Category Archives: Politics

Continuity (455)

As the Trump administration continues to face widespread backlash over its use of tear gas against Central American asylum seekers at the southern border on Sunday, data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has shone a light on just how common the use of tear gas and pepper spray at the border really is.

In a statement sent to Newsweek on Tuesday, the CBP said its personnel have been using tear gas, or 2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS), since 2010, deploying the substance a total of 126 times since fiscal year 2012.

Under President Donald Trump, CBP’s use of the substance has hit a seven-year record high, with the agency deploying the substance a total of 29 times in fiscal year 2018, which ended on September 30, 2018, according to the agency’s data.

https://www.newsweek.com/obama-administration-used-tear-gas-pepper-spray-border-dozens-times-cbp-data-1233255

Cheap Talk (310/415/485)

 

Adolph Reed, professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, talks to the Institute for New Economic Thinking about the elections, race, and economic disparities in America.

Lynn Parramore: As the elections approach, media pundits seem focused on the idea that the country is facing a racist and xenophobic breakdown promoted by Trump and the GOP. The Democrats posit themselves as the answer to this threat. What do you make of this framing?

Adolph Reed: Immediately after Trump’s victory, I was particularly struck by the debate over how to interpret the victory. In my mind, this was always a debate over how to respond strategically and point towards the midterms and 2020.

The debate got condensed around the notion that Trump’s victory shows or has spurred a complete breakdown in the country around race and gender and homophobia and nativism. A lot of scholars have done intellectual work purporting to show that the white vote for Trump in 2016 was a reflection of status anxiety rather than economic anxiety. It boggles my mind that people think that it’s possible to separate the two in a neat way. But the big problem all along for those who wanted to push the white supremacist line is those 7-9 million people who voted for Obama and later for Sanders, then voted for Trump. How does racism explain that?

I had a very sharp and studious black undergraduate student wholly inside a race-first understanding of politics. When I mentioned the white people who had voted for Obama once if not twice who also voted for Trump, his response was, well, of course you can’t say that voting for Obama means that you’re not a racist. I said, yes, that’s true, but by the same token you can’t say that voting for Trump means you are a racist, right? Which they don’t want to accept.

 

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Socialists

…. Under capitalism, we’re forced to enter the market just to live. The libertarian sees the market as synonymous with freedom. But socialists hear “the market” and think of the anxious parent, desperate not to offend the insurance representative on the phone, lest he decree that the policy she paid for doesn’t cover her child’s appendectomy. Under capitalism, we’re forced to submit to the boss. Terrified of getting on his bad side, we bow and scrape, flatter and flirt, or worse — just to get that raise or make sure we don’t get fired.

The socialist argument against capitalism isn’t that it makes us poor. It’s that it makes us unfree. When my well-being depends upon your whim, when the basic needs of life compel submission to the market and subjugation at work, we live not in freedom but in domination. Socialists want to end that domination: to establish freedom from rule by the boss, from the need to smile for the sake of a sale, from the obligation to sell for the sake of survival.

From https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/24/opinion/sunday/what-socialism-looks-like-in-2018.html