Ostensibly, universal voting is the ideal of a free and democratic republic; however, barriers have been placed between many citizens and the ballot box ever since the creation of the United States. Many of these obstacles, such as property ownership and the racially-biased poll tax, have been removed. They are, however, being replaced by voter identification (ID) laws and other voter suppression schemes designed to discourage and prevent many, otherwise eligible voters from participating in elections. Voter suppression takes many forms and—in its aggregate—could allow the election of a president in the November 2016 election who is not the choice of the American People.
The parable is told of the boiling of a frog. If you put it in boiling water the frog will jump out as soon as it feels the heat. But if you put it in cold water that is slowly heated it will not perceive the danger. The warmth feels good. It will slowly relax. As the water warms more and more the frog’s energy will begin to drain and its sense of well-being will increase. The water gets hotter and hotter but the frog begins to fall asleep. By the time the water boils it is too late for the poor frog to take any action at all. The frog perishes in the boiling water, cooked to death. (A metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of threats that arrive gradually.)
with Abby Martin
teleSUR English on Feb 26, 2016
On May 13, 1985, one of the most shameful, horrific attacks ever by U.S. police took place in West Philadelphia. 11 people—including five children—were killed in a deliberate massacre. A racist and political attack on a radical community group known as the MOVE Organization, city and police officials were revealed to have intentionally set their home ablaze, let the fire rage, and violently kept escaping men, women and children trapped inside.
Originally published May 6, 2008
From the SPGB’s 1998 pamphlet, From Capitalism To Socialism… how we live and how we could live (pdf)
Socialism can only be established when a great majority of workers understand and want it. It would be absurd for a minority of conscious socialists to try to take over power and impose the new system on an unwilling majority. Such a strategy would certainly fail, with the armed forces, controlled by the majority-backed government, being used to defeat the rebels. The idea is heroic fantasy at best and would lead to a bloody tragedy at worst. And even if such a method of ‘revolution’ were successful-if a determined minority should seize political power in an attempt to introduce socialism on behalf of the working class-there would be no prospect of it resulting in a socialist society. It would not be possible to run a society in which everybody contributed co-operatively according their abilities and took freely according to their needs unless the great majority of people understood the arrangement and wanted it. It would not be possible to establish and maintain a society based upon conscious democratic control unless the great majority were prepared to exert that democratic control. If the population did not want to participate in social decision-making and were prepared to leave it to a particular minority, that minority would be forced to become the exclusive decision makers themselves and would eventually become a new ruling class. But in the final analysis, the very fact that a minority wanted it would show that they did not understand the full implications of socialism themselves, and so were not really socialists. Continue reading
In any country in which a model of worker cooperation or self-management (in which enterprises are run collectively and with an eye on benefiting the community) is the predominant model, there would need to be regulations to augment good will. Constitutional guarantees would be necessary as well. Some industries are simply much larger than others. In a complex, industrialized society, some enterprises are going to be much larger than others. Minimizing the problems that would derive from size imbalances would be a constant concern.
with Chris Hedges
TheRealNews on Feb 23, 2016
In this episode of teleSUR’s Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein lay out the solutions to issues like economic inequality and climate change, and explain the need for sustained civil disobedience and a unified grassroots movement.
The passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin “Nino” Scalia evoked widespread commentary about how outspoken he was both on the Court and at law schools and other forums where he often lectured and sometimes tangled with audiences. Knowing of Justice Scalia’s unusual expressiveness for a jurist, my colleague Robert Weissman and I wrote him a challenging letter in 2006, starting with these words: Continue reading
It was one of our team’s weirder investigative discoveries: The recently departed Justice Antonin Scalia— alev ha shalom — in 2011, was ticketed for recklessly driving his black BMW.To his family, I offer condolences. To my readers, I offer the facts. A man’s soul must be laid to rest, but history must not be buried as well, especially now that the Justice’s passing has become grounds for stories that border on historical obscenity, cf. the New York Times, “Liberal Love for Antonin Scalia.”
As Americans are once again suffering through a barrage of nonstop negative political advertising during yet another “hold your nose and vote” election cycle, they yearn, desperately, for things to be different. Featuring a host of lackluster candidates pushing misleading issues, the 2016 presidential election is up for grabs. Stocks, bonds, commodities, and currency markets around the world are weakening. Odds are that America’s relentless “War on Terrorism” overseas will again flashback to the homeland, and there is an increasing certainty that humanity is experiencing a devastating change in the climate. All of this poses a grave threat to the continuation of the United States as a free and democratic republic. Will the new president—whoever she or he is—be capable of resolving these dangerous issues and preserving the Constitution? What should Americans demand of all political candidates, and what should be their qualifications?
with Chris Hedges
TheRealNews on Feb 15, 2016
In this episode of teleSUR’s Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges and Green Party candidate Jill Stein diagnose the problems plaguing US politics, highlighting the dysfunction of a two-party system dominated by corporate interests.
The US-led NATO alliance is dispatching warships to the Mediterranean to allegedly help ease Europe’s refugee crisis. However, a closer look at the naval vessels in the NATO mission shows that this is no refugee rescue attempt – but rather a full-on war mobilization.
The salutary rule of private life that one should not speak poorly of the dead does not properly apply to public persons who we know only through their public deeds. When they choose to lead a political life, which is the only capacity in which we have occasion to know them, and have had an overwhelmingly perverse influence on the course of public affairs, honest historical judgment should not be suspended or falsified for inappropriate application of rules that properly pertain to private life. Biographers will weave the personal attributes, the odd-fellow relationships with Justices Ginsburg and Kagan, membership in Opus Dei, assessments of when one person’s flamboyance crossed the line to another’s buffoonish bombast, to make a fuller portrait for those who might care about Antonin Scalia as a person.
with Abby Martin
teleSUR English on Feb 14, 2016
During Black History Month, as the U.S. pays homage to African Americans who have changed the course of history, the establishment shows us a revised version that omits a critical piece: the Black radical political tradition.