Wednesday, July 30, 2014

For women's liberation: a comradely critique of the Manifesto

By The Manifesto of the Communist Party, every Marxist knows the A,B,C's of historical materialism or the materialist conception of history. The history of all human society, since the breaking up of the ancient communes, is a history of class struggles between oppressor and oppressed. Classes are groups that associate in a division of labor to produce their material means of existence. In The German Ideology, Marx and Engels asserted an elementary anthropological, or "human nature", rationale for this conception. In a section titled "History: Fundamental Conditions" they say:
"... life involves before everything else eating and drinking, a habitation, clothing and many other things. The first historical act is thus the production of material life itself. And indeed this is a ... fundamental condition of all history, which today, as thousands of years ago, must daily and hourly be fulfilled merely in order to sustain human life."
Production and economic classes are the starting point of Marxist analysis of human society, including in the Manifesto, because human life, like all plant and animal life must fulfill biological needs to exist as life at all. Whatever, humans do that is "higher" than plants and animals, we cannot do if we do not first fulfill our plant/animal like needs. Therefore, the "higher" human activities are limited by the productive activities. This means that historical materialism starts with human nature, our natural species qualities.
Yet, it is fundamental in biology that the basic life sustaining processes of a species are twofold. There is, in the first place, obtaining the material means of life and subsistence, or survival, of the living generation ("production"). But just as fundamentally there is reproduction or success in creating a next generation of the species that is fertile, and survives until it too reproduces viable offspring. Whoever heard of a one generation species? In fact, one test of two individual animals being of the same species is their ability to mate and produce viable offspring. We can imagine a group of living beings with the ultimate success in eating and drinking, a habitation, clothing and many other things. But if they do not reproduce, either they are not a species or they are an extinct species (unless they are immortal). Thus, having premised their theory in part on human biology, our "species-being", Marx and Engels were obligated to develop historical materialism, the theory of the Manifesto, based not only on the logic of subsistence production, but also on the logic of next generation reproduction.
In The German Ideology, they do recognize reproduction as a "fundamental condition of history" along with production. However, they give reproduction, or at least, "the family" a subordinate "fundamental" status when they say:
"The third circumstance, which from the very outset, enters into historical development, is that men, who daily remake their own life begin to make other men, to propagate their kind: the relation between man and woman, parents and children, the family. The family, which to begin with is the only social relationship, becomes later, when increased needs create new social relations and the increased population new needs, a subordinate one..."
My thesis in this comradely critique is that the mode of reproduction (in the broad sense, including, but not limited to social institutions called "the family") of human beings remains, throughout human
history, equally fundamental with the mode of production in shaping society. This is true even after classes arise, even with the "new social relations" that come with "increased population." For there to be history in the sense of many generations of men and women all of the way up to Marx, Engels and us today, men had to do more than "begin to make other men." Women and men had to complete making next generations by sexually uniting and rearing them for thousands of years. Otherwise history would have ended long ago. We would be an extinct species. An essential characteristic of history is its existence in the "medium" of multiple generations. Thus, with respect to historical materialism, reproduction is as necessary as production. The upshot is women's liberation must be put on the same footing with workers' liberation in the Marxist project.

Not only did Marx and Engels in The German Ideology give reproduction a "subordinate" fundamental status compared with production. They did it by the following sleight of hand: in part population increase or the success of reproduction somehow makes reproduction less important in "entering into historical development" as a "fundamental condition" (or "primary historical relation" in another translation, or "basic aspect of social activity" in another).
This is quite a misogynist dialectic, given that "men" are in the first premise and the third premise, but women only are mentioned explicitly in the latter. It is also an idealist philosophical error, because the theory now tends to abstract from the real social life of individuals in reproduction. Another passage in The German Ideology demonstrates the same sort of magical rather than scientific use of "dialectic" with respect to reproduction, and in this case the impact on the materialist philosophical consistency of their argument is more direct and explicit. They say:

"Only now, after having considered four moments, four aspects of primary historical relations, do we find that man also possesses "consciousness". But even from the outset this is not "pure" consciousness. The "mind" is from the outset afflicted with the curse of being "burdened" with matter, which here makes its appearance in the form of agitated layers of air, sounds, in short, of language. Language is as old as consciousness...language like consciousness, only arises from the need, the necessity, of intercourse with other men...Consciousness is, therefore, from the very beginning a social product, and remains so as long as men exist at all. Consciousness is at first of course, merely consciousness concerning the immediate sensuous environment and consciousness of the limited connection with other persons and things outside the individual who is growing self-conscious... This sheep-like or tribal consciousness receives further development or extension through increased productivity, the increase in needs, and, what is fundamental to both of these, the increase in population. With these there develops the division of labor, which was originally nothing but the division of labor in the sexual act, then the division of labor which develops spontaneously or "naturally" by virtue of natural predisposition (e.g. physical strength, needs, accidents, etc.) Division of labor becomes truly such from the moment when a division of material and mental labor appears. From this moment onwards consciousness can really flatter itself that it is something other than consciousness of existing practice, that it really represents something without representing something real (as the semioticians' signifier is arbitrarily related to what it signifies-C.B); from now on consciousness is in a position to emancipate itself from the world and to proceed to formation of "pure" theory, theology, philosophy, morality, etc."

In this paragraph, we see that Marx and Engels's early formulation and explanation of the origin of what Engels later famously dubbed the fundamental question of philosophy (materialism or idealism?) is rooted in the "second" original division of labor. For some reason, the "first" original division of labor, which gives women equivalent complementary status with men, just disappears and is replaced by a productive division of labor, between "men's" minds and hands. And to make it worse, once again, the "reason" the reproductive division of labor disappears as an ongoing fundamental determinant throughout history is its own success in creating a population explosion. This seems to be an error of substituting a negative and destructive dialectic in thought for what is the most fundamentally positive and fruitful dialectic in human history--reproduction. Here is a key connecting point: then Marx and Engels (whom I love dearly) substitute for the reproductive division of labor a productive division of labor as the fundamentally determining contradiction of historical development. This division of labor, between predominantly mental and predominantly physical labor, becomes the root of development of classes, the importance of which is declared in the first sentence of the Manifesto.
Yet, Marx and Engels commit the same error of abstraction at one level that they criticize at the next level: the error of mental laborers in abstracting from the concrete reality of physical labor. In addition, they keep depending on "population increase", which is another name for reproduction and "the sexual act", to explain the origin of increased "productivity" and "needs". These, in turn, seem to be the "premises" for the division between material and mental labor (and are because of the role of material surpluses in making possible the creation of the class of predominantly mental laborers). Thus, we might say that the original idealist philosophical inconsistency of Marxist materialism is abstraction from reproduction. For a fuller historical materialism, the theories of workers' liberation and women's liberation must be integrated. This may be done on the basis of Marx and Engels's fundamental logic carried out more consistently. Feminism, therefore, is derived from, not added on to, the original premises.

By 1884, with the impact of anthropological studies (and perhaps greater interaction with women in his maturity) in the Preface to the First Edition of The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, Engels says:
"According to the materialistic conception, the decisive element of history is pre-eminently the production and reproduction of life and its material requirements. This implies, on the one hand, the production of the means of existence (food, clothing, shelter and the necessary tools); on the other hand, the generation of children, the propagation of the species. The social institutions, under which the people of a certain historical period and of a certain country are living, are dependent on these tow forms of production; partly on the development of labor, partly on that of the family."
The change in this formulation from that in The German Ideology supports our fundamental thesis in this essay: that reproduction is an equally fundamental, not a subordinate, process with production in shaping society from its origins to modern (and post-modern) times. But Engels's formulation in The Origin is after Marx's death and late in their heroic joint project in developing Marxism. Thus, the main classic writings of Marxism, and Marx and Engels's political activity, focused on production and political economy, not the family and the other institutions of reproduction. The Origin's is the best scientific formulation of the materialistic conception of history, even when we consider that "the family" is, in later stages of history, surrounded by larger social institutions, as asserted in the passage from The German Ideology, quoted above.
Even under capitalism, many of the social relations and institutions that are quantitatively greater then those in the "nuclear" family (See anthropologist G.P. Murdock on the "nuclear" family) are part of reproduction, such as school and training, as well as medical services and recreation. More importantly, reproduction and production have qualitatively different functions, both fundamental in constituting the existence of our species, our species-being. In other words, not only are reproductive relations not quantitatively less important in determining history, but from the beginning, from the true original division of labor as in the sexual act, reproduction has had a qualitatively, necessarily complementary relation with production in creating history. From the standpoint of our uniquely human character (our culture), it might be said that production makes objects and reproduction creates subjects.
Thus, problems in dealing with subjectivity in the history of Marxism (see my "Activist Materialism and the ' End ' of Philosophy") may in part be remedied by rethinking Marxism based on equating and even privileging reproduction over production in interpreting and acting to change the world.
This becomes especially important when we consider that there is now for Marxism a scientific, materialist, truth-seeking and urgent need for intellectual affirmative action in using empirical study of reproduction to re-explain history to compensate for the sole focus on production. Reproduction has always been scientifically coequal, as demonstrated by Marx and Engels's clipped comments and "admissions" quoted previously. They never refute their own words about the importance of reproduction in historical materialist theory. They simply (and uncharacteristically) fail to develop one of their own stated fundamental materialist premises. Living Marxists must creatively redevelop historical materialism based on this compensation.
Dialectical materialism holds that the relationship between subject and object is dialectical, of course. It is "vulgar" materialism that portrays the subject as one-sidedly determined by the object. Reproduction and production are complementary opposites, and their unity in struggle is the fundamental motive force of history today as in ancient times.
However, when I say "reproduction creates subjects", I mean reproduction in a broader sense than only sexual conception and birth. Reproduction includes all child-rearing, from the home through all school and any other type of training. It is all "caring labor" as defined by Hilary Graham in "Caring: A Labour of Love" (1983). Reproduction is all of those labors that have, as a direct and main purpose, making and caring for a human subject or personality as contrasted with those labors of production which have as a direct purpose making objects useful to humans. Reproduction includes affirmative self-creation.
A wikipedia item gives a fuller definition of what I call "caring labor".
"Care work is a sub-category of work that includes all tasks that
directly involve care processes done in service of others. Often, it
is differentiated from other forms of work because it is intrinsically
motivated, meaning that people are motivated to pursue care work for
internal reasons, not related to money.[1] Another factor that is
often used to differentiate caring labor from other types of work is
the motivating factor. This perspective defines care labor as labor
undertaken out of affection or a sense of responsibility for other
people, with no expectation of immediate pecuniary reward.[2] Despite
the importance of this intrinsic motivation factor, care work includes
care activities done for pay as well as those done without
Specifically, care work refers to those occupations that provide
services that help people develop their capabilities, or their ability
to pursue the aspects of their life that they value. Examples of these
occupations include child care, all levels of teaching (from preschool
through university professors), and health care of all types (nurses,
doctors, physical therapists and psychologists).[3] Care work also
includes the array of domestic unpaid work that is often
disproportionately done by women.[4]
Often, care work focuses on the responsibilities to provide for
dependents--children, the sick, and the elderly.[5] However, care work
also refers to any work done in the immediate service of others,
regardless of the recipient's dependent or nondependent status.
Care work is becoming a popular topic for academic study and
discussion. This study is closely linked with the field of feminist
economics and is associated with scholars including Nancy Folbre,
Paula England, Maria Floro, Diane Elson, Caren Grown and Virginia
Under capitalism with alienation, production's impact in making subjects is primarily "negative" or indirect. Conversely, reproduction indirectly makes objects, in the sense that the subject, the human laborer, who is the direct and "positive" purpose of reproduction, is the possessor of labor power, the active factor making objects in production (directly).
Production makes objects; reproduction creates subjects. This conception of reproduction is consistent with Marx's basic reasoning in Capital. In his famous development of the concept of the labor theory of value (beyond Adam Smith and Ricardo) and surplus value, he asserts that human labor is the only source of new value in the production process. The human laborer and the means of production (tools and raw materials) all add exchange value to a commodity. But the means of production add no more value to the commodity than the values added to them by a previous human laborer in the production of the means of production. The human labor power is the only element in the process that can add more value to the commodity than the values that went into producing the labor power itself. The labor of a worker in one-half day (or now one-quarter of a day) produces enough value to pay for the necessities creating the worker's labor power for a full day's work. The value produced by the worker in the second half of the day is the surplus value exploited by the capitalist. The creation of the worker's labor power is done in reproduction, in the broad sense we have been using that concept here. Thus, reproduction is the "only source" of the only source of new value. Subjectivity is the "source" of the unique ability (over the means of production) of the human component in the production process to produce more value than went into producing it.
Subjectivity is the source of a sort of Marxist "mind over matter." Reproduction is the source of subjectivity. In relation to the discussion of the primacy of reproduction as the original division of labor (as Marx and Engels said) over the division of predominantly material and predominantly mental labor, we might deduce that it was (and is) within reproduction that the mind and matter are non-antagonistically related as opposites (when "men" were simultaneously theoreticians in their practice as mentioned in "The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844").
Sociology and common experience teach that historically, women have been the primary reproductive laborers - from childrearing to housework, from elementary and high school teaching to nursing. Beyond pregnancy, women's "assignment" to reproductive roles is historically and ideologically caused, not biologically or genetically caused or necessary (see, for example, Not in Our Genes, by Richard Lewontin, et al.). But as a result, women are, historically, an exploited and oppressed reproductive class, whose defining labor is as fundamental to our material life as that of the productive laborers on whom Marx and Engels focused. Thus, the materialist conception of history and the new Red Feather Manifesto, must be modified, and women's liberation put on equal footing with workers'(women's and men's) liberation in the Marxist project. It is especially incumbent on male Marxists to be and to be known as champions of feminism.
Charles Brown is a political activist in Detroit, Michigan. He has degrees in anthropology, and is a member of the bar. His favorite slogan is "All Power to the People!"

  • The Dialectics and Materialism of Reproduction:
    The relationship between systems of reproduction and modes of production is probably the least developed and understood aspect of historical materialism. The reason Marxism is a real social science and not a faux bourgeoisie social science is its starting point, the basic biological processes of production and reproduction. The two systems are complementary and produce/reproduce not only the surplus the ruling classes live off of, but also the working classes who produce the surplus. How the two systems intersect is what produces exploited and oppressed social classes. This is true of women who experience double exploitation, once as workers and again as subordinate members of hierarchal and patriarchal systems of reproduction. The author speculates on why the greater emphasizes on production over reproduction. But it is more imperative that Marxists work for systems of reproduction that advance women’s/worker’s liberation. The Manifesto proclaims Marxist intentions to radically change the world. But the focus is on radically transforming bourgeoisie politics and economics. Socialism will replace capitalism. A real worker’s democracy will replace bourgeoisie democracy. Then why not also proclaim the future of the family, marriage, inheritance and other institutions of reproduction to be gender equality? The bourgeoisie wants to hold as sacred monogamous patriarchy. They accuse communists of wanting to replace patriarchy and fantasize about what will replace it. Engels, from the research of the American anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan, concludes the origins of the family begin with matriarchy not patriarchy (see E.E.W. Clay’s comments below.) So why are exploitive systems of patriarchy so sacred? Faux bourgeoisie social science has these kinds of built in class prejudices. 19th century bourgeoisie intellectuals, namely Malthus and Ricardo, had nothing but contempt for assumed working class reproductive and sexual behavior. Malthus rejected the poor laws, a living wage, and charity/welfare for the underclasses, and he insisted their numbers be held down with the ‘positive checks’ of war, disease, hunger because these classes lacked ‘moral restraints.’ Are these not the same whacky arguments of 21st century Right-Wing conservatives? Communists should proclaim a future of gender equality in both spheres of production and reproduction and forever end exploitive class divisions. NT
    Posted by Nat Turner, 08/07/2014 10:17am (3 days ago)
  • The present writer logged a lengthy comment yesterday, that now seems "lost in cyberspace" (however it did, before its lost, appear in the RSS feed).
    As written in that comment, brother Charles Johnson has a logical point in many ways, his premise solid.
    As also written there, we can all agree on his conclusion that:
    "It is especially incumbent on male Marxists to be and to be known as champions of feminism."
    So much so, we must fight for female male equality and in sharing drudgery in domestic, subjective and reproductive work, including child care, as pointed out by brother Brown.
    In the middle of Brown's essay he writes: "For a fuller historical materialism, the theories of workers' liberation and women's liberation must be integrated. This may be done on the basis of Marx and Engel's fundamental logic carried out more consistently. Feminism, therefore, is derived from, not added on to, the original premises."
    Origen of the Family, named in Brown's essay, developed from the work of American anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan-and the genius of Karl Marx-it is part of the original premise-along with Engel's The Part Played by Labor in the Transition from Ape to Man, both of which place labor (not sexuality) as the touchstone to the historical process that is historical materialism. In this process, matrilineal descent and matrilocal property were discovered as historical fact.
    "Labor Omnia Vinci", which is why we will continue to see the bold and genius leadership of a Elizabeth Flynn, a Claudia Jones, a Shirley Graham Du Bois, and an Angela Yvonne Davis.
    To take from Sterling Brown's poem "Strong Men"-Strong women, "keep coming".
    As our W. E. B. Du Bois would say, women are men-despite men's self absorption and male God(gods), our self-debasement as men-as we condone oftentimes, the failing attempt to exploit and oppress women.
    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 07/30/2014 11:07am (11 days ago)

Marx did write the following in 1844: "In the approach to woman as the spoil and hand-maid of communal lust is expressed the infinite degradation in which man exists for himself, for the secret of this approach has its unambiguous, decisive, plain and undisguised expression in the relation of man to woman and in the manner in which the direct and natural species-relationship is conceived. The direct, natural, and necessary relation of person to person is the relation of man to woman. In this natural species-relationship man’s relation to nature is immediately his relation to man, just as his relation to man is immediately his relation to nature – his own natural destination. In this relationship, therefore, is sensuously manifested, reduced to an observable fact, the extent to which the human essence has become nature to man, or to which nature to him has become the human essence of man. From this relationship one can therefore judge man’s whole level of development. From the character of this relationship follows how much man as a species-being, as man, has come to be himself and to comprehend himself; the relation of man to woman is the most natural relation of human being to human being. It therefore reveals the extent to which man’s natural behaviour has become human, or the extent to which the human essence in him has become a natural essence – the extent to which his human nature has come to be natural to him. This relationship also reveals the extent to which man’s need has become a human need; the extent to which, therefore, the other person as a person has become for him a need – the extent to which he in his individual existence is at the same time a social being."


By Frank Chapman, Field Secretary

Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression

The murder of Eric Gardner in New York this past week brings to mind how lynching as a method of social control and a weapon of political reaction is still alive and still perpetrated in the name of law and order and maintaining racial oppression. Look at the white vigilante groups on the border threatening violence to Mexican children, and look at the wanton, senseless murder of African Americans and Latinos by the police in our cities and you can clearly see that lynching is the heart-beat of reactionary, racist politics in this land. We see racist attitudes everywhere from blatant racist attacks against President Obama to blaming African American and Latino families for inner city violence to vigilante murder of black children to the sidewalk murder of Eric Gardner by a gang of white police officers. Lynching is traditionally defined as the extra-judicial murder of someone by mob action.
Historically, in the South, lynching has always been the result of the actual or perceived loss of white privilege and is associated with the re-imposition of white supremacy after the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. In the Northeast and West lynching was used against U.S. and foreign born workers (remember Joe Hill) to keep them from organizing unions for better pay and working conditions. The San Francisco Vigilance Movement often mounted mob violence against the Irish, Chinese and Mexican communities.
Also black and white civil rights workers were lynched in the South during the 1960s. According to the Tuskegee Institute 3,446 African Americans and 1,297 whites were lynched between 1882 and 1968. In the same period about 200 anti-lynch bills were introduced into Congress and only three passed in the House of Representatives. None passed in the Senate. June 13, 2005 the United States Senate apologized for its failure to enact an anti-lynching law. With a voice vote of 80 senators the U.S. Senate passed a resolution formally apologizing for its failure to pass an anti-lynch bill when it was most needed. The resolution expressed, in part, “…the deepest sympathies and most solemn regrets of the Senate to the descendants of victims of lynching, the ancestors of whom were deprived of life, human dignity and the constitutional protections accorded all citizens of the United States.”
What has happened in the last nine years since this Senate Resolution of a formal apology? Police and vigilantes have continued to kill African Americans and Latinos with impunity and the federal government has not taken any consistent actions to stop this new style lynching by the police. Since 9/11, 5000 people have been killed by the police (compare this with the 4,743 lynched between 1882 and 1968) and needless to say they have been disproportionately people of color.
Randall Kerrick, a Charlotte, N.C. police officer, earned infamy in September, 2013 when he shot Jonathan Ferrell, 24, a former Florida A&M football player, 10 times in the middle of the night. Ferrell had crashed his car in what police called "a pretty serious accident," and he was reportedly seeking help while in distress. After a nearby homeowner called police, Ferrell staggered toward the officers who arrived on the scene. That's when Kerrick shot the man. Again: 10 times. January this year a grand jury refused to indict Kerrick for murder.
But the situation with Eric Gardner, the young man just killed by a gang of police in Staten Island in broad daylight, the case cited above and the police killing of a 16 year child in Chicago over the July 4th weekend are not isolated incidents or occasional breakdowns in the system. There is a definable racist pattern and we see it clearly when we look at the stats. For example, from 2009 to 2013 there were 267 police shootings. 75.3% of those shot were African American. (These figures are taken from Independent Police Review Authority reports here in Chicago).
The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression has launched a campaign for an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) and I submit that this CPAC campaign is in reality the equivalent of an anti-lynch campaign. We say this because the police and vigilantes are operating under the color of state laws to do the same thing that lynch mobs did and often with the same racist fervor. In point of fact when George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin he (Zimmerman) was supported by a white racist mob organized by right wing extremist that raised nearly a million dollars for his defense fund.
In the period January 1, 2009 to June 30, 2014 there have been 86 people killed by Chicago police officers acting under the color of law. They (the people killed) were among the more than 294 people shot by police officers. African Americans were 78.1 per cent of the shooting victims and Latinos were 13.2 per cent, while 7.1 percent were white.
Police crimes of murder and torture have been made acceptable police practices in spite of the public outrage against them. The politicians and the fraternal order of police justify these lynch like tactics by criminalizing the entire African and Latino communities. All people of color are suspects.
If we are to avoid morphing into a fascist state then we must stop this present state of siege in our communities by fighting for community control of the police. Police repression is an integral part of racial oppression and that is why people of color can’t just call for the police to police the police or for federal intervention. The best intervention is the democratic intervention of the masses and that is why we must fight for a Civilian Police Accountability Council that will be elected by the residents of any given police district. This elected body would not be a police review board but a police control board.

Ted Nugent is standing up to the liberal America-haters! For the lying...

Monday, July 28, 2014

I'll tell you what's not American: Not respecting Majority rule .

Charles Brown: I'll tell you what's not American. Not respecting majority rule. 
 That's the definition of American democracy. When you lose, you don't act like a poor loser, because it's unAmerican. Obama won two AMERICAN majority votes for President, and the unAmerican Republicans will not obey the will of the majority of American voters; keep trying to prevent the majority elected President from carrying out Presidential duties and responsibilities.
 Not respecting majority rule is unAmerican , but actually Republicans have been stealing rule from Democrats since the Ken Starr special prosecutor was allowed to fly; Then Bush stole two elections from the majority

So, the US has had growing minority rule for twenty years.

Nicole Rigano I had to do it after 9/11, when my husband got so desperately tired of my Bush-bashing. He has since seen the light, although I STILL think it was patriotic of me to zip my lip in a time like the days following 9/11 (on the one hand, at least).
The very LEAST the right could do is quit trying to undermine our country, our president, our very unity and appreciation of our system.
Charles Brown I hear you on the post- 9/11 days, Nicole Rigano. Boy were those the political dog days

Republicans Still Holding Up Virtually All Obama Appointments

| Wed Jul. 30, 2014 1:52 AM EDT
Jonathan Bernstein notes today that although filibuster reform has technically given Democrats the ability to confirm any executive branch appointment, in practice Republicans can still tie up the Senate by insisting on lengthy parliamentary delays for every nominee. And that's what they're doing:
Senate Republicans continue to impose an across-the-board virtual hold on every executive branch nomination....Republican foot-dragging has created a backlog of more than 100 nominees, almost none of whom are controversial, and some of whom have been waiting since January for Senate floor action.
....I understand that Republicans are upset about the Democrats' filibuster reform. It has robbed them of leverage over nominations — even if it's entirely their own fault for having abused that leverage. But Republicans aren’t harming Senate majority leader Harry Reid by blocking nominations. They’re harming the functioning of the U.S. government. (Perhaps it might be nice to have ambassadors appointed in a few important nations?) And they are needlessly, cruelly, messing with people’s lives. On top of all that, they’re eliminating the leverage of individual Senators. As Ted Cruz (maybe) just learned, there’s no point putting an individual hold on a nomination that is already being held up by the entire Republican caucus.
And why? For the sake, as far as I can tell, of a tantrum.
Pretty much. But this is what they've been doing all along. The point of filibustering everything and everyone has never been just to prevent a few objectionable candidates from being confirmed. It's been to tie up Senate floor time and disrupt even the routine functioning of a federal government that's under Democratic control. Even with filibuster reform they can still do that, so why should they stop now? A broken government is nothing but good news for Republicans.
Bernstein says in another post today that he's tired of hearing about political polarization. It's not really anything new, after all. That's true enough, and this is a good example. It's not a case of polarization, it's just a straightforward case of assholery. There's no principle or ideology behind this, they're merely causing dysfunction for the sake of causing dysfunction. Welcome to the modern GOP.

The question remains: Why do Republicans come back, over and over, to...

    Welfare is Patriotic; Wall Street is a political institution.

     What is the purpose of America ?

    Spending gov'ment money on welfare is one of the Purposes of America as spelled out in
    our Constitution's Preamble and Powers of Congress.

      We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

      It's anti-American to oppose Welfare spending.
    Unpatriotic , as in opposed to the Founding Fathers' vision of what
    the Gov'mnt is supposed to do.

    So, the Welfare spending Obama has done
    is Patriotic.


     Not only that , as has been well known since the teachings of the famous economist, John Maynard Keynes, welfare spending helps "the" economy, that is the economy as a whole,because it increases
    mass effective demand. The deficit and debt are red herring issues. A
    national budget is _not_ like a household budget. This is
    fundamentally economically incorrect. The ratio of fed gov'mnt debt to
    GDP in the early fifties was very high, in historical terms and it led
    to what is now considered a Golden Age economically the 1950's to the
    late 60's. The tax rate on the 1% of that era was very high; the
    highest rate was 90%. High taxes on the rich and high gov'mnt spending
    are recommended by American history.

    Further more , this is a private enterprise system. The main decisions
    that determine booms and busts in the business cycle, recoveries and recessions,
     are the decisions
    of the private corporations ,not the gov'mnt, not the President and

    It is not the economy ,stupid. Rather it is not the President, but 
    the 1% as a class that run "the" economy.

     Even George Bush is not mainly responsible for the economic crash.
    Wall Street is. GM and Chrysler's , and other private company
    decisions put Michigan into one state recession for many years
    starting from the early 2000's That wasn't determined by the policies
    of Bush or Engler; and I am not a fan them. This is not a gov'mnt
    controlled economy, so gov'mnt can't be made the main target of
    criticism's regarding the Great Recession and high unemployment. Thus,
    the Occupy Wall Street protests at the correct  location in protesting the
    private enterprise symbolic center.

    Wall Street is our dominant political institution 

    Sunday, July 27, 2014

    ...until money made with money is taxed higher than money made by one selling one’s labor.

    "Not a thing will get better in the USA until money made with money is taxed higher than money made by one selling one’s labor.
    Mitt Rmoney, and everyone like him paid at 13.8% in 2011 as they did in 2010, 2009 etc., and it continues that money made with money is consistently taxed at a far lower rate than money made by selling one’s labor.
    Some people call for money made with money to be taxed equally as money made by working for a salary, but in truth, money made by selling one’s labor to another is far harder to earn than money made by phoning or emailing one’s broker or hedge fund manager, so.....
    Money made with money should be taxed at a far Higher rate than money made by money.
    I repeat, in the single year of 2011, Rmoney paid 13.8% federal tax on 30 MILLION DOLLARS INCOME.
    A teacher or cop or fireman paid about 30% on 60K, if they made that much.
    If that equation does not radically change, then all your politics and campaigns and “progressive” heros don’t amount to shit"


    Friday, July 25, 2014

    want a sign for TONY TRUPIANO send your name and address to

    Tony is delivering signs today, Friday, in the late afternoon, so if you are in Southgate, Allen Park and North or South Dearborn Heights and want a sign, send your name and address to and He'll bring one by.
    Photo: I am delivering signs today in the late afternoon, so if you are in Southgate, Allen Park and North or South Dearborn Heights and want a sign, send your name and address to and I'll bring one by. No time like the present.  If you know people in these communities, please pass this along. This may be the last time I have to deliver signs personally, so let me know today if possible.  Signs are limited as well.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

    Mark Schauer would end Michigan’s Emergency Manager system

    Mark Schauer
    Democratic candidate for Michigan Gov. Mark Schauer is seen before President Barack Obama speaks at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., on Feb. 7, 2014.
    Carlos Osorio/AP

    Mark Schauer would end Michigan’s Emergency Manager system

    DETROIT - By any objective measure, the state of Michigan has been economically transformed under the tenure of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. City agencies and entire school districts have been outsourced or privatized; public employees have been laid off in droves; municipalities have sold off vast swaths of public land; and city employee unions have seen their contracts whittled down to nothing. All of this was accomplished in the space of three and a half years. Michigan’s Emergency Manager system is what made it possible.
    Under Public Act 4, which Gov. Snyder approved shortly after taking office in 2011, the state has the authority to place cash-strapped cities and school districts under the stewardship of Emergency Managers (EMs). A city’s EM has the power of the mayor and the city council combined, and then some; they’re even allowed to unilaterally rewrite public union contracts. Essentially, placing a city under emergency management suspends the powers of its elected officials and invests all that authority in a single, un-elected figure. The system has been described as “financial martial law,” and it is the force behind Detroit’s recent bankruptcy negotiations, pension cuts and water shutoffs.

    Now Snyder’s Democratic challenger, former congressman Mark Schauer, is promising to undo the EM system. Speaking on Saturday at the liberal conference Netroots Nation in Detroit, Mich., Schauer said that he planned on “restoring democracy” in Detroit if elected governor. In an interview with msnbc, he explained that he intended to scrap the EM law entirely.
    The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd, 7/15/14, 9:01 AM ET

    Can Republicans build a majority that lasts?

    “Look, it provides unlimited power to an un-elected official,” he said. “It sets aside elected officials, collective bargaining agreements, with accountability to only one person, and that’s the governor.”
    Instead of EMs, Schauer says he would like financially stressed cities and school districts to receive “financial transition teams” that would work collaboratively with mayors, city councils, and superintendents. These teams would not act in a purely advisory capacity – Schauer said there would be “accountability measures” baked into the new system – but much of the city’s power would remain in the hands of elected officials, and it is not entirely clear what authority the transition teams would have to impose their will.
    “It’s a consensus revenue estimating approach,” said Schauer. “That would be a tool that would be very helpful to local governments that don’t have the capacity, the forecasting abilities, to really project the kinds of revenues that are going to be coming into that community or that school district. And then part of that process will be to help identify – in a consensus-based way – projected revenues, and then assign financial experts to the local communities or to the school districts to monitor their budgets and stay within those limits.”
    Schauer’s proposal would afford elected officials even more power than they had under the Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) law which preceded the EM law. The state of Michigan established the EFM system in 1990, when Democratic Gov. James Blanchard signed Public Act 72 into law. That bill empowered the state to appoint EFMs who would manage city budgets, although mayors and city councils held onto their authority in other matters. Gov. Snyder’s Public Act 4 turned EFMs into EMs and radically expanded their power. The voters repealed Public Act 4 in a 2012 referendum, after which Michigan quickly reverted back to having an EFM system. But during the winter lame duck session, Gov. Snyder quickly signed a new, slightly modified version of the EM legislation back into law.
    Now Schauer has a decent chance of beating the governor in his 2014 re-election campaign, and undoing emergency management entirely. A recent poll found the Democratic challenger closing in on Snyder, trailing him by just 46% to 43%.
    “This is a governor who’s in trouble,” said Schauer, addressing the polls. “He knows it.”

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014


    1 hr · Edited ·
    If you ever got a grant, lived with your parents on section 8, or grew up in low income housing
    If you ever ate a free lunch in school, got a car for the fact of bridge card, a voucher...or a SRE,,,,,,Dental work or glasses
    Because of your income, got a good fella box, Adopt a Child x-mas gifts growing up!
    If you were even considered for financial aid
    Or had a summer job back in the day!
    • You, Gloria Newton, Jennifer Teed and 19 others like this.
    • Gloria Newton THANK YOU!
      58 mins · Like · 1
    • Tangela Harris Cecily Griffin
    • Keith Smithem Hard times can come to anyone. And some people forget where they came from
      51 mins · Like · 2
    • Divine Black For some the simple PAY YOUR BILL does apply..How you on the news talkin bout your water shut off was inhumane, and you couldnt pay your bill. But while the news is at your crib, your 2 sons sittin on the couch in jordans watchin cable? #fuckouttahere its people that are really struggling, you just got your priorities fucked up.
      45 mins · Like · 1
    • Tangela Harris Yes.....
      I would love for folks to understand we are under mental welfare. Which means everything looks different to everyone. .. you have those who go every day not feeling the pinch.... then you have those who live day by day being stabbed in the g
      ...See More
    • Jon Stewart I hear u Tangela Harris loud and clear. I'm so damn sick of people projecting the welfare queen mentality onto every Detroiter but then have nothing to say about the biggest form of welfare on Earth: CORPORATE WELFARE. And I know there are people who s...See More
      38 mins · Like · 1
    • Tangela Harris THIS IS ALL B.S

      ...See More
      35 mins · Like · 1
    • Roxanne Shenell Sweeney Well then people shouldn't care what each other go through at all. The Jordan's could be a gift, the cable could be's way to getting cut off. Why does it matter so much to people to be in.someone's household when what ever relief is coming, isn't...See More
      26 mins · Like · 1
    • Wendy Neff Girrrllll yaaaaaaaaaassss u have said a mouth full. people don't know that everybody has a story. What about the seniors who have paid their taxes until retirement and can't afford to pay their bills due to limited income(not because they are trying to...See More
      25 mins · Like · 2
      17 mins · Like · 2
    • Tangela Harris They have non... buttt "THEY GOT THERES SO YOU BETTER GET YOURS" NIGGILETS
      17 mins · Like · 2
    • Wendy Neff u better say that Troy
      17 mins · Like · 1
    • Tangela Harris LMAO @ Troy
    • Cicely Griffin Lol...Those are all exceptions, of course, my beautiful black people. I'm talking about the people that had/have the money and just didn't care to have their properties together. Again, I bet every last one of them still has a cell phone currently on ...See More
      12 mins · Like · 1
    • Charles Brown Word, Tangela Harris. Wall Street was trillions behind on its bills, and got bailed out. Why not a few hundred thou for the D water people. #Thexpropriatorsrxpropriated
    • Roxanne Shenell Sweeney Closed minds and close hearts is exactly why this city is falling straight to hell. Why our children playing outside can cost them.their life. it's the mentality of the residents and inhabitants. This situation has shed so much light on not only the water crisis, but the murder crisis, the education crisis, the unemployment crisis. Selfish, non caring, self centered thought processes. It's people out here starving,living in abandoned houses, living without nesscity and we laugh and make jokes, until it's us or our Mother. How in the world can we teach our children to care for other and teach them dignity and integrity when we are continuously divided. One day they don't care about us, the next your blowing there horn for them. Stand up for something other than yourself. Be the first ones mad when one of these 14 year old boys are stealing your shit because they are trying to take something back to their waterless family.The same people so quick to judge and jump to conclusions, are the first ones to be upset when someone puts their business or circumstances on blast. the situation is humiliating enough without your own jumping on the bash the black trash band wagon. It's seriously deplorable and it pisses me off.
      9 mins · Edited · Like · 1
      C' WE MADE IT BY OUR HAIRS. BUT IF YOU GREW UP HOW YOU ARE, ITS PROBABLY BECAUSE YOU GREW UP HOW THEY WERE, OUR GENERATION BARELY MADE IT WITH A NEIGHBOR WHO KNEW THE OTHER! These arent excuses, these are reasons. Some people most have been taught through media and peers that what you have is what is important, we make folks feel if they aint rockin they aint shit.... Allthese women out here choosing beauty over EVERYTHING, try to catch that guy. TRY TO CATCH LOVE..... ALL HUMANS SEARCH AND CRAVE TO THINGS..... LOVE AND HAPPINESS, ,,,, SO WHEN WE SAY ONE IS NOT PRIORITIZING. ... IN WHOS EYES, TO WHOS STANDARDS.... BECAUSE THE CIMMUNITY HOLDS NO ONE ACCOUNTABLE OR TO A STANDARD. AND SOCIETY IS TELLING OUR WOMEN "YOU GO GIRL"
      3 mins · Like · 1
    • Tangela Harris Youra ell rounded individual who had a bomb as set of parents that have had your back. FOREVER. ...children and young adults wake up to shut the fuck up, sit the fuck down, noodles, momma twerkin, dady saggin, gramma doing it to daddy and mom friend while granddaddy molesting the grandson

      • Roxanne Shenell Sweeney I just want to.know how folks who don't contribute to a solution add their unneeded opinion to a problem. Hence your apart of the problem.
      • Roxanne Shenell Sweeney Yes sir @Tony....together we can do great things, not just black people but the financial minority. Whites, Hispanics, Asians, Indians....people. Who know what it's like should have each other's back...even if all they have to offer a cause is a voice ...See More
      • Charles Brown Yep, Individualism, the philosophy of the bourgeoisie, the reflection of bourgeois private property in the minds of the masses. The ruling ideas of all ages are the ideas of its ruling classes. Individualism , indeed, and in many forms and philosophies; self-reliance, independence, even existentialism.
        35 mins · Like · 2
      • Charles Brown We have to get to one for all and all for one, basics.
        34 mins · Edited · Like · 2
      • Waymond Hicks This is becoming a TRAVESTY. Dear folks...especially you Tangela because although I've NEVER met you I can tell that you have a good heart and heartfelt intentions. But it is important to step back and understand the realities. Water IS a right. It rains freely from the sky, it flows without charge or aid from man through the rivers. BUT...when it traverses through a billion dollar infrastructure, is filtered, treated and made safe for drinking and delivered seamlessly to your tap on demand at the turn of your wrist it becomes a SERVICE. The treatment and disposal of sewage and waste, the manpower required to maintain and service these facilities is NOT free. And relative to the cost of delivering that service, even in Detroit where the rates are higher (due in large part to waste and inefficiency and neglect) the cost is STILL reasonable and reasonably affordable when compared to the rest of the world. And certainly superior. When those notices went out on severe delinquencies, nearly 60% paid up or made arrangements immediately. Churches, websites and the Water Board are working with the folks who demonstrate an inablity to pay. And we all understand there is a difference between the inability to pay and the inability to MANAGE your resources so that you CAN pay. If your cellphone bill, you hairstylist and your weekend out is coming first, then you need to pay that water bill or get your water shut off. No one is advocating and there is no profit or joy in shutting folks' water off...and doing so doesn't "profit" any evil corporate interest. The opposite of course is they WANT you to use the service and PAY for it. That's all that folks making the comment mean by that. IF you can pay, then you SHOULD pay. If you cannot, you need to contact the Board and myriad of resources that have popped up to HELP you until you can.
      • Charles Brown It is you who introduce the travesty, Waymond Hicks
      • Andrea's LifechangedAprilsixteenth The citizens own the infrastructure...
      • Andrea's LifechangedAprilsixteenth No notices went out...
      • Waymond Hicks Let me understand your response clearly Mr. Brown. You are saying that it is a travesty for me to suggest that those who are capable of paying and who are NOT should be allowed to continure to recieve a service and that those who cannot should be assisted in the manner the system has set up for them until they are capable of doing so. I am unaware of and have seen no documentation of folks being shut off without any notice of severe delinquency. The citizens "own" the infastructure only as long as the citizens pay to maintain and support it.
      • Charles Brown Water is a human right means that society is responsible to get adequate water to drink and wash to all members of society. If jobs are the way people get money, then society is responsible to get jobs to all, so that they can afford water. If mass unemployment is endemic and inherent in the political economy of the society, then it must pay sufficient welfare for water. Welfare can't be abolished until mass unemployment is abolished. The the world legal position as expressed in the UN charter and conventions.
        10 mins · Like · 1
      • Charles Brown Waymond Hicks first of all it is a travesty for you to claim that this is becoming a travesty referring to what we said before you started talking. You said, " But it is important to step back and understand the realities." If you want to understand the realities, read what we said above, first. We are speaking big truths, so if you are in contradiction with us, you are in big reality trouble, thinking trouble. We are correct.
      • Charles Brown By denying people water, an epidemic could be started. That is big time reality, Waymond Hicks. Really , real reality. The purpose of government in America is to protect the public health, safety and welfare. That's what the courts'opinions say. Those are the objects of the police powers. To deny large numbers of people water is to do harm to the public health and welfare. As Tangela pointed out , GM and Chrysler were bailed out for tens of billions of dollars. What those billions were used to pay for were not "free" either, just like the clean water you refer to. Yet, GM and Chrysler just got the billions . So, in a way, whatever they got _was_ free. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.