or it could be that baseless idle speculation is twaddle, and should be treated like twaddle.

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F. Foundling 03.15.16 at 3:22 am

@Val 03.15.16 at 2:20 am
>Plume, F Foundling etc – I think if you look carefully at this thread and many others on CT, you will find that there are not many women participating and not many feminist perspectives being expressed.

I am not convinced that CT is an unusually male-dominated blog; I wouldn’t be surprised if fewer women than men enjoy spending a lot of time arguing about politics online. In any case, the reason doesn’t need to be that the CT commentariat is sexist or anti-feminist. Of course, it is also conceivable that it is, but I haven’t seen any particularly convincing evidence so far.

@Val 03.15.16 at 2:29 am
>I think that people here should make a positive effort to listen to feminist perspectives, even if they sound critical, without getting angry.

Certainly people should make an effort to listen to all perspectives; but in the end of the day, feminist or not, either your perspective makes sense to people, or it doesn’t. And when people happen to disagree with you, there are other possible reasons besides your perspective’s being feminist.

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Val 03.15.16 at 3:25 am

RNB our posts crossed. Thank you.

Much of what I say about sexist bias could also be said about racist bias I would think.

As for Layman’s comments – I don’t even know what to think. What does it all mean, I wonder?

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Layman 03.15.16 at 3:26 am

@Val, my 244 is not directed at you.

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Val 03.15.16 at 3:31 am

I actually said some stuff about ecofeminism on the last thread where we had these arguments Plume.

What I’m saying is, ok I’m still here, but you really aren’t getting many feminist perspectives on the Trump phenomenon. Wouldn’t it be good to get some feminist perspectives, especially American ones? Just consider the possibility that you’re not getting them here because in spite of you saying they are welcome, they don’t actually feel it. Just consider it, OK?

I’m not saying any further about this because I’m sick of being lectured at and criticised for saying the bloody obvious.

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Val 03.15.16 at 3:32 am

Ok thanks Layman, I still don’t know what you’re talking about though :) But I have to stop this and do some work anyway.

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Plume 03.15.16 at 3:43 am

Val,

Without mentioning anyone on this forum, without mentioning a single person here on CT, what is your perspective on the Trump phenomenon? I’d love to read it. Why do you think he’s so popular among a subset of Americans? What, in your opinion, is the feminist perspective on Trump?

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Rich Puchalsky 03.15.16 at 3:46 am

Val: “No Rich on another thread you actually said that there were only 3 or 4 people on it worth talking to, or something like that. I’m not going to look it up, but I know you said it, and I think you probably do too. I was just light-heartedly suggesting to js, using you as an example, that even though we all get fed up at times, it’s probably best not to go down that path.”

Here’s what I actually wrote, which took less than a minute to find:
“But this thread is passing my limits for comedy. People have learned nothing from the past, and will learn nothing from the future. Education and supposedly highly developed reasoning abilities only provide extra resources for rationalization. As before, there’s basically 4 or 5 people who I read CT for, and the rest of you are really pretty horrible.”

And strangely enough this thread hasn’t changed my opinion.

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js. 03.15.16 at 3:57 am

Katha Pollitt on Doug Henwood. (Tho I suspect that most people will fail to read past the first two paragraphs.)

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Plume 03.15.16 at 3:57 am

Rich @251,

You and I have had major disagreements in the past, but I’m beginning to enjoy many of your posts. They’re worth reading, and I didn’t think so before. I think I misread you, etc. etc.

Anyway . . . we’re both poets, so we have that in common, too, along with left-anarchism. And I publish poetry as well.

Which poets have influenced you? Who do you read?

Not that this is likely for you, given our history. But if you want to correspond:

ctplume@yahoo.com

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geo 03.15.16 at 4:34 am

Rich @251: Education and supposedly highly developed reasoning abilities only provide extra resources for rationalization.

Or as Hume put it: “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.”

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Val 03.15.16 at 4:58 am

Plume, you are asking me, as a non-American who is interested in American politics but doesn’t follow them that closely, to display my ignorance! Ok I will do it :) but I really can’t spend much time on it so this is impressionistic only

– re OP, I think if I may summarise it so crudely, the theme about Trump being successful because he is totally out there unpredictable sounds convincing but not the whole story and I’m sure Corey didn’t intend it that way.
– Things that have been said about jouissance earlier also sound convincing to me. Dominance is erotic for many people for a whole raft of politico-cultural reasons
– All the factors about economic insecurity, declining real wages esp for white men, declining health and longevity for white people of limited education, the shock of recession – which have been extensively discussed
– fear (which Corey has also written about of course – I have his book !) – being the great motivator for conservative /reactionary voters – ongoing fears of terrorism, Muslims, angry black people, ‘the other’
– topsy turvy world – a black President and a woman standing for President
– Trump is a big white man, a loud mouth, confident and successful, lots of money – he is success but he is also an enabling father figure (eg the Apprentice program – is that its name?)
– at the same time he is not afraid of those who are threatening to his supporters – he will put Muslims and Mexicans in their place – he is overtly contemptuous to uppity women and blacks
– he will look after you if you are on his side and he will treat the others with the contempt they deserve, and he will be successful – they won’t be able to do anything about it – he’s a winner
– the final thing which may seem a bit odd, is adding to all the uncertainty about America’s place in the world is the threat of climate change – it may seem counter-intuitive but denial is not the same as ignorance or not caring – people have to invest a lot psychologically in denial – so having someone who seems powerful also is protective there
– also of course re Obama’s position on climate change – I guess to Trump’s supporters Obama is a weak traitor who has betrayed America’s leadership position in the world by kowtowing to the UN

I think also earlier Lupita made some good points about imperialism and machismo

So there you go – an ignorant Australian feminist’s attempt at a dot point intersectional analysis of the Trump phenomenon – hope it makes sense, and if it doesn’t please give me the benefit of the doubt because I really should be doing other things

And of course I am not endorsing any of these positions, I am just trying to imagine myself into Trump’s supporters’ imaginations!

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Consumatopia 03.15.16 at 5:23 am

I don’t doubt that sexism is involved with opposition to Clinton. But I also don’t care. You shouldn’t have to prove yourself as pure of heart and mind before you can criticize a presidential candidate (if you did, then Sanders critics better work a whole lot harder to prove they aren’t prejudiced against the working class or the young.) These people are asking for incredible power over us, and the power to commit actions in our name. Imperfect people still have the right to criticize their leaders (or would-be leaders) from their own biased, imperfect perspectives.

To put it another way, even if you manage to prove that Doug Henwood is a sexist, that doesn’t mean that you’ve proven he’s wrong about Hillary Clinton.

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Shylock Homeslice 03.15.16 at 6:28 am

I just looked at the Pollitt article, and got annoyed after the 2st couple sentences. I’m so tired of the “Bernie bro” nonsense. It’s really a wildly exaggerated stereotype based on a small number of anecdotes, which has been cynically exploited.

So I figured it wouldn’t be hard to google up a roundup of sexist behavior by Hillary supporters.
Here: https://topherhallquist.wordpress.com/2016/02/25/liberal-pundits-are-embarrassing-themselves-over-bernie-sanders/

Now I’ll see how much more of that Pollitt article I can stomach…

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RNB 03.15.16 at 7:06 am

Richard Yeselson who recently wrote a blog entry here was upset today on twitter with Bernie Sanders-supporter Doug Henwood who said he would not vote for Clinton to keep Trump out of office. I think Crooked Timber contributor Corey Robin has recommended here that we read Henwood’s book on Clinton.
On Trump
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-day-with-trumps-true-believers/2016/03/14/d43ff646-ea0f-11e5-a6f3-21ccdbc5f74e_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-e%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

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engels 03.15.16 at 7:30 am

Interesting post, boring comments

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ZM 03.15.16 at 8:16 am

F. Foundling,

“Well, how should I put it: some people are more interested in what is being said than in who is saying it. If you have something interesting or important to say on a given subject, you can say it, regardless of your gender and race, and it will either convince people or it will not.”

This is not a very inclusionary attitude to be honest. If you want to be part of creating a space where people of diverse backgrounds participate, part of that is pro-actively trying to encourage voices from more diverse backgrounds, not just having an attitude of “If you have something interesting or important to say on a given subject, you can say it”.

Of course, anyone can comment on Crooked Timber unless they get banned. But there are many more male and white voices in comments.

As far as I can tell one of Val’s frustrations is that while she can, of course, write comments from her eco-feminist perspective, other commenters often ignore these comments instead of engaging with them in the comment thread. Then what I have observed happens is there begins a debate on this matter of whether and why other commenters do not actively engage with comments from women or from non-white backgrounds etc.

While the notion of caring more about what someone is saying than who is saying it has some charm, it disregards the fact that there are various things that affect a person’s experiences and perspectives, including gender and race. If you only listened to men’s views about gender issues, you would probably not end up being very informed overall, and if you only listened to white people’s views about race issues, you would probably not end up being very informed overall either.

I think that sometimes it matters who is saying something, as much as what is being said.

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engels 03.15.16 at 8:16 am

246

Alex K--- 03.15.16 at 8:23 am

@ Anarcissie (148): That’s one way of looking at it, but for the purposes of this discussion I’d rather read “reactionary” in a straightforward literal way: it is all about reaction to social change, especially rapid and/or violent change such as a revolution. A reactionary’s sensibility is shaped no less by that experience than by dreams of a golden age. More often than not, he also recognizes that reverting to the old regime would be like pushing toothpaste back into the tube. You have to work with what you’ve got, building new hierarchies from the shards of the old order.

As for Trump, I have no idea what his actual policies might be. I’m sure his voters would feel betrayed if he reversed himself on the two issues that seem to matter most to them, immigration and free trade. But Trump is speaking in hyperboles. It would be hard to measure his actual performance against his promises because he obviously never meant them to be taken literally. No one can seriously expect Trump to build the great Mexican wall and make the southern neighbors pay for it. One would expect him to do something towards that end – but how much? Will a dozen new border checkpoints count as that wall? Or an army of bulldozers, excavators and cranes on the evening news?

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Ronan(rf) 03.15.16 at 8:41 am

“Look, there are real, respectable forms of feminism and identity politics that are worthwhile because they’re not idealist in foundation, they don’t make ideas–beliefs and values–causally primary. Instead they recognizes that racism and sexism are bound up with, and depend upon for their ability to enforce their bigotry, real material social and economic conditions. But Bouie ain’t it.”

But again this has nothing to do with bouie’s article. I think you’re letting your dislike for him get the better of you. Not only does he spend a good bit of time explicitly on the declining economic position of this demographic (while admittedly relegating it a little in causal terms) but his arguments about racial resentment as the driver is not built on claims of “beliefs and values being primarily causal”.. while ignoring “real social and economic conditions.” He describes, in considerable enough detail, how the historical economic and social context in America created a racial hierarchy, why threats to that hierarchy have historically been politically salient, and why it is viewed as under threat now. I mean you don’t have to buy this argument but at least get it right.

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engels 03.15.16 at 9:04 am

there’s basically 4 or 5 people who I read CT for

Apart from me who else do you have in mind

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Val 03.15.16 at 9:26 am

ZM – it’s not whether people engage with my comments that is the issue – it’s not really a problem, and even if it was, no one has any right to expect others to engage with their comments. It’s the contempt that bothers me. I’m not sure if I’m exposed to more contempt than others – it’s hard to assess that realistically – but it does feel like that.

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Lee A. Arnold 03.15.16 at 10:52 am

Jacob McM @118, 130, 134. I agree with you.

251

Lee A. Arnold 03.15.16 at 10:56 am

Val, I just had a 45-minute conversation with a stranger out walking her dogs who said should would not vote for Clinton because a woman cannot lead the US. I asked “Why do you think that?” and she rolled her eyes without an answer. I admit, this one had me stumped. What sorts of things would cause this?

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ZM 03.15.16 at 11:48 am

Val,

“It’s the contempt that bothers me. I’m not sure if I’m exposed to more contempt than others – it’s hard to assess that realistically – but it does feel like that.”

I don’t think you are exposed to more contempt so much, but you are probably on further left than most of the other female commenters. I think you often engage with the commenters you find are further left, such as Rich Puchalsky and Plume, but they don’t really have an aspect of gender in their left-anarchy-socialism schemes. And Rich Puchalsky can be a bit blunt at times when he isn’t sharing his poems (I liked the Hurricane Katrina one BTW, I forgot to say on the other thread) and Plume never thinks any commenter is right apart from himself ;-)

There was an exchange above with anon @69 “Look, there are real, respectable forms of feminism and identity politics that are worthwhile because they’re not idealist in foundation, they don’t make ideas–beliefs and values–causally primary. Instead they recognizes that racism and sexism are bound up with, and depend upon for their ability to enforce their bigotry, real material social and economic conditions. None of them [selected “real” feminists and “real” people of other races] would moralistically sniff down their superior noses about concerns that racism and sexism have economic underpinnings.”

This sort of formulation does not see either gender or race/culture as substantive compared to material economic structures.

I know there is work which has the view of gender and culture (I don’t really want to use the word race here) being entirely socially constructed, and on the left there is a history since marx of everything being due to economics. So in this sort of formulation gender and culture are solely social inventions to make some people less equal economically, except with a more wordy way of expressing this.

I don’t really agree with that myself.

Rich Puchalsky has identified some of your comments as being essentialism, which I think is not the correct reading. But I would be interested in how you think the Left, or even the further left, could change to have a greater presence for people of a different gender or culture which you say is possible with neoliberalism —”Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Beyoncé – they’re all I guess products of neoliberalism to some degree. But at least they’re visible” — while also expressing a vision of a very egalitarian society with much reduced hierarchy.

Is there a way of conceptualising race/culture and gender as a difference that matters without being hierarchical?

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Val 03.15.16 at 11:54 am

Lee, it is ‘internalised sexism’ or ‘internalised misogyny’, I guess. The literature on sexist attitudes often seems to show that women suffer from them as well as men – that women also see women less competent and less effective as leaders than men. (I started at one time to make a bibliography of this literature but have not had time to finish it yet)

Have you read much by bell hooks? I really like this particular article by her, which discusses how patriarchy is transmitted by women as well as men http://imaginenoborders.org/pdf/zines/UnderstandingPatriarchy.pdf

I don’t know the date of that article, I guess it’s a few years old now, but still very relevant I think.

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Rich Puchalsky 03.15.16 at 12:05 pm

geo: “Or as Hume put it: “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.””

Yep. But the passions that some people spend their reasoning power on justifying are the usual S&M ones. I sort of prefer it when people openly admit that they’re into S&M rather than spending their time making a huge intellectual framework around it. The motivated reasoning that it takes for “Let’s bomb people because — I have twenty learned articles” or “I can be nasty to everyone because — I’m a feminist scholar” or even “I can feel superior because — you “defended” Trump while explaining your views of how politics works” gets annoying when most of society seems to run on the same stuff.

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Val 03.15.16 at 12:13 pm

ZM Is there a way of conceptualising race/culture and gender as a difference that matters without being hierarchical?

I’m not completely sure I understand what you mean by this. Maybe you could explain it a bit further.

I think when Rich suggests I am being essentialist, he is confused because I talk about embodiment. Some people think that if you talk about bodies, you are saying ‘biology is destiny’, and they think the corollary of this is that women must be inferior/dependent because women give birth etc. That was the old view that was expressed by some feminists such as Shulamith Firestone, who thought that only technology could liberate women by freeing them from childbirth.

However, contemporary feminism has generally moved beyond this to recognise that the supposed ‘dependency’ or inferior status associated with maternity is actually a cultural construct (of patriarchal society, as I would say, although not all feminists would necessarily say that). I imagine you know most of this so I won’t go on further with it here, but Greta Gaard has written an article about this – you can see the abstract here http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/feminist_formations/v023/23.2.gaard.html

In case the link doesn’t work, it is called ‘Ecofeminism Revisited: Rejecting Essentialism and Re-Placing Species in a Material Feminist Environmentalism’

One aspect that I really like about Ecofeminism is that it has (obviously I guess!) an ecological frame for thinking about these issues.

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SamChevre 03.15.16 at 12:19 pm

John Quiggin @ 237 et al

I am interested in how free speech is understood in the context of events–especially in a non-US context.

I have always thought that “no showing up inside to disrupt the event” was basic “your event, your rules” norm–just like “no comments on people’s sexual desirability” can be a conference rule, enforced by the same means. (Similarly, protesting in legal fashions outside the event, like dressing up as the naked cowboy[1] and hanging out on the traffic island outside the event, is perfectly legal.)

Is it that campaign rallies, protest marches, etc are not thought of as “events”–so everyone gets to participate however they want, even if it makes some/many of the core audience unhappy? Or is it a general “anything legal can’t be banned by event organizers” that would apply to events generally? Or…

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Lynne 03.15.16 at 12:19 pm

Val: “The literature on sexist attitudes often seems to show that women suffer from them as well as men – that women also see women less competent and less effective as leaders than men.”

I’m sure this is true. I remember as an adolescent going to church and finding a new minister—a woman! I strongly disapproved, although my mother was pleased. {sigh}

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Val 03.15.16 at 12:20 pm

Rich
“I can be nasty to everyone because — I’m a feminist scholar”

I guess that’s me, yeah? Rich, as the person who said that most people here are “horrible”, do you ever think you may be doing a little bit of projection?

Nope, I am really not going to buy into these arguments any more. I am happy to read your ideas, but please stop with the personal insults.

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Val 03.15.16 at 12:25 pm

Lynne
I remember when I was young hearing rare women’s voices on the radio (because I’m pretty old, they really were extremely rare!) and thinking they sounded very awkward (stilted and artificial, I think, though I didn’t have those words then). But I think they were also probably suffering from the problem that Hillary Clinton still suffers from – you make yourself into a version of yourself that patriarchal society won’t attack as ugly and mad, and then find people are accusing you of being false and a compromiser!

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Lynne 03.15.16 at 12:30 pm

Val, I still find sometimes that women in power (Canada has several provincial premiers) don’t seem to speak with as much authority…and I catch myself thinking that, and stop it. It’s just something to confront as it happens, I find. I’m old, too, and still having to do this.

Speaking of women in power (off-topic, so I won’t keep on in this vein, promise!) we are just finishing watching the Danish series (three seasons, ten episodes each) of Borgen. “Borgen” means “government” in Danish. Just great, about a woman politician. Helpful to those wanting to unlearn the stereotypes, and excellent drama. Looking forward to watching the finale tonight.

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novakant 03.15.16 at 1:01 pm

Borgen was awesome – I still don’t quite get why, though, it should be really boring, but somehow the pedestrian nature of the subject matter makes it strangely compelling.

Something similar is going on in Knausgaard’s novels – on a higher level of course.

We had Thatcher (terrible) and Merkel (ok for a conservative I guess) as well as a few other female leaders in Europe, so it’s not such a big deal anymore. Clinton should be judged based on her record and personality and I find both horrifying.

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Layman 03.15.16 at 1:30 pm

“You want to know whose rights were violated there? Not so much Trump’s, but the rights of everybody who went there to hear him.”

Strict constructionist finds right to hear in Constitution. Film at eleven!

More rights babble.

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anon 03.15.16 at 1:32 pm

ZM @270

“There was an exchange above with anon @69 ‘Look, there are real, respectable forms of feminism and identity politics…’ This sort of formulation does not see either gender or race/culture as substantive compared to material economic structures.”

No, no, no. This gets it exactly wrong. The entire point is that race, sex, and class are inextricably intertwined (the reason for the phrase “bound up”, which isn’t a top-down relation) and consequently causally *equally substantive.*

I don’t see why in the last 10 years everyone on the planet has lost the ability–not to agree with–but just to understand the simple claim that all categories of justice can be *equally* important with class without obviating the need to emphasize class.

It’s not people like me that are suggesting it’s either/or, it’s our critics. They pull this same shit with Sanders all the time. He says: “I care about both class and race, both class and gender, and I don’t think you can fix the issues separately.” And they respond: “why don’t you care about women and black people?”

What do you do when interlocutors insist on telling you what your words mean when they won’t let them mean what either you want them to mean or what common usage says they mean? Personally, I quit. People like Sanders, on the other hand, just keep repeating them, usually with the same words, over and over. The happy news is, his solution may actually be starting to work.

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TM 03.15.16 at 1:43 pm

Thanks novakant, hix, and JQ for your perspectives. So I am not mistaken in seeing an American exceptionalism at work.

@Layman, just to point out again that the cases of suppression of speech I mentioned concerned silent dissidence. The Muslim woman wearing a yellow star in silent protest against Trump’s demands for special treatment of Muslims, the black students who apparently really were singled out for their skin color (the police chief claimed otherwise, but no evidence of disruptive behavior came forward). And these things are considered a-ok. If you can point me to any comparable reports from other liberal democracies, I’ll eat my words.

Re HR 347, this is hardly moot given the University’s statement, which stated clearly that under that law, all protest at a SS (Secret Service) controlled event was forbidden. I suppose that was what they were told, by Trump or the SS. I have a hard time believing that this claim would survive a constitutional challenge but the very fact that Americans believe that kind of thing and that there was hardly any controversy about the passing of the law (which was signed by Obama) is telling enough.

Btw I asked the University how much rent they were paid and what contract they had with Trump. No answer so far but I would be surprised if the event wasn’t in some form subsidized by tax-payers and students. And what would have happened if the University had declined to rent? I guarantee they would have been attacked for denying Trump’s “right” to hold a rally. It’s the annoying idiocy of liberals, mistaking the right to speak with a right to be given a public platform, and inviting fascists on SNL.

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engels 03.15.16 at 1:48 pm

It’s not people like me that are suggesting it’s either/or, it’s our critics. They pull this same shit with Sanders all the time. He says: “I care about both class and race, both class and gender, and I don’t think you can fix the issues separately.” And they respond: “why don’t you care about women and black people?”

What do you do when interlocutors insist on telling you what your words mean when they won’t let them mean what either you want them to mean or what common usage says they mean? Personally, I quit. People like Sanders, on the other hand, just keep repeating them, usually with the same words, over and over. The happy news is, his solution may actually be starting to work

Nicely put

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Stephen 03.15.16 at 1:50 pm

Engels: re heckling in the UK. You may remember the case of Walter Wolfgang (old age pensioner, formerly refugee from Nazi Germany), a visitor at the Labour Party conference in 2005.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Wolfgang. Jack Straw, then the Foreign Secretary, said in a speech “”We are in Iraq for one reason only: to help the elected Iraqi government build a secure, democratic and stable nation”, Wolfgang shouted “Nonsense!”. Some witnesses claimed he then may have added “That’s a lie and you know it!” Several conference stewards, who were on alert for any attempts to disrupt the speech, then picked up and removed Wolfgang and confiscated his security pass.

That did not go down well. Was Wolfgang right to object? But if he was, did the Labour conference have the right to eject him? Legally, if mot morally?

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Patrick 03.15.16 at 1:55 pm

I can’t believe that I’m reading a CT thread where Brett Bellemore is demonstrating a better understanding of protest politics than the people who are deeply into protest culture. But it’s happening.

To those pointing out the protesters risk of arrest like it gives them some moral authority- just stop. Moral authority is worthless. There’s a goal here. It’s not t stop Trump from holding rallies, or at least, it shouldn’t be. It’s to stop Trump from winning elections. It’s to stop Trumps ideas from being respected. And in the short term that might mean exposing Trumps rallies, it might mean discrediting Trumps rallies, but it doesn’t mean stopping them.

And “We’re not STOPPING them, we’re just screwing them up a bit!” isn’t really better. Unless you can explain how that is going to actually accomplish something, stop it.

“You’re telling us to be invisible and that doesn’t work!” No, I’m not, and you know it. You’re pulling a ridiculous false dichotomy between active disruption and literal nothing and you know full well those aren’t the only choices. Stop play acting at this self aggrandizing nonsense.

Brett- you speculated on how this meme got started on the left. As far as I can tell it has to do with a large scale rejection of what they would call “respectability politics.” The left noticed that no matter how polite you are, your opponents will always call you rude. The conclusion they inexplicably drew was that this meant that politeness standards were tools of “the man.” The conclusion they should have drawn is that bad faith is bad faith, and their opponents were accusing them if incivility because incivility norms are extremely powerful in our culture. There was also the post civil rights movement malaise, in which a large scale concerted effort at civility politics turned out to have very little impact on day to day life for the participants in the civil rights movement. I can sympathize with the sentiment but at the same time, while the short term effects were less than overwhelming, it did create an entire generation of white Americans that, for the first time in history, viewed the concept of white supremacy as bad. So not exactly a no score game there. On top of all of that, the whole “you’re being uncivil, stop it” message is frequently heard being levied against minority protesters, and that triggers the left pretty hard. And for some inexplicable reason the same group that advocates in your face protests that involve doing things which are otherwise illegal (blocking roads, etc) and justifying them based on the relative importance of the protest and the overall social context, insists upon applying some sort of weird Kantian imperative to things they don’t like. So if sometimes powerful people unreasonably accuse minority groups of incivility, all talk of civility must be taboo forever.

And next thing you know I’m grinding my teeth while someone who has no excuse for the error cites Letter from a Birmingham Jail as the definitive way to dunk on people critiquing protest tactics for being obnoxious and unconvincing. As if they literally never considered reading that letter in the context of MLKs overall career.

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TM 03.15.16 at 1:57 pm

Background on HR 347:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeanine-molloff/trespass-bill_b_1328205.html;http://salem-news.com/articles/february292012/hr-347-ibb.php

It is interesting that nobody at the time seems to have considered that presidential campaign events would fall under the law. Somebody above asked whether JQ thinks that “non-USians take a wider and/or more liberal view of freedom of speech”. The answer is it depends. Americans often think their freedom of speech instincts are unshakably strong but in some areas, US free speech law is actually quite restrictive, Amerians just manage to convince themselves that freedom of speech is not even at issue when to outsiders it obviously is.

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TM 03.15.16 at 2:02 pm

284 thanks for the reference. “The Labour Party leadership quickly apologised for the ‘heavy-handedness’ of the incident, but Party chairman Ian McCartney said on the BBC’s Newsnight that evening that the conference had the right to expel repeated hecklers. The following day McCartney appeared before the media with Wolfgang and personally apologised to him. Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, apologised to Wolfgang on the following day’s Today programme on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Breakfast, stating that he should not have been removed.”

Did they have a legal right? Hardly, unless one wants to argue that the delegates to a party conference have no right to disagree with the leadership. If he had actually tried to prevent the conference from continuing, maybe yes, but that was not the case 8and neither was it in most of the Trump events as mentioned).

270

Soullite 03.15.16 at 2:03 pm

Well, this comment section turned into a sewer very quickly.

Otherwise intelligent people spewing foolish things because they are scared.

Look, the Democratic party whipped itself into a terror regarding Milquetoast Mitt Romney. It’s pretty clear that at least one person here is correct to say that the main ‘constant’ to who the left considered the most dangerous is popular support. And yes, that is a bad thing for Democracy — that you all constantly think the Republic will end if the other guy wins is not good for Democracy.

Particularly when the only group of people who have actually resorted to political violence in any organized way in this election are left-wing protestors, who love to charge into rallies for other candidates and start knocking heads about. That’s how I know that this hyperventilating on the left is nonsense. If you were seriously worried about threats to this democracy, every lefty political blog in the country would not be praising a bunch of hooligans getting violent at a Trump rally the way they are. THAT is the threat to democracy these days, not some blowhard in a bad wig.

271

Layman 03.15.16 at 2:05 pm

“I can’t believe that I’m reading a CT thread where Brett Bellemore is demonstrating a better understanding of protest politics than the people who are deeply into protest culture.”

Perhaps this should be a warning, one that makes you rethink your view?

272

engels 03.15.16 at 2:06 pm

Stephen, yes I remember that. I don’t think they should have ejected him. My point was only that to my knowledge if you want to get someone off your property in England you can’t “enlist the help of the police” (Layman) and the police website seems to say the same thing.

273

Layman 03.15.16 at 2:15 pm

@engels, you stopped your research too soon. As I noted in 181, look into ‘aggravated trespass’.

274

Layman 03.15.16 at 2:26 pm

@engels, this sounds awfully, familiar…

https://netpol.org/2014/09/23/protest-private-land-part-one/

275

engels 03.15.16 at 2:29 pm

Layman true enough but that only came in in 90s didn’t it and I’m not clear on what it applies to. Also you may find should the occasion arise that what the police are legally empowered to do and what you (as landlord, resident, etc) can successfully “enlist” them to do are rather different things.

276

Layman 03.15.16 at 2:37 pm

@282 and various others, I’m fully conscious of the extent to which American views and laws are often – not to mince words – fucked up. Having said that, in this case I think many of you should take a longer look at your own national views, practices and laws when it comes to politics. With very little effort, you may learn that the practice of hiring private (or public) property for political events is not uniquely American; that such events restrict attendance to supporters while still inviting the broadcast media; that hecklers and protestors are not permitted within the event; that the police can be enlisted to evict them; and that all of this is provided for by law.

277

engels 03.15.16 at 2:40 pm

(X’d with 292 which explains the scope of aggravated trespass – thanks)

278

Layman 03.15.16 at 2:42 pm

@engels, you’re quite right that the police might decline to intervene. In fact, I’m sure they sometimes do, depending on the circumstance. Only, when they decline, there is no video of them not arresting protestors or escorting them out, so we can’t know that they declined. It might very well be the case that this has happened, here, in the US, just as it might have happened in the UK, and that in fact these things work more or less the same in both locations. Certainly the laws are more or less the same, are they not?

279

Plume 03.15.16 at 2:43 pm

“This stuff may play well in certain circles, but as far as the general public are concerned, people who try to exercise the heckler’s veto are the scum of the Earth. If they get stomped in the process of dragging them off, great, they had it coming.”

Spoken like a true fascist.

First, that you buy into the lie that they, all by themselves, have the ability to “shut down” anything, and that they’re “the scum of the earth” and deserve to be stomped on. If Trump ignored them and went on with his speech — which he could easily do; you can barely hear the protesters — nothing changes. He continues on with his normal word salad festival of lies, as if no one but his adoring crowd of white supremacists exists. Trump stops his own word salad speech and gleefully taunts the usually lone protester, then asks his fascist thugs to beat him or her up. Which you approve of, Brett.

It wasn’t until Chicago that there was any critical mass to the protesters. They almost always appeared alone at his rallies, without electronic amplification, without the ability to stop anything. All Trump has to do is ignore them and continue on with his fascist rhetoric. When he stops, that’s on him. In a sense, he heckles himself.

Only in Opposite World can someone consider Trump the victim. He’s the fascist predator, not the victim.

280

bruce wilder 03.15.16 at 2:56 pm

When Brett Bellmore makes perfect sense, it is a clear indication a comment thread has derailed into insanity.

281

Plume 03.15.16 at 3:01 pm

Bruce,

If by that you mean, that someone would think he makes perfect sense. Yeah, that’s insane.

282

Anarcissie 03.15.16 at 3:06 pm

Brett Bellmore 03.15.16 at 10:24 am @ 267:
‘When you’re protesting an unjust law, a law average people will think is unjust, arranging to get publicly arrested for peacefully violating it is highly effective theater.’

Only if it is dramatized, ‘theatricalized’, one might say. And that can be tricky. Keith McHenry, the founder of Food Not Bombs, politely went to jail for weeks in Orlando, Florida, for giving food to people. (It is illegal to give food to people unless you are credentialed by the government in most places, something a bunch of anarchists are unlikely to accept.) Pretty much no one outside of the ‘organization’ really noticed, as far as I know. As a demonstration, then, McHenry’s efforts were a failure. You have to make trouble; you have to be seen. One can’t count on the unbelievable stupidity of the British in India, or of segregationists, to overreact in an advantageous manner whenever you want.

But all political actions are not about demonstrating something to those still outside the group. Much of the activity is transformative for the participants. It teaches them that they do not have to be passive, helpless recipients of whatever the established order is imposing on them; that they don’t have to take it. That is an especially important thing for any oppressed class to learn. It will enable them to make further, greater trouble about their condition. Bravely facing down thousands of Trump supporters may be stupid as public relations, but that isn’t the only thing that’s going on.

283

bruce wilder 03.15.16 at 3:28 pm

Narcissism @ 300 . . . all political actions are not about demonstrating something to those still outside the group. Much of the activity is transformative for the participants. It teaches them that they do not have to be passive, helpless recipients of whatever the established order is imposing on them; that they don’t have to take it. That is an especially important thing for any oppressed class to learn. It will enable them to make further, greater trouble about their condition. Bravely facing down thousands of Trump supporters may be stupid as public relations, but that isn’t the only thing that’s going on.

Well said, but one might want to consider that Trump supporters constitute an oppressed class, too. Action and reaction. These actions may be training the wrong people in wrong actions.

284

bruce wilder 03.15.16 at 3:29 pm

Sorry about spell-check on Anarcissie. — not a comment!

285

Anarcissie 03.15.16 at 3:39 pm

bruce wilder 03.15.16 at 3:28 pm @ 301 —
What’s the alternative? Remember that ordinary people are invisible to our rulers and gatekeepers and even each other, unless you get a lot of them together in one place and they make a lot of trouble.

286

Rich Puchalsky 03.15.16 at 3:54 pm

BW: “When Brett Bellmore makes perfect sense […]”

Oh no he’s not making sense. Fascism is not left-wing: enthusiastic college protestors are not fascists: the CRM did actually “obstruct public thoroughfares”, etc. etc. Don’t get so caught up by some people saying foolish things that you think you have to agree with someone who’s disagreeing with them but also saying foolish things. That’s what people want you to do in these side-picking exercises where you’re either with them, or you’re with Trump. Or with the anti-feminists, or whoever.

There’s still a hangover around this from the Bush years. I thought about that when Juan Cole was brought up. So many people disagreed with Bush from so many different directions that you still get people saying things “But De Long disagreed with Bush! How can you say he’s neoliberal?” “Juan Cole criticized the Iraq War! How can you say he was exceptionally wrong in supporting the Libya intervention?” Etc. etc.

Patrick: “I can’t believe that I’m reading a CT thread where Brett Bellemore is demonstrating a better understanding of protest politics than the people who are deeply into protest culture.”

What?

Wrong in so many ways. a) No, Brett doesn’t understand protest politics, he makes up rules e.g. that the CRM was supposed to have followed that they didn’t actually follow, b) Um, I think that I have some understanding of protest politics, not a lot, but I think I basically agreed although I didn’t second-guess the protestors quite as much, c) respectability politics isn’t all of protest politics. Sometimes, as Anarcissie writes above, sometimes the point of protest is to transform the participants. This isn’t simply an “I want to feel good” thing, many protest movements theorized cycles of radicalization leading to larger protests, d) Are people here really into protest culture? Everyone vaguely on the left who’s gone to college has been to a protest. How active are people here really? I would guess that people here are generally into hearing about protests, with exceptions of course.

287

bruce wilder 03.15.16 at 3:55 pm

. . . ordinary people are invisible to our rulers and gatekeepers and even each other, unless you get a lot of them together in one place and they make a lot of trouble.

Well, Trump gets a lot of ordinary people together in one place and makes trouble. And, not without reason, some recognize a resemblance in that formula to fascism.

288

bruce wilder 03.15.16 at 4:35 pm

RP @ 304 of course, mostly Brett Belmore does not make sense. That is why the exceptional performances (eg @ 267) are an indicator. It is a function of his schtick as a troll of a certain kind.

289

js. 03.15.16 at 4:39 pm

“I can feel superior because — you “defended” Trump while explaining your views of how politics works”

Wow. If you think this is about “feeling superior”, well— like I said, wow. But hey, keep
on thinking that, it’s hardly going to be me trying to disabuse you of such notions.

290

TM 03.15.16 at 4:42 pm

Layman, one feels like talking to a wall. When five people all agree in disagreeing with you, maybe you should consider the possibility that your knowledge of the world isn’t complete?

291

TM 03.15.16 at 4:45 pm

RP: “Are people here really into protest culture?”

Good point. Really good point. Worth at least a minute of silence.

292

engels 03.15.16 at 4:47 pm

Brett Bellmore is a very special kind of stopped clock, one that is never right, not once a day or even once a year

293

bruce wilder 03.15.16 at 4:47 pm

There is more than a bit of the unraveling of history in the interpretation of protests and reactions at Trump rallies.

Not quite understanding the norms, laws and customs that shapes the meaningful context is part of this. People want particular roles, drawn from costume drama, for themselves and others. But, they are also unsure of what is real in the present as a result.

Atrios pointed to a Glenn Greenwald piece on how censorious norms of journalistic “neutrality” imposed by corporate media contribute to the confusion.

294

Plume 03.15.16 at 5:05 pm

Another key factor here:

Pretty much since Day One, the American government itself has come down hard on leftist movements. Right-wingers don’t really have to show up and “protest” against these movements, because the state will move on them. The state will smash their heads in, pepper spray or just shoot them, whether they’re non-violent or not, and they usually are. Presidents call out the national guard, etc. etc. Striking workers, antiwar protesters, civil rights, green activists — they all have experienced violent reactions by the state and private goon squads hired by capitalists. There just isn’t any need for right-wingers to spend their time in counter-protests, though they do.

OTOH, right-wing movements, historically, generally aren’t seen as a threat to the state or capitalism — with rare exceptions. They rarely provoke any unified response from law enforcement, capitalist lackeys, the state, etc. etc. So left-wing protesters, consciously or subconsciously, see a need to stand up to them. The state won’t. The state implicitly supports the right. It is right-wing itself, etc.

295

Rich Puchalsky 03.15.16 at 5:09 pm

I think of some of the really weird protests in American history — “let’s take out a copy of the First Amendment, and read it in public. When they throw us all in jail for doing that, we’ll overflow the jails” — and I do wonder about some of the generalizations. People thought that “Let’s set up tents in the park, and live in them, and the security services will freak out and go on a rampage even though we were doing nothing” was unprecedented for some unknown reason.

296

Layman 03.15.16 at 5:11 pm

TM @ 308, I assume you I’m willing to learn. To repeat myself:

@ TM, I am surprised to hear that there are places where:

– people are not permitted to rent public facilities for private events
– if they are, they are not permitted to determine who can attend their private event
– if they are, they are not permitted to invoke laws against trespassers
– if they are, the police will not enforce those laws
– and, in any event, police will ignore the public safety ramifications of any large gathering, anywhere, and refuse to maintain order in the vicinity.

Which places are those places?

297

Richard Cottrell 03.15.16 at 5:25 pm

‘How does Trump’s promised defense of Social Security fit with the classic conservative mode.’.
It fitted Hitler.

298

kidneystones 03.15.16 at 5:55 pm

@315 All conservatives are Hitler. See above.

JQ is right, IMHO. The legal questions are about property rights. Some/many may be surprised to learn that the French Revolution was in large part a revolution to enshrine the property rights of all citizens. Indeed, the sacred value of property survived long after universal franchise evaporated. Egalité meant wealthy, older men only for at least the next century after the rights of all french citizens were ‘enshrined’.

BTW, Trump is morphing along with this thread. He’s getting better on the stump. As for protests (I support protests, even illegal ones), Trump is now hold ‘flash rallies.’ So, all those who want to link arms and sing civil rights songs, or just be silent are going to need to form fast-reaction flying squads to crash the parties/rallies that are now, in some cases, being organized on 15 hour notice.

The problem with these protests, of course, is the optics. The weak temporarily vanquish the strong. My view is that this sort of self-selection as the weaker actor requires some serious rethinking. I realize punching through the Donkey fog isn’t easy for everyone, so I’ll simplify it: voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who projects an image of strength. Stamping Trump as the stronger actor this early in the race is only going to add to his desired role as the president in all but name.

Mockery – and good humor are likely to be much more effective. Remember the guy in the chicken suit who used to follow Bush I around with the sign saying “Read my beak”. That got under his skin to the point that he made note of the guy on camera. Like O, the only thing Trump really fears is not being taken seriously. I’d be handing out flyers and Trump university graduate diplomas to all the rubes. But that’s me.

The Hitler comparisons? Well…

299

Lupita 03.15.16 at 6:12 pm

Today’s friendly message from the anti-imperialist front:

People who have compulsive disorders, like hoarding or endlessly sanitizing their homes, usually have an internal conflict that they cannot confront and repeating a ritualized action helps them keep their mind off what is really bothering them; to keep their demons at bay. I see much of this thread as a manifestation of a compulsive disorder, going through the ritual of endlessly discussing known and comforting topics – such as the meaning of fascism, democracy, protest, free speech, the left, racism, sexism – in order not to confront what is really frightening Americans and the rest of the core peoples, what remains conspicuous for its absence – the loss of global supremacy.

Anarcissie@300

“all political actions are not about demonstrating something to those still outside the group. Much of the activity is transformative for the participants. It teaches them that they do not have to be passive, helpless recipients of whatever the established order is imposing on them”

Anti-imperialist and anti-neoliberal political action is taking place outside the West. On the peaceful side, we have Brazil, China, Russia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and others that started taking collective action a long time ago by forming regional financial institutions, as well as regional security pacts, currency alternatives, and trade agreements, so that they can take over once the inevitable crash everyone (outside the West) is openly talking about, expecting, and cheering on. On the violent side, there is Isis.

I think one group of Americans (anti-Trump protesters, the media, some comments on this thread) are afraid, cannot confront their fears, and are left dusting the same porcelain doll over and over while another group of Americans (Trump supporters, maybe Sanders’ also) are threatening to smash the doll on the floor. Meanwhile, the non-West is transforming from being passive and helpless. For me, all this points to the end of an era.

300

phenomenal cat 03.15.16 at 6:32 pm

JQ @237. “Wider though arguably less liberal” seems judicious from my relatively uninformed perspective.

I find the following a little hard to believe for most non-USian contexts however:
“Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t think an Australian politician could get the police to eject hecklers, even from a hired hall.”

Sam Chevre’s question @ 274 is one I have as well. “I am interested in how free speech is understood in the context of events–especially in a non-US context.”

For example, an exciting/popular/polarizing firebrand running for Prime Minister in Men At Work Land rents a hall for a speech/rally. X number of protestors come to the event and successfully disrupt the proceedings; emotions rise, rally-goers grow angry, some limited violence occurs. Does the firebrand ask the police to restore order? Do the police respond or ignore the request? Would it just be up to the rally-goers, the firebrand’s private security team, or the hall’s mgmt. to deal with the disruption by removing the protestors? Would police stand guard over the protestors so that the disruption continues, but the potential for violence is curtailed? In other words, as the risk of disorder grows who or what maintains order in the situation? Who or what actually has the power in this situation?

It’s all good fun if novakant, hix, TM or anybody else wants to take turns sniffing disdainfully at American hypocrisy re: free speech. There’s no shortage to sniff at. What I’m wondering is how similar situations would actually go down, in the real world, in England or France or Australia, or take your pick of enlightened western “democracies.”

And now I see Stephen’s post/link at 284 which is instructive on the questions I have. Of course, the Labor party and Tony Blair apologized after the fact, saying such a thing should have never happened.

I’m sure the sentiment was sincerely meant and felt. It must have been a terribly wrenching decision for Labor leaders and the cause of a lot of introspection. But, no surprise, it doesn’t change the fact that it actually did happen.

301

Layman 03.15.16 at 6:48 pm

In fact, a simple search of the form “protestors ejected from Australian Labour Party conference” produces this ABC News video, of protestors being physically removed.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jWYrwtKp6Zw

302

Rich Puchalsky 03.15.16 at 7:13 pm

js: “If you think this is about “feeling superior”, well— like I said, wow. But hey, keep
on thinking that, it’s hardly going to be me trying to disabuse you of such notions.”

I’ve observed that I’m the only one coming up with psychological explanations on these threads. If someone says why they think what they do about Trump, no one ever says that are doing so because of nostalgia for a time when things were pretty good for white men. And no one says that people get into arguments that are contentless and all about the desire to win and nothing else because of some jouissance that is supposed to be similar to Trump’s. Those would clearly be personal insults, since they’re clearly being applied to particular people. But no, everyone except me steadfastly avoids doing this, or if they do, it’s justified because their theories are clearly correct, and mine aren’t.

I stand corrected.

303

The Temporary Name 03.15.16 at 7:13 pm

I see much of this thread as a manifestation of a compulsive disorder, going through the ritual of endlessly discussing known and comforting topics – such as the meaning of fascism, democracy, protest, free speech, the left, racism, sexism – in order not to confront what is really frightening Americans and the rest of the core peoples, what remains conspicuous for its absence – the loss of global supremacy.

Americans tend to give zero shits about the outside world and foreign policy. An anxious electorate is an electorate worried about proximate things.

304

js. 03.15.16 at 7:17 pm

Rich, if I’ve insulted you please let me know where.

305

Rich Puchalsky 03.15.16 at 7:22 pm

phenomenal cat: “What I’m wondering is how similar situations would actually go down, in the real world, in England or France or Australia, or take your pick of enlightened western “democracies.””

Do we get to count the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior as “removing protestors”? Everyone knows that enlightened democracies would never have their security services do that.

306

Stephen 03.15.16 at 7:29 pm

phenomenal cat@318: You say you are sure that Blair’s apology for the forcible ejection of Wolfgang was “sincerely meant and felt”. Pardon my experience-based scepticism, but I fear if that were so, it would be one of a rather small number of similar statements from Blair.

307

Lupita 03.15.16 at 7:33 pm

@The Temporary Name

“Americans tend to give zero shits about the outside world and foreign policy. An anxious electorate is an electorate worried about proximate things.”

Trump is talking mostly about trade agreements. It is both a foreign policy topic and very, very close to his supporters daily life. I doubt the average American is not aware of how American global primacy is intertwined with maintaining the nation’s standard of living and sense of identity. If not, why do all American politicians, bar none, feel compelled to mention exceptionalism, new American centuries, cities on hills, and where to nonchalantly invade next? These are dog whistles for supremacy.

308

phenomenal cat 03.15.16 at 7:38 pm

Stephen– one of us, not sure which one, needs to have their sarcasm sensors tested to ensure they are functioning properly.

309

Rich Puchalsky 03.15.16 at 7:41 pm

Lupita: “exceptionalism, new American centuries, cities on hills, and where to nonchalantly invade next?”

Cities on hills is an interesting one because it’s so old. It’s the dream of supremacy from before there was anything resembling supremacy, before its hearers could even start in on genocide.

310

John Quiggin 03.15.16 at 7:43 pm

Layman @319 Not a remotely good analogy. This is not a public meeting, it’s the analog of the Republican or Democratic convention. In that context, the US authorities forbid protest not just inside the convention, but anywhere in the city outside specially (and unironically) designated “free speech zones”.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/08/politics/conventions-protests-free-speech-zones/

I should concede that we have something similar for meetings of the global elite like G20. And people are ejected from the Parliamentary public gallery even for silent protests like unfurling banners. But the idea of throwing someone out of a political rally for wearing the wrong T-shirt is, I think, unheard of. If police were involved, it would be to separate the protestors from the supporters.

311

Igor Belanov 03.15.16 at 7:45 pm

BB @267

” Why did you start to confuse getting arrested for eating at the ‘wrong’ lunch counter, and getting arrested for vandalism or obstructing a public thoroughfare?”

Obstructing a public thoroughfare can often be a legitimate and successful means of popular protest. Take Mosley’s fascists marching down Cable Street, or Orangemen parading through Catholic areas of Northern Ireland. Blocking the thoroughfare on these occasions is a defence of the local area against disruptive and provocative elements. It also avoids groups getting demoralised and effectively giving these marches the status of victory parades.

312

Val 03.15.16 at 7:48 pm

@ 319
Layman I don’t know that that’s a very good example (uranium protestors being removed from ALP conference). At times and places in our recent history, police (or security) have certainly been violent and repressive in their treatment of protestors, but currently I think it tends to be ‘OK you’ve had your say now, it’s time to go’ – and the protestors tend to accept it, because they accept that people do have other things to talk about and if they shut down the conference, it would be counter-productive in terms of sympathy. I’m not talking about whether it’s effective or not tactically (which is a separate question) but protesting at things like an ALP conference tends to be pretty ritualised. Both sides accept they have a right to do it, but both also seem to accept it should be time limited.

I realise that your point is that legally it appears security has a right to and does remove protestors here as well as in the US, but there is a big difference in what is happening in that video and in the videos at Trump rallies. Sure, some might argue that a politely repressive establishment that allows ritualised (and possibly ineffectual) protest is no different than an establishment that uses and condones violence against protestors, but I think there is a difference, and that what is happening at Trump rallies is scary stuff.

Lupita @ 317
What our imperialist lackey government here in Australia seems to be doing is trying to remain friends with America while also being friends with China. Don’t know how that will work out!

313

F. Foundling 03.15.16 at 7:51 pm

Re Trump rallies – IMO, severe disruption of opponents’ rallies should not be allowed, or else the result would be a law of the jungle. However, inciting people to beat up other people, as Trump has repeatedly done, should definitely be illegal, too, and it should carry severe penalties. If Trump isn’t already in trouble with the law for this, I’d say the (US) law is broken, and I’m not surprised that some people would want to take the matter into their own hands. Speaking of which, someone has probably already mentioned this, but it seemed to me a bit as if he had managed to turn protester ejection into some kind of sick bonding ritual. I suspect that if no hecklers came by themselves, he’d pay someone to pose as a heckler just so he would be able to eject him.

314

John Quiggin 03.15.16 at 7:51 pm

“Why did you start to confuse getting arrested for eating at the ‘wrong’ lunch counter,”

At the time, “average” people in the jurisdiction concerned (at least those who could vote) regarded the relevant laws as good ones.

And for consistent propertarians, the right to exclude people from your restaurant based on their skin color is just as sacred as the right to exclude people from your rally based on their political beliefs.

http://www.cato-unbound.org/2010/06/16/david-e-bernstein/context-matters-better-libertarian-approach-antidiscrimination-law

315

Layman 03.15.16 at 7:52 pm

316

The Temporary Name 03.15.16 at 7:53 pm

Lupita, this speech is an example of what you’re saying around Trump and foreign policy: http://www.theiowastatesman.com/3647/trump-joins-gop-presidential-race

None of it means anything if things aren’t going poorly for his constituency: you pick a target and blame it, say “We’re gonna get those guys!” and move on to the next rally.

I doubt the average American is not aware of how American global primacy is intertwined with maintaining the nation’s standard of living and sense of identity. If not, why do all American politicians, bar none, feel compelled to mention exceptionalism, new American centuries, cities on hills, and where to nonchalantly invade next? These are dog whistles for supremacy.

I don’t think sentence two follows from sentence one. What sense of “supremacy” the electorate feels is how well it’s going for them at home. I think you seriously overestimate the amount of people who think about policy, and the bizarre faith in American supremacy that will exist even as Trump runs it down.

317

Layman 03.15.16 at 8:04 pm

@Val, you may not have read the entire thread, so I should make it clear that I abhor Trump and his calls for violence. I’m just reacting to the (wrong, IMO) view that there’s something extraordinary about US law WRT treatment of protestors, which is entirely out of step with the civilized world. As far as I can tell, there’s little difference, though I keep an open mind and would be happy to examine a candidate country that does not, in the end, empower people to evict protestors from their meetings.

318

F. Foundling 03.15.16 at 8:05 pm

@Shylock Homeslice 03.15.16 at 6:28 am
>I’m so tired of the “Bernie bro” nonsense.

Indeed. The whole campaign to insinuate that Sanders and his movement (and anyone else who criticises Clinton) are somehow secretly sexist and/or racist has been *incredibly* pathetic. These people have been grasping at the tiniest straws, the most ridiculous, absurd pretexts conceivable, which I never could have imagined anyone could use and keep a straight face. Overall, it’s rather impressive to see what people are capable of when sufficiently motivated – by tribal affiliation or in other ways.

319

Layman 03.15.16 at 8:14 pm

@ John Quiggen, I’m aware of the US laws which allow the government to ban protests in places for nebulous ‘national security’ reasons, just as you should be aware of the laws in Australia which empower police to effectively ban protests for a much wider variety of reasons. I doubt either of us agrees with those laws, but we ought to be able to agree that they have similar effects.

320

steven johnson 03.15.16 at 8:20 pm

^^^Empires do not wither away, they are defeated. Much as I sympathize with the hope, the US empire has not been defeated. That will take more than a relative economic decline. The Spanish Empire, after its Sigo do Oro, persisted past repeated official bankruptcies. Things happen faster in history now because of economic development, but the US victory in World War II over its other competitors will not be reversed without a fight. Yet another downturn in the world capitalist system is not an opportunity for the reformed capitalist left, especially in Latin America.

Lula’s arrest and the mass demonstrations for the ouster of Dilma Rousseff and the PT are an opening for the right, not the triumph of the left. Economic crisis is an arrow pointed at the heart of the social democratic regimes. Already, Maduro has gone far down the PT road. Correa and Morales have made their compromises even as new life is breathed into the reactionary opposition, not least by defectors. Humala appears to be as much a non-threat as SYRIZA or Podemos or Jeremy Corbyn.

As for the efforts at cooperation between Russia and China, first, the Silk Road to capitalist nowhere will fail, almost certainly sooner rather than later. Crises are endemic to the world capitalist system and reforms of international banking show no sign of restoring the general rate of profit. Indeed, this kind of “anti-imperialism” likely will require the would-be new owners of the world to even more mercilessly exploit their own populations. How ever is this good news?

Worse, even the possibility of joint efforts to foster competition for what abundance the system can still deliver humanity, faces the military threats of US imperialism. A fascist regime in Ukraine, backed by NATO’s relentless eastward expansion; a new cold war over a Russian Crimea for the sake of an old land title; support for every military adventure like Georgia’s invasion of Abkhazia or Turkey’s adventures in the New Ottoman Empire; ruinous competition for oil…at every turn the military threat to Russia intensifies. Yet even today Putin, the supposed defender of a democratic world of independent democratic capitalist/social democratic states, after refusing to fight the fascist regime in Kiev, flees Syria rather than risk the wrath of Erdogan and his backers in Washington.

And China? China is run by people who imagine they can cooperate in the conquest of northern Korea without sacrificing its national defense. Bellicose posturing over postage stamp airstrips in the South China Sea that no one can get any real benefit from substitute for national pride.

As for domestic US politics, all mainstream candidates, including Sanders, stand for the maintenance of US role as the democratic defender of the free world, i.e., imperialism. They all stand for the Zionist nuclear threat of genocidal holocaust too. The constant invocation of past greatness lost to some foreigners, literal or figurative, throws blame for the failures of capitalism upon someone, something, any place else, and mobilizes support for the endless wars that maintain the empire, by a divide and rule strategy that appears to be loosely modeled on the Byzantine empire. (See Edward Luttwak Grand Strategy of the Late Roman Empire for advocacy.)

There is nothing especially new in Trump, except his hints he might actually negotiate with enemies. The comparisons to Hitler are risible. Hitler would have sent his storm troopers to break up Sanders’ rallies. Trump wants to call the police. There is something new in Cruz. Cruz actually has a movement behind him. Cruz has actually done things to tear up the current system as much as possible, just as he said he would. And unlike Trump, who I should have thought a notorious liar, Cruz likely means it. And his plans, affected as near as I can tell by Dominionist/Christian Reconstructionist theology inherited from his father, are far more terrifying in their plausibility than Trump’s foolish wall.

Hopes and dreams are good things, but nonsense about reality aren’t.

321

steven johnson 03.15.16 at 8:23 pm

Above written in reaction to Lupita@317, delayed by a stopped kitchen drain.

322

Val 03.15.16 at 8:29 pm

323

Val 03.15.16 at 8:40 pm

@335
Yes I did realise that Layman. I’m just emphasising that there is law and there’s also political culture, and they are both important (not that I would expect you to disagree with that, but I think the point is worth making).

Some recent news stories have suggested Trump may be pushing the boundaries of what the laws allow (I would say he has overstepped them already and is in ‘incitement to violence’ territory, although I’m not sure what laws you have in that regard) but whether anything gets done about it seems to be more a question of political culture, don’t you think?

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phenomenal cat 03.15.16 at 8:48 pm

I don’t think sentence two follows from sentence one. What sense of “supremacy” the electorate feels is how well it’s going for them at home. I think you seriously overestimate the amount of people who think about policy, and the bizarre faith in American supremacy that will exist even as Trump runs it down. TTN @ 334

Ah, negatory on that my friend. I mean, I agree that what we’re seeing is primarily about what is going on at “home.” No doubt about that. Which is crucial to Lupita’s larger point. Once upon a time the dynamics of what’s going on now at “home” only happened “down there” to those people. Now that the globalized ( colonial atavism) chickens have come to roost comfortably in the American home we’re seeing the beginning of the political fallout.

But beyond that, it hurts a non-nonsignificant percentage of the American public’s feelings to know that we can’t just do whatever we want when want to in terms of foreign policy/ global domination. It’s not fair. The Good Lord (and Robert Kagan) said we could. Somebody screwed it up, maybe even betrayed us. We’re supposed to be better than everybody else. We’re better than everybody else, right? Didn’t God say we were better than everybody else? Isn’t that why we beat Hitler and the Commies, because we’re better?

325

Garrulous 03.15.16 at 8:48 pm

One thing about Trump I find surprising is how little attention his own increasingly bizarre skin color has so far attracted. Hair, yes: everyone mocks the gruesome blond thatch, but the ludicrous luminescent dermis seems to get a comparatively free ride.

And he is clearly intensifying the effect – he is getting kind of permatanner and shinier as the campaign goes on. For a candidate whose message, as everyone points out, has a screaming racial subtext, what is that all about? Is he trying to look less “New York,” and more like the baked-in-the-sun white outdoors authenticity you see in Walmart parking lots out West?

326

John Quiggin 03.15.16 at 9:06 pm

@333 Layman, have you ever lived in Australia, or paid any serious attention to Australian politics? You’re coming across as an instant Google expert like Glenn Reynolds back in the days of warblogging. If you’re actually talking from a position of some knowledge, I’d suggest mentioning examples you know about rather than Google hits – I’m sure the Australians here will get the references. Otherwise, I think we’re done here.

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The Temporary Name 03.15.16 at 9:08 pm

Which is crucial to Lupita’s larger point. Once upon a time the dynamics of what’s going on now at “home” only happened “down there” to those people. Now that the globalized ( colonial atavism) chickens have come to roost comfortably in the American home we’re seeing the beginning of the political fallout.

I agree that Trump’s constituency is the fallout, but not that they’re voting on the basis of foreign policy. Mexico could be China could be Turkey: what’s in it for me and what about the messicans waiting for day labour behind the 7-11?

But beyond that, it hurts a non-nonsignificant percentage of the American public’s feelings to know that we can’t just do whatever we want when want to in terms of foreign policy/ global domination. It’s not fair.

I figger that’s non-non-nonsignificant right there. More people are gonna know Kissinger than any Kagan.

We’re supposed to be better than everybody else. We’re better than everybody else, right? Didn’t God say we were better than everybody else? Isn’t that why we beat Hitler and the Commies, because we’re better?

This is the faith that will not be moved.

328

Layman 03.15.16 at 9:17 pm

@ John Quiggen, you’re quite right. I’ve never lived in Australia and pay almost no attention to Australian politics. Ordinarily, that would prevent me from saying things like ‘Gosh, Australians sure have some strange and repressive policies on poltical protests!’, but I confess to being provoked by by a similar though reciprocal observation. I’m properly chastened now, and understand that the news I found on the interwebs using the google must be entirely wrong, precisely because I found it on the interwebs using the google rather than experiencing it directly myself.

329

Lupita 03.15.16 at 9:22 pm

@Steven Johnson

I have a clogged kitchen drain, too! I hope you were able to fix yours. Me, I’m just sitting here hoping the problem will wither away, just like the neoliberal global consensus.

“Empires do not wither away, they are defeated.”

Why is this so? I think it is conceivable for American hegemony to weaken and eventually disappear by a confluence of events. For example, the WMD fiasco, Katrina, and the 2008 panic have already taken their toll. In the pipe-line, we have Brexit and a joker in the White House. The future may well have in store more financial crises, this time closer to the core, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, both right-wing and left-wing anti-neoliberal parties coming to power, maybe the Latin American left getting its act back together. I do not see why the non-Western world would not take advantage of weaknesses and, little by little, defeat an empire that is already crumbling on its own. I’m not saying this will happen, since I don’t know the future, but I don’t find it inconceivable either. On the other hand, Marco Rubio’s promise of a New American Century, I really do find ludicrous. I simply cannot conceive of an already moribund American hegemony lasting into the 22nd century.

330

Lupita 03.15.16 at 9:27 pm

To my list of future events that will have a huge impact on the global neoliberal consensus, add climate change and demographic transition.

331

hix 03.15.16 at 9:30 pm

I’m in no way an expert regarding the German laws for such cases, what I can say for sure is that the interaction of norms/culture and laws in the US leads to a very alien result. It’s sure not completely impossible that a politician would ask for the removal of a protester and the police does so here. But the example I’d have to take memory dates back to an anecdote my father told me about Frank Josef Strauß, and even that case was far far different in context.

332

Val 03.15.16 at 9:36 pm

Layman @ 349
Unlike JQ, I was just about to concede that you have a point, since I just read about the draconian anti-protest laws that the NSW government is trying to introduce to protect its fossil fuel mates http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/mar/15/nsw-anti-protest-laws-attack-democracy-law-groups

333

Lupita 03.15.16 at 9:47 pm

Val@330

“What our imperialist lackey government here in Australia seems to be doing is trying to remain friends with America while also being friends with China. Don’t know how that will work out!”

It will turn out great! It is always wise to hedge your bets.

334

F. Foundling 03.15.16 at 9:49 pm

@ZM 03.15.16 at 8:16 am

>while she can, of course, write comments …, other commenters often ignore these comments … If you want to be part of creating a space where people of diverse backgrounds participate, part of that is pro-actively trying to encourage voices from more diverse backgrounds …

Pro-actively encourage them how? By agreeing with them even if you actually disagree? By responding to comments with feigned interest even if they don’t actually happen to interest you or you don’t feel you have anything interesting to say about them? By introducing some kind of identity/perspective quota for comments or for positive responses to comments, or for community approval?

Yes, we can all sometimes feel that we are not getting as much agreement or attention as we would like, because we know very well that our comments, written from our unique perspective, are always incredibly valuable and interesting! The reason this happens may be that the other commenters are too foolish and ideologically biased to appreciate just how valuable our comments are, or too unknowledgeable to understand them and respond adequately, or too focused on something else at the moment (but that’s their fault, too!), or perhaps our comments sometimes really aren’t all that interesting (but, as we all know, the latter is unthinkable). In either case, there is simply nothing to do about it; either we still want to write comments or we don’t. Complaining about such a thing and demanding justice in a comment box is just … not productive.

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Lupita 03.15.16 at 9:53 pm

@The Temporary Name

“This is the faith that will not be moved.”

This is what Phenomenal Cat and I mean by supremacist sentiment, that unmovable faith in Americans’ moral superiority. Without it, I don’t know how the US could sustain its empire.

336

kidneystones 03.15.16 at 10:04 pm

So, I watched my first interview with Mrs. Donald Trump. Knew she’d been a model. Had no idea she speaks 5 languages. I wonder how many HRC can speak, or Michelle. Or Bill.

Just trying to see what living in Trump-world is going to be like. My question: is she the Eva Braun to Trump-Hitler. Whatever virtues, she may possess, surely she must be judged, condemned, slaughtered, drawn and quartered ’cause she’s married to Adolf. It’s not a question of should we burn the witch, but rather one of ‘when do we burn the witch.

Trump=Hitler. I learned that at CT.

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hix 03.15.16 at 10:26 pm

Intelligent they tend to be all those presidential contenders and their partners, wise they are rarely……….

338

bruce wilder 03.15.16 at 10:36 pm

even less wise the electorate, but maybe they just have much chance

339

The Temporary Name 03.15.16 at 10:39 pm

This is what Phenomenal Cat and I mean by supremacist sentiment, that unmovable faith in Americans’ moral superiority. Without it, I don’t know how the US could sustain its empire.

I agree with you both that it exists, certainly. I just don’t see it existing with a working knowledge of what treaties are, how they work, what they’re for, who’s outperforming America, what countries are where, etc. America’s the greatest and that’s that, and further investigation makes you a suspicious character. And yet people with the wrong skin colour* are installing the roofing at the new strip mall and I’m outta work!

*Orange?

340

Val 03.15.16 at 10:49 pm

F Foundling @ 294
If you’d bothered to read my response to ZM, you’d see that’s not my beef – it’s ZM’s well intentioned but unfortunate misreading. What I object to is the contempt shown to feminist perspectives here.

On the subject of which, your comment @ 336 seems rather close to the MRA handbook – misrepresent what feminists are saying by over-simplifying and exaggeration, then say ‘aren’t feminists stupid for saying that stupid thing’ then all agree with each other

341

The Temporary Name 03.15.16 at 11:01 pm

342

The Temporary Name 03.15.16 at 11:54 pm

343

Garrulous 03.16.16 at 12:01 am

Brett Bellmore @362.

Yes I agree it would likely not directly impinge on his capacity for performing the duties of President. But as with any public figure, I do think appearance is – and should be – fair game for interpretation, speculation and ridicule.

Particularly the deliberately chosen elements of appearance in a man who is clearly, for better or worse, as vain as a freaking peacock.

344

js. 03.16.16 at 12:12 am

The Guardian’s live results are a lot of fun

Oh man, I can’t stand the fucking animations! They’re funny for a second but then you realize they’re blocking the actual results — what’s up with that!? I think I’ve sent them 5 angry tweets over the last month. Love their live blog tho.

345

Val 03.16.16 at 12:16 am

So on the little Guardian gizmo of the results http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2016/mar/15/florida-illinois-missouri-north-carolina-ohio-live-results-primary-caucuses, I see Hillary quoted as saying something like ‘no parent should have to choose between working and caring for their sick child’.

Now as a grandmother who spent quite a bit of last week of last week looking after my sick grandkids to help out a daughter who has recently started a new and demanding job (and this in a country which does actually have carers’ leave), that speaks directly to me. I guess Bernie could say similar things but I doubt they would have the same resonance (please note I am not trying to promote or criticise either side, I am just trying to talk about how and why Hillary speaks to women’s experience).

346

Rich Puchalsky 03.16.16 at 1:04 am

Val: “I am just trying to talk about how and why Hillary speaks to women’s experience”

Because no men have ever looked after sick children, apparently. Therefore that is essentially a woman’s experience. Nurturing is naturally what women do, I guess, and if men do it, they’re fake. And if Bernie said it he’d be fake — just wouldn’t have the same resonance.

347

bob mcmanus 03.16.16 at 1:15 am

368: Rich, you didn’t add the personal history or anecdote that awards infinite credibility.
Shows you don’t get the resonance thing yet.

348

Rich Puchalsky 03.16.16 at 1:22 am

I should have put in that I have kids, and that actually I take care of them when they’re sick. Maybe mentioned some of my son’s problems for extra sympathy. Then people would feel bad for criticizing my views.

Actually, the few times I’ve mentioned my son’s problems here, people have just cluelessly continued to call people who they think have bad politics “autistic” as they always do. Who was the doofus who said it was just a metaphor, like calling someone “blind”? I forget.

349

Val 03.16.16 at 2:15 am

Rich @ 367
Rich my comment was in no way intended to suggest that no man has ever looked after sick children, or that only women can or should care for children, and I apologise that it sounded that way to you.

I fully support you in caring for your children and respect the particular challenges you face.

In my own case, one of my son-in-laws is a full time carer at present, while in the family I discussed before, my daughter and my son-in-law have both worked part time for years to share child care. The particular circumstance they face is that my son-in-law is self-employed so there is a financial constraint when he takes time off (he had taken some last week, as had my daughter) while my daughter, who does have access to carers’ leave, just happened to be in a particularly difficult situation last week because of her new job.

My comment, as I said was not meant as a reflection on either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. It simply reflected my own response to Hillary’s remark. In assuming that it would have a specific appeal to women, I was simply reflecting the empirical evidence that women still have a greater share of responsibility for child care across society (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/11/04/how-american-parents-balance-work-and-family-life-when-both-work/) plus my awareness of the great difficulties they face in the US regarding work and family arrangements.

Older women in particular are likely to have faced difficulties in combining work and family (both here and in the US). Bernie Sanders may have experience in this area, including the difficulties around taking time off work to care for sick children, I simply thought it statistically unlikely that he had extensive experience in doing so. People are free to correct me if this is wrong.

As I have said before Rich, I am interested in your views. I daresay we have both been at fault in our arguments before, but I think it would be good if we could try to have conversations which are civil and in which we don’t assume the worst about each other.

350

Anarcissie 03.16.16 at 2:32 am

Val 03.15.16 at 8:29 pm @ 340 —
Speaking of pictures, I suppose you’ve seen that picture of Dub and H. that has been blowing up Twitter.

‘Nuff said, I guess.

351

Val 03.16.16 at 2:36 am

@ 371
no I have been off twitter lately. Was that the one where she gave him a hug and kiss or something? Think I saw it somewhere and averted my eyes.

352

RNB 03.16.16 at 2:45 am

Donald Trump keeps saying that he’s going to Carl Icahn, putatively one of the world’s best businessmen, to negotiate all our deals. I mean he says that he has the world’s best businessmen lined up but every time drops the name of Icahn only. So what do people make of this guy who apparently is going to combine the positions of USTR, Secty of State and Secty of Treasury?

353

John Quiggin 03.16.16 at 3:24 am

Val @352 As you said way upthread, we don’t have a constitutional protection against laws like this, but the political culture is pretty resistant to the idea of criminalizing protest. The proposed laws are highly unpopular among farmers as well as urban liberals and greenies, and supporting them looks like a suicidal move for the (soon to be) Shooters, Fishers and Farmers.

As another example, despite the court’s accepting the (totally bogus) claim that Jonathan Moylan’s Whitehaven hoax cost investors $300 million, he got off with a suspended sentence.

354

Val 03.16.16 at 3:53 am

@ 374 – yes I was just a bit shocked by these laws, I hadn’t really heard about them till today. With the NSW Law Society and Bar Association both being opposed to them, I guess they may not go ahead, although the Guardian report talked as if they were a fait accompli. Another report in the SMH said a poll had shown that 60% of the population opposed them also. it looks like Baird may have let electoral success go to his head, but we shall see soon I guess.

Certainly I don’t think our political culture would let anyone get away with the incitement to violence stuff that Trump does, at least I hope not – but it may have done in Queensland back in the Bjelke Peterson days …

355

Suzanne 03.16.16 at 4:31 am

@367: For the record, Hillary gets it. She regularly refers to “parents” taking care of sick or young children. Sanders, in contrast, is wont to talk about “mothers” when talking about family leave. Just saying.

When Sanders talks about it, he doesn’t sound fake. But Clinton does seem to have a knack for connecting with women who’ve been in the workforce awhile and know how hard it is to juggle work and family in what is still a man’s world.

@256: The Sanders critics you mention might note that Clinton led among voters making $30,000 or less in Michigan. She has considerable working class appeal.

@338: Cruz really is a scary SOB. Trump can and does reverse himself on a dime – I don’t think even he knows what he believes – but Cruz knows what he believes and also has brains, not just a shrewd instinct for the jugular. On the other hand, in the remote chance that Cruz gains the nomination and then the White House, he would face a Congress where both sides of the aisle hate his living guts. If everyone who’s worked with the guy knows he’s a towering asshole, I have to believe, or hope, that eventually this insight will spread to the electorate.

@344: It’s really weird, because the tanning effect stops around his eyes, as if he was interrupted for an interview in the middle of his facial. On the internets Trump has been called Orange Julius Caesar. I like that.

356

The Temporary Name 03.16.16 at 4:39 am

On the internets Trump has been called Orange Julius Caesar. I like that.

Made me laugh. And now I want an Orange Julius.

357

RNB 03.16.16 at 5:08 am

With Trump, every once in a while, behind the orange face, I smell fear. More surprised by anyone else by how far his campaign has gone, Trump now fears that he’s one black swan event away from actually having to govern the country, something he knows due to insider information about his own grandiose business failures better than anyone else that he simply cannot do. He can like someone poor bloke’s vision of a rich guy, but that’s it. He’s too intellectually scattered and emotionally volatile to actually govern something complex. It’s obvious to us, but he knows this more deeply than we do. He has a profound sense of his inadequacy. He needs to talk about how smart he is, how many words he has, how many friends he has, how many people love him, and how big his penis is. You can smell the fear on the guy.

358

F. Foundling 03.16.16 at 6:05 am

@Val 03.15.16 at 10:49 pm
>What I object to is the contempt shown to feminist perspectives here.

We should distinguish between facts and interpretations here. The undeniable fact is that people sometimes disagree with *your* perspective or do not engage with *your* comments; then comes your interpretation, namely that that must be because it’s a *feminist* perspective and that those disagreeing with or ignoring your comments must be opposed to *feminism*. However, another possible interpretation is that it’s not because it’s feminist but rather because this particular perspective happens not to make sense (at least to them). IMO, you tend to assume the first interpretation almost by default, without sufficient reasons for said assumption.

However, even assuming that the first interpretation is correct, complaining about this is still pointless. If your hypothetically anti-feminist or non-feminist interlocutors are at all capable of realising that you’re right, it will be because of more convincing rational arguments on your part, not because they have suddenly heeded your call to better their ways and finally embrace feminism (that would be particularly difficult in this case, since most and probably almost all of them already consider themselves feminists).

@Val 03.15.16 at 10:49 pm
>your comment @ 336 seems rather close to the MRA handbook – misrepresent what feminists are saying by over-simplifying and exaggeration, then say ‘aren’t feminists stupid for saying that stupid thing’

Obviously, this was not an objection to ‘feminists’ or ‘feminism’ in general, but to specific people who have made specific insinuations (which I maintain have been remarkably stupid). You are now insinuating that since I disagree with *some* people who identify as feminists, I must be an opponent of feminism in general (an MRA). In other words, you’ve committed again basically the same fallacy that I’ve just mentioned. As for whether I’ve exaggerated, certainly the suggestion has tended to be only half-expressed – because it would have been too absurd to make openly – but all the more unsavoury.
Won’t be replying for some time, but feel free to hint at my misogyny again in your response. Down with oppressive matriarchy, free the poor males from the yoke of the queen-bee! (or something)

359

ZM 03.16.16 at 8:24 am

F. Foundling,

“Pro-actively encourage them how? By agreeing with them even if you actually disagree? By responding to comments with feigned interest even if they don’t actually happen to interest you or you don’t feel you have anything interesting to say about them? By introducing some kind of identity/perspective quota for comments or for positive responses to comments, or for community approval?”

I have kindly re-written your @379 comment so as to be an example of you proactively encouraging commenter diversity on Crooked Timber threads ;-)

@Val 03.15.16 at 10:49 pm
>What I object to is the contempt shown to feminist perspectives here.

Wow Val, I am so sorry you feel that there is contempt shown to feminist perspectives here. I would like to say I certainly do not intend to be contemptuous, it must be an unfortunate accidental tone in my writing. I’m ever so sorry.

To break this into facts and interpretation, I recognise it is a fact that other commenters sometimes disagree with your perspective or do not engage with your comments, however I do have some qualms about your interpretation of these facts. If I’m reading you right you’re interpreting these facts as being due to you expressing a feminist perspective and conclude that those disagreeing with or not engaging with your comments must be opposed to feminism. But I personally am not opposed to feminism and I believe that you are assuming this interpretation without sufficient reasons.

Even though I disagree with you and think your assumption is misfounded, I think in any case even if you were right this approach is unlikely to succeed. If commenters are disagreeing with you or not engaging with you specifically due to their opposition to feminism, for you to turn this opposition around you will need to provide commenters with more convincing arguments, rather than calling for them to embrace feminism.

I really do think most of the commenters do probably already consider themselves feminists, and am sincerely concerned that any comments I have written appear to show contempt to you or any other commenter. I would be interested to know if you have more reasons for this assumption than you have provided?

How do you think I or other commenters could comment in a way that does not seem contemptuous of feminist perspectives, while also allowing for disagreements with feminist commenters?

360

Z 03.16.16 at 9:37 am

ZM, that’s interesting (and I like that your rewriting very clearly maintains F.Foundling’s distinction between facts and interpretation).

361

TM 03.16.16 at 9:40 am

Stephen 324: The point isn’t whether Blair’s apology was sincere. The point is that removing a dissident from the Labor conference was such a huge political no-no, it created so much outrage and criticism, that the Prime Minister himself was forced to apologize for it on air, and other party leaders also had to apologize. If you believe that that apology was easy for Blair, you don’t know his ego.

RP, Rainbow Warrior, really, do we have to conflate everything here? I will just say that I reject your insinutation that you are the only one who knows about the history of state repression. Give it a break. I have been arrested and I have been in court (and won, btw) for dissident speech, I am not naive about the tendency of bourgeois society to throw its human rights ideals over board whenever it feels threatened. I’m not suggesting that we should act as if we believed the rose-tinted image of liberal democracies holding up free speech and other human rights. What I am suggesting is nevertheless that we should demand our states to hold up their human rights commitments and exact a prize in public outrage for rights violations. You were the one who started talking tactics. I think what I’m saying makes tactical as well as strategic sense.

362

TM 03.16.16 at 9:45 am

332. Exactly. The lunch counter protests are an excellent example for how political repression gets masked by property rights, and propertarians have never stopped grumbling about the Civil Rights Act for that reason. If these activists had started by saying “well it’s their property, they are free to do what they want”, and if the public had accepted that kind of argument, we would still have open segregation. “Even in America”, that argument in the end wasn’t accepted.

363

TM 03.16.16 at 9:48 am

Further to 381, and to clarify: I agree with those who say that trying to shut down Trump rallies by noise is a poor tactic but silent dissidence is an excellent tactic and has been very successful.

364

Lee A. Arnold 03.16.16 at 10:38 am

Brett Bellmore #385: “I think that’s a sad thing, that we never found out if segregation would have gone away if people were simply free.”

Yes, we have found out: Because despite the Civil Rights Act, some individuals are still racist. Therefore, segregation would not have gone away by now.

There’s also your other logical mistake: that democratic governments would want segregation, even though a majority of their voters would not. But then, the people running government would not have gotten elected in the first place.

365

TM 03.16.16 at 11:05 am

BB, you know very well tha those business owners would have held on to segregation.

In other news: the appalling Anita Alvarez was defeated in Chicago, and NYT reports:

“According to Gallup, 53 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Mrs. Clinton and 63 percent have such a view of Mr. Trump.”

It seems Clinton is what we are stuck with. And maybe her non-stellar popularity is a good thing. Maybe people will finally pay more attention to political outcomes rather than the likeability of those in power. (It’s never a good idea to like and trust the powerful.) Ok I’m dreaming.

366

TM 03.16.16 at 11:08 am

“Fewer than half of Republican voters across five states on Tuesday said Mr. Trump was honest and trustworthy. Even in the states where he won, a majority of voters do not view him as truthful.”

Oh, and Kasich may still win (big flashing neon sarcasm alert).

367

Lee A. Arnold 03.16.16 at 11:13 am

Brett Bellmore #387: “But it didn’t have to completely go away to validate the rights of the minority… The world can survive the occasional idiot”

But it wasn’t the “occasional” idiot.

368

Lee A. Arnold 03.16.16 at 12:22 pm

On Trump, Charlie Cook’s Report and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball both have this right, as usual.

Kasich’s win in Ohio means that Trump may not get enough delegates for the GOP nomination. But after the final primary in June, there remains over a month for backroom deals before the GOP Miami convention.

In that time period, the rest of the GOP may come to terms with letting Trump go all the way. Thus, they will save public appearances, and reduce their professional risks on the convention floor. No doubt there are plenty of baubles to go around to help ease their pains: Ben Carson just told a reporter that he did not prefer to endorse Trump, but Trump is the only one who offered him a job!

But, if either Cruz or Kasich show surges (above the current state polls) in the primary states to come — even little surges — then the contest could go all the way into the convention.

Not merely because there are a lot of big egos rubbed the wrong way, here. It’s because Trump is a very risky frontrunner. Negative opinion-poll ratings are enduring and very hard to get rid of, and the only person with higher negatives than Hillary is Trump. Trump is Hillary’s dream come true.

The GOP’s risk is not merely that Trump would lose the White House — they could live with a President Hillary — but that he would make them lose some “downballot” races, particularly the Senate, where their lead is tenuous, even if this were a normal season.

There is much writing about the GOP crackup. But there are two different crackups, economic & party control.

The first is historically likely, although not necessarily in this season. The reason it is likely to come, is that the GOP is preaching an economic doctrine that is on a crash course with reality — and Trump’s own solution, protectionism, only punts the crash a little further downstream, at best. (At worst, he sets into motion an unavoidable shooting-war with China). Most of the Democrats believe the doctrine too. Here, the pundits barely understand what is going on.

They are writing instead about the other crackup, i.e. the GOP elite’s loss of control of their own party.

Here I imagine that Trump — G rand O pportunist P olitician — will know whom to buy off, and whom to put out to pasture. They’ve brought the whole thing on themselves, and so no one else will be crying.

369

Rich Puchalsky 03.16.16 at 12:32 pm

My reply to Val wasn’t about HRC and wasn’t about Sanders. HRC referred to parents with ‘no parent should have to choose between working and caring for their sick child’. That’s unobjectionable, true, and pretty much seems to represent the majority position of contemporary feminism in the U.S. Val took this to be a statement about women’s experience, not HRC. As Suzanne’s comment said “Sanders, in contrast, is wont to talk about “mothers” when talking about family leave.” This can easily be interpreted as an indication that he still thinks that family leave is a women’s thing, that women are naturally nurturers and naturally do women’s work (and men naturally don’t) etc.

It’s not an accident that HRC talked about parents and Val talked about women: it’s a consistent pattern. It happens every time Val writes something like “some men here got into an argument with a feminist.” A little bit of essentialism goes a long way, and I’ve never seen anyone start out with “men’s and women’s embodiment as physical beings are different, and that’s important” and end up anywhere but with reintroduction of stereotypical gender roles, in this case in the guise of talking about women’s statistical experience. Statistically the vast majority of women have XX chromosomes. But contemporary feminism — at least one branch of it — no longer takes this to be what defines women’s experience, statistics or not. Statistically a large majority of women are in heterosexual relationships. Statistically most women in the U.S. and Australia are white.

As for the rest, geez. I wonder whether anyone here has ever actually read bob mcmanus’ comments, or whether they are just seen as some kind of arglebargle like “nutty nutty I’m nutty antifeminism whee I’m nuts.” What do you think he *means* when he talks about the personal anecdote? I’m sure that he could supply personal anecdotes too. Maybe his dog just died. Aw, bob! Let’s not criticize his Marxism, because his dog died. What do you think he means when he goes on about personal capital?

There are discursive communities where what is important is that someone’s dog just died. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that. But they don’t tend to be big on abstracted political arguments. I’ve seen One Million Blogs interpret this as “our comment section is hostile to women.” It’s a “boy’s club”. Sure, if you take traditional socializations as defining women’s experience — about how women are supposed to be meek and go along to get along and they’re social and cooperative unlike boys who are competitive — then it is. And those traditional socializations are statistically true, so….

370

Val 03.16.16 at 12:57 pm

ZM – from your improved version of F Foundling:
Even though I disagree with you and think your assumption is misfounded, I think in any case even if you were right this approach is unlikely to succeed. If commenters are disagreeing with you or not engaging with you specifically due to their opposition to feminism, for you to turn this opposition around you will need to provide commenters with more convincing arguments, rather than calling for them to embrace feminism.

It really isn’t my job to convince a whole lot of guys on the Internet that feminism is – what? I’m sorry ZM, I know you’re trying to help, but saying it’s the job of feminists to educate men about feminism – and especially that it’s my job to provide such convincing arguments that they will all accept feminism, and if I fail at that, I guess it’s my problem, my arguments in favour of feminism just weren’t good enough … can you begin to see the problem here? The idea that there is a kind of ‘normal’ way of thinking, and then there’s feminism, and if feminists can’t come up with ‘convincing enough’ arguments in favour of feminism, then people will just go on with their ‘normal’ thinking – seriously I don’t know where to begin with this.

Do you – and the people here who I am supposed to convince about feminism – understand the notion of sexism? Do you think it exists? Or do I have to convince people of that too? I’ve referred several times to the fact that there’s a whole body of literature about the fact that women are widely perceived to be less competent and effective as leaders than men. Do you accept that that exists, or are you waiting for me to produce a literature review? Do you think it might be incumbent upon people to educate themselves? How much can we expect people to be aware of things like sexism (and racism, because a lot of these conversations have been about racism too)? Is it reasonable for white men in this day and age to be acting as it’s the job of women and people of colour to convince them that sexism and racism exist?

Or, if they actually are feminist already, as F Foundling later suggests, why should they assume that their understanding of feminism is better than mine, and that I am obliged to provide ‘convincing arguments’ for my version of feminism in a way that they’re not? I don’t want to be accused of “pulling rank” again, as I have before, but it does seem odd that I, as someone who is studying feminist theory at post-graduate level, should be assumed to know less about it than anyone else here, and be required to prove myself in a way that no-one else is.

Doesn’t any of this strike you as a little odd, ZM?

I don’t know, ZM, I know that you have a really good understanding of a lot of issues, but this seems very naive to me.

371

Anarcissie 03.16.16 at 1:12 pm

Val 03.16.16 at 2:36 am @ 372 — Yes, that one. I assumed that since I had seen it, everyone else had, too. The early stages of this election offered a certain amount of humor, but I think I, too, should have averted my eyes before now, and kept them averted.

372

Val 03.16.16 at 1:28 pm

ZM
Let me try again to explain this. On CT, there appears to be a significant group of commenters, most of whom I think are male, who don’t appear to regard gender and race (or related concepts such as patriarchy, slavery and colonialism) as primary categories of political analysis. Their primary categories of political analysis are concepts like class, ownership and capital. In so far as they think about gender and race, they see them as relating mainly to “identity”, a rather vague concept which doesn’t have a material basis, which they feel can be used to disguise class or material exploitation and create a kind of ‘false consciousness’ in political terms.

There are also others, who do seem to accept gender as a category of political analysis, but don’t necessarily accept the concepts of patriarchy or male dominance.

Because my position is that gender is a primary category of political analysis, and because I see patriarchy as a key concept in understanding power in society, my feminist position is I think a minority one on CT. I think that perhaps you have fallen into the trap of thinking that because it’s a minority position in this context, it therefore needs to be justified in a way that majority positions don’t. I think the more useful question to be thinking about is, why is it a minority position? Why do there seem to be so few women, and so few ‘female feminists’ involved in these debates? Could it be that what is referred to as an ‘unfriendly climate’ has been created, and it is within that context that I am required to justify my position in a way that others aren’t?

373

Val 03.16.16 at 1:37 pm

Rich, I’m sorry, but I’m going to have stop responding to you. You don’t argue honestly. You set me up as this kind of straw woman/villainess all the time, and proceed to attack that, and I am sick of it. I’ve been angry with you, I’ve appealed to you, and it makes no difference. You just can’t or won’t stop. So you can say whatever dishonest and distorted thing you like about me and my misguided theories and wrong minded feminism, but I’m not responding any more.

374

Sam Dodsworth 03.16.16 at 1:56 pm

On CT, there appears to be a significant group of commenters, most of whom I think are male, who don’t appear to regard gender and race (or related concepts such as patriarchy, slavery and colonialism) as primary categories of political analysis.

So much this, as I believe the young people say. And much sympathy for Val’s frustration, which I share.

375

RJ 03.16.16 at 2:54 pm

It could be that lots of people, even heavily pro-feminist ones, honestly don’t see ‘patriarchy’ (rule of the father) as an animating feature of contemporary sexism, nor gender as a reasonable unit of political analysis, after careful thought and open-minded listening. Imagine: people can disagree with you! For honest reasons! Without being MRA’s!

I’m afraid what I see here is not a competing perspective, but a particular individual who is asking for permission to act like an asshole to others. This particular individual has not listened to others, has made massive assumptions about the inner mental life of people she doesn’t know, and basically ordered others to agree with her. The hostility she has experienced is a result of her bad behaviour.

H Clinton has no idea what it is like to live for a woman of the 99%. She can obtain a full-time helper, or two or three, with one phone call.

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Layman 03.16.16 at 2:58 pm

“H Clinton has no idea what it is like to live for a woman of the 99%. She can obtain a full-time helper, or two or three, with one phone call.”

She could even get two or three people to make the call.

377

bruce wilder 03.16.16 at 3:18 pm

Val: I’m not responding any more.

Hmmm.

378

phenomenal cat 03.16.16 at 4:32 pm

“Donald Trump keeps saying that he’s going to Carl Icahn, putatively one of the world’s best businessmen, to negotiate all our deals. I mean he says that he has the world’s best businessmen lined up but every time drops the name of Icahn only. So what do people make of this guy who apparently is going to combine the positions of USTR, Secty of State and Secty of Treasury?” RNB @ 373

From the perspective of spectacle a Trump-run government is pure gold. It has the potential to make late, decadent-era Hapsburg governance look prudential and austere by comparison.

379

engels 03.16.16 at 5:47 pm

Is it just me or are the threads getting longer and longer and more and more awful?

380

RNB 03.16.16 at 6:40 pm

It’s in the dialectics of things, engels, that there has to be sharp quantitative increase in awful posts before the thread becomes something qualitatively different. Also the material conditions are not right for non-awful posting. But you know this.

381

engels 03.16.16 at 6:48 pm

If the next 400 comments are about dialectical materialism I might reconsider, RNB

382

RNB 03.16.16 at 6:58 pm

What went without notice here is the passing of Richard Levins who along with Richard Lewontin gave the most coherent articulation of dialectical materialism I have ever read. It’s the appendix to Dialectical Biology. When I heard him speak fifteen years ago though Levins had replaced the dialectical language with non-linear dynamics, speaking of saddle points for example. The other most interesting defense I have ever read of dialectical materialism is Lukacs’ defense of History and Class Consciousness, which Verso recovered from an archive to translate and publish. Don’t forget: I am the Clinton shill here.

383

The Temporary Name 03.16.16 at 7:42 pm

Expand please, but with less Clinton.

384

bob mcmanus 03.16.16 at 7:56 pm

I’ll start, in my style.

Lukacs is interesting. Moishe Postone studied Lukacs.

Henri Lefebvre wrote a classic. Laszlo Rudas worked with Lukacs. Sartre of course.

Shulamith Firestone.

Marxists can get on great with feminists, cause feminism wants to be primary, and Marxist want the class struggle to weight most heavily “in the last analysis.” Scenery is better from the back of the bus anyway. Arigato-san!

385

Lupita 03.16.16 at 7:58 pm

Thesis: “There is no alternative” political situation in which all candidates are corrupt, robotic neoliberals.

Negation: The clown coup. The people elect a clown just to prove to the political establishment that there is an alternative to them and their policies, to see what happens, and just for fun. Examples: Bucaram (el Loco), Berlusconi, Trump.

Negation of negation: The clown is dismissed by means of a legal, political, or financial coup. Bucaram is declared by congress to be mentally incompetent to govern and Italy is denied bail-out funds unless Berlusconi leaves. Neoliberals return.

386

RNB 03.16.16 at 8:03 pm

You know, I don’t remember dialectics being an important part of Postone’s Time, Labor and Social Domination, but I’d love to talk about this book. Most relevant here may be the idea of Capital as a Hegelian Super-Subject.

What I liked about the Levins and Lewontin is that those abstract principles of contradiction in unity or unity in contradiction on interpenetration of opposite, quantity to quality, characteristics deriving from relations rather than substances, are given in their work references to concrete processes in nature. They make dialectics a reasonable and powerful heuristic, a way of understanding nature to generate testable hypotheses. Now Lukacs tries to free dialectics from natural processes to see it at work at moments of immense importance in human history. This is exciting. And perhaps subjectivist.

387

RNB 03.16.16 at 8:09 pm

@409 Cmon Lupita, that is so non-dialectical, you return by the whole process to the status quo ex ante. If you are going to play Third World Marxist here, you’re going to have to do better.

388

ZM 03.16.16 at 8:11 pm

Rich Puchalsky,

“A little bit of essentialism goes a long way, and I’ve never seen anyone start out with “men’s and women’s embodiment as physical beings are different, and that’s important” and end up anywhere but with reintroduction of stereotypical gender roles, in this case in the guise of talking about women’s statistical experience. Statistically the vast majority of women have XX chromosomes. But contemporary feminism — at least one branch of it — no longer takes this to be what defines women’s experience, statistics or not.”

You are a bit outdated here really, I am sorry to say Rich.

If you think about feminist scholarship I guess it has a reasonably long history dating back to Simone de Beauvoir or earlier (sorry, that’s not very exact, but anyway), but from about the 1980s there is the topic of “The Body” which in fact looks seriously at bodies. After this it is really no longer the thing in academic scholarship to think that female bodies are not a significant part of what defines one as a female. Whereas for essentialism you are really looking back to an older period, or very conservative view.

You have confused what Val is saying about the materialities of The Body with essentialism, but what she is saying is quite current and definitely not essentialism.

Val has said that you have misread her before on this. If you are not familiar with the scholarship on The Body, there is this free PDF article you can google “Beyond Cultural History? The Material Turn, Praxiography, and Body History” by Iris Clever and Willemijn Ruberg

“There are discursive communities where what is important is that someone’s dog just died. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that. But they don’t tend to be big on abstracted political arguments. I’ve seen One Million Blogs interpret this as “our comment section is hostile to women.” It’s a “boy’s club”. Sure, if you take traditional socializations as defining women’s experience — about how women are supposed to be meek and go along to get along and they’re social and cooperative unlike boys who are competitive — then it is. And those traditional socializations are statistically true, so….”

John Holbo and Belle Waring always mention their daughters and anecdotes, Maria mentions her dog and wrote about Dungeons and Dragons, Harry mentions Doctor Who and other entertainment and a great deal of sport…

389

ZM 03.16.16 at 8:22 pm

Val @393

“It really isn’t my job to convince a whole lot of guys on the Internet that feminism is – what? I’m sorry ZM, I know you’re trying to help, but saying it’s the job of feminists to educate men about feminism – and especially that it’s my job to provide such convincing arguments that they will all accept feminism, and if I fail at that, I guess it’s my problem, my arguments in favour of feminism just weren’t good enough … can you begin to see the problem here? “

The F. Foundling comment I re-wrote is not intended to express my own views at all.

I was just re-phrasing the content of his original comment, taking out the more impolite bits entirely, and making the comment so it was generally more polite and more likely to encourage a reply.

This was as F Foundling claimed he didn’t know how he was supposed to proactively encourage more diversity in commenters, and the examples he gave of how he could proactively encourage more diversity were things like pretending to agree when he didn’t agree etc. which he clearly objected to.

390

Ronan(rf) 03.16.16 at 8:25 pm

Back on the topic of the thread (or thereabouts) this mike Davis interview is alright

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/03/davis-core-millenials-bernie-socialism/

And gets partly at what I took Bruce w to be saying (although I’m open to correction)

Any thoughts from anyone on this part in particular ?

“The evil (I use this word precisely) of Clintonite neoliberalism screams back at us from every Trump rally. Jessie Jackson’s exciting Rainbow Coalition campaigns in the 1980s proved that it was entirely possible to ally the rust belt and the ghetto, but his center-right opponents in the Democratic Party — Bill Clinton’s Democratic Leadership Council — blew up all the bridges of progressive economic unity between imperiled white manufacturing-sector workers and the working poor of the barrios and ghettos.”

391

RNB 03.16.16 at 8:36 pm

@414. We get back to Davis’ argument the day after HRC is elected.
Here has been my reasoning.
1. Trump is the likely Republican nominee
2. He could win if there is a sharp downturn or big terrorist attack.
3. Sanders is not likely to get overall more progressive legislation passed than Clinton
4. After already have been subjected to two years of relentless right-wing attack, Clinton still beats Trump in the general.
5. I can only expect that the right-wing PACS will do great damage to Sanders if he became the nominee. Look how they took the super high favorable rating Clinton had three years ago to where it is now.
6. It makes no sense to take a chance on Sanders at this point, given the risks that a racist Trump presidency poses and how much worse it would be than a HRC presidency and the little chance Sanders actually gets significantly more progressive legislation passed than Clinton would

It makes sense at this point in time to enthusiastically support Clinton at the very least by focusing on the horror show that is Donald Trump. Which is not to say that Davis and many others are not right in the abstract.

I hope by making my reasoning clear this aid in the evisceration of it here that I fully expect.

392

ZM 03.16.16 at 8:39 pm

Val,

“Let me try again to explain this. On CT, there appears to be a significant group of commenters, most of whom I think are male, who don’t appear to regard gender and race (or related concepts such as patriarchy, slavery and colonialism) as primary categories of political analysis. Their primary categories of political analysis are concepts like class, ownership and capital.”

Yes, I agree with this and also think it is unfortunate. Although I think this is partly due to the emphasis on economics issues on CT.

“I think the more useful question to be thinking about is, why is it a minority position? Why do there seem to be so few women, and so few ‘female feminists’ involved in these debates? Could it be that what is referred to as an ‘unfriendly climate’ has been created, and it is within that context that I am required to justify my position in a way that others aren’t?”

I probably have a different focus on gender analysis than you, since I preferred looking at gender and agency due to me preferring to study along lines of modernisation and tradition. TBH I think the professor sometimes wanted to tear her hair out when I turned in an essay on women and agency in Choson Korea, with a lot of focus on the important social role of wrapping cloths and how one day a year all the men had to stay indoors so the women could go out picnicking without being covered up.

393

Stephen 03.16.16 at 8:47 pm

Jessie Jackson: who was she? Another neglected feminist?

394

Val 03.16.16 at 9:36 pm

Thanks ZM. Sorry if I got a bit frustrated. I understood what you were trying to do, but basically it wasn’t possible to turn it into a reasoned and inclusive argument, and by trying to do so you were just prolonging the delusion.

Good luck with your attempts to update RP on feminist thought. I’ve tried but it didn’t work. Part of the argument going on there appears to be:
there are no essential differences between men and women
Therefore anyone who tries to argue that having women’s voices in these debates on CT is important is essentialist and sexist

I think it ends up somewhere where having a debate conducted by men is actually better and less sexist than having one where women take part :)

By the same token, women who vote for (or even point out some of the reasons why women might vote for) Hillary Clinton are also essentialist and sexist.

Men who vote for male candidates however are not essentialist and sexist, because male candidates are normal. The fact that the legislature in America is dominated by males is not due to sexism. The fact that these threads on CT are dominated by men is not to sexism. My re-education is complete! Everything’s good!

Sam @ 397
Thanks for your support Sam, great to hear from you. Unfortunately apart from all our other faults, people who try to talk about gender or race as primary categories of political analysis are also boring arseholes. If only we could be nicer! If only we could be more interesting! Sexism and racism are all our own fault, we deserve it for being boring arseholes and Hillary shills!

395

js. 03.16.16 at 9:44 pm

Ronan @414 — Thanks! Always happy to read some Mike Davis.

396

Val 03.16.16 at 11:24 pm

Thinking about it, there are some people on here whose opinions I respect and whom I don’t think are sexist, who ask me in various ways, why I am being negative and angry etc instead of just stating my theories. So there are two answers to that:

I do state my theories but they tend to get ignored, they don’t get incorporated in the discussion (because I think it would require a lot of people to rethink how they understand the world and they aren’t prepared to do that)
There are individuals here who repeatedly misrepresent what I’m saying and attack me personally.

I would like to focus on the latter at present because I think it’s an example of how sexism and exclusion is perpetuated. I’m sure everyone here has heard the idea that men should play a role in combatting sexism. Yet at the same time I think when someone like Rich Puchalsky attacks my ideas on gender as outdated, nutty, essentialist and so on, and then calls me rude when I get angry about it, people would tend to see that as dispute between two individuals and not one that they should get involved in. But that silence in effect acts as condoning.

I know that may not be clear to people so I will try to explain it by analogy with racism. js and RNB have at different times alluded to the fact that they are respectively Muslim and black, and particularly js has referred to his lived experience of what anti-Muslim rhetoric such as by Trump means in practice. I think the response to them, particularly to RNB, has been suss at times, but no-one, as far as I’m aware, has accused them of being essentialist in talking about these categories, told them that their lived experience was invalid and that by talking about it they are themselves being racist against whites and non-Muslims, and that their theories of oppression are wrong, outdated and nutty.

The reason why people here wouldn’t do that I think is because they recognise that those are stupid, racist tropes. But for some reason people here can’t recognise that similar tropes directed against a woman are sexist, even though exactly parallel things have been said to me on numerous occasions.

So I think what is needed here if gender is to be understood and taken seriously is not for me to have to keep explaining it to people, at least some of whom won’t listen to anything I say and will attack me for saying it. I think it’s for people here who care about sexism and gender to start recognising and calling out sexism on these threads.

397

Val 03.17.16 at 12:16 am

So how have they become normal and modal, Brett? Are you saying that you are one of the people on this thread who accepts patriarchy as a useful concept in explaining gender inequalities? That’s great.

398

Anarcissie 03.17.16 at 12:20 am

There is a sort of quasi-essentialism in saying that candidate X should be voted for and otherwise supported, not because of what X thinks, says, does, etc., but because of what X is. Millions of people do it, of course, but rather than ideology or philosophy it looks a lot like tribalism regardless of the mode of categorization.

When I encountered feminism in the 1960s, war and imperialism were said by feminists to be diseases caused by ‘patriarchy’, which was an essentialist category to some and something else to others. Regardless, I don’t think anyone would have used feminism, whatever they meant by it, to demand that war and imperialism and those who promoted them be supported. How things have changed! Now, it seems that the content has been drained out of feminism, and what is left is a sort of transparent shell which might well be taken to mimic an essentialist posture. One can see why some people might be confused.

399

js. 03.17.16 at 12:40 am

Eh? That did not post at all. What’s up? Let’s try this again (just the first part):

Off-topic, but I’d like to hear more from CR about presumptive presidents.

400

js. 03.17.16 at 12:42 am

And also, solidarity is not essentialism. (Because on CT, you do need to say the blindingly obvious.)

401

Anarcissie 03.17.16 at 2:06 am

js. 03.17.16 at 12:42 am @ 426:
‘And also, solidarity is not essentialism. (Because on CT, you do need to say the blindingly obvious.)’

Well, it could be. Sometimes people decide that I am White and tell me that I should support White nationalism out of solidarity with my essentially superior kind. Actually I fear I would not fare well among White nationalists. So with solidarity, I ask, ‘With whom, for what, and what are the participants, especially me, supposed to get out of it?’

Women had solidarity before they had feminism, but with feminism, radical feminism, they really aimed high. They were going to turn the whole ugly power pile over. I respect that.

402

ZM 03.17.16 at 2:37 am

There was that newstory about how only women senators and floor staff and pages went to work when there was a blizzard http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/senate-women-rule-capitol-hill-post-blizzard-session/story?id=36535812

Apart from that I think if the idea is there should be equal numbers of women and men in parliament I think the simplest way of achieving this is having 2 representatives per electorate one male and one female. This would make things equal right away. I am sure you would get women candidates this way too.

403

engels 03.17.16 at 7:53 am

I don’t follow Australian politics but I googled Julia Gillard and got this

PM Julia Gillard stands tough on Afghan war
THE AUSTRALIAN
JULIA Gillard has hardened her commitment to the Afghan war, leaving open the possibility Australian troops could be engaged for at least another decade.
It’s important this (transition ) process is not started until we are confident it will be irreversible,” she writes. “We must not transition out only to transition back in.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/pm-julia-gillard-stands-tough-on-afghan-war/

Sounds like intersectional ecofeminism to me! Down with colonialism, racism and male violence

404

faustusnotes 03.17.16 at 8:08 am

This is a bit like being in a first year tutorial, with such sophisticated arguments as “I assess women entirely on merit, no other basis at all” and “Julia Gillard bombed Afghans so having more female politicians is meaningless” and “your liberal feminist heroes just kill foreigners anyway so there’s no point in changing anything.”

Seriously Val, I think you’re fighting for a lost cause here. When commenters on an academic blog resort to cheap arguments they wouldn’t accept from their first years, I think it’s a pretty clear sign that they are more interested in sneering at feminism than engaging with it.

405

engels 03.17.16 at 8:15 am

“Julia Gillard bombed Afghans so having more female politicians is meaningless”

Can you read?

406

engels 03.17.16 at 8:41 am

You may not realise this but there are actually feminists who don’t support America bombing the shit out of the third world for the indefinite future? I’ve met some of them! Incredible I know

407

faustusnotes 03.17.16 at 8:50 am

You obviously aren’t listening to them, since Val is one of them.

408

engels 03.17.16 at 8:54 am

You obviously aren’t listening to them,

Go fuck yourself

409

faustusnotes 03.17.16 at 9:09 am

Those are lizard people Ze K, serving the herpetriarchy. I just wanna get in first, you know, be the eater not the eaten.

410

Val 03.17.16 at 9:34 am

Some weird shit going on here :) Thanks fn. I just would like to put on the record, one more time, that I am a pacifist and an egalitarian, and have been for many years. (Well that’s what I claim anyway – how can anyone tell? I might be secretly working for Hillary Clinton, softening people’s minds so that we can seize power and bomb the shit out of everybody. Who knows?)

I’m also a vegetarian. Just thought I’d throw that in (it’s not even true because sometimes I eat fish)

I used to think that it would be interesting to talk about ecofeminist theory with people who are outside my field, and it often has been, but there are also these weird aspects of people who don’t want to read what you’re saying and discuss it, just to accuse you of saying all sorts of strange and stupid things and then attack you for supposedly having said them (look at this stupid thing a feminist said! Aren’t feminists stupid?). I have enjoyed a lot of conversations on CT but I’m not very good at dealing with the weird attack stuff. Anyway I need to start seriously writing for my thesis now so it would probably be good to drop out for a while.

411

Val 03.17.16 at 9:41 am

Just one more anecdote – I know a 30ish man whose long term girlfriend broke up with him a while ago in rather hurtful circumstances. Since then he has been writing some weird MRA shit about feminists on Facebook. Everybody just pretends it isn’t happening. Thankfully it seems to be dwindling away now, but it is very hard to deal with that stuff, even when you’re only dealing with it by pretending it’s not happening.

412

TM 03.17.16 at 9:42 am

RNB 406: Thanks for the name drop. The Dialectical Biologist is a wonderful book still worth reading. Ditto Not in Our Genes and Leontin’s later Biologiy as Ideology. Scientists with an interest in and understanding of politics and philosophy – we have too few of them. I wasn’t aware of Levins’ passing. What a loss.

413

Val 03.17.16 at 9:48 am

Brett have you ever heard of the structure /agency debate?

I was pondering a bit about your position today and wondering whether it is actually a ‘political position’ in a true sense, or if it’s just that you haven’t actually learned about things like structure versus agency. It’s a really interesting question. Is being right wing just not having been introduced to some basic sociological concepts? Anyway that’s all I’m going to say.

414

faustusnotes 03.17.16 at 9:49 am

Brett, while your point that there aren’t many female politicians is a good one and an important one, the claim that you assess female politicians by exactly the same standards as male politicians is both irrelevant and largely wrong. Irrelevant because your perfect individual judgment is not enough to change a system and largely wrong because there’s a large body of evidence that both men and women judge women differently to men. You’ve been hanging around CT long enough to know about the various examples of this phenomenon.

That isn’t to say that affirmative action (quotas of female candidates etc.) is the only or best way to solve the problem, but blithely asserting that it’s not an issue is not going to cut it – it’s the kind of argument idiot first years raise in their second week of general ed at uni, and surely you can do better than that.

There’s a really interesting discussion to be had about why conservative (in the older, Thatcher-era, not Trump-era, sense) parties seem to do better at representation of this kind (e.g. Thatcher in the UK, first openly gay MHR in Australia, first Aboriginal senator in Australia), and you could do some fancy trolling arguing it’s because conservatives only assess on merit. But really you can do better than blithely pretending sexism is not an issue at the point where people choose their candidates.

(I remember reading somewhere that when Thatcher was asked about being the UK’s first female PM, she responded that she was also the first PM with a science degree. Her rise in that era is a really interesting topic, but only a crazy person would claim it’s because conservative voters of that era were gender-blind).

415

engels 03.17.16 at 10:03 am

there are also these weird aspects of people who don’t want to read what you’re saying and discuss it, just to accuse you of saying all sorts of strange and stupid things and then attack you for supposedly having said them

You mean like this

This is a bit like being in a first year tutorial, with such sophisticated arguments as “I assess women entirely on merit, no other basis at all” and “Julia Gillard bombed Afghans so having more female politicians is meaningless” and “your liberal feminist heroes just kill foreigners anyway so there’s no point in changing anything.”

416

TM 03.17.16 at 10:06 am

The US currently ranks 95th in the world for women’s political represenation (more precisely, representation in parliament, which in US Congress is below 20%, see http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/classif.htm). But that is not your fault, BB, and if anybody blamed you personally for it, that would be unfair.

417

faustusnotes 03.17.16 at 10:06 am

Has it occurred to you engels that your point was unclear?

418

engels 03.17.16 at 10:31 am

Some opinions of Gillard’s appointment from a Green-Left perspective:

For Aboriginal people, it is a case of “same horse, different saddle blanket”

Teachers have already seen Gillard’s politics in the school league tables campaign. Gillard was fully conscious of the damage that league tables have done in Britain, yet she persisted with their publication in Australia.

Gillard will be just as anti-union as Rudd was

Gillard is part of a government that has upheld Howard’s Welfare to Work legislation and changes to the child support formula, which has condemned many sole-parent families to a life of poverty.

Gillard is the first woman PM of Australia, but not a PM for the women of Australia.

https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/44600>

419

engels 03.17.16 at 10:43 am

Gillard on racism:

“Defying demands she abolish the so-called NT intervention, the Prime Minister has also vowed its next stage will be based on the principle the world owes no one a living and citizens must show responsibility in return for taxpayer support.”

Gillard on homophobia:

“We believe the marriage act is appropriate in its current form, that is recognising that marriage is between a man and a woman, but we have as a government taken steps to equalise treatment for gay couples,”

Gillard on empire:

“Gillard endorsed the ANZUS Alliance and described the United States as a civilising global influence

420

ZM 03.17.16 at 10:50 am

Val,

“Brett have you ever heard of the structure /agency debate?
I was pondering a bit about your position today and wondering whether it is actually a ‘political position’ in a true sense, or if it’s just that you haven’t actually learned about things like structure versus agency. It’s a really interesting question. Is being right wing just not having been introduced to some basic sociological concepts? Anyway that’s all I’m going to say.”

Brett said he had voted for women in the past, but there are not enough female candidates. This is why my idea that every electorate has two representatives one male and one female is a structural change that would immediately mean there was equal representation of women in parliament. And I think this would encourage more women to run for parliament since there would be a seat for them in every electorate.

Also since being violently assaulted by a young woman when he was young put Brett Bellmore off dating until well into his 30s, the fact that he votes for more female candidates than Engels who maintains female candidates have to be absolutely perfect for him to consider they are any better than Donald Trump, shows Brett Bellmore is more of a feminist really.

421

Val 03.17.16 at 10:55 am

engels, please be aware that are getting into dangerous territory. The scars of the Gillard-Rudd years go very deep for Australians. You may unintentionally set off scenes of such horror and bitterness that your gentle northern hemisphere soul will never recover. Don’t go there, is all I can say.

422

Faustusnotes 03.17.16 at 11:16 am

Engels, are you Australian? Also, if you have a point why don’t you just make it?

Brett, I thought I made it clear tbat the issue is not your personal decisions, but a pattern of decision making. How you personally judge candidates has no bearing on the existence of a general pattern of prejudice and the possibility of systemic methods to address it …

its interesting how when feminist points like this are raised so many men make it personal about their own decisions, but then accuse feminists of making everything about women’s personal experience (see eg the silly dead dog thing up above). Everything’s structural for lefty men until chicks are involved. Then it’s all about personal experience that can’t be made political and why can’t I get my end away at work don’t you care about personal relations you inhuman feminists and don’t you dare judge my response to female candidates as if it might be influenced by broader society this is all about my experience!

423

engels 03.17.16 at 11:19 am

Engels who maintains female candidates have to be absolutely perfect for him to consider they are any better than Donald Trump,

I said the exact opposite but please do carry on making shit up about me – everybody else is

424

ZM 03.17.16 at 11:23 am

Conservative politicians in Australia have been critical recently of the rise of Donald Trump in the Republican President nomination voting:

“Asked by Channel Seven’s The Morning Show what he thought of the gathering speed of Trump’s campaign, Mr [Christopher] Pyne replied: “Well, it’s terrifying.”

The Industry, Innovation and Science Minister added: “And we are seeing in America these terrible rallies occurring where the people are becoming violent.

“Now, democracy should be robust but it certainly shouldn’t be violent. And I think the Donald Trump phenomenon is a real problem for the United States, making their democracy look kind of weird.

And I think for the Republican party, if they choose Donald Trump, will find themselves in the wilderness for a very long time.”

Liberal senator Cory Berardi, however, said that Mr Trump’s success reflected a “global disenchantment with mainstream politics”.

“I have been warning about this for some time. Unless the major parties respond to the concerns of mainstream people, the public will look elsewhere and a more formidable force will emerge.””

http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/terrifying-and-kind-of-weird-christopher-pyne-blasts-the-donald-trump-phenomenon-20160316-gnl53l.html

425

engels 03.17.16 at 11:23 am

Engels who maintains female candidates have to be absolutely perfect for him to consider they are any better than Donald Trump, shows Brett Bellmore is more of a feminist really

Where the hell does this crap come from?

426

ZM 03.17.16 at 11:28 am

engels,

“I said the exact opposite but please do carry on making shit up about me – everybody else is”

Sorry I thought you must be comparing Julia Gillard as Prime Minister to Trump as possible President, and finding Julia Gillard’s record abominable in comparison, I’m not quite clear why you have brought her into the debate otherwise?

427

engels 03.17.16 at 11:35 am

Here’s what I said about Clinton v. Trump (the only time I’ve commented that):

I hate Shillary as muh as the next anti-imperialist class-war commie but ‘Trump over Clinton’ (if anyone is really defending it) seems like – at best – self-indulgent petty-bourg-intellectual dumbfuckery.

Even if we allow (and I certainly wouldn’t) that he’s too incompetent to put his ‘policy ideas’ into practice, having a president (or even a presidential candidate) who openly proclaims the desire eg. to shoot Muslims with bullets soaked in pig’s blood matters. Obviously.

428

engels 03.17.16 at 11:36 am

I’m not quite clear why you have brought her into the debate otherwise?

Then ask if you want – but don’t make up crap about people please.

Val brought her into the debate:

I should say that I worked with two years with JG in a former life and I like her a lot)

429

engels 03.17.16 at 11:37 am

Anyway I really have had enough. Enjoy your red-baiting!

430

TM 03.17.16 at 11:50 am

engels, at 431 you took up a reference from 242 without any explanation. It’s hardly surprising people were wondering what your point was.

431

Faustusnotes 03.17.16 at 11:58 am

So you spent six comments attacking Val’s former boss? A woman who worked as an industrial lawyer for years, talks proudly about her efforts to protect migrant piece workers from exploitation, introduced a revolutionary disability support scheme and Australia’s first (and effective) carbon tax. The ALP’s first true inheritor of hawkes legacy in decades, a staunch defender of working people and unionist. The woman who tore her Catholic misogynist opposition down in public in a famous speech and who managed to introduce multiple major policy breakthroughs in a hung parliament with an opposition that refused to compromise on anything as a strategy.

Without making an actual point.

432

engels 03.17.16 at 12:02 pm

engels, at 431 you took up a reference from 242 without any explanation. It’s hardly surprising people [think you maintain… female candidates have to be absolutely perfect … to consider they are any better than Donald Trump [and] Brett Bellmore is more of a feminist really]

You’re right – I had it coming. Thanks for the advice, random dickhead

433

engels 03.17.16 at 12:06 pm

FaustusNotes maybe I wasn’t clear about this last two times: please fuck off

434

Igor Belanov 03.17.16 at 12:28 pm

@ 463

“The ALP’s first true inheritor of hawkes legacy in decades, a staunch defender of working people and unionist. “

Not the best example, I fear. From Wikipedia:

“Among other reforms,[41] the Hawke Government dismantled the tariff system, privatised state sector industries, ended the subsidisation of loss-making industries, and sold off the state-owned Commonwealth Bank of Australia,Qantas and CSL Limited.”

“Hawke’s time as Prime Minister saw considerable friction develop between himself and the grassroots of the Labor Party, who were unhappy at what they viewed as Hawke’s iconoclasm and willingness to cooperate with business interests. All Labor Prime Ministers have at times engendered the hostility of the organisational wing of the Party, but none more so than Hawke, who regularly expressed his willingness to cull Labor’s “sacred cows”. “

“After leaving Parliament, Hawke entered the business world, taking on a number of directorships and consultancy positions which enabled him to achieve considerable financial success.”

435

TM 03.17.16 at 12:42 pm

464: My mistake for assuming that you were trying a point a point. Won’t happen again, dickhead.

436

JanieM 03.17.16 at 12:45 pm

I was pondering a bit about your position today and wondering whether it is actually a ‘political position’ in a true sense, or if it’s just that you haven’t actually learned about things like structure versus agency

This made me laugh for ten minutes.

437

Val 03.17.16 at 12:55 pm

Interesting that Engels is so angry about being misconstrued, given that he has quoted me out of context! This is what I actually said:

There were very similar debates in Australia when Julia Gillard was our Prime Minister – many people (including some women) on the left as well as the right, argued that she was one of the most incompetent, neoliberal and dishonest PMs ever, although I think objectively she was probably fairly average on the honesty and neoliberalism fronts and on the competence front, in some ways above average and in others below, but some of the perceived ‘incompetence’ probably related to the fact that she tried to adopt a non-adversarial style at times. (I should say that I worked with two years with JG in a former life and I like her a lot).

Fairly clearly, I think, I was trying to give an objective assessment while acknowledging that I had a personal interest. Seems reasonable.

Igor I agree with you, the Hawke government started the neoliberal trend for ALP governments in Australia, and Gillard in many ways carried on with that, but that was not unusual for Labor in Australia (as elsewhere). Within those limits, JG did a lot for working people, particularly working women, including supporting a substantial pay rise for low paid workers (predominantly women), introducing universal 6 mo paid maternity leave and raising the tax free threshhold for low income workers. Some of her other measures, as Engels has mentioned, were hard on women who were out of the paid workforce. As faustusnotes had said, she and the then female Greens leader introduced a good carbon reduction scheme. There is empirical evidence that countries with a higher proportion of women in public life have been stronger in environmental measures.

So as I said, somewhat neoliberal (I don’t support neoliberalism) and mixed on the welfare front, but not a bad record. Certainly nothing like ‘the most incompetent PM ever’ – that’s ridiculous. And as I suggested, a nice person, generally liked by her colleagues.

It does seem as if Engels is holding female leaders to a higher standard than men, which is not unusual. However if he is trying to suggest that the fact that I liked JG personally means I’m a neoliberal, or something like that, that is ridiculous – one can like a person without agreeing with all their policy positions.

438

Val 03.17.16 at 1:00 pm

@ 468
Given your previous harsh criticisms of me, I’m a bit scared to ask this, but I hope you got that it was meant to be funny.

439

Val 03.17.16 at 1:03 pm

No – semi-ironic, probably. I mean I do think it’s possible that Brett actually believes we live in a world in which everyone makes completely free choices and the only reason there aren’t more female candidates is simply that they have chosen not to stand :)

440

Faustusnotes 03.17.16 at 1:03 pm

Igor, bob Hawke was one of Australia’s most popular prime ministers and the architect of its opening to the world. I picked him for a reason, you know.

441

ZM 03.17.16 at 1:07 pm

engels,

“engels, at 431 you took up a reference from 242 without any explanation. It’s hardly surprising people [think you maintain… female candidates have to be absolutely perfect … to consider they are any better than Donald Trump [and] Brett Bellmore is more of a feminist really]”

Thanks for your repeating your comment about Trump and Clinton, sorry I forgot about it after all these comments.

I didn’t understand you were referring to Val’s earlier comment about working for Julia Gillard. Val didn’t work for her when Julia Gillard was Prime Minister but earlier when Gillard was working in Victoria I think.

I would still tend to draw the inference from these comments that you hold female politicians should be perfect, in the context of a quantitative discussion of there not being equal numbers of women in parliament.

Either the idea is that the goal is simply to have equal numbers of women as men in parliament, or there is the goal all people in parliament should be perfect, which I guess would be ideal government, but isn’t it still reasonable to think that in a parliament composes of not entirely perfect people about 50% of those people should be women on principle?

442

Val 03.17.16 at 1:07 pm

I did a reply on the Engels stuff which went into moderation, I really don’t know why. It was very measured, with no swearing and no links.

443

Val 03.17.16 at 1:13 pm

Perhaps I’ve gone into moderation because I quoted myself? I know some academics frown on that, but there was a reason in this case!

444

Layman 03.17.16 at 1:15 pm

“Those are lizard people Ze K, serving the herpetriarchy.”

I told you folks about those damned lizard-men.

445

Ronan(rf) 03.17.16 at 1:41 pm

My understanding of the arguments for more women in politics (outside of questions of fairness) to achieve broadly egalitarian goals, is that* in the aggregate more women in parliament or at various levels of policy making (and perhaps even in high ranking positions) tends to equal more egalitarian focussed outcomes, as women’s preferences in the aggregate are more likely to be skewed to egalitarian goals than mens. (That’s not negated by the fact that individual female politicians, ie Thatcher, might be every bit as bad as their male counterparts. Once you get too that level the deciding factor is probably closer to being institutionally constrained or having an ideological/psychological predisposition that negates the more general rule)
(1) I don’t actually know how true that is, or if it Is true if it gets causation backwards (ie political systems that favour more (broadly speaking) egalitarian policies are more likely to accommodate women in politics. In that case women’s representation is an effect rather than cause afaict) (2) it leans towards a gender existentialism of a type, although I’m not sure I’m opposed to more caveated and careful claims to “essentialism” (3) it cares more for outcomes than fairness or meritocracy. Fairness strikes me as a fine aspiration, however claims that you “vote for the best candidate” by some objective measure of best is just ridiculous afaict.

* this is true in a stronger form for educating women. (Again leaving aside fairness etc) that there are clear long term outcomes in creating a more egalitarian, less violent, more demographically sustainable population .

Again I don’t know how true this is, and I understand some of this is somewhat problematic, so I’m open to correction.

446

Ronan(rf) 03.17.16 at 1:56 pm

For the last claim you could see Emmanuel Todd’s “convergence of civilisation” . Todd is nothing if not essentialist, although in his case he generally puts most explanatory weight for societal /economic development as a result of societal familial norms, but he has a point .

447

Rich Puchalsky 03.17.16 at 1:57 pm

I was going to write some of the next, obvious things to write, like “I’m saying that women have no reason to vote for HRC when I just agreed that NRC has better feminist rhetoric than Sanders?” or “Let’s say that my feminism is outdated. Is outdated feminism really anti-feminism?” or “Wow, calls for solidarity and support — I’ve never ever seen those be misused by anyone! When someone purports to speak for a group, you must support!” but no, what is happening to engels is too amusing. After all his favorite thing is to come into a thread, say how boring it is and that he hasn’t read it, then put in some kind of one-liner about the last couple of comments. So yes, let’s all get engels. He is our righteous target!

448

AcademicLurker 03.17.16 at 2:17 pm

I told you folks about those damned lizard-men.

With their darned Sauriansplaining…

449

Z 03.17.16 at 2:34 pm

I think it’s for people here who care about sexism and gender to start recognising and calling out sexism on these threads.

Val, you write from a perspective (ecofeminism) I find interesting and about which I don’t know much. Hence, I value your contributions and hope you continue explaining your theories and ideas. However, in the message 421 from which the above is excerpted, you suggest that not intervening in your discussion with Rich is condoning sexism and (still above) contributing to creating an “unfriendly climate”. I resent this implication (we are after all in the comment sections of a private blog, so I don’t think it is my place to intervene in any sense), but since you are thereby inviting me to comment, I have to note that on this very thread, you mentioned Rich Puchalsky by name and in a very derogatory way before he even commented at all.

I do state my theories but they tend to get ignored, they don’t get incorporated in the discussion

For what it is worth, in the recent thread on the three party system, I wrote a long response to one of your comment, and you ignored it completely (and let me be clear, that is perfectly fine). Here is what I thought, at the time. Most likely that you had missed it altogether, or maybe that you had read it but thought you hadn’t much to reply, maybe because you disagreed so much with it that it was pointless, or maybe because you agreed with it and therefore had not much to add. Maybe you liked it a lot and wanted to reply but then forget about it.

What didn’t cross my mind for a second is that you were deliberately ignoring it because I am in the minority of commenters not from the English speaking world and perhaps the single one with an Arabic background. Likewise, it never crossed my mind that your antagonism with Rich Pulchasky comes from the fact that he is one of the very few who comments here under a jewish family name and who (albeit occasionally) refers to his jewish roots. I would appreciate it if the same courtesy was extended to me and that absent clear and dispositive evidence to the contrary, you consider that sexism has as much to do with my reaction (or lack thereof) to your comments than anti-semitism has with your reaction (ditto) to mine (taking semite in the literal sense) or Rich’s.

Or, if you are indeed intimately convinced that sexism does play a large role in the reception of your ideas, then to live up to your own (admirable) standards (as exposed in 233 and 421) : “make a positive effort to listen to [semite] perspectives, even if they sound critical, without getting angry” and “play a role in combatting [anti-semitism].”

450

engels 03.17.16 at 10:22 pm

I would still tend to draw the inference from these comments that you hold female politicians should be perfect,

Well that would be a faulty inference. There are plenty of female politicians whom I support, starting with my local MP. She’s definitely not perfect (who is) but I categorise her as Labour left, which I’m fine with voting for, rather than warmongering neoliberal fake (which is how I’d categorise Clinton and Obama and, on limited info, Rudd and Gillard). I support the principle of equal of representation of women in parliament–as a benchmark, not a hard 50% quota, but would be open to persuasion about this. What I’m not open to persuasion about is the idea that any genuine leftist can support Hillary Clinton except as some kind of setting fire to the city to stop it falling into enemy hands act of desperation.

But as I said really am tired and a bit insulted by all the abuse so that will be my final comment.

451

engels 03.17.16 at 10:45 pm

My mistake

Apology accepted

452

Faustusnotes 03.17.16 at 11:00 pm

Brett I think Val’s point was about the way people in general assess female candidates who are running (case in point being Clinton) not about the problem of female candidates not running.

453

ZM 03.17.16 at 11:52 pm

Engels @482

I see what you mean. I have a female Labor left MP as my federal representative as well who is very good. I don’t think Julia Gillard could have been particularly left as the Prime Minister though, the last time Australia had a pretty left Labor Prime Minister was Gough Whitlam who made some good reforms like universal healthcare, then there was a scandal, and the Governor General requested the Queen dismiss the Prime Minister. Labor lost the following election. Since then the Labor Prime Ministers are not very left.

The Rudd and Gillard governments were both subject to a lot of controversy. I think we are at a time when policy reform needs to be made in Australia on a number of levels, but I think it will be about mainstreaming these reforms with people in both parties, probably more than having a left government like the Whitlam government . I also think the electorate is not very happy with the instability we have had with the Rudd Governemnt the Gillard Government the second Rudd government and the Abbott Government. I don’t think the electorate want a left government right now, even if they might want or be convinced by progressive policy reform.

In terms of what you call “warmongering”, some one can correct me if I’m wrong, but the Liberal government under Malcolm Turnbull refused American requests for Australia to increase our military contribution in the Middle East to help in the fight against IS:

“The most important boots on the ground are Iraqi boots,” Mr Turnbull said.

“On the ground, they have to win back their own country.

“They have to reach the political settlement and reconciliation with their own people.”
……
““Daesh is a threat to all of us and we need to continue to work together to defeat these terrorists,” he said in remarks to the media after their meeting.

“But this war against Daesh requires, for victory, more than military means. It is also in many respects a war of ideas. I have discussed with you, prime minister, your efforts to promote national unity and reconciliation, and that is absolutely critical to countering this extremism now and for the longer term.

“You fill us with confidence that victory against Daesh in Iraq is within sight, within reach. You exude confidence, prime minister, and that is very encouraging, but the victory must be one that endures. For it to endure there must be genuine reconciliation between the various parties in Iraq.”

Turnbull added there needed to be “a solution, an outcome, a reconciliation in Syria” in order to maintain peace in Iraq. He invited al-Abadi to visit Australia.”

So he is probably the least “warmongering” Prime Minister we have had for some time I guess, although he is in the Liberal party.

454

Plume 03.18.16 at 12:41 am

Brett,

“(I might have gone Democrat, if you’d been serious about any right besides abortion, and not so obsessive about attacking the 2nd amendment.)”

The Dems never attack the SA. They’re too afraid to. All the SA says is that if you’re in the state-run militia, you get to keep and bear arms. It doesn’t guarantee you the right to unlimited consumer choice, firepower, the absence of registration and licensing, background checks, or even the right to use the gun. Nothing in the amendment mentions actually using it or loading it with bullets. None of that is protected. Just to “keep and bear,” if you’re a member of a state militia.

The Dems still haven’t done a thing to put through even modest gun control, all of which would easily confirm within the boundaries of that amendment, and then some.

If we banned 99% of all arms in America, for instance, and limited this to just one kind of gun — say, a six shooter — that would still fall within the parameters of the SA as written. Because you could still “keep and bear arms.” Gun fetishists have already inflated this extremely limited right by taking it out of the realm of state-run militias, and its original purpose was to put down domestic rebellions in the first place — primarily slave rebellions. English common law already gave us the right of self-defense. The SA was all about making it so the newly formed government could avoid a standing army, go with state militias instead, which would all be “well-regulated.” But that is now obviously unnecessary, as is the amendment itself.

We’re just one of two nations with such an anachronism — with its racist foundation to boot. We don’t need it. No other consumer good has a special carve out, and none is needed. All over the globe, in countries without a similar amendment, people still buy and own guns. The Dems never, ever “attack” the Second Amendment. At best, they attack the mindless inflation and perversion of that right by gun fetishists, and even there, all too few are brave enough for that.

455

F. Foundling 03.18.16 at 3:03 am

@js. 03.17.16 at 12:42 am
>And also, solidarity is not essentialism. (Because on CT, you do need to say the blindingly obvious.)

True, but solidarity entails helping members of your group, and in an election that would mean, above all, supporting the candidate who has the best policies for members of your group (and not necessarily *only* for them; not to mention that we all belong to many different groups at the same time). Voting for a candidate while ignoring his policies, just because he resembles you in some way, is perhaps better described as extended narcissism. And assuming that a candidate will have the best policies for you and your group just because he resembles you or belongs to that group can indeed be due to essentialism.

456

F. Foundling 03.18.16 at 3:20 am

@Val 03.16.16 at 9:36 pm
>By the same token, women who vote for (or even point out some of the reasons why women might vote for) Hillary Clinton are also essentialist and sexist. Men who vote for male candidates however are not essentialist and sexist, because male candidates are normal.

If anyone were to vote for Sanders *because* he is male (or, say, Jewish), I readily admit that that person would be a complete idiot. The truth is, of course, that Sanders and his supporters have never appealed to his gender as a selling point (unlike H.R. Clinton); his major appeal is his policy, specifically his social democratic populism. Needless to say, many, many women and feminists support Sanders (a majority of women under 50 and especially of millennial women according to recent polls, hardly the most patriarchal demographic). Since, as a non-American, I’m more interested in US foreign policy, I would especially point out this feminist criticism of the effects of H.R. Clinton’s policies on women and LGBT people in Honduras: http://litbrit.blogspot.bg/2016/03/my-feminism-extends-beyond-us-borders.html (more on the specific actions taken here: http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/09/24/hillary-clinton-emails-and-honduras-coup; more on the recent murder of a female indigenous environmental activist: http://www.thenation.com/article/the-clinton-backed-honduran-regime-is-picking-off-indigenous-leaders/). Just putting this out here – can’t afford to spend time on a long discussion if the usual (quasi-)professional apologists turn up.

457

F. Foundling 03.18.16 at 3:37 am

@engels 03.17.16 at 10:22 pm
>I support the principle of equality of representation of women in parliament … What I’m not open to persuasion about is the idea that any genuine leftist can support Hillary Clinton except as some kind of setting fire to the city to stop it falling into enemy hands act of desperation.

Seconded.

458

F. Foundling 03.18.16 at 5:49 am

@Suzanne 03.16.16 at 4:31 am
>For the record, Hillary gets it. She regularly refers to “parents” taking care of sick or young children. Sanders, in contrast, is wont to talk about “mothers” when talking about family leave. Just saying.
@Rich Puchalsky 03.17.16 at 1:57 pm
>I just agreed that HRC has better feminist rhetoric than Sanders…

Now, I have to admit that I’m not *so* invested in this US election as to listen to all the speeches, but I thought I could at least google family leave and Sanders. The following are quotes from Sanders or his campaign that crop up (people can google the quotes to get the sources). Emphases mine:

‘Paid Family Leave, Sick Leave and Vacation: There should be no question that new parents should be allowed to stay home with their newborn children.’

‘We are the only advanced economy that doesn’t guarantee its workers some form of paid family leave.’

‘In my view, and I have to say this is a fairly conservative approach, every worker in America should be guaranteed at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave’

‘That’s why Bernie Sanders supports 12 weeks of paid family leave. Say you support paid leave for mothers and fathers too.’

‘It’s understood that mothers and fathers should spend this time bonding with the new person they have brought into the world.’

And finally, yes, I also find this example: ‘When a mother is forced to send her sick child to school because she can’t afford to stay home, that is not a family value.’ This is clearly supposed to create the emotional image of a concrete situation, which would have been a complete rhetorical failure if one had used an abstract word such as ‘parent’ and a form such as ‘s/he’.

So, frankly, I’m inclined to think that the suggestion that Sanders is somehow more backward with respect to gender roles, even in terms of rhetoric, is another baseless pro-Clinton cliche/rumour. I’ve already seen various instances of ludicrous quibbling about pronouncements made from the 1970’s onward, all intended to suggest that Sanders somehow has or used to have a ‘white male problem’ and that, even though he sort of has had all the right stances on the actual issues pertaining to race and gender, his recorded wordings and emphases still don’t *quite* succeed in living up to the accomplished writer’s truly academic standards of intersectionality. IMO, this has never had anything to do with concern for gender and race equality and everything to do with an elitist establishment cynically throwing everything but the kitchen sink against a threat from an actual left-wing candidate. This will be my last (off-topic) comment in this thread.

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Val 03.18.16 at 9:13 am

Z@ 481
Thanks Z. I started doing a reply to your comment this morning (Australian time) and then I had very busy day and didn’t finish – kind of thing that happens. The other thing is though I don’t understand what your comment means, so that also is a deterrent to responding. Perhaps you could try to make it a bit clearer?

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Val 03.18.16 at 9:24 am

F Foundling @ 489
You don’t understand what I’m saying. I know I shouldn’t blame you for that it it gets a bit frustrating. I’m not saying men ‘are’ normal and women aren’t, I’m saying men are ‘perceived as’ normal, normative people – women as ‘the other’. I mean you have to have a bit of social theory or philosophy background to be familiar with that I suppose but they’re not really hard concepts.

as I said earlier, it’s not my job to educate a whole lot of people/men about feminism. I think it’s important enough that people should educate themselves about some of the basic ideas. I am thinking of doing a cheat sheet kind of thing on patriarchy on my blog soon – not the concept so much as the evidence, basic stuff like laws. Then I could refer people to that rather than having to explain it repeatedly. It’d be a starting point anyway.

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Val 03.18.16 at 9:44 am

F Foundling @ 489

I just reread your comment, and l have to say it’s not just a bit frustrating. I’m actually a bit pissed off.

If anyone were to vote for Sanders *because* he is male (or, say, Jewish), I readily admit that that person would be a complete idiot. The truth is, of course, that Sanders and his supporters have never appealed to his gender as a selling point (unlike H.R. Clinton); his major appeal is his policy,

If you’d given what I said two minutes thought, you could never have responded like that. The thing about maleness being the default, the normative state, is that you don’t have to emphasise it or “appeal to it”. The reason femaleness becomes a ‘selling point’ is because women are grossly under-represented in politics, particularly in America.

I think it’s legitimate to get a bit fed up about the dumbing down of these discussions. I’m not just having a go at you personally, though obviously you might see it that way. I just think the standard of debate should be higher. I suppose faustusnotes said it already – there are a lot of people on CT who are clearly smart, but choose to be dumb about feminism.

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Z 03.18.16 at 1:27 pm

The other thing is though I don’t understand what your comment means

Then let me be clearer (but also, I’m afraid, more blunt). If Rich were to write that your theories are nutty and outdated (something he actually didn’t do in this thread, I believe, by the way: quite ironically, it is ZM that told him that his theories were outdated), then, it might be out of sincere belief (and I think he is entitled to this belief), it might be because of sexism, as both are indeed typical sexist tropes. When you write Rich believes he is superior to the rest of us (your comment 62) or that Bernie Sanders could say the same thing as Hillary Clinton and yet it wouldn’t have the same resonance (366), it might be out of sincere belief (and I think you are entitled to this belief), it might be because of anti-semitism, as both are indeed typical anti-semitic tropes.

Now, based on the very little I know about you (namely, your comments in these threads), I think the idea that your hostility to Rich and your mild defiance from Sanders could stem mainly or in part from anti-semitism is extremely unlikely. Ludicrous, in fact. But if you think my silence in your back and forth with Rich is somehow “condoning” of sexism (as you wrote in your 481), then it is a fortiori condoning of anti-semitism and so, if you insist I speak out (something that I emphatically does not want to do; our hosts here are responsible for deciding what is acceptable), I feel I would have first to ask you to reflect on your choice of terms when referring to jewish commenters and politicians.

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hix 03.18.16 at 2:54 pm

Look on the upside of such 2 party votes, theres that much to torture ones brain about. (At least i sometimes start thinking too much about Social Democrats or Greens and such)

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Plume 03.18.16 at 3:27 pm

Brett @495,

“Right, that’s how you go about attacking the 2nd amendment, by misrepresenting it. Pretending it means something that doesn’t get in the way of what you want. But the Bill of Rights is supposed to get in the way of the government.”

I gave the exact meaning of the SA. In opposition to that of gun nuts who have projected their own fevered dreams into it and inflated it beyond all recognition. For pretty much all right-wing gun nuts, they’ve imported their own anti-government Red Dawn fantasies into an amendment clearly set up to protect “the state” itself and slaveholders. It was a supremely unnecessary, racist amendment, and one set up to preserve the power of the state.

No government has ever or will ever make it easy for “the mob” to overthrow it. Aside from fetishizing guns, gun nuts also fetishize “the founders,” and actually think they set things up that way, even though they were the American ruling class, and had no intention of letting “the rabble” topple them. See the Shays rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion and Article One, Section Nine, clause two. See more than two centuries of the government coming down like a ton of bricks even on peaceful, non-violent strikers, civil rights, women’s rights, antiwar and green activists. From Day One, it’s more than clear that the “founders” set up an incredibly strong central government — the strongest non-monarchical to date — with no intention of ever letting the Bundys of this world topple it.

Stop with the Red Dawn fantasies, okay. For better or for worse — and a great deal of it is for the latter — the American revolution did not happen as an anti-government revolt. It was one (domestic) ruling class overthrowing another (foreign) ruling class, and all the talk against “government” along the way referred solely to England’s, not to the new state.

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Val 03.19.16 at 1:31 am

Z, I still can’t see where you’re going with this. Rich Puchalsky did actually say several times on a previous times that my theories were nutty, and he did actually say there are only a few people on CT worth talking to and the rest are mainly horrible. They are things he said and he doesn’t deny it, so it’s got nothing to do with antisemitism. You yourself don’t even think it’s got anything to do with antisemitism. So it just isn’t clear what you are trying to achieve here.

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Lynne 03.19.16 at 11:21 am

Val, Z can correct me if I’m wrong here, but I believe that he is objecting to your assuming he condones sexism because he doesn’t intervene between you and RP, and points out that he didn’t assume anything when you didn’t respond to him in another thread.

I believe he is responding to your statement that ends “… people would tend to see that as dispute between two individuals and not one that they should get involved in. But that silence in effect acts as condoning.”

While it is true that silence can act to condone behaviour in a thread, maybe you didn’t mean to point the finger at him, or me, or all of us lurkers and non-particiants, saying in effect that we were condoning sexism?

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Val 03.19.16 at 12:41 pm

Hi Lynne, I wasn’t actually saying that people were morally wrong to see the dispute between me and Rich as a dispute between two individuals, that they shouldn’t get involved in. I was saying it’s understandable that they see it that way but I think it is more than that. So I was trying to explain it in the hope that in future people might be a bit more aware of ‘everyday sexism’ as it’s often called – that things like Rich assuming he knows more about feminism than I do and can dismiss my theories as nutty, even though I’m studying those theories at postgraduate level – won’t in future just pass by unnoticed.

I’m not trying to blame people for not noticing everyday sexism just asking them to be more aware of it so they can call it if it’s happening. I wouldn’t expect everyone who is reading a thread to get involved, that would be quite unreasonable. But I would hope that people who are following the discussion might see a woman being told by a man that her theories about feminism are “nutty” and it might ring some alarm bells – not just as individual rudeness but as part of a broader pattern where women’s ideas are often trivialised or dismissed.

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Robespierre 03.19.16 at 12:44 pm

The purpose of the SA is akin to yeomanry, having a population trained and used to using weapons both to be ready to form a citizens’ army. That’s what the phrasing means. Making popular resistance in the face of armed repression easier and enabling a frontier society in a sparsely populsted land to defend itself are, also, the goals.

I think the 2nd amendment is overall negative in a modern society, being less useful for its purposes than conscription + other constitutional restraints on government and guarantees of civil liberties, and having a terrible effect on police-civillian relations and law enforcement.

But if, like I do, one thinks the rights set by the 2nd amendment should go, then they’d better change the constitution, not ignore it.

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Ronan(rf) 03.19.16 at 1:04 pm

My take is that Val and rich are both outgoing individuals with strong opinions, and any dispute between the two is their business. I don’t believe rich is sexist or, despite having a gruff way about him, a bully. Afaict he’ll argue back against people with strong personalities like he does, but generally doesnt gang up on people who are perhaps more timid.
This really doesn’t strike me as everyday sexism. Val, you often have interesting and insightful things to say, but you also give as good as you get. Theres Nothing wrong with that, but it also means that third parties aren’t inclined to insert themselves into what are (imo) arguments among equals. (And That’s before you get into the (imo) problematic aspects of a male observer instinctively inserting himself into a situation, regardless of context, to side with (and implicitly look to “protect”) a female participant.)

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Ronan(rf) 03.19.16 at 1:04 pm

Having said that, why not just ignore each other from here on out?

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Rich Puchalsky 03.19.16 at 1:40 pm

Eh, I tried ignoring Val for a few months. She promptly accused me of shutting her out of the conversation in a typically sexist way. I told her that people have no affirmative responsibility to reply to comments, but …

For the record Val did turn my statement from one about horribleness to one about thinking I’m smarter than everyone else — a classic anti-Semitic trope as Z says. Now, I could continue on by calling on everyone to denounce and generally get some group social sanction going. But I’ve observed that people who do this always have a bad long term effect. The last time we tried to discuss this here, it became a long examination of the stupidity and sexism of some blog comments that Freddie deBoer wrote 5 years ago, and whee we could always go back to that, and, I suspect, we will. But I just invite people to think about their own interactions with people who wanted to call everyone into their disputes.

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Lynne 03.19.16 at 1:51 pm

Ronan: ” (And That’s before you get into the (imo) problematic aspects of a male observer instinctively inserting himself into a situation, regardless of context, to side with (and implicitly look to “protect”) a female participant.)”

That is an interesting point. My son has been accused of “white-knighting” online, (when he has intervened in egregious sexism, though, which I think is not what you are talking about) and I can appreciate the hesitation to appear to be protecting as as it implies women can’t stand up for themselves, etc. Can come across as patronizing. That said, in Maria’s harassment thread I was glad of all allies.

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Anarcissie 03.19.16 at 3:06 pm

Lynne 03.19.16 at 1:51 pm @ 507:
‘My son has been accused of “white-knighting” online….’

Now I’m envious. I’ve been on the Net a long time under various guises, and I compiled a long list (320+ entries) of epithets I was assigned — you can imagine — but I am sure ‘white knight’ wasn’t on it. Damn!

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Lynne 03.19.16 at 3:30 pm

Anarcissie, 320!! Wow. But you’re probably still adding to it, right, so there’s hope yet. :)

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Anarcissie 03.19.16 at 4:23 pm

@ 509 — No, I gave up. The project was, shall we say, ultimately unedifying.

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Plume 03.19.16 at 7:29 pm

Brett @501,

It doesn’t say what you think it says. Not in any way, shape or form. It’s a very limited “right,” set up solely for people in state-run militias, hence the opening part of that amendment. And those state-run militias no longer exist, which is why the amendment is no longer applicable, needed or useful. We have the National Guard in each state, which are all under Federal management. And we have massive “standing armies,” which further render the amendment obsolete.

It was designed in part to postpone those standing armies, and make it clear that well-regulated state militias would suffice to protect the state from domestic and foreign enemies — including slaves who had the gall to want their own freedom. Only in the minds of neo-confederates was it ever to protect some non-existent “right” to overthrow the American government. The Constitution clearly calls that “treason,” and even says it can suspend Habeas in times of domestic insurgency and rebellion.

Guns are consumer goods. That’s it. And the SA doesn’t even remotely suggest a hint of a whisper that citizens have the right to unlimited consumer choice in matters of arms — much less to use them to topple the existing government.

An analogy: If the amendment guaranteed a right to “keep and bear suits,” and we decided, as a nation, to ban all polyester suits — which we should, btw — the right to “keep and bear suits” would not be infringed. Because the right wasn’t for unlimited consumer choice. It was simply a right to have A suit. So if the government decided to limit the kind of suit to just one, it is still within the parameters of that amendment.

We are just one of two nations with this obsolete, silly, completely unnecessary amendment. Its proponents are dominated by extreme paranoia and visions of Red Dawn floating in their lizard brains. We don’t need to get rid of it in order to pass sensible gun safety legislation. But because of people like you who fetishize it, the founders and guns, it may be strategically necessary, because the easy access to guns endangers all of us.

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engels 03.20.16 at 1:17 pm

US invasion of Iraq began 13 years ago today. Here’s Hillary Clinton making the case for it:
https://youtu.be/DkS9y5t0tR0

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