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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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484 Responses

  1. SamBarge
    SamBarge October 22, 2012 at 10:14 am |

    I’m not an American, so this is largely academic to me. On the other hand, who Americans elect as their President will affect the rest of the world, so it’s not entirely academic to me.

    Obama is not nearly left-wing enough for me. That being said, I can hardly then look to Romney as a viable option. Obama is financially conservative. Romney is a financial madman. In that equation, Obama wins, hands down.

    But where Obama wins my support (theoretical because I don’t get a vote) is his recognition that women are people too. I would hope that in the 21st century, I wouldn’t have to pick a side based on “who thinks I’m a human being with all the rights attending that fact?” but apparently, I do.

    So, Obama for me.

  2. ashley
    ashley October 22, 2012 at 10:49 am |

    I agree that there are radical differences between Romney and Obama. If I lived in a swing state, I would vote Obama, but my state is deeply, deeply red, so I plan to vote third party.

    1. Mandela Nelson
      Mandela Nelson November 3, 2012 at 5:55 am |

      Please do not do that. We need all the blues to stand up in those red states. I cannot even think of another third party candidate other than Ron Paul. Are you voting for him? That dude is literally an obgyn against the right to choice. He named his son after ayn rand for God’s sakes. I live in Akin’s district so it is a straight Democrat ticket for me! I am starting to think there is no way the Dems can move to the left since the GOP has become increasingly more racist/rapist with no shame. Not to mention their incessant lies. Join us in voting blue in our red states to send a message. Please?

      1. William
        William November 3, 2012 at 9:46 am |

        Yes, because it is the responsibility of every voter to prop up parties which stand against their principles in elections where their votes don’t count.

        Also, before you lecture people on the political process, try to have something resembling an understanding of it. Ron Paul isn’t a third party candidate, he’s a Republican. Each of the three times he has been a member of the US House of Representatives (24 years in total) it has been as a Republican. He ran for president as a Libertarian in 1988, but was a Republican 11 years later when he went back to Congress and has run his last two presidential campaigns as a Republican. Despite people begging him to run as an independent Ron Paul has consistently remained a Republican because he supports the party. You cannot be more of a Republican without digging up Reagan’s corpse for a photo op.

        This election cycle two parties are on enough ballots to be mathematical contenders for president: the Libertarian Party and the Green Party. The Libertarians are offering the former governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson. The Greens are offering Jill Stein. Both are interesting candidates, both would probably do a better no worse job than either Mitt or Barack, neither has a realistic chance at winning, but they’re the third party candidates this time around. In addition there is also the American Theocratic Party Constitution Party offering Virgil Goode, though they don’t even have access to 270 electoral votes, and a host of other parties with with relatively little ballot access.

        1. DonnaL
          DonnaL November 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm |

          Or you could vote for Roseanne Barr, the candidate of the Peace and Freedom Party. But please don’t. It’s a good thing she didn’t get the Green Party nomination, for anyone who wants the Green Party to be taken seriously.

        2. William
          William November 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm |

          Or you could vote for Roseanne Barr, the candidate of the Peace and Freedom Party.

          After the transphobia? Meh.

          Besides, they’re not on the ballot in Illinois.

      2. shfree
        shfree November 3, 2012 at 12:28 pm |

        You know, I remember thinking this exact same thing the first time Clinton ran for office. Then he betrayed all of us on the left with so many of his fucked up policies, that frankly, I can’t ever go back to that way of thinking. So while I’ll hold my nose and vote against a candidate when the stakes are REALLY high if I live in a swing state, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to roll over and symbolically accept the status quo if I don’t have to.

  3. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin October 22, 2012 at 11:07 am |

    I vote in the District of Columbia, which is about 80% Democratic. Though I will vote for Obama on Election Day, DC will go for him regardless of how I cast my ballot. I’ve never lived in a swing state–one only either solidly blue or solidly red.

    There are differences between the two, certainly. But the economy is the most prominent issue, I think. It’s amazing that Obama is even in this race, which only speaks to the weakness of Romney as a candidate. The other issues are important, but some voters are weary of high prices, low salaries, stagnant growth, and high unemployment.

  4. Julia
    Julia October 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm |

    I think Kevin’s comment highlights in part for me what is so deeply troubling about American politics – that votes often don’t matter, because your influence in the election is deeply unequal depending on which state – and which district in that state – you call home. I vote because I want to participate, but I live in Massachusetts and am eternally frustrated that my vote is NOT AT ALL equal to a vote in Ohio, whoever I vote for.

    1. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve October 22, 2012 at 7:35 pm |

      I think Kevin’s comment highlights in part for me what is so deeply troubling about American politics – that votes often don’t matter, because your influence in the election is deeply unequal depending on which state – and which district in that state – you call home. I vote because I want to participate, but I live in Massachusetts and am eternally frustrated that my vote is NOT AT ALL equal to a vote in Ohio, whoever I vote for.

      Think about it though, mathematically your vote counts for more as A) it’s very unlikely that your vote will be the nations decider in a popular vote and B) you would gravitate to the state which appealed most to you in terms of law and therefore you would have more of a say.

  5. Lolagirl
    Lolagirl October 22, 2012 at 12:37 pm |

    The problem is that the voter apathy that often accompanies the disillusionment that one’s vote doesn’t matter (because of local demographics) is that it can actually compound the issue further. Meaning that when too many people go with the throwing my hands up and saying why bother approach it only reinforces the structural issues that led to their who cares mindset.

    I just don’t have much patience with anyone blowing off election day because they are apathetic. Millions of people fought and died to secure our right to vote here in the U.S. Furthermore, millions of people in other countries don’t even get the opportunity to participate in a representative government or the election process so many take for granted here in the U.S. The only way thingscan ever possibly change for the better is if more people take the process seriously and go to cast their votes on election day.

    1. Niall
      Niall October 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm |

      And I get really tired of this sort of pedantic, holier-than-though attitude from voters to those deemed ‘apathetic’ Because it’s these self-righteous types aren’t exactly the champions of the democratic process that they think they are. They’ve somehow got it into their heads that all they have to do is show up at a polling station every four years or so, put a little ‘X’ on a ballot and think they’ve done their democratic duty and their job is done…until next election. I really wonder how many of these people participate directly and get involved with the political parties they claim to support. I don’t know about the U.S, but here in Canada people just don’t get actively engaged in the political process they way they used to; making sure party platforms and policies reflect their wishes.

      Yes, soldiers gave their lives in two world wars to preserve our rights and freedoms. But voting is only one of these and I would argue it’s the least important part of the democratic process. The really important work begins long before the next election, and long after it as well. Too many people have forgotten that.

      1. AnnieD
        AnnieD October 22, 2012 at 4:08 pm |

        I agree with you that democracy begins long before the next election, but all the influence that you might wield because of your participation in debate, support of your party and every petition you sign ultimately depends on how people exercise their vote. It’s alright for one person to be apathetic in a state where they know who will be elected before they are, it’s another for everyone to do the same.

      2. AnnieD
        AnnieD October 22, 2012 at 4:08 pm |

        I agree with you that democracy begins long before the next election, but all the influence that you might wield because of your participation in debate, support of your party and every petition you sign ultimately depends on how people exercise their vote. It’s alright for one person to be apathetic in a state where they know who will be elected before they are, it’s another for everyone to do the same.

      3. Annabelle
        Annabelle October 23, 2012 at 10:55 am |

        Voting is a first step. You can’t expect to convince the “my vote doesn’t matter” crowd to jump right into serious political activism. Voting is comparatively quite easy. And voting leads to learning about the candidates, which leads to learning about issues, which just might lead to caring enough to get personally involved. Voting can be a “gateway drug” to political activism. :-)

        1. EG
          EG October 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm |

          I don’t think that’s a valid generalization. The people I know who didn’t/don’t vote do all kinds of activism including civil disobedience and labor organizing.

        2. April
          April October 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm |

          Yeah, what EG said. Most of the “I’m not voting” folks I know take it to the streets every chance they get. Most of the “YOU MUST VOTE!!” folks I know… don’t.

        3. Niall
          Niall October 23, 2012 at 3:54 pm |

          @April and EG

          YES! That’s exactly the point I’m trying to make; that there’s lot’s of other (and arguably far better) ways to be politically active, like civil disobedience, protests…even blogging is a form of activism. These are the sorts of things that educate and really get the attention of the masses. And then when voting day does come, people will be more informed about the issues, where their party of choice stands, and then they’ll have a better idea of what they’re voting for. I wonder how many of those “shame-on-you-for-not-voting” types do this. I don’t think there are any stats or polls on this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if about half of them go not really knowing much about the issues and the parties.

        4. Mandela Nelson
          Mandela Nelson November 3, 2012 at 6:05 am |

          What good is activism when mitt rmoney is in office making shiz worse that ever before? We could form a clandestine abortion group? Maybe the people who stay at home from protests and still make it to the polls like you know work and raise kids and so they express their caring in different yet important ways. You might not see me at the G12 battle in seattle black friday riots on wall street, but I give a donation to npr and 88.1 kdhx community radio, I volunteer at stray rescue and don’t eat meat? So, what I am trying to say, as your mother, go vote for Obama. It is fine to protest, too, it ya want. And be sure to post vidz 2 ur vlog…

        5. EG
          EG November 3, 2012 at 10:15 am |

          We could form a clandestine abortion group? Maybe the people who stay at home from protests and still make it to the polls like you know work and raise kids and so they express their caring in different yet important ways.

          Yeah, yeah, because everybody knows that activists never work or raise kids. That’s why I don’t exist.

          And clandestine abortion groups save lives. Given that, what is it, 85% of counties in this country don’t have an abortion provider, it would be a pretty fucking helpful thing to do.

    2. EG
      EG October 22, 2012 at 4:11 pm |

      Lolagirl, this is one where we disagree. People have fought and died for lots and lots of things, some of them good, some evil, and some pointless. My state is almost guaranteed to go for Obama; if I can’t make it to the polls on 11/6, that won’t make much difference, and all the rhetoric about rights in the world won’t change that.

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl October 22, 2012 at 8:45 pm |

        I think Andie summed it up pretty well, but my point in no small part is that if enough people throw their hands up and say why bother voting then it most certainly does impact the democratic process in a very negative way. Can we not agree that low voter turnout undermines the democratic process, and that is a bad thing? Furthermore, and as this presidential election is being played up as a very close race, I’m not all that convinced that even conventionally blue or red states are the lock that so many people are currently taking for granted.

        Another, more important issue as I see it is wrt to local elections. Here in Cook County (which is basically Chicago and the inner ring of suburbs) elections traditionally tended to swing Democratic. But recently we have seen a push of Teabagger candidates, especially in the northern burbs, where we also tend to have terribly low voter turnout (10% in the last midcycle election in my smallish town.) Our last mayoral election went to a Teaish candidate, mostly because people assumed that the incumbent had a lock on the election and next to nobody actually showed up to cast a ballot. Now city servies have been slashed and the city council gets nothing accomplished because of the new mayor’s obstructionism. Our local State Rep position is in play and could very well go to a Tea candidate, because again, most people don’t bother to actually show up and vote on election day. It’s much more fashionable in these parts to carry on about how pointless it is to vote and how nothing will ever change then to actually get up off one’s ass and go vote on election day. But when we have gems like Joe Walsh getting voted in by a relatively small pool of voters, can we really be all that surprised by what we end up with?

        1. S.H.
          S.H. October 22, 2012 at 9:43 pm |

          Can we not agree that low voter turnout undermines the democratic process, and that is a bad thing?

          At the risk of beating a dead horse, I’m going to point out again that low voter turnout could be for a number of reasons, such as (not an exhaustive list):

          *Not possessing the proper identification (or at least being led to believe you do not, depending on the state you live in.

          *Being told the wrong information about voting times, dates and places (see AZ and the numerous switcheroos of polling places that happened during the primary).

          *Being threatened by your employer that you could lose your job if you do not vote as they tell you (see Koch Bros, etc).

          *Being forced into endlessly long lines due to multiple page, double-sided ballots with entire referendums printed on them (see FL).

          *Being harassed at the polls by people who have no authority to ask any questions but are determined to intimidate the hell out of voters (see True the Vote).

          *Having a GOP operative throw your registration form in the trash without your knowledge (see VA).

          *Feeling too scared to vote after seeing gigantic billboards threatening you with exorbitant fines and prison time for “voter fraud”.

          *Or (an oldie but goodie) using a highly flawed electronic voting machine (owned by the Romney family).

          Disenfranchisement should be a much bigger concern than alleged voter apathy or voting for who is deemed the “wrong” candidate, but I guess it’s a lot easier to blame others than work to protect everyone’s rights.

        2. Andie
          Andie October 22, 2012 at 10:05 pm |

          Thanks for the credit but that was AnnieD. I’ve been staying out of this one since my knowledge of how the U.S. electoral system is poor enough that I feel somewhat disqualified from commenting.

        3. EG
          EG October 22, 2012 at 11:20 pm |

          Local elections are pretty well worth the trouble–but that’s not what this post is about. It’s about how important it is to vote for Obama. Those are two separate issues.

        4. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl October 23, 2012 at 8:15 am |

          I agree with a lot of that, S.H. But why on earth does anything you said here have to be inconsistent with what I wrote above?

          Low voter turnout happens for a lot of reasons that negatively impact the democratic process. Apathy is one of those reasons. So, what, It’s perfectly fine to not make an effort to remove the barriers to voting that exist for those who are disenfranchised? It’s then ok to just say I give up and not vote at all?

          Because that’s what I’m hearing lots of people in my every day life saying quite frequently, and there are even some overtones of that here. My premise is simply that it is best for our country, on both a local and a federal level, if as many people vote as can possibly do so. How the hell is that an inflammatory or offensive thing to say? And I’m not saying that this is about “vote for the candidate I want.” But I am definitely saying that we end up with shitty representatives (again, I give you Exhibit A, Joe Walsh) in our local and federal offices when next to nobody bothers to vote on election day.

        5. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl October 23, 2012 at 8:20 am |

          Local elections are pretty well worth the trouble–but that’s not what this post is about. It’s about how important it is to vote for Obama. Those are two separate issues.

          EG, they are both interrelated. If (general) you don’t bother to show up on election day to vote because you don’t want to vote for either Obama or Romney you won’t be present to vote in any of your local elections either.

          I know that’s not specifically what you are talking about, but that’s what I’ve been hearing a ton here in Chicago and the burbs. Why bother, this state will go to Obama anyway, what’s the point of even going out to vote at all? That’s what I’m railing against, because it’s how we end up with bad mayors and bad State Reps and bad Congresspeople.

        6. EG
          EG October 23, 2012 at 8:29 am |

          I understand that’s what you’re railing against, but in the context of this post, it’s goalpost-shifting. This post is about how important it is to vote for Obama. It doesn’t say “Even if your vote for president is pointless because of the electoral college and/or you think of Obama as the lesser of two evils, you should still go to vote because local elections are really important and are how the Christian right has amassed so much disproportionate power.” That’s a different post. This post says things like “If you think Obama is the lesser of two evils, you haven’t been paying attention, and Romney will only make the bad things worse.” That’s a different argument, and it’s one that’s rubbing me the wrong way.

        7. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl October 23, 2012 at 8:46 am |

          Fair enough, EG. I’m not attempting to shift the goalposts. Not to get all broken record here, but I guess that I see this is the unmentioned side-effect of people deciding that they won’t bother to vote this cycle because their vote “won’t matter.” It’s especially troubling to me because we are seeing it actually play out in real life around these parts. And it sucks.

          (Also, just to be crystal clear, when I talk about voter turnout I’m referring to actual percentages of registered voters who cast ballots on election day. Not people who are eligible to become registered to vote but are not currently.)

        8. S.H.
          S.H. October 23, 2012 at 11:18 am |

          I agree with a lot of that, S.H. But why on earth does anything you said here have to be inconsistent with what I wrote above?

          I’m frustrated with the general apathy about voter disenfranchisement as opposed to the apathy about the candidates. There’s always going to be some level of apathy for some about the election. But I fear that this time around you’re not going to be able to tell the difference between apathy and disenfranchisement. And that’s the really freaky part to me, a lot of people could be blocked from voting from all these varied barriers in place all over the country, and people are just going to shrug and think it was apathy. It’s a great cover when you think about it.

        9. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl October 23, 2012 at 11:49 am |

          I’m frustrated with the general apathy about voter disenfranchisement as opposed to the apathy about the candidates.

          I definitely hear you on ths issue. It’s odious, and infuriating, and the GOP is doing everything it can to further disenfranchise voters who were already at risk of losing out on election day.

          But I fear that this time around you’re not going to be able to tell the difference between apathy and disenfranchisement.

          Maybe. I think though that is why I have no patience for the apathetic neighbors, friends and family I encounter in my part of the world who are all carrying on about why they aren’t going to bother voting in this election cycle at all. They are all rather privileged, especially in comparison to the people who do actually find themselves on the receiving end of attempts to block them from exercising their voting rights. I just think that’s jerky, to not appreciate the privilege you have and get up off your lazy ass to go vote.

          And then after election season is over they will only belly ache further when things don’t change, or get worse than they already are. Even though they (the other 90% of registered voters in this town) had a chance to go and vote, and they didn’t bother.

        10. Radfem
          Radfem October 24, 2012 at 6:56 pm |

          Amen S.H…It isn’t always apathy at all. Sometimes when they screw with your vote often enough, you just give up. As a poll watcher, I’ve seen all kinds of crap and I can’t blame people for being “apathetic”.

          And yes, many of those who had their votes screwed with did fight for our country and had relatives who fought and died too.

          William, I’ll show up for local elections mostly. In California, doesn’t matter either. It’ll probably go democrat, my county will go Republican. Nothing new. But I have a chance to vote against a mayoral candidate who told his class after showing videos of women speaking at a public meeting that these were the “crazy women” he had to deal with. I’m not pulling a lever for a sexist.

        11. William
          William October 24, 2012 at 10:23 pm |

          William, I’ll show up for local elections mostly. In California, doesn’t matter either. It’ll probably go democrat, my county will go Republican. Nothing new. But I have a chance to vote against a mayoral candidate who told his class after showing videos of women speaking at a public meeting that these were the “crazy women” he had to deal with. I’m not pulling a lever for a sexist.

          A fair point. There are a good number of local elections I’m planning on voting in (although I sadly don’t get to vote against that put Emmanuel this time through). I’m much more confident in local elections, at least in theory, than I am in national elections.

    3. William
      William October 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm |

      I just don’t have much patience with anyone blowing off election day because they are apathetic. Millions of people fought and died to secure our right to vote here in the U.S. Furthermore, millions of people in other countries don’t even get the opportunity to participate in a representative government or the election process so many take for granted here in the U.S.

      I’ll be showing up on election day, but I won’t be casting a ballot for president. I live in Chicago, my vote doesn’t matter. Between the demographic realities of my state and the political realities of widespread corruption I simply cannot harbor the illusion that my vote is necessary, significant, or meaningful. Even as a political act it is inferior to virtually any other form of political engagement I might choose. There is even a good argument to be made that by not voting I’ll make a larger political statement so long as I’m willing to say in public what I did.

      So, come November, I’ll show up. I’ll vote in local elections that seem to matter. I’ll refuse to vote in the inevitable spate of uncontested elections stocked with people who know the right people. I’ll vote against judge retention. I’ll vote against the local politicians I have a particular problem with. But I’ll do so largely with the knowledge that it doesn’t matter and that I’m going through the motions.

      I’ll also do it knowing that, on the issues I really care about, nothing will change. National politicians will continue to be hostile to the rights of the accused, they’ll continue to rattle their sabres, they’ll continue to support any expansion of federal authority thats offered to them, and they’ll continue to cozy up to any special interest with a checkbook. Local politicians will continue to be utterly corrupt and self serving. In my particular area reproductive rights will be given great deference (though not as much as I would like) while I’ll have to write checks to private lobbying groups so that gun rights can be fought for in court against municipalities who fight using my tax dollars knowing they’ll lose. The police will continue to be monsters, a ruinous drug war will continue to eviscerate communities and waste more dollars than we spend on social programs. The connected will do what they want.

      I know there isn’t much of a point, but I’ll show up out of habit. Hoo-fucking-ray.

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl October 22, 2012 at 9:04 pm |

        I’ve discussed much of my disagreement with you above but this:

        I’ll vote against judge retention.

        is really nonsensical. I’m guessing you have zero experience with the Cook County Court system. Do us all a favor, the Chicago Bar Association reviews all the judge’s up for retention prior to each election and publishes a really solid guide to who should or should not be retained. Go online and check it out, print it up and take it with you on election day. This is not some throwaway, our judges do a lot of important work, and if you ask most attorneys who actually do litigation on a regular basis they will tell you it’s actually pretty dumb that we elect our circuit court judges instead of having them appointed anyway.

        1. William
          William October 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm |

          Thanks for the heads up. I always like more information but, in the end, I just don’t find it a terribly illuminating document, given that roughly half of the “not qualified” determinations are the result of not filling out the survey, that the overwhelming majority of judges are listed as “qualified,” and really only one judge was listed as “not qualified” because of anything they had actually done on the bench. Call me a cynic but I find it difficult to believe that any judge in this area has their hands so clean. The reason why I vote against judge retention is that, in general, I feel that our court system is deeply corrupt and unjust. If a lifetime of no votes results in even one judge going a little while without a paycheck it will have been worth it. Otherwise I will have wasted my time.

          Its not a terribly rational decision, I’ll give you that, but neither is participating in the voting process as a Chicago resident.

        2. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl October 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm |

          Call me a cynic but I find it difficult to believe that any judge in this area has their hands so clean. The reason why I vote against judge retention is that, in general, I feel that our court system is deeply corrupt and unjust. If a lifetime of no votes results in even one judge going a little while without a paycheck it will have been worth it. Otherwise I will have wasted my time.

          Yeah, no. I’ve dealt with probably 75% of the judges seated in Cook County at this point in my career, and I can tell you that you are quite wrong in your assumption. Of that 75% maybe 3 or 4 of them were bad judges, and only one of them seemed to be on the take. For the most part, the judges I’ve encountered and worked with are all intelligent, well educated and hard working men and women with a great deal of integrity, who take their jobs and their authority very seriously.

          It’s really not a glamorous job, sitting in 26th and California, the Juvenile Center, the Daley Center, or possibly worst of all, in the Branch Courts, day in and day out and dealing with dockets, daily calls, and trials, etc. It’s true that Chicago and Cook County have a history of corruption, but I think that people who are on the outside have an overly inflated idea of the continued existence of that corruption, quite honestly.

        3. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl October 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm |

          Sorry, I mean to type 75% of judges in the Civil Division, not overall in Cook County.

          Bad typing, I apologize.

        4. William
          William October 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm |

          Yeah, no. I’ve dealt with probably 75% of the judges seated in Cook County at this point in my career, and I can tell you that you are quite wrong in your assumption.

          I won’t argue because I haven’t the experience to. That said…when I said “hands clean” I wasn’t just talking about graft. I’m sure there are plenty of cops in Chicago who’ve never taken a bribe, that doesn’t mean I’d trust any of them or bother to call 911 if I saw gang bangers chasing a badge.

          The judges are part of a system that I feel is broken. Whether they’re good at their jobs or particularly honest within their system is kind of irrelevant to me. They’re still part of the PIC, they’ve still probably sent people off to jail to be raped for drug offenses, and I’ll still vote against their retention in the vain hope that my vote helps to interrupt their lives somewhat.

          Like I said, its not rational and might not be productive but voting in this County isn’t really so much about public participation as it is about pretending you have some kind of agency so you don’t vomit.

        5. chava
          chava October 24, 2012 at 7:42 pm |

          that doesn’t mean I’d trust any of them or bother to call 911 if I saw gang bangers chasing a badge.

          Err, William, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt on that one and assume you didn’t think that word choice through. because otherwise it sounds like you’re dandy letting a female (or male) policemen get raped, because they deserve it.

        6. William
          William October 24, 2012 at 10:17 pm |

          Err, William, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt on that one and assume you didn’t think that word choice through. because otherwise it sounds like you’re dandy letting a female (or male) policemen get raped, because they deserve it.

          Is “gang banger” not a universal term for “active gang member?” I was under the impression that it was basically common use. If its a Chicago thing (although I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it used elsewhere) I apologize for the confusion.

        7. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm |

          Letting them get beaten or murdered, if not raped, isn’t much better.

        8. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl October 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm |

          that doesn’t mean I’d trust any of them or bother to call 911 if I saw gang bangers chasing a badge.

          JFC, I don’t care what kind of disrespect you have for authority, turning a blind eye like that to someone potentially being injured, raped, or killed is disgusting and deplorable. I hope you are not now nor never will be my neighbor, you clearly have no sense of humanity or compassion.

        9. William
          William October 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm |

          Baglesan

          Letting them get beaten or murdered, if not raped, isn’t much better.

          Not all forms of violence are justified, that doesn’t mean that no form of violence is justified. I’ve a shortage of fucks when it comes to people who are paid to use violence to oppress others suddenly finding themselves getting what they’ve built a career giving to others.

          JFC, I don’t care what kind of disrespect you have for authority, turning a blind eye like that to someone potentially being injured, raped, or killed is disgusting and deplorable.

          I wouldn’t turn a blind eye to a rape, nor would I turn a blind eye to violence against a random person on the street or a member of my community. A cop being beaten or murdered, though…don’t sign up to be a soldier if you aren’t prepared to be shot at, you know? I owe absolutely nothing to a group of people who prey upon my community and have done significant violence to myself, both of my parents, three out of four of my grandparents, at least two of my great grand parents, half of my cousins, my sister, numerous friends, and on and on.

          I get it, you’ve experience with the courts. You don’t find the CPD repellent. You have some faith in the system in this shithole we call home. I’m glad its worked for you, but for some of us its just the enforcement of violence and abandonment of anything vaguely resembling justice. Maybe I’d feel different if my rapist had been seriously pursued. Maybe if could count on one hand the number of racial slurs I’ve heard out of cop’s mouthes. Maybe I’d feel differently if I’d never been outright threatened with being dumped at 26th and Cal to be raped after I’d asked for a badge number. Maybe I wouldn’t, though. They did fucking gas both of my parents during a peaceful protest, after all. Sorry if you find that disgusting and deplorable. Enjoy the privilege, I hope it lasts for you.

        10. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 26, 2012 at 6:46 am |

          JFC, I don’t care what kind of disrespect you have for authority, turning a blind eye like that to someone potentially being injured, raped, or killed is disgusting and deplorable. I hope you are not now nor never will be my neighbor, you clearly have no sense of humanity or compassion.

          So the compassionate thing to do is call 9/11 and notify the police so that. . .what? The gang members can be apprehended and sent to prison? Is the humane thing to do become complicit in the gang members losing their freedom for years and possibly also being injured, raped, or killed themselves? Do you cooperate with the police just because they happen to be the most powerful violent gang out there. . .or do you believe the police have some sort of moral legitimacy that the weaker violent gangs like the Gangster Disciples or the Latin Kings lack?

        11. William
          William October 26, 2012 at 1:16 pm |

          So the compassionate thing to do is call 9/11 and notify the police so that. . .what? The gang members can be apprehended and sent to prison? Is the humane thing to do become complicit in the gang members losing their freedom for years and possibly also being injured, raped, or killed themselves? Do you cooperate with the police just because they happen to be the most powerful violent gang out there. . .or do you believe the police have some sort of moral legitimacy that the weaker violent gangs like the Gangster Disciples or the Latin Kings lack?

          I’ve got a comment locked up in moderation that kind of makes the same point but with a lot more personal baggage and a lot less flair, so I’ll just say QFT.

        12. doberman
          doberman October 26, 2012 at 1:53 pm |

          or do you believe the police have some sort of moral legitimacy that the weaker violent gangs like the Gangster Disciples or the Latin Kings lack?

          The police are following this thing called the “law” which is a shared code of values which we as a society have agreed upon in order to further the common good. Gangs specifically contravene society’s code for malicious purposes. The difference is crystal clear.

        13. shfree
          shfree October 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm |

          So the compassionate thing to do is call 9/11 and notify the police so that. . .what? The gang members can be apprehended and sent to prison? Is the humane thing to do become complicit in the gang members losing their freedom for years and possibly also being injured, raped, or killed themselves? Do you cooperate with the police just because they happen to be the most powerful violent gang out there. . .or do you believe the police have some sort of moral legitimacy that the weaker violent gangs like the Gangster Disciples or the Latin Kings lack?

          Mmmhmm. High five to LotusBecca for this.

        14. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl October 26, 2012 at 2:48 pm |

          Mmmhmm. High five to LotusBecca for this.

          Seriously??!!!

          So, what, someone decides to stand by while you are beaten, raped or even killed, but decides it’s totes ok because they have some sort of grudge against you? Maybe in this case the excuse is because the person happens to be wearing a badge, but what’s to stop William from coming up with any other convenient excuse for turning a blind eye? And somehow you’ve got no problem with that?

          It’s like bizzaro world in here all of a sudden, no, don’t call the popo when bad stuff goes down, just let it play out however it will play out and don’t get involved. Cause that person deserved what they got for being police.

          That’s sick, and disgusting.

        15. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl October 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm |

          Of course, the compassionate thing to do is stand there with your hands at your sides and do nothing while another human being is violated and or killed. You are absolutely right. /Sarcasm

          Wow, this whole discussion is making me embarrassed to be a human being these days.

        16. chava
          chava October 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm |

          Oh no, Lola, the appropriate thing to do is to whip out the shotgun you have under your coat and shoot the cop. Or maybe just play sheriff and make everyone play nice and go home.

        17. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl October 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm |

          But Chava, I thought we were all playing the Who is the Biggest Baddest Anarchist Ever! game.

          /Stomps foot

          Methinks William fancies himself some sort of lawless hero in a video game. Except he wants to extend those rules to the real world without realizing it means that real people actually do suffer whilst being raped and really do die after being killed.

        18. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm |

          So the compassionate thing to do is call 9/11 and notify the police so that. . .what? The gang members can be apprehended and sent to prison? Is the humane thing to do become complicit in the gang members losing their freedom for years and possibly also being injured, raped, or killed themselves?

          You’re so right; let the gangs do whatever they want because oh no the poor darlings might end up in prison! For the very real violent crimes they commit! That would be terrible! Hell, I’d better start distributing Power Bars to any criminals I see; gives them a better chance at “gang-banging” a lone cop. Hurrah. Justice is served.

        19. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 26, 2012 at 6:22 pm |

          I’ll restate my questions as statements. I understand people defending themselves or their loved ones from immediate physical violence, such as attempts at rape, murder, or assault. I support people doing this by any means necessary–including calling 911, if the victim in question thinks that’s the best move.

          On the other hand, prisons are unacceptable places of confinement, rape, torture, assault, unpaid labor, and other deprivations of human rights. It’s never OK to violate someone’s human rights in an intentional, premeditated way. “Well, they violated someone else’s human rights first!” is not an acceptable justification in my book. So becoming complicit in sending anyone to prison unless you’re responding to an immediate threat to yourself or someone you care about is unethical in my opinion. Lolagirl, you believe your stance is motivated by a spirit of compassion. I believe that’s probably the case, but I’d hypothesize that you are either somewhat uninformed about the nature of the prison system and its abuses OR that you consider, at some level, police officers to be more deserving human beings than gang members (by virtue of their occupation). Unless of course, you’d tip off the gang hierarchy of the Latin Kings when you see a bunch of cops chasing a lone gang member so that the other gang members can intervene!

          I do want to make clear. . .since this is a controversial topic that involves a lot of ethical judgments on both sides. . .that I, at least, don’t consider any of y’all bad people just because you support cooperation with the police. I don’t agree, but I see it as a legitimate political disagreement, and it doesn’t make me lose any respect for y’all as people.

          I will add one final point though and bring the derail back to topic. I’m not surprised that the people saying that cooperation with the police is a moral imperative are some of the same people who are saying it’s imperative that people support Barack Obama for President. In both cases, powerful, entrenched interests are being supported because they are ostensibly good for society as a whole, and the manifest and severe harm these entrenched interests (the police/prisons or Barack Obama) cause is handwaved away as an inevitable or unavoidable cost. I disagree in both cases.

        20. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl October 26, 2012 at 8:42 pm |

          Lolagirl, you believe your stance is motivated by a spirit of compassion. I believe that’s probably the case, but I’d hypothesize that you are either somewhat uninformed about the nature of the prison system and its abuses OR that you consider, at some level, police officers to be more deserving human beings than gang members (by virtue of their occupation). Unless of course, you’d tip off the gang hierarchy of the Latin Kings when you see a bunch of cops chasing a lone gang member so that the other gang members can intervene!

          William was not referring to the prison system in his comment, he specifically limited his comment not bothering to call 911 if he saw a police officer being chased down by “gang bangers.” I criticized that as lacking in humanity and compassion, because it would be turning a blind eye to someone potentially being injured, raped or even killed. All because William did not deem police as sufficiently deserving of his caring if they did end up raped/hurt/killed.

          I never set out any sort of hierarchy of who deserves greater compassion, that is you putting words in my mouth when you know absolutely zero about me. I actually grew up where cops and Latin Kings, Gangster Disciples and other gangs warred plenty. You bet your bottom dollar I called 911 when bad stuff went down, because that’s what being a good neighbor and a good citizen is about. It’s not up to individual citizens to play judge and jury to decide who is or isn’t deserving of compassion or intervention. I’m not naive about the police and what they can do bad, I get that, but that doesn’t mean that I will ever just throw my hands up so that lawlessness and chaos can take over because I’m too jaded to care.

        21. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl October 26, 2012 at 8:44 pm |

          Oh, good grief with the comments going into moderation!

          Shorter version, I’m not naive or clueless. Anarchy is not the answer, and I have compassion for all people and want nobody harmed regardless of who they are or what occupation they hold.

        22. chava
          chava October 26, 2012 at 10:13 pm |

          Meh.

          This seems to be about a bias towards inaction as the more moral course. If you don’t act, and the man gets raped/beaten/killed by a group of other men, then at least you are in no way morally culpable for what may happen to the gang members.

          If you do intervene, you might stop an individual from being raped, beaten or killed–but you might be responsible for similar harm coming to those who were trying to rape/beat/murder him (regardless of whether you call the cops, shoot them yourself, etc).

          I guess I’m not so sure that you can absolve yourself so easily here by doing nothing. If we’re going to assign moral values to the parties, and you see yourself as on the “side” of the gang members and therefore the cop is an enemy combatant…okay, maybe I get you there.
          Or perhaps you see yourself as a civilian in a war where you have more sympathy for one side than the other?

          Either way, you’re okay with allowing one person to be tortured or killed for certain on the off chance that his attackers might be tortured or killed if caught.

        23. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 26, 2012 at 10:55 pm |

          Either way, you’re okay with allowing one person to be tortured or killed for certain on the off chance that his attackers might be tortured or killed if caught.

          I think we have different valuations of how OK it is to imprison people. I consider imprisonment to be a form of assault and kidnapping and therefore in the same general area as murder, rape, and torture. And for my intervention to protect a police officer by calling 911 to be effective, it’s almost certainly going to involve imprisoning (probably multiple) gang members for a long while. And there’s no evidence that the cop will be killed or tortured for certain by the gang members if I don’t intervene, and there’s surely no evidence that me calling 911 will be able to (or is even likely to) protect this particular cop’s safety.

          Or perhaps you see yourself as a civilian in a war where you have more sympathy for one side than the other?

          I wouldn’t necessarily say I have more sympathy for gangs than for the police, although I do recognize that the police are a more powerful and more destructive force in our society than gangs are. It’s hard for me to think of something else as destructive in the US today as the prison industrial complex, which the police are (partially) responsible for funneling people into. Not to mention the fact that the police are generally responsible for maintaining law and order in a system where it’s considered legitimate that men have more privilege than women, whites have more privilege than people of color, the 1% has more privilege than the 99%, and so on. So I do consider the police to be definite political opponents of mine, and therefore I have a personal policy of not cooperating with them under any circumstances (so I’d never call 911 to request police assistance, for example).

          Finally, I was careful to use the word “unethical” rather than “immoral” when describing cooperating with the police. Cooperating with the police is not ethical for me, given my political opinions. I am, however, a moral relativist and encourage people to think for themselves, so it’s fine by me if people’s mileage varies. And I’m not trying to absolve myself of anything. I take responsibility for anything I might enable through my policy of non-cooperation with the police.

        24. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl October 27, 2012 at 8:34 am |

          I wouldn’t necessarily say I have more sympathy for gangs than for the police, although I do recognize that the police are a more powerful and more destructive force in our society than gangs are.

          What the ?

          What world do you live in where gangs are just poor, misunderstood folks who merely have friendship and a few mutual hobbies in common?

          I’ve lived in a community and adjacent to other communities where gangs ruled with fear and intimidation. Where drug sales and prostitution were their main source of profits, and they enforced their fee structure in by terrorizing others at random. I went to school with them, and was myself threatened by them plenty before I managed to graduate and get out of that town.

          Gangs and their members are at least as bad as the police if not worse. Seriously, get over yourself with your romantic notions of gangs and anarchical rule. It’s seriously offensive and tiresome.

        25. William
          William October 27, 2012 at 11:24 am |

          Lolagirl

          Methinks William fancies himself some sort of lawless hero in a video game. Except he wants to extend those rules to the real world without realizing it means that real people actually do suffer whilst being raped and really do die after being killed.

          Its a fun strawman (two if you count the bizarre inclusion of rape), but I’m having a lot of trouble seeing how committing to inaction when violent thugs decide to try to kill one another is being a “lawless hero in a videogame.”

          Also, fuck you for the “real people actually do suffer whilst being raped” comment. I sincerely hope you never have to actually know what its like to be raped. I don’t have that luxury. As a biproduct I also got to experience just how little both police and the courts in Chicago care about rape.

          Bagelsan

          You’re so right; let the gangs do whatever they want because oh no the poor darlings might end up in prison!

          Yes, because the system works so well and the police are our friends who serve our communities instead of armed thugs. At the end of the day, even if we are interested in change and see the system as either broken or deeply flawed, we ought to respect authority and understand that it is necessary. Because there must always be a hero and a villain, and at the end of the day the guy in the uniform is the hero. I know it because the news tells me so. At the end of the day it would just be chaos if you didn’t support the good guys, because they are the good guys. Believing anything else is either childish, ignorant, or macho posturing. Not a flaw to be seen in that logic…

        26. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl October 27, 2012 at 11:40 am |

          This will probably just get dumped into mod as well, but I’ll try anyway.

          William, maybe you need to work on your reading comprehension skills a bit. You are the one saying you will do nothing if a cop is being beaten, raped or killed. You are the one being callous about another person being violated or murdered, not me. I’m saying nobody should turn a blind eye to people hurting one another. You are the one saying it serves them right, I can’t be bothered to care.

          For someone who says they have themselves been victimized, I cannot fathom why you would ever be ok with letting the same happen to another human being. Moreover, I can not understand how you see nothing troubling with, in effect, aiding and abetting someone else’s victimization by doing nothing yourself to stop it.

        27. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 27, 2012 at 11:35 pm |

          Lolagirl, I agree with you that many of the people in gangs are dangerous, brutal thugs. I’m not intending to romanticize them in any way. Also, I grew up in a middle-class suburb so gangs weren’t something that was part of my environment (not until my 20s anyway). If you are being seriously worn out and offended by what I’m saying, I’m willing to stop. I don’t want to be a nuisance. And I’m not trying to put words in your mouth either. When I speculated about some of the things I thought you might be thinking, I used the word “hypothesize” intentionally. I was trying to further dialogue, not twist your words or tell you what you’re really thinking.

          Anyway, my comments don’t have to do with the goodness of gangs, but with the destructive influence of police, prisons, and law and order–and it seems like you somewhat agree on that, if not completely. The reason I’m saying the criminal justice system is worse than gangs isn’t because the people involved with that system are worse people. It’s because the criminal justice system, including the police, is a gang–the biggest gang and therefore the most destructive.

          I’m advocating for nonviolence, equal consideration for everyone, and respecting human rights–not “gangs and anarchical rule.”

          But again, if this is bothering you significantly just tell me and this will be my last comment on the issue.

        28. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 28, 2012 at 12:02 am |

          Except he wants to extend those rules to the real world without realizing it means that real people actually do suffer whilst being raped and really do die after being killed.

          The fact that you’re lecturing a survivor on what being raped feels like basically makes you a… I can’t even think of an appropriate word. Nithing, maybe.

          I’m advocating for nonviolence, equal consideration for everyone, and respecting human rights–not “gangs and anarchical rule.”

          But when you advocate not calling the police if you have a reasonable suspicion someone will be raped or murdered otherwise, you’re prioritizing a vague adherence to your utopian vision (which, if it somehow takes place at all, will be in the ultra-long-term) over the life of a real human being in front of you.

          It’s great you advocate those things. I do too. But you can’t do it piecemeal; you can’t get rid of a police force before you get rid of violent crime, just because the former is easier to do on a policy-enactment level.

          And frankly, I think it’s insensitive to survivors to suggest that we’d be better of without police.

        29. William
          William October 28, 2012 at 12:02 am |

          You are the one saying you will do nothing if a cop is being beaten, raped or killed.

          Beaten or killed, not raped. I’m not sure where you got that impression and I’ve explicitly pointed out at least twice now that I haven’t said otherwise. Do try to get your own house in order before you make another snide comment about reading comprehension.

          I’m saying nobody should turn a blind eye to people hurting one another. You are the one saying it serves them right, I can’t be bothered to care.

          No, what I’m saying is that when you’re at a bar and one group of violent thugs gets in a fight with another group of violent thugs the answer probably isn’t to call in more violent thugs, especially when the newcomers are very likely to victimize members of the community who are completely uninvolved in the conflict but happen to be young, male, and of color.

          That said, I’ll own not caring if a cop gets murdered. Sorry, if you draw a paycheck for actively oppressing others you’re not entitled to my concern.

          For someone who says they have themselves been victimized, I cannot fathom why you would ever be ok with letting the same happen to another human being.

          I’m not a pacifist. I neither subscribe nor aspire to turning the other cheek. The city I live in has a police force which routinely abuses the population, its not my job to be worried about what happens to the poor widdle thugs when the population fights back.

          Moreover, I can not understand how you see nothing troubling with, in effect, aiding and abetting someone else’s victimization by doing nothing yourself to stop it.

          Oh, I see plenty troubling with it. I’m not happy about how I feel. I don’t like the anger and the bitterness. I’ve done what I can to work through it, but its a part of me. It also came from somewhere. You say “aiding and abetting” but that is the language of a legal system utterly divorced from anything identifiable as justice.

          Still, lets consider the scenario. Say a cop is being beaten by some local Latin Kings and I call the 911. What happens next? If we’re going to be honest we know that three things are going to happen: the police will drop everything and engage in whatever violence they deem necessary against whomever they deem it necessary to bring in the Kings, those Kings will be badly beaten either during their arrest or while in custody (or both), and they will ultimately be convicted and sentenced to a stiff sentence in a prison where there is a real possibility they will be beaten, raped, or killed. Those last two assume that the suspects aren’t just shot and killed. All making a call does is encourage police misconduct and allow the state to get a little bit of vengeance. In the process there is a very real chance uninvolved individuals will be victimized by an aggressive, angry, unaccountable, often indiscriminate group of uniformed thugs. And if I don’t call? Same song, second verse.

          Come to think of it, the scenario is a lot like voting: no matter what I do people in positions of power are going to do terrible things and there is nothing I can do to stop it.

        30. William
          William October 28, 2012 at 12:12 am |

          And frankly, I think it’s insensitive to survivors to suggest that we’d be better of without police.

          I don’t think all or most survivors would be better off without police but I don’t think that police are likely to do much about the problem of rape in either direction. I do, however, think there are some very specific situations in which specific survivors might be better off without police intervention. God knows I would have gotten more justice (and closure) without police involvement and I know that my father still regrets calling the police and hiring an attorney rather than calling an acquaintance and hiring a man with a crooked nose. He tried to do the right thing and all it meant was that I got to be victimized a second time by the courts.

        31. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 28, 2012 at 12:28 am |

          I agree, William. And I’m deeply sorry to hear about what happened to you.

        32. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 28, 2012 at 12:58 am |

          I’m also very sorry to hear that, William.

          amblingalong. . .I read your response, but I’m going to hold back on responding to you until I hear back from Lolagirl regarding whether she wants me to drop this topic or not.

        33. chava
          chava October 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm |

          RE: the inclusion of rape in possible consequences of not acting when you see someone being chased by a gang–

          William was using “gang banger” in the more general sense of gang member. OK, I can accept that. I continued to include rape in my list of possible consequences because when you see anyone (particularly a woman, but also a man) being chased by a group of armed thugs, rape is pretty high up on the “what might happen” list.

        34. William
          William October 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm |

          William was using “gang banger” in the more general sense of gang member. OK, I can accept that. I continued to include rape in my list of possible consequences because when you see anyone (particularly a woman, but also a man) being chased by a group of armed thugs, rape is pretty high up on the “what might happen” list.

          Come on now, Chava, thats pretty close to dishonest given the context here. When was the last time you heard of a cop being raped in the US? The police are overwhelmingly more likely to be rapists than to be themselves raped and, like anyone else, if they are raped the overwhelming majority of their rapists will be people known to them. But more to the point, can you honestly say with a straight face that if you saw an officer running from a couple of gang bangers that “he’s going to be raped” would be the first thing that popped into your head?

          All of this borders on the academic, anyway, given that cops aren’t often the victims of the violence they’re paid for but rather the perpetrators.

        35. chava
          chava October 28, 2012 at 1:19 pm |

          William:

          1) &^%$^ COMMENTS THREAD OF DOOM *&%#Q!. Ahem. Okay.

          2) So, I’m a little troubled by your repeated elision of this hypothetical police officer to male, first off. Second, this may be a gendered conditioning thing, but yeah, rape crosses my mind as a strong possibility. In fairness, I imagine policewomen are more likely to be assaulted by their colleagues. I imagine we don’t hear about it because it would never be reported, particularly by men. But to imagine that rape would not be used as a tool of violence in the situation you are describing is what seems intellectually dishonest on my end.

        36. William
          William October 28, 2012 at 2:24 pm |

          So, I’m a little troubled by your repeated elision of this hypothetical police officer to male, first off.

          I can totally understand that. Honestly, I think of the police as a largely male-dominated profession so when I think of cops the image that pops into my head is of a man. I suppose that if the person running was a woman my read of the situation, and thus my response, would likely change.

          But to imagine that rape would not be used as a tool of violence in the situation you are describing is what seems intellectually dishonest on my end.

          I honestly think you’re wrong here, not because gang bangers are too noble to rape but because the a scenario leading to an on-duty police officer to be raped beggars belief. In the vast majority of situations if a cop is involved in violence they are the perpetrator, not the victim. In those cases when a cop is the victim of violence the vast majority of those are flat out combat. Is it possible that a thug might rape a cop? Sure. Is it even remotely likely, especially given the inevitable response from the state-sponsored perpetrators of extreme violence? I just don’t think so.

          Also, I’m having some difficulty putting into words why I’m finding your comments problematic but…has anyone else noticed that somehow when we’re talking about (generally white) violent oppressors being potentially beaten/killed by (generally of color) violent criminals we have ended up glossing over the obvious/likely forms of assaults (which do sometimes happen) and are instead obsessing over the imagined possibility of violent minorities raping white authority? Especially when the genesis point of this entire line of discussion was a throw-away line about not having faith in a corrupt PIC that was used to derail a discussion of that corruption? I feel like I’ve found myself at the bar after a Tea Party meeting…

        37. William
          William October 28, 2012 at 2:25 pm |

          Also, I want to be clear that I’m not making a specific accusation about anyone here but rather calling out a specific group process that I think I’m seeing (and that I’ve been a part of).

        38. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm |

          we have ended up [...] obsessing over the imagined possibility of violent minorities raping white authority

          Yeah, I’m a bit disturbed too. Or, you know, a lot.

          William, this thread’s been pretty shitty to you. Sorry, for what it’s worth.

        39. chava
          chava October 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm |

          I dunno. I can see where that concern is coming from–but in a thread about the extent to which one should or should not support the current political system, this sub-thread seems to be a fairly logical extension of that debate. Does not voting as a form of boycott extend logically to not calling 911, etc. Do you only not call 911 if it’s a cop being chased, or anyone at all? And so on.

          As far as ‘raping white authority.’ I’m not prioritizing rape as the Worst Thing among the other forms of violence listed. I do think it is ONE of the forms of violence I would be concerned about if I saw a group of armed men chasing ANYONE.

          In any event, our city has been lucky enough to largely escape gang violence among the major NE cities. So I don’t have as firm a grounding in how these confrontations work.

          (I do note that where I live you’ve got a 50-50 chance of a cop being a POC. I know you’re using ‘white authority’ to denote the racialized power structure rather than the literal race of the cop, but I think important to note the actual bodies involved nonetheless.)

        40. William
          William October 28, 2012 at 7:31 pm |

          Do you only not call 911 if it’s a cop being chased, or anyone at all? And so on.

          There are certainly times when I would call 911. Unfortunately, before I dial the phone I have to consider whether or not summoning a pack of highly aggressive, armed, unusually violent people who appear to be all but immune to prosecution is going to be a good idea. We live in a world where a woman can call 911 because her son is talking about committing suicide and see him shot by a sniper before the night is done.

          As far as ‘raping white authority.’ I’m not prioritizing rape as the Worst Thing among the other forms of violence listed.

          I know that, but I still think its telling that this is where we ended up. I respect you, I certainly don’t think you’re a Tea Partier, and there are a lot of us in this discussion. Still, as a group we could have moved away from this particular fixation awhile ago and we chose not to. I think thats worth at least putting out there.

          I do note that where I live you’ve got a 50-50 chance of a cop being a POC. I know you’re using ‘white authority’ to denote the racialized power structure rather than the literal race of the cop, but I think important to note the actual bodies involved nonetheless.

          You’re absolutely right. Truth be told, at the beat level you’re very likely to see POC as police in Chicago, too. Things whiten up as you move further up the chain of command, though, and there have been lawsuits over selection. Either way, the color of a given cop in Chicago tends to take a back seat to the way the City works and I sometimes think it is difficult for an outsider to really comprehend the level of systemic corruption and open racism that is taken for granted here. I know I’ve met at least one real-life version of Lt. Otto Waterhouse.

        41. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 28, 2012 at 10:27 pm |

          I feel like I’ve found myself at the bar after a Tea Party meeting…

          You’re right William. . .and I regret that I got involved in this subthread the way I did. The police are fundamentally fucked up and are propping up capitalism and a racist, patriarchal rape culture. The police rape people, they beat and murder unarmed people of color, they are responsible for hundreds of thousands of people spending the better years of their lives in prison, often for “crimes” that have no victim. This is an actual issue–and it’s one that many people here, like myself, are concerned about. Ridiculous hypotheticals about what I or William would do if I saw a police officer about to get raped by gang members (this is real life, not a racist TV show) are a complete distraction. Please come up with some evidence, chava, Lolagirl, and amblingalong, of a single documented instance in the history of the country of a police officer getting raped by gang members because a person with anti-police political views didn’t call 911 and maybe I will give some credence toward your self-righteous outrage. Otherwise, I’m done believing any of this deserves the dignity of a serious response, and I regret coddling your offensive lines of argument earlier.

        42. chava
          chava October 28, 2012 at 10:43 pm |

          Still, as a group we could have moved away from this particular fixation awhile ago and we chose not to. I think thats worth at least putting out there

          .

          Yeah, it’s a point.

          Lola:

          Ridiculous hypotheticals about what I or William would do if I saw a police officer about to get raped by gang members (this is real life, not a racist TV show) are a complete distraction.

          Come on, now. William was the one who put the scenario out there in the first place. We were reacting to his description of how he would react to that situation.

        43. William
          William October 29, 2012 at 11:24 am |

          Come on, now. William was the one who put the scenario out there in the first place. We were reacting to his description of how he would react to that situation.

          You were reacting to a snide, tangential comment as if it were the central thrust of the overall discussion. In the process the actual point of the post, that the system we have is deeply (possibly irrevocably) corrupt has been all but dropped in favor of an almost intentional (and racially charged) misreading of said tangential comment which seems almost tailored to be a method of silencing someone in this space.

          Like I said, I don’t think this was a conscious group process on your part, Chava. My experience of you has been generally positive even when we’ve disagreed strongly and I don’t see you as dishonest or manipulative. Still, something happened here and that something is that we were distracted from a discussion about the injustice of the PIC by essentially unfounded fantasies of men of color committing rape. That kind of cultural image has some history, you know? And we all slid into it with uncomfortable ease…

        44. chava
          chava October 29, 2012 at 11:40 am |

          {cursing of nesting here}

          I get your point, William, and I think it’s a deeply valid one. My personal instinct here is “No, it was a legit side topic,” HOWEVER I think this may very likely be a case where my “instincts” are affected by the current discourse around police, gangs, violence, etc. I think the very fact that your “tangential” comment stood out to me so much may be because of that discourse and the conditioning to seize on anything which threatens it.

          So…long winded way of saying yeah, I get it, and I (at least somewhat) agree, or am at least suspicious of my disagreement.

        45. William
          William October 29, 2012 at 2:46 pm |

          I get your point, William, and I think it’s a deeply valid one. My personal instinct here is “No, it was a legit side topic,”

          For the record, I don’t think they’re at all mutually exclusive. This could have been a legit side topic and been deeply influenced by all sorts of ugly things within us. Thanks for taking the step back and considering it.

    4. LotusBecca
      LotusBecca October 23, 2012 at 5:45 am |

      I don’t take our electoral process or so-called representative government for granted. I feel contempt towards them because I believe it’s all a ridiculous charade. So that’s why I don’t endorse electoral politics.

      And I’m not apathetic toward our electoral system either. I have quite strong feelings about it. I dislike it very much, and I want it to stop existing.

      1. William
        William October 23, 2012 at 8:41 am |

        I don’t take our electoral process or so-called representative government for granted. I feel contempt towards them because I believe it’s all a ridiculous charade. So that’s why I don’t endorse electoral politics.

        And I’m not apathetic toward our electoral system either. I have quite strong feelings about it. I dislike it very much, and I want it to stop existing.

        But but but…the soldiers*!

        *Who often didn’t “give” their lives but were conscripted by officials they generally couldn’t vote for to die in wars that had little to do with the rights of American citizens given that the US hasn’t experienced anything vaguely resembling a serious threat since WWII and even then the threat wasn’t to the mainland but to military interests at an outer base of the empire.

        1. tinffoil hattie
          tinffoil hattie October 23, 2012 at 4:43 pm |

          What you’re saying makes a lot of sense to me, William. I’m tired of disagreeing with most of both candidates’ approaches and then eventually voting for the man with whom I disagree least on a few meager points.

  6. Libby Goodheart
    Libby Goodheart October 22, 2012 at 12:51 pm |

    I vote because I want to participate, but I live in Massachusetts and am eternally frustrated that my vote is NOT AT ALL equal to a vote in Ohio, whoever I vote for.

    Forgive me, but I don’t know if that is accurate. For starters, there is a competitive race for United States Senate in Massachusetts. Second, Massachusetts carries 11 electoral votes, and although they are solidly blue, I think we’d prefer that you’re merely reinforcing Massachusetts’ existing preferences rather than competing in a state in which Obama losing would mean a disaster had occurred. Further, there is a significant possibility that Romney could win the popular vote and lose in the electoral college – therefore your vote added to Obama’s popular vote tally would mute the criticism that his victory would be illegitimate.

    1. Comrade Kevin
      Comrade Kevin October 22, 2012 at 1:50 pm |

      Some think we need to scrap the Electoral College system altogether and go by popular vote alone. I wouldn’t disagree. But whatever the case, DC’s three electoral votes have gone for the Democratic candidate, almost every single Presidential election.

      In 1984, Walter Mondale lost to Ronald Reagan in a landslide. The only two states he carried were Minnesota (his home state) and the District. In Alabama, where I was raised, the state has not gone blue since 1976. It is unlikely to change for the rest of my lifetime.

      The difference with the District of Columbia is that we have no senators, nor even a single voting representative of the House. But before I head down this rabbit’s hole, let me cut myself off here.

  7. ShanBonan
    ShanBonan October 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm |

    Having moved from California (a blue state) to Ohio (a swing state), I’m fully aware of the value of my single vote. And I’ll vote Obama. When apathy threatens to take over, I remember that where I live every vote counts. I don’t want to risk having the wrong guy win because I’m not completely satisfied with Obama’s record.

    By the way, I also vote in-person, on election day, even if it means standing in line for hours (since I’m one of the very lucky ones who can do this without being penalized by my employer), and I take my daughter with me. I want her to see that voting is important and is worth the time, the effort, and the occasional frustration. Even if she disagrees with me (heck, there’s no “if”) if she’s engaged in the process I’ll be happy.

  8. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date October 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm |

    And sorry lefties who think that there’s “no difference” between Obama and Romney, and that it’s just a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils — I am not quite sure you’re paying attention.

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

  9. Lyndsay
    Lyndsay October 22, 2012 at 1:09 pm |

    And sorry lefties who think that there’s “no difference” between Obama and Romney, and that it’s just a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils — I am not quite sure you’re paying attention.

    I agree but unfortunately the debates don’t show the difference between them much. Romny has expressed some very centrist ideas that agree with Obama while putting forth the idea that he will do more to create jobs than Obama. There should be rules against disagreeing with what you said earlier in your campaign. Romny’s tactic is to convince everyone that he will create enough jobs with high enough incomes that you won’t need to depend on Planned Parenthood and other government-funded help. You will be able to be self-sufficient.
    Both of them talk all about the middle class and barely acknowledge the existence of low-income people.

    1. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl October 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm |

      Romny has expressed some very centrist ideas that agree with Obama while putting forth the idea that he will do more to create jobs than Obama. There should be rules against disagreeing with what you said earlier in your campaign.

      Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? Romney is perfectly willing to say whatever inconsistent thing he thinks in that moment will seem persuasive to the audience at hand in order to get them to vote for him.

      In other, less polite words, he is a liar who is willing to say whatever lie or distortion of the truth will convince someone to vote for him. Of course he is also assuming that people are not paying attention to the bigger picture and that whatever he said last week or last month or even last year that is self-contradictory will go unnoticed. The only possible conclusion to take from Romney’s conduct is that he thinks his audience is too stupid or too gullible to realize what a lying liar he actually is.

      1. Lyndsay
        Lyndsay October 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm |

        Too bad lots of people won’t realize and belief he can create those needed jobs will rise above anything else. But as long as that number is under half I guess.

  10. matlun
    matlun October 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm |

    One problem I have with this: If progressives keep voting for the Democratic candidate no matter what, then there is absolutely no incentive for them not to keep moving to the right.

    Yes, Obama is clearly better than Romney, but that is a very low bar to pass.

    1. doberman
      doberman October 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm |

      [blockquote]If progressives keep voting for the Democratic candidate no matter what, then there is absolutely no incentive for them not to keep moving to the right.[/blockquote]

      What do you mean moving to the right? The democrats are totally left. It would be a disaster if they became even more left than they already are. The majority of reasonable people are in the middle. The rights and the lefts are just very vocal minorities.

      1. petpluto
        petpluto October 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm |

        The democrats are totally left.

        Left of the Republicans, yes. But an actual political Left Wing? Not really. As Republicans move farther to the right, and Democrats attempt to govern with them and so compromise, the country’s center moves progressively rightward as well.

      2. matlun
        matlun October 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm |

        The democrats are totally left.

        I am Swedish. In the Swedish political landscape, the current Democrats would be too far right to be at all electable.

        The whole US political scene seems to have been moving to the right for some time now. The strategy of the Democrats seems to be to position themselves fairly close to the Republicans to be able to capture all voters to the left of that position. The Republicans have been moving to the right, by going for a very different strategy of “playing to their base”.

        That being said, the whole right – left scale is a bit broken IMO. Political reality is far more complex than a one-dimensional scale.

      3. bleh
        bleh October 22, 2012 at 4:29 pm |

        The American Democratic party is center right. Only the Green party is truly left, and they are not allowed viability (by the press). In Europe and elsewhere, Democratic Party members would be never be considered left.

      4. DAS
        DAS October 23, 2012 at 10:24 am |

        The only way in which the Democrats have “moved to the left” are on certain social and civil rights issues (e.g. support for gay marriage … and in an earlier generation, support for civil rights for minorities): whenever I hear someone complain about “the Democrats being so far to the left” or “I didn’t leave the Democratic party, the Democratic party left me”, I wonder “how so?”. Either the person is a low information voter or the person really turns out (if you scratch the surface) to have some pretty backwards prejudices.

    2. doberman
      doberman October 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm |

      If progressives keep voting for the Democratic candidate no matter what, then there is absolutely no incentive for them not to keep moving to the right.

      What do you mean moving to the right? The democrats are totally left. It would be a disaster if they became even more left than they already are. The majority of reasonable people are in the middle. The rights and the lefts are just very vocal minorities.

      1. EG
        EG October 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm |

        You have no idea what the left really is, do you?

      2. doberman
        doberman October 22, 2012 at 5:18 pm |

        Yes, the “real” left is the left that caused so many problems for people in the 70s with their disastrous economic policies. What the democrats are now is what the left ought to be. Moderate. Fighting for the rights of maligned groups while maintaining sensible economics.

        The far left won’t be happy until everyone is living the same, poor standard of living and even the reasonable social hierarchies have been abolished.

        1. Anniecat
          Anniecat October 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm |

          What do you mean, disastrous economic policies of the left in the 1970s? The big economic problems of the United States at that time had their roots, almost entirely, in the rise in oil prices after 1973. The rise in the price of a raw material almost all of us use, daily, in large quantities, lit off an inflation spiral. Everything else flowed from that.

        2. king ten butts
          king ten butts October 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm |

          the “real left” is jimmy carter? doberman, every post of yours i’ve seen has been uninformed drivel. i don’t know how you can be so unlearned regarding so many topics but i have to admit it’s impressive.

        3. doberman
          doberman October 22, 2012 at 7:39 pm |

          … I was talking about leftism in 70s Britain.

        4. Esti
          Esti October 22, 2012 at 10:47 pm |

          You might have wanted to specify that you were talking about Britain, then. It’s pretty reasonable to assume that in a discussion of the U.S. presidential election, the country being discussed is the U.S.

        5. EG
          EG October 22, 2012 at 11:25 pm |

          Yes, the “real” left is the left that caused so many problems for people in the 70s with their disastrous economic policies.

          And yet those problems pale in comparison with the devastation wreaked by Thatcher.

        6. Bunny
          Bunny October 26, 2012 at 6:55 am |

          I think Thatcher and her descendents in power at the moment have done and are doing far more damage, personally.

          But yeah, the political climate of the UK 40 years ago isn’t really relevant to current US politics.

    3. Li
      Li October 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm |

      What do you mean moving to the right? The democrats are totally left. It would be a disaster if they became even more left than they already are. The majority of reasonable people are in the middle. The rights and the lefts are just very vocal minorities.

      AHAHAHAHAHAHA.

      Oh, you crack me up you do.

      Do you know where the Democrats lie on the political spectrum? They lie slightly to the right of our conservative party here in Australia. Please become aware of institutional politics outside of the USA before talking about what “totally left” is.

    4. tinffoil hattie
      tinffoil hattie October 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm |

      Yes. matlun. I agree. If we keep succumbing to the “Where else ya gonna go?” threat, why should any politician even try to meet voters’ demands?

  11. catfood
    catfood October 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm |

    Ohio. Obama. Again.

  12. eteokretan
    eteokretan October 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm |

    I understand the idea of voting Green (or for some other third party) if you’re in a state that going to go for Romney regardless of your individual vote.

    But another thing to consider is the popular vote, which doesn’t elect the president but can be a talking point. I saw a headline recently that Romney might win the popular vote even if he loses the election.

    I wouldn’t want to give Romney/Ryan the pleasure of even that meaningless victory.

    1. king ten butts
      king ten butts October 22, 2012 at 3:20 pm |

      but if a republican WINS the popular vote maybe congress will do something to make it more important, which would be a huge win for democrats if they can assuage apathy.
      more on-topic: the list of differences between obama and reagan (the real-life reagan not the straw reagan constructed since his death) is pretty small, but still definitely important. and that being said i am still indefatigable when it comes to criticising obama for bombing children/zionism/the drug war/deportations/being a president/&c &c as ANYONE left of centre should be.

  13. S.H.
    S.H. October 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm |

    I think we need to keep in mind that there are a number of states (including mine) where a significant amount of potential voters face intimidation and outright disenfranchisement this cycle. So maybe we shouldn’t be jumping to apathy or voting Green as the chief cause of low turnout for Obama/Dems or even a Romney win for that matter.

  14. EG
    EG October 22, 2012 at 4:09 pm |

    And sorry lefties who think that there’s “no difference” between Obama and Romney, and that it’s just a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils — I am not quite sure you’re paying attention.

    I see this comment a lot, and I wonder who it is you’re addressing. Is there anybody on the left actually making the argument that there’s “no difference”? Because even my father, the hard-core Marxist has given that one up.

    As to “lesser of two evils,” yes, for a lot of us on the left, that’s a true statement. Obama is the lesser of two evils. Why does it so offend you that some people might see the election this way?

    1. mxe354
      mxe354 October 22, 2012 at 5:19 pm |

      I don’t know about Marxists, but I think a lot of left anarchists see Obama and Romney as identical in essential ways. That’s hardly a surprise, though.

    2. king ten butts
      king ten butts October 22, 2012 at 5:19 pm |

      i actually still see a lot of this & it can be annoying when fellow anti-statists completely overlook what this election could mean for the country(slash world, usian politics as they are), but esp women

      also, just curious, do you know if your father plans on voting at all?

      1. EG
        EG October 22, 2012 at 11:26 pm |

        I don’t know. If he does, I’m sure he’ll go third party, though.

    3. William
      William October 22, 2012 at 6:44 pm |

      Is there anybody on the left actually making the argument that there’s “no difference”?

      The only points of serious difference I see between Obama and Romney boil down to reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights. Even then I feel that the biggest influence either is likely to have in those areas will come down to SCOTUS appointments and that becomes an incredibly mixed bag for me because they’re both likely to appoint justices who will be hostile to entire classes of rights I feel are important. Is there a difference between them? Sure. Is it terribly meaningful? Only if you’re willing to get sucked into the kind of bullshit single-issue voting that has left us with two parties of tyrants.

      At the end of the day they both support the war on drugs, they both support a bloated and ruinous military budget to advance their foreign policies through force, they both kow-tow to Israel, they both support the prison-industrial-complex, they’re both hostile to the 4th Amendment, neither has a serious plan for getting the budget under control, both are deeply beholding to special interests. Choosing between them feels a lot like picking your method of execution.

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl October 22, 2012 at 7:51 pm |

        Is there a difference between them? Sure. Is it terribly meaningful? Only if you’re willing to get sucked into the kind of bullshit single-issue voting that has left us with two parties of tyrants.

        Bullshit single issue voting? Is not equivalent to attempts to treat women and LGBTQ people as second class citizens. It’s not even in the same universe. It’s insulting to suggest otherwise. My right to control what happens to my body is not a bullshit issue, the rights of LGBTQ folks to take for granted the same rights you do on a daily basis is not a bullshit issue, and I would appreciate it if my fellow citizens could get that through their thick skulls.

        1. shfree
          shfree October 22, 2012 at 10:46 pm |

          Oh word to a million times. I can never, ever in a million years get behind a candidate who thinks I have no right to have control over what goes on in my uterus, or think it’s anyone’s business who I choose to love, presuming all parties involved are happily consenting adults. Personal bodily sovereignty isn’t a “bullshit single issue”, it’s a damn personal issue, and my health and and the health of my daughter depend on it. So yeah, I’m gonna vote according to that.

          How lucky it is to be so privileged as to not feel daily that so many elected officials literally hate your gender and/or sexuality, and that the climate will grow even worse should the wrong president make it into office. So, again, “bullshit single-issue” my girlie queer ass. And I still don’t even like Obama.

        2. William
          William October 23, 2012 at 8:52 am |

          My right to control what happens to my body is not a bullshit issue, the rights of LGBTQ folks to take for granted the same rights you do on a daily basis is not a bullshit issue,

          No, they aren’t bullshit issues. They’re both deeply important issues that are very close to the top of my political priorities. The problem is that in American politics if you want to support politicians who even pay lip service to reproductive or LGBTQ you have to take everything else that comes with those politicians. In Obama’s case that means a drug war which imprisons hundreds of thousands of citizens and destroys communities, a lack of transparency, unaccountable drone warfare directed by the CIA, a basic continuation (and often expansion) of virtually every monstrous Bush-era “national security” assault on the rights citizens and non-citizens alike, a lack of respect for gun and property rights, and being forced to describe “hey, we no longer openly discriminate against gays who want to get themselves killed for the advancement of corporate interests and the oppression of people halfway around the world!” as a victory.

          My point was not that reproductive rights or LGBTQ rights are “bullshit issues.” My point was that the political system we have now is bullshit because it forces us to pick one or two issues and sacrifice anything else we might care about because you have only two real choices. My point was that the political system we have now is bullshit because, on a great many issues, the two sides complete agree and use a handful of deeply-held issues to differentiate themselves. My point is that this system serves to exacerbate the problem of minority rights being used as political bargaining chips because it all but guarantees that half of the people running will have to play opposition. My point is that if we had a real choice at the polls, with more than two political parties, we wouldn’t have to worry about the goddamn religious right and their vile dogma because they’d have segregated themselves off into their own little party and we’d be able to manage them.

        3. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 23, 2012 at 10:06 am |

          a lack of respect for gun and property rights

          Now that’s bullshit.

        4. William
          William October 23, 2012 at 10:59 am |

          Now that’s bullshit.

          Eminent domain abuse disproportionately effects the poor, gun laws are historically racist in nature. I don’t expect others to care about them, but I sure as hell do. Not enough to vote for the GOP or put them ahead of other issues (like abortion or marriage equality) in local elections, but enough that it definitely pisses me off that I don’t have a real choice in the matter.

        5. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm |

          It’s bullshit because Obama has done absolutely nothing to threaten your guns.

        6. William
          William October 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm |

          It’s bullshit because Obama has done absolutely nothing to threaten your guns.

          Other than nominating a justice who dissented in McDonald…

      2. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve October 22, 2012 at 7:54 pm |

        The only points of serious difference I see between Obama and Romney boil down to reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights. Even then I feel that the biggest influence either is likely to have in those areas will come down to SCOTUS appointments and that becomes an incredibly mixed bag for me because they’re both likely to appoint justices who will be hostile to entire classes of rights I feel are important. Is there a difference between them? Sure. Is it terribly meaningful? Only if you’re willing to get sucked into the kind of bullshit single-issue voting that has left us with two parties of tyrants.

        Are you actually kidding? Equality is a single issue? Marriage equality isn’t just about ‘LGBTQ rights’ (note to self: WTF is Q?) It’s about all citizens having equal rights. And reproductive rights cover such an enormous spectrum of freedoms it is ludicrous to lump them all in together.

        You can make all the justification you want, but if these issues were actually important to you there would be no question of ‘difference between the two candidates.’

        Having said that, I think there are other issues where the candidates differ, or at least Romney’s official policy differs from Obama’s. Romney has gotten on board many of the anti-science platforms of the national Republican party on any number of issues from intelligent design to climate change. That’s not nothing to me either.

        Also it’s ‘beholden’ to special interests, not ‘beholding.’

        1. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl October 22, 2012 at 8:55 pm |

          Steve, Steve, it’s not just a single issue, it’s a bullshit single issue in William’s mind.

        2. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 23, 2012 at 5:54 am |

          Q is for “queer.” Or for “questioning.” It depends.

        3. William
          William October 23, 2012 at 8:56 am |

          Steve, Steve, it’s not just a single issue, it’s a bullshit single issue in William’s mind.

          The “bullshit” wasn’t the issue, it was the way our system holds it hostage in order to force us to support other monstrous positions. If you want to vote for a politician who supports reproductive or LGBTQ rights you have to, by design, also vote for a politician who supports the CIA murdering people with drones. How can you not be offended by a system which forces that you sacrifice the rights of one for the rights of another?

        4. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl October 23, 2012 at 9:38 am |

          How can you not be offended by a system which forces that you sacrifice the rights of one for the rights of another?

          Oh, bullshit right back at you.

          You used the term bullshit single issue voting. Own it. I see that now you are backtracking, and I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt that (hopefully) you realized just how outrageously offensive it was for you to refer to people’s civil rights in such a manner. But that doesn’t change what you initially said, and what I and others here were criticizing.

        5. William
          William October 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm |

          I see that now you are backtracking, and I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt that (hopefully) you realized just how outrageously offensive it was for you to refer to people’s civil rights in such a manner.

          I can be accused of a lot of things, but backtracking isn’t one of them. I agree that it would be offensive to refer to someone’s rights as bullshit but thats not even remotely what I meant. I’ve explained what I meant. If what I was intending to communicate was unclear I apologize for that, I was not saying that the issues were bullshit but rather the system which forces us to vote on one issue at the expense of all others because you only have two choices.

          And, for the record, this is me owning what I said. I won’t back down, apologize, or try to dodge the conflict. It is what it is, I meant what I meant, you read what you read. I apologize for the miscommunication because I am sincerely sorry that I wasn’t more clear, but I will not apologize for something I did not do.

      3. Esti
        Esti October 22, 2012 at 10:51 pm |

        You don’t have to agree with Obama, but there are massive differences between his position and Romney’s. The Affordable Care Act, Medicare as a voucher program, financial regulation, and whether to deport undocumented immigrants who came here as children, to name just four.

  15. Sid
    Sid October 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm |

    Err, in what universe did Obama run as a moderate and get elected as one? As I seem to remember, he ran on hope and radical change. This was nowhere more manifest in his outreach to youth. He promised to close Gitmo, enable comprehensive immigration reform, and curb prior administration executive power access. He has since only exacerbated all 3 of those situations. He has ratcheted up war rhetoric far more than did the Bush admin, and has taken an even harder line on Israel/Palestine than before. He took his sweet little time ending the wars he promised to wind down all while having toy planes do his killing for him in at least 3 different countries.

    1. tinfoil hattie
      tinfoil hattie October 22, 2012 at 11:58 pm |

      And hasn’t done squat to support women, tired old “Lily Ledbetter!” talking point notwithstanding.

      I vote according to my conscience and personnal beliefs, even though I live in a swing state. It’s MY vote, and I don’t owe any candidate anything. Want me to vote for you? Give me a reason other than “the other guy might turn out to be worse than I have already shown myself to be.”

      1. Esti
        Esti October 23, 2012 at 6:37 am |

        In addition to the pay equity law (which was a really crucial piece of legislation, whether or not you think it’s a “tired” talking point, and one Romney still won’t say he would have supported), he’s actually done a ton of stuff for women. He expanded access to and affordability of healthcare for women (now insurers can’t charge more for women than they do men, contraception must be covered, other preventive services — including mammograms — must be covered, maternity coverage will soon be mandatory for many health plans, etc.). He reversed the global gag rule. He appointed two phenomenal female justices to the Supreme Court. His Secretary of State has made improving the lives of women a focus of the administration’s foreign policy. He’s promoted workplace flexibility, which disproportionately benefits women since they are more often the primary caregivers, including by passing a law that requires federal employers to promote flexwork arrangements. He’s defended Planned Parenthood and refused to cut off federal funding for it. He’s threatened to veto the terrible restrictions Republicans want to place on the Violence Against Women Act. He repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which caused far, far more women than men to be discharged from the military. And that’s just off the top of my head.

        You’re free to dislike him or to disagree with his policies, but the idea that he “hasn’t done squat” for women just isn’t true.

        1. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 23, 2012 at 10:08 am |

          Thank you, Esti! Access to birth control, condoms and health care isn’t “nothing” by any stretch of the imagination.

        2. tinfoil hattie
          tinfoil hattie October 23, 2012 at 11:20 am |

          The Pay Equity Law is little more than a vehicle for lawsuits against corporations that pay women less. Good luck with that, if you can afford the expense, time, and headache of a lawsuit. Meanwhile, the pay gap persists at somewhere between 72-77%.

          Promoting workplace flexibility is great. Even Mitt supports that, so that his binder women can get home and put dinner on the table! Alas, that doesn’t count as a substantive thing that Obama has “done” for women.

          I remember 2007, and I remember Obama’s proclamation that his very first act as president would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act. HA. And even the FOCA had caveats about which abortions should be permitted. I also remember 2009, when Obama stated as plain as day that passing the Act was “not highest legislative priority.”

          As far as Planned Parenthood, neither he nor Mitt could bring himself to say, “reproductive choice” or “abortion” during that stupid “Town Hall” debate. Obama pretended Planned Parenthood is only about birth control and health screenings. Abortion is the subject on which no man in high office will fight for the only moral choice – that women have control of our bodies. Women. Not men, not ministers, not our husbands/partners/fathers/boyfriends, not Congress (83% men).

          Abortion has been under unprecedented assault at the state level for YEARS. Dozens of state laws against abortion have passed in just the last two years. Obama never mentions it. Never talks about it, never demands that women stop being prevented from exercising their rights to their own bodies.

          Furthermore, the epidemic of violence against women in the U.S. continues unabated. About one third of murdered women are killed by an intimate partner, and the statistic I found doesn’t mention former partners – who kill women every day. It’s an appalling truth about our society, and we just accept it as a matter of course.

          In the first debate, women weren’t even mentioned. HALF THE POPULATION was ignored. Half.

          The Affordable Health Car Act? Sure, women’s birth control has to be covered. Unless said woman works for an organization that doesn’t believe women should be allowed to use birth control. That’s a battle still being fought, because the president thinks religion takes precedent over women’s rights. Also, perhaps your birth control will be paid for, but not if the local pharmacist doesn’t think you should be allowed to use it. Where is the Obama’s outrage about that? Where’s the federal law prohibiting pharmacists from deciding what health care should be distributed to women?

          I stand by my statement that Obama hasn’t done squat for women.

          Of course, my standards are pretty high. They boil down to the radical notion that women are people.

        3. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 23, 2012 at 11:23 am |

          Of course, my standards are pretty high. They boil down to the radical notion that women are people.

          You’re right. Clearly supporting Obama is bad feminism.

        4. tinffoil hattie
          tinffoil hattie October 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm |

          Well, bagelsan, I’m not really concerned with “good” or “bad” feminism, as those are moot and juvenile judgments in my opinion. Also, that is not what I said.

          What I did say is that Obama has done squat for women.

        5. Esti
          Esti October 23, 2012 at 6:40 pm |

          Sure, women’s birth control has to be covered. Unless said woman works for an organization that doesn’t believe women should be allowed to use birth control. That’s a battle still being fought, because the president thinks religion takes precedent over women’s rights.

          Seriously?? You do know that Obama is the one who required health plans to cover birth control, over the very loud objections of the Catholic church, and that Romney is still trying to paint him as a violator of the First Amendment for that, right? Obama has done exactly the opposite of saying that religion should take precedence over women’s rights.

          You can want a president who’s farther left, but this kind of criticism is just ignorance or dishonesty.

        6. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 23, 2012 at 6:57 pm |

          Esti, why can’t you understand that Obama is totally an evil mustache-twirling misogynist? Sure, he did all those things that hugely benefited women (like me!) on an individual and group level, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t not done nothing for women! Or something like that! Anyways, it turns out he isn’t literally feminist Jesus Christ so fuck him.

          ;D

      2. Past my expiration date
        Past my expiration date October 23, 2012 at 8:44 am |

        Actually, I (me, personally) would find “the other guy will turn out to be worse than I have already shown myself to be” an enormously persuasive reason — if I thought that it applied in this situation, which I don’t.

      3. number9
        number9 October 27, 2012 at 9:45 pm |

        And hasn’t done squat to support women, tired old “Lily Ledbetter!” talking point notwithstanding.

        Not just that, but he feels that women under 17 shouldn’t be able to purchase Plan B without parental consent. He traded away D.C.’s abortion subsidies for poor women in exchange for the temporary budget deal last year. He said, I believe, “I’ll give you D.C. abortion,” as if something that’s absolutely necessary for thousands of women, and something that has been supported by D.C. residents and officials is a thing that’s his to “give” as a bargaining chip. So it’s not just that he hasn’t done much to support women, he’s actually done things to actively hurt women both here and abroad, where we are still escalating wars. Salon had a decent piece on stating a progressive case against re-election and I tend to agree with most points in it.

  16. DouglasG
    DouglasG October 22, 2012 at 5:58 pm |

    Even if I don’t always think it’s what’s happening, I tend to come away from anything LGBT-related presented by the current administration feeling as if I’ve endured a straightsplaining with a not-always-well-concealed edge to it. Even the support for marriage equality made me feel almost as insulted (we only deserve fair treatment as a large group because his daughters think some of us are cool parents?) as pleased to witness such an historic moment. It doesn’t change my vote, but it does mean that I could never convincingly go out and try to influence others in assistance to the re-election campaign. Yes, the alternative is vastly worse, but that’s not the sort of campaign in which I could be of material assistance.

    Now, if Ms Jill (who is that great rarity, someone with whom I actually agree a considerable majority of the time, and who also hardly ever straightsplains) were ever to run for President, I probably could volunteer with an appropriate degree of enthusiasm.

  17. Kasabian
    Kasabian October 22, 2012 at 7:02 pm |

    I must occupy a very lonely political netherscape, because I’m pretty sure I agree with every action Obama has taken over the past four years. I’m still psyched to vote for him, and I’m psyched to be able to tell my grandkids I helped vote in the first black president -twice-, electoral college be damned.

  18. librarygoose
    librarygoose October 23, 2012 at 12:03 am |

    My parents aren’t usually too swayed by any election but holy shit do they hate Romney. My mom hates him because of the entire horrendous taint of republican policies around women lately and my dad hates that he is such an obvious liar. It’s made this election kinda hilarious.

  19. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 October 23, 2012 at 4:15 am |

    Early voting has started here, so I’m going in tomorrow.

    Since neither Romney nor Obama appeals to me, I’m going with a

    1. Marksman2010
      Marksman2010 October 23, 2012 at 11:07 am |

      How appropriate.

      But I didn’t do that on purpose–the power went out. Heh…

      I’m voting for a candidate belonging to party other than McDonald’s or Burger Kang.

  20. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca October 23, 2012 at 6:24 am |

    I agree that there’s a fair number of significant differences between Obama and Romney. And I hope Obama wins over Romney. Especially as the election gets closer, I feel this more strongly. I’m aware that Obama in the White House is going to be better for my individual life than Romney in the White House, certainly in the short term at least.

    But I just can’t support or advocate for Barack Obama in any way. Not in good conscience. I can’t support a man who does so much to prop up a racist, patriarchal, imperalist, capitalist system. I think of the 210,000 people (disproportionately people of color) who are locked away in cages in federal prisons run by Obama’s Justice Department. I think of all the children in Pakistan who he murders with his drone strikes. I think of all the people in the United States who are hungry or homeless, people who need more social support, and meanwhile Obama is facilitating hundreds of billions of dollars in public money going to rich Wall Street executives and investors. It’s not right.

    So yes, I’m grateful that Obama has chosen to push for some beneficial reforms in the government here and there. But that doesn’t outweigh the damage he does by choosing to lead this horrific, undemocratic government in the first place. I can’t support the man. Of course, Romney is a greedy, callous, power-hungry phony, and he can go fuck himself also.

    1. doberman
      doberman October 23, 2012 at 8:19 am |

      I think of the 210,000 people (disproportionately people of color) who are locked away in cages in federal prisons run by Obama’s Justice Department.

      So we should release the people who are in prison for commiting crime because they are disproportionately people of colour? Sounds sensible.

      I think of all the children in Pakistan who he murders with his drone strikes.

      You know that these drone strikes accomplish other things right? Yes it sucks that children and other innocents are caught in the crossfire, but these actions save many more lives than are taken, otherwise they wouldn’t do it.

      I think of all the people in the United States who are hungry or homeless, people who need more social support, and meanwhile Obama is facilitating hundreds of billions of dollars in public money going to rich Wall Street executives and investors.

      Providing the kind of social support you have in mind to the hungry and homeless would have absolutely devastating effects on the economy and would only cause harm to everyone in the long run.

      1. EG
        EG October 23, 2012 at 8:24 am |

        Providing the kind of social support you have in mind to the hungry and homeless would have absolutely devastating effects on the economy and would only cause harm to everyone in the long run.

        How fortunate that you’re not one of the people who are expected to sacrifice themselves on the altar of the economy.

        So we should release the people who are in prison for commiting crime because they are disproportionately people of colour?

        We could release the ones who are in for bullshit “crimes,” like, for example, the ones who are casualties in the War on Drugs.

      2. William
        William October 23, 2012 at 9:13 am |

        So we should release the people who are in prison for commiting crime because they are disproportionately people of colour? Sounds sensible.

        Hows about we just release the ones who are locked up for crimes without victims. You know, like lying to an investigator, or smoking a little pot, or any of the thousands of other laws we have that are unevenly enforced and seem to exist only to assault those who do not have the resources or juice to protect themselves and enrich the people with enough resources or connections to have a nice job in the PIC?

        Theres a reason we imprison more people than any other developed nation in the world, and, regardless of what your local white patriots might have told you, it ain’t cause the descendants of slaves are predisposed to criminality.

        You know that these drone strikes accomplish other things right?

        Yeah, they also produce good propaganda for terrorist recruitment, which creates more terrorists, which need to be killed by drones, which uses up rockets. Great for whoever makes the rockets, not too certain of what good it does me here in the Midwest, though…

        but these actions save many more lives than are taken,

        [citation needed]

        otherwise they wouldn’t do it.

        Exactly! Thats what I keep telling people! Sure, someone might have gotten fucked, but think of the lives saved! The government knows what its doing! Just look at the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment or how the army saved St. Louis from the Russians. I mean, what do a few brown people matter in the face of such good?

        Providing the kind of social support you have in mind to the hungry and homeless would have absolutely devastating effects on the economy and would only cause harm to everyone in the long run.

        I’ve little confidence in the ability of government to do much of anything right, but if you look at military spending it pretty much dwarfs what we spent in this country during even our most aggressive of social welfare programs. It comes down to priorities, really. If we’re going to be letting bureaucrats spend other people’s money we might as well try to make it do some good instead of create another generation of terrorists. I mean, even if its not efficiently spent $3 Billion dollars can buy a lot of stuff for poor people.

        But I suppose you’re right. In the long run spending that on houses instead of tanks the Army doesn’t want would totally fuck over the economy.

        1. mxe354
          mxe354 October 25, 2012 at 6:34 pm |

          LotusBecca,

          But still, I yearn for the days of the Old Assumption, where I was some sort of aggressive lover of chaos who hated everyone and just wanted to smash things. At least having that projected onto me was kinda thrilling, even if it was completely inaccurate. Now there’s the New Assumption: I’m just this poor widdle person who has so much naive love in her heart for bunnies and rainbows and people singing Kumbaya that I can’t think any more with my cruddy widdle brain. What a boring thing to be. :-(

          As a fellow anarchist, I’ve dealt with both attitudes at the same time. People have called me a typical teenager who craves rebellion and destruction and an Idealistic College Kid Who Has No Life Experience And Thus Cannot Have Dissenting Political Opinions in the same discussion. My feelings are ambivalent.

        2. mxe354
          mxe354 October 25, 2012 at 6:38 pm |

          dammit, these nested quotes are a real pain >_<

      3. LotusBecca
        LotusBecca October 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm |

        I won’t be as prudent with my replies as EG or William.

        So we should release the people who are in prison for commiting crime because they are disproportionately people of colour? Sounds sensible.

        The US federal government has no moral legitimacy to lock up murderers given that it has murdered more people than everyone in its prisons has combined. It has no legitimacy to lock up thieves given that it has stolen more than everyone in its prisons has combined. It should take care of its own shit first before it continues its extremely destructive attempts to ostensibly keep society “safe.” I’m fine with the idea of the federal prison system being completely dismantled.

        You know that these drone strikes accomplish other things right?

        Yes, they help maintain US imperialism around the globe, which is something I’m opposed to.

        Providing the kind of social support you have in mind to the hungry and homeless would have absolutely devastating effects on the economy and would only cause harm to everyone in the long run.

        No, actually, a world without hunger and homelessness would hardly “cause harm to everyone in the long run.” You only say that because you believe in some bullshit theory of neoliberal economics that holds all consumer goods merely have subjective value based off what people are able to pay for them in a capitalistic economy. But having a less “efficient” economy that doesn’t produce as many yachts or granite countertops is actually a good thing if it means people aren’t starving in the streets.

        1. EG
          EG October 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm |

          But having a less “efficient” economy that doesn’t produce as many yachts or granite countertops is actually a good thing if it means people aren’t starving in the streets.

          But, Becca, it is my GOD-GIVEN RIGHT to have AS MANY YACTS AS I WANT!

        2. William
          William October 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm |

          But, Becca, it is my GOD-GIVEN RIGHT to have AS MANY YACTS AS I WANT!

          I’ll defend to the death your right to have as many yachts as you can pay for, after taxes.

        3. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm |

          I’ll defend to the death your right to have as many yachts as you can pay for, after taxes.

          Hmmm. Well, I know you have a lot of guns William. But when it’s midnight, and I’m sneaking into the harbor to vandalize and sabotage EG’s massive yacht collection, please don’t shoot me. It won’t be necessary. I’ll be unarmed and easily apprehendable.

        4. doberman
          doberman October 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm |

          Okay LotusBecca when we free all the criminals you can be the one to meet them at the gates yeah? At least then you might realise the value in keeping these types in prison.

          Yes, they help maintain US imperialism around the globe, which is something I’m opposed to.

          Yes, yes. Or they actually give some of the most seriously oppressed populations around the globe a chance at having real democracy.

          You only say that because you believe in some bullshit theory of neoliberal economics that holds all consumer goods merely have subjective value

          You do realise that it’s because of that same “bullshit” neoliberalism that we’re sitting here talking over a global communications network which has opened up enumerable opportunities for billions worldwide? That we have personal computers capable of billions of calculations per second? That modern medicine is able to improve the lives of people with all sorts of conditions and disabilities?

          Your “Why can’t we all stop being greedy and be nice to each other instead” philosophy is all very nice, LotusBecca, but in the end it’s all bluster. You haven’t thought a bit about what it would actually entail.

        5. EG
          EG October 23, 2012 at 7:13 pm |

          At least then you might realise the value in keeping these types in prison.

          Ah, those types. Those types of scary black men who smoke dope. Those types. That’s a great phrase.

          Or they actually give some of the most seriously oppressed populations around the globe a chance at having real democracy.

          Can you give me an example of that working out?

          You do realise that it’s because of that same “bullshit” neoliberalism that we’re sitting here talking over a global communications network which has opened up enumerable opportunities for billions worldwide? That we have personal computers capable of billions of calculations per second? That modern medicine is able to improve the lives of people with all sorts of conditions and disabilities?

          Nope. Lots and lots of the research was publicly funded. The internet. All kinds of medical advances. Jonas Salk declined to patent the polio vaccine, actually, so that it could be produced and distributed as cheaply as possible.

          Believe it or not, public funding of research does work, and private enterprise is not required to make scientific advances.

        6. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm |

          Yeah doberman. . .EG beat me to it, but just consider what she said to be my response to you on this one.

        7. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 23, 2012 at 7:37 pm |

          LotusBecca, but in the end it’s all bluster. You haven’t thought a bit about what it would actually entail.

          One thing I’ll add though is that I found this last bit rather unnecessary and condescending. I don’t really have any moral high ground here, as I’ve been condescending over the internet plenty of times myself. Still, I didn’t like what you said. I’ve actually thought about this sort of thing quite a bit. You don’t agree with my thoughts on the matter, true. I wish you could disagree with the content of what I’m saying without dismissing the long process of sincere reflection and research that led me to my views.

          Finally, I’ll add that I seem to be getting these sort of comments quite a bit online over the past six months. Maybe about five times more than I used to. And all I had to do was change three letters on my screenname. Fancy that.

        8. William
          William October 23, 2012 at 7:47 pm |

          Hmmm. Well, I know you have a lot of guns William. But when it’s midnight, and I’m sneaking into the harbor to vandalize and sabotage EG’s massive yacht collection, please don’t shoot me. It won’t be necessary. I’ll be unarmed and easily apprehendable.

          Deal. Although, to be fair, as long as you’re not stealing the yacht you could make a good argument that EG still “has” it. That said, if you want an extra layer of security you can wear whatever you have in your wardrobe that doesn’t make you look like a foot’s worth of concentric circles with an inch-wide orange dot in the middle.

        9. EG
          EG October 23, 2012 at 7:54 pm |

          All the yachts. I want ALL THE YACHTS!

          (Actually, I get motion sick on muddy patches in the park.)

          Becca, I too have noticed the number of comments from people who assume you, as an anarchist, have Never Thought About That, Have You? seems to have gone up. Because it’s not like there’s an entire, complex school of political thought and theory behind anarchism, right?

          And even if there were, everybody knows that ladies can’t read all that; it makes our brains overheat.

        10. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm |

          Becca, I too have noticed the number of comments from people who assume you, as an anarchist, have Never Thought About That, Have You? seems to have gone up. Because it’s not like there’s an entire, complex school of political thought and theory behind anarchism, right?

          LOL yeah. People never seem to get that anarchism is an actual political philosophy. But still, I yearn for the days of the Old Assumption, where I was some sort of aggressive lover of chaos who hated everyone and just wanted to smash things. At least having that projected onto me was kinda thrilling, even if it was completely inaccurate. Now there’s the New Assumption: I’m just this poor widdle person who has so much naive love in her heart for bunnies and rainbows and people singing Kumbaya that I can’t think any more with my cruddy widdle brain. What a boring thing to be. :-(

        11. tinfoil hattie
          tinfoil hattie October 24, 2012 at 2:44 am |

          You know, some people even believe they have the right to FOOD. And HEALTH CARE.

          The nerve!

        12. William
          William October 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm |

          But still, I yearn for the days of the Old Assumption, where I was some sort of aggressive lover of chaos who hated everyone and just wanted to smash things.

          Not that there would be anything wrong with that. I mean, we could totally use a little more chaos and a little less control in our society. And smashing things is kinda how you make room to build better things…

        13. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 24, 2012 at 6:17 pm |

          Not that there would be anything wrong with that. I mean, we could totally use a little more chaos and a little less control in our society. And smashing things is kinda how you make room to build better things…

          Ha, yeah. And to perfectly honest, I actually have smashed a couple bank windows in my time. But it still was just an odd assumption for people to make, because I actually like getting along with others, and I see my political views as based mainly off of a measured and considered concern for myself and for humanity (plus a little anger), not a rabid lust for destruction.

        14. Alexandra
          Alexandra November 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm |

          No, it isn’t. It is just pointless vandalism no better than disaffected youths smashing random shop windows just because they can or want to express their general discontent.

          Or are you saying that you really want to see wide spread rioting? Perhaps an armed revolution and civil war?

          I do not think that would be something to strive for either.

          You don’t know your feminist history, matlun.

          In the 1910s, the WSPU in Britain staged several protests that involved mass property destruction in protest of women’s disenfranchisement in Britain. Hell, they even firebombed Lloyd George’s house (not while he was in it) and one of ‘em beat up Winston Churchill in the street with her riding crop. While the WSPU started with more accepted nonviolent protest, and continued to use classic protest tools like hunger strikes, they also used somewhat more violent means to raise awareness.

          You may have philosophical qualms with property destruction; the WSPU typically drew the line at violence against a person, considering property destruction fair game. They were coming out of a socialist tradition, by the way, not an anarchist one (though I admit, I’m no historian of leftist social movements of the era).

          It is absolutely the case that violent democratic protest has been effective in the past. That doesn’t necessarily mean that violence is ethical – but you can’t argue that it hasn’t worked.

      4. pitbullgirl65
        pitbullgirl65 October 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm |

        You know that these drone strikes accomplish other things right? Yes it sucks that children and other innocents are caught in the crossfire, but these actions save many more lives than are taken, otherwise they wouldn’t do it.

        This is the same justification that was used to bomb Hiroshiman and Nagasaki.

        1. EG
          EG October 25, 2012 at 6:01 pm |

          these actions save many more lives than are taken, otherwise they wouldn’t do it.

          Yeah, wow. This sentence bespeaks an almost touching faith in government authority that I just see no reason for. Almost touching.

        2. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 26, 2012 at 11:50 am |

          Yeah, and the debate rages on whether Hiroshima and/or Nagasaki were justified. So, yanno, not a settled debate-ender there.

      5. DonnaL
        DonnaL October 25, 2012 at 7:18 pm |

        smashing things is kinda how you make room to build better things…

        I’m sure that smashing windows and other things can be very cathartic, but being on the receiving end of it hasn’t worked out too well for my family over the last fifteen hundred years or so. So pardon me if I don’t believe in it.

        1. William
          William October 25, 2012 at 9:51 pm |

          I’m sure that smashing windows and other things can be very cathartic, but being on the receiving end of it hasn’t worked out too well for my family over the last fifteen hundred years or so. So pardon me if I don’t believe in it.

          A fair point. Anarchism is really something that appeals to me primarily in fantasy, I’m just not confident enough in other people to believe that it would lead to anything other than a despot with the biggest gang. Still, you have to have something to keep yourself from the edge of despair…

        2. wembley
          wembley October 29, 2012 at 4:35 pm |

          Donna, thank you. LotusBecca, I love you, but god damn, do I wish members of the black bloc would take a moment to wiki Kristallnacht. And maybe think about the fact that regular, everyday, non-left, non-political-junkie people like us in the Feministe comment section don’t look at a broken BofA or Nike window and think, “My God, it’s so great that they struck a blow against neoliberal capitalism!” Probably they’re just imagining themselves behind the window, getting hurt.

          Most people don’t look at a broken bank window and think “bank”. They look at a broken window and think “broken window”. If you’ve ever had a brick lobbed at your window because you’re marginalized in some way, doubly so. That the black bloc doesn’t recognize this speaks to a really unsettling echo chamber effect in certain anarchist/radical sections of the far left.

        3. April
          April October 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm |

          Yeah, there’s a pretty obviously huge difference between breaking a bank window and breaking the window of a private residence of a family who is routinely marginalized for one reason or another. Anarchists, they tend toward the former, not the latter. I guess I’m pretty silly for having assumed this was a really obvious thing.

        4. EG
          EG October 30, 2012 at 6:00 pm |

          I guess I’m pretty silly for having assumed this was a really obvious thing.

          Once you’ve been on the wrong side of the window, I suspect it’s not so obvious as you assume.

        5. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 30, 2012 at 6:45 pm |

          wembley, I’m not a member of the black bloc, and when I’ve smashed bank windows, it’s been solitary acts of vandalism late at night when no one else was around. I did it for the emotional catharsis as much as anything, and it was very rewarding in that regard. I also followed the Golden Rule. I thought about when I worked at Jimmy John’s Sandwiches, how I would have felt if I had come into work and one of our windows had been smashed, and I had to sweep it up the broken glass. I realized that I would’ve been very happy that someone had smashed our window because I didn’t like working there.

          And I can’t be held accountable for how some other people interpret this sort of action. I don’t like that people in our culture over-identify with corporate power and believe in the sanctity of property rights. I think their doing so is a problem; it’s a problem for our society and for the planet. So if these thought patterns of theirs cause them to misinterpret the nature of my actions, and view them as threatening, well that’s on them, not me. Personally, I find the polished and soulless atmosphere of a bank without smashed windows to be threatening. . .it’s symbolic of the manipulative nature and callous oppressiveness of the capitalist class.

        6. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 30, 2012 at 7:23 pm |

          I wish members of the black bloc would take a moment to wiki Kristallnacht.

          Oh, and one other thing I wanted to add. I honestly find it a bit insulting to compare anarchists breaking bank windows to Kristallnacht. The two have completely different social contexts and underlying dynamics. It reminds me of a anti-choicer talking about forced abortions in China to explain why a woman choosing an abortion is a bad thing. Yeah, they are both abortion, but in every other way they are different. When anarchists break bank windows, there’s no racism, no anti-Semitism, no one is killed, and no one is imprisoned (well, except maybe for us, because the government isn’t on our side, unlike how they were on the side of the mobs in Nazi Germany).

    2. tinffoil hattie
      tinffoil hattie October 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm |

      Well said, LotusBecca.

    3. chava
      chava October 30, 2012 at 7:57 pm |

      Oh, and one other thing I wanted to add. I honestly find it a bit insulting to compare anarchists breaking bank windows to Kristallnacht.

      Yeah, well, as someone with family who had the windows of their printing business and banks broken on Kristallnacht, I don’t.

      1. LotusBecca
        LotusBecca October 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm |

        Fair enough. You can make the comparison if you like. There’s extremely little resemblance between the two phenomena though, as per my abortion example.

        1. EG
          EG October 30, 2012 at 8:42 pm |

          Remember that being capitalist bloodsuckers is one of the classic charges levelled against Jews, Becca, and that before banks were ginormous corporations with 1000 heads, Jewish moneylenders and bankers were already loathed. When the bank is the family business, in large part because your family has been prohibited from other forms of making of a living, how do you know that the brick being lobbed through your window is being thrown by someone righteously angry at exploitation or by someone who thinks Jews are parasitic money-grubbers? The line has not always been so clear.

          I really think this a case where the experiences and history, not only of the person on the other side of the window, but also of a group, carry more weight than you’re allowing here.

        2. DonnaL
          DonnaL October 30, 2012 at 9:50 pm |

          Becca, I completely agree with those who are giving you a hard time here. We’re on opposite sides here (as we are with many things), and always will be. The distinctions you’re trying to make here are pretty much bullshit, as perhaps you’d realize if you knew a little bit more about the closely-intertwined histories of Jew-hatred and anti-capitalism, and the virtually identical rhetoric they’ve shared.

        3. EG
          EG October 30, 2012 at 10:01 pm |

          I guess the other thing I want to say, Becca, is that while my personal avatar of anarchism is Emma Goldman, she was concerned and anxious about Bakunin’s anti-semitism. I know that leftist anarchists would never condone such sentiments and racism, but I do think it’s important to think about how such attitudes might have inflected anarchist ideas about destruction for anarchists who trace their evolutionary branch of their philosophy back to him.

          I say this, I want to emphasize, as somebody who is herself highly sympathetic to anarchist thought and who admires many leftist anarchist activists greatly.

        4. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 30, 2012 at 10:20 pm |

          Donna and EG,

          Agreeing with everything except your exclusive use of the word ‘capitalist.’ The ‘Jewish conspiracy’ or even the ‘Jewish banking conspiracy’ is as often tied to bolshevism/communism as it is to capitalism.

        5. EG
          EG October 30, 2012 at 10:35 pm |

          As an anti-capitalist myself, Steve, I completely agree! I did not mean to suggest that anti-capitalism was the only way that anti-semitic fantasies of parasitic conspiracies manifested, by any means.

        6. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 30, 2012 at 10:44 pm |

          I think that for the longest time Western civilization has been anti-Semitic to its core. Donna, I’m sure I don’t know as much as you do about the history of anti-Semitism. I’m aware, though, that anti-Semitism has significantly permeated the rhetoric and practices of anti-capitalism. I don’t think anti-capitalism has been any more anti-Semitic than any other Western philosophy, though, and quite possibly less, considering how many people of Jewish ancestry have impacted anti-capitalism profoundly (Karl Marx, Emma Goldman, Rosa Luxemburg, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, etc., etc., etc.)

          EG, I’m aware Bakunin was anti-Semitic. He’s no particular role model of mine. Actually, I tend to be on the pacifistic side as far as anarchists go. . .being as I reject all violence that’s not in self-defense (I don’t even believe in yelling at people, for God’s sake!) I just don’t think that there’s a right to private property, and certainly not for corporations, which I don’t think are people and I don’t think have a right to exist. So I do not believe that sabotaging their property is violence.

          And I just cannot see how oppressors smashing the windows of the oppressed (like Kristallnacht) is even in remotely the same ballpark as the oppressed smashing the windows of their oppressors (like me vandalizing Wells Fargo). They actually seem to be completely opposite things.

        7. DonnaL
          DonnaL October 30, 2012 at 10:54 pm |

          Steve, I’m well aware of that, but that isn’t what I was talking about here. I was specifically addressing the historical connection between anti-capitalist and anti-Jewish rhetoric. Which both have extremely deep roots in Christian belief.

        8. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 30, 2012 at 11:19 pm |

          Steve, I’m well aware of that, but that isn’t what I was talking about here. I was specifically addressing the historical connection between anti-capitalist and anti-Jewish rhetoric. Which both have extremely deep roots in Christian belief.

          I didn’t mean to sound like I thought you weren’t aware of that, I just thought it was an important point to add to the discussion, having just finished Richard Evans’ “The Third Reich in Power” and being rather fresh on the glass breaking years.

        9. EG
          EG October 30, 2012 at 11:19 pm |

          I’m aware, though, that anti-Semitism has significantly permeated the rhetoric and practices of anti-capitalism. I don’t think anti-capitalism has been any more anti-Semitic than any other Western philosophy, though, and quite possibly less

          I think you’re probably right, but the ubiquity of anti-semitism makes it all the more imperative that leftists be aware of influence of its effects in our own understandings, rather than dismiss those concerns. The point chava and Donna are making is that these kinds of attacks are disturbingly reminiscent of anti-semitic attacks, and the rhetoric used to justify them is also distressingly similar, given the historical context of Jews being pushed into the financial industry. Given that context, it is inevitable that there are going to be Jewish people who are deeply uncomfortable with the kind of violence against property you are describing, and that doesn’t mean they’re wrong, because the comparison they’re drawing is between the experiences of being on the wrong end of that attack, not between the intentions of the attackers.

          As to private property, well, I do think that individuals have a right to a certain level of private property (in part because I do not share well and cannot imagine ever being happy in a society in which I have to share my rather small apartment with anyone I don’t love). I agree with you that corporations have no rights, including that one. I’m not offended at your disrespect of corporate property. I am…distressed at what feels like a very uncharacteristic cavalier waving away of concerns particular to a historically persecuted group. Honestly, Becca, this isn’t like you.

        10. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 31, 2012 at 12:33 am |

          You’re right EG. I think I have some thinking to do in regards to all this. I appreciate your honesty also, and your persistence in making this point.

          I’ll be honest, too. Donna and chava: I like them a lot (Donna, at least; I haven’t interacted in many threads with chava really). But in the context of this thread. . .well, first, I know they both support Obama. Chava and I had already argued in the subthread about the police (me taking the “anti-police” side). So it was easy for me to interpret this as both of them yet again just taking the more “Establishment,” more conservative position. Which happens to me all the time when I discuss politics with other people. And I already knew that most folks in this country have a problem with anarchists vandalizing Chase Bank or Wells Fargo. So that part wasn’t new information to me. And since such vandalism is something I’ve actually done multiple times, I guess I was getting defensive and taking people’s criticisms here personally.

          BUT I’d never actually considered the angle that such behavior relates to anti-Semitism before. And as I was angrily defending my position here I didn’t seriously consider the potential validity of this new specific critique that I hadn’t heard before. So I’m glad you’ve said what you have, EG, because since you are also anti-capitalist, and since you were responding in a very balanced and judicious seeming way, it lead me to think. . .well. . .maybe I’m missing something here. Maybe this is something I need to actually think about rather than just react to.

          I’m glad that I’m a person who seems like she doesn’t wave away the concerns of marginalized groups usually. That’s the type of person I want to be. And you’re right that it’s important for leftists to understand the influence of anti-Semitism on our understandings. Actually, in the course of this subthread. . .I’ve been occasionally having some thoughts and impulses that I don’t like. Nothing too flagrant or horrible, but it’s definitely brought to the surface some subtly anti-Semitic thinking that normally stays subconscious for me. It frustrates and saddens me how often I become aware of new racist or misogynistic or transphobic or ableist or anti-Semitic thought patterns I hadn’t been aware of, even after years of introspection and educating myself.

          Anyway, thanks for engaging with me on this EG. And thanks to chava and Donna and Mac and everyone else, too.

        11. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 31, 2012 at 9:39 am |

          I have a response to you, EG, that’s in mod where I try to step back a bit and consider the value of what people have been saying to me here.

        12. chava
          chava October 31, 2012 at 1:14 pm |

          (Donna, at least; I haven’t interacted in many threads with chava really). But in the context of this thread. . .well, first, I know they both support Obama. Chava and I had already argued in the subthread about the police (me taking the “anti-police” side). So it was easy for me to interpret this as both of them yet again just taking the more “Establishment,” more conservative position.

          Actually, I don’t think I’ve said that on this thread (Obama or no). Also, not to reopen the can of worms, but I’m hardly pro-police, just not necessarily pro letting people shoot them, either.

        13. EG
          EG October 31, 2012 at 4:56 pm |

          Thanks for the thoughtful response, Becca. That is exactly the kind of self-reflective comment that I think is characteristic of you, and a quality that I admire; I would do well to try emulating it, I think.

          My gut reaction, having been raised in a Jewish leftist family, is to associate anti-semitism with anti-leftism and red-baiting, as Steve mentions. Reading what chava wrote brought me up short, as it seemed counter-intuitive to me, but then I remembered how, when the economy crashed I began waiting for an uptick in anti-semitism and how Occupy Wall Street, at least in NY, went out of its way to make it clear that it had no interest in any kind of anti-semitic rhetoric, and how pleased I had been about that, and I better understood what she was saying.

          Part of the problem, just to go off on a tangent, is how hard it is for violent direct action, particularly when spontaneous, to be under control, and how when it spins out of control, mobs are often only too eager to turn on persecuted groups. I’m thinking, because of the literature I’ve been teaching, of the NYC Draft Riots. I have a student who wants to write about the working-class resentment of the rule whereby you could by your way out of the draft that sparked the riots–but the fact is that within only a couple hours of attacking the draft office and destroying the lottery wheel, those rioters became the most vicious lynch mob imaginable, attacking black men, women, and children in the street and torturing them to death. That doesn’t mean that resentment of class exploitation is always in itself racist, but it does mean that in that historical instance, as I keep telling my student, the two things are inextricable from each other. I don’t think that anti-capitalism is in itself necessarily anti-semitic, but the two have been inextricable in far too many instances.

        14. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 31, 2012 at 10:34 pm |

          chava, you’re right that you didn’t endorse Obama in this thread. I drew the conclusion that you supported Obama, though, based off your statement that you thought third party candidates should throw their “support behind the main contender.” I suppose this alternatively could have been a pro-Romney sentiment, or just a general philosophical position, or something else, but I took it to mean that you’d be supporting Obama in this particular contest.

          And sorry. I wasn’t trying to say you were actually pro-police, that’s why the put “anti-police” in quotes when describing my position in the argument. I just picked a label for ease of reference, as I was the one being more vocally critical of the police in that particular subthread.

        15. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 31, 2012 at 11:38 pm |

          Well, EG, I’m glad if I’ve redeemed myself a bit! :-)

          That’s an excellent and very sobering example with the NYC draft riots. In general, I don’t see what you’re pointing out as a specific problem with illegal or violent direct action though so much as a wider challenge that needs to be addressed in all political activism, unfortunately. It can be far too tempting for people resisting one oppression to reinforce another and do reprehensible things in the process. People do this all the time regardless of the political tactics they’re employing–whether it’s voting in an election or rioting in the street, starting a boycott or writing a blog. The problem is particularly horrible and obvious when mobs are going around murdering innocent people though.

          It is nice that the Occupy movement hasn’t seemed to be antisemitic at all. Also, this discussion has actually inspired me to do some searching on the web, and I read some stuff on an interesting blog called Engage, which is by a group of British leftists who spend a lot of their time critiquing antisemitism within the Left. Some of it was very illuminating for me. While I was reading, I drew a parallel in my head between anti-capitalism’s persistent problem with antisemitism and feminism’s persistent problem with transphobia. The parallel I saw was that feminism’s transphobia has been bad because it has hurt a group of oppressed, marginalized people, trans people. And it’s also been bad because it has diverted attention away from an accurate, structural analysis of patriarchy by blaming scapegoats who aren’t actually responsible for the things being claimed. Likewise, the antisemitism within anti-capitalism has been bad because of the shitty things it’s done to Jewish people. And it’s also been bad because, similarly, it’s diverted attention away from an accurate, structural analysis of capitalism by blaming scapegoats who aren’t actually responsible for the things being claimed. It’s truly the “socialism of fools,” to quote August Bebel.

        16. DonnaL
          DonnaL November 1, 2012 at 1:13 am |

          Becca, your thoughtfulness, self-reflectiveness, and ability to listen to new viewpoints continue to impress me, as they always have. And I do see the parallel you draw between two different kinds of scapegoating.

          Somehow, the Italian banks in the Middle Ages managed to lend enormous sums of money to kings, princes and merchants at high interest rates without being condemned by the Church or murdered in mob violence. But when Jews began moving into moneylending (not only because other occupations were closed to them, but because by the time of the Crusades they had been pushed by Christian merchants out of their major role in international trade in the Mediterranean and elsewhere, particularly as the intermediaries between the Christian and Muslim worlds), and ended up being the only ones willing to take the chance of lending small sums of money at high risk to peasant farmers to buy livestock, new plows, etc., guess who received the condemnation? Guess who were the first ones killed every time there was a riot?

        17. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca November 1, 2012 at 6:07 am |

          Donna, thanks for the gracious words.

          That’s really interesting and sad about the evolution of moneylending in the Middle Ages and how Jewish people were persecuted. There’s a lot of nuance there that I hadn’t been aware of; thank you for describing that.

        18. chava
          chava November 1, 2012 at 7:33 am |

          @ becca–

          It’s not super important, but fwiw it’s a general philosophical position. I’m a pragmatist to the point of absurdity, that’s what the third party thing meant. Support a major contender, in other words, but only in exchange for the candidate shifting policy towards your group. Works well in NY.

        19. chava
          chava November 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm |

          EG, this university you teach at…..it would not happen to be in West Philly, would it?

          Because if it is I think we know each other IRL.

        20. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable November 2, 2012 at 9:42 am |

          This is totally unrelated (I’m pretty sure my opinion is entirely unwelcome and possibly oppressive), but EG –

          Yesterday I was trying to get a bus out of NY, and the guy in front of me started arguing with the Greyhound guy who happened to be working near our line. They then immediately dropped it when they both realized they were from Philadelphia. Is that a thing? I always thought Philadelphia was huge, but they had a conversation about how it was weird they didn’t know the other.

        21. EG
          EG November 2, 2012 at 9:50 am |

          I only lived there for seven years or so, but it always struck me as being quite a small city (of course, take it with a grain of salt, because literally the only other place I’d ever lived when I moved there was NYC), and it’s not uncommon for people in similar social/class strata to at least know someone in common, I think. At least, that’s the impression I have…

          What say you, chava?

      2. chava
        chava October 30, 2012 at 9:47 pm |

        I also followed the Golden Rule. I thought about when I worked at Jimmy John’s Sandwiches, how I would have felt if I had come into work and one of our windows had been smashed, and I had to sweep it up the broken glass. I realized that I would’ve been very happy that someone had smashed our window because I didn’t like working there.

        That’s nice for you. Plenty of people would just be pissed that they had to clean up the shards of glass. Or cut themselves cleaning it up, not have freaking health insurance, maybe go to the ER or lose their job if they cut their hand so badly they can’t come into work and their job doesn’t give sick days/they’re undocumented, or a million other things your window-breaking Golden Rule doesn’t account for. Other people would be scared when they come into work, because hey, they don’t know you’re only going to throw bricks when they’re off shift, or that you’re considering the Golden Rule of Becca, or they’re triggered because people have thrown bricks at their heads or their families’ heads in living memory.

        1. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 30, 2012 at 10:20 pm |

          First of all. . .most of those hypotheticals are ridiculous and far-fetched (I think most people know how to clean up glass without cutting themselves). Second of all, to the extent those things could happen. . .how is any of that my problem? Banks are fucking triggering to me. They remind me (among other things) of the time in 2008-2009 where I was unemployed for 13 months and contemplated suicide. I was unemployed for so long because the economy collapsed because banks decided to gamble people’s mortgages in the stock market. If banks don’t want people to vandalize them. . .maybe they should stop stealing money from the treasury, evicting people from their homes and making them homeless, and charging working people who are barely getting by outrageous service fees for the stupidest shit. Chava, is there anything reprehensible enough that you would be OK with people vandalizing it? Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s house? A Klu Klux Klan meeting hall? Are against all property destruction full stop or do you just believe banks are somehow OK?

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 30, 2012 at 10:34 pm |

          (I think most people know how to clean up glass without cutting themselves).

          I couldn’t, with my disabilities and all. Nice of you to consider that. Got no interest in the rest of the thread/quarrel/wev, but I just wanted to point out you’re being kind of blinkered.

          how is any of that my problem?

          Clearly, it’s not, or you wouldn’t think it. Some of us inch and wobble our way through life to avoid exactly this kind of silly potential catastrophe. Something that’s a moment of clumsiness for you can be fucking agonising for me.

        3. chava
          chava October 30, 2012 at 10:35 pm |

          Really? How is any of that your PROBLEM?

          just…..no.

          Look, we’re not going to bridge this one. I’m sorry banks are triggering to you. I don’t think throwing things at them is a reasonable adult alternative. If you want to hurt the people in power (who won’t be cleaning up the fucking glass) try slashing a CEO’s tires or something.

          I also don’t think the hypotheticals are outlandish. I grant that it’s somewhat unlikely someone would cut themselves badly enough to really hurt their hand, but be scared at work? Get a superficial, but still painful cut? Feel unsafe? Um, yeah.

        4. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 30, 2012 at 11:25 pm |

          You’re right chava, we’re not going to bridge this one. Oh well. I’d say more in response to you if I wasn’t talking to a lot of people right here. It’s getting a bit overwhelming for me; I hope you don’t consider my brevity rude though.

          Mac, thanks for pointing that out. It was a pretty ableist thing for me to say. I should’ve just said that I’ll bet the odds are very low that whoever is assigned to clean up the glass is gonna go to the hospital because they’ve sliced open their hand. My thinking becomes more problematic and simplistic the angrier I get, apparently. Anyway, I apologize for saying what I did there and erasing the experiences of people like you.

        5. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 31, 2012 at 1:59 pm |

          Hey, no problem, Becca. Just thought I should point it out because people sometimes – without any bad intent whatsoever! – assume that I’m capable of things I’m not, and that simple tasks are within my purview that really aren’t. It’s actually worse for me imo in some ways because I come across really confident and capable when I’m In The Zone, so people don’t believe I realyl can’t do things like tie shoelaces right… it’s wrong and feels shameful that I should be pissed off that I’m not MORE disabled, but there it is.

          And I probably shouldn’t have twanged that hard, just…that comment came on the tail end of a day when I really Could Not Move and Could Not Brain and had to write tests and socialise and go to crowded stores; never a good combination. I was already frustrated about it.

        6. Esti
          Esti November 1, 2012 at 11:01 am |

          @Becca

          Second of all, to the extent those things could happen. . .how is any of that my problem? Banks are fucking triggering to me.

          I just can’t follow this kind of thinking at all. Is the standard for when it’s okay to smash something “I personally find this triggering”? Because I suspect you wouldn’t be okay with bigots adopting that kind of justification for vandalism or looting, or with some rabid pro-capitalist person smashing up an Occupy camp. And I don’t think you’d love it if you came home one day to find your windows smashed because a Native American person finds the presence of colonizers triggering, or because someone is so triggered by the company you work for that their desire to smash things extends to all of that company’s employees.

          In my experience with people who identy as anarchists, they’ve always fallen into one of two camps: a very small number of people who would actually be happy with a world in which everyone was free to smash anything they felt like, and a much greater number of people who sometimes profess that belief but when pushed on it actually only want it to be applied to things they think deserve smashing. The problem with that latter view, of course, is that it’s only appealing if you’re the one who gets to decide what gets smashed. So yeah, you dislike banks and probably think that smashing their windows is not even in the same stratosphere as racists smashing the windows of Arab Americans after 9/11 or anti-abortion radicals smashing the windows of Planned Parenthood clinics. But there are a whole bunch of people out there who have the opposite view. So unless you really think it’s cool for them to smash up PP because they hate it just as much as you hate Wells Fargo, then maybe individuals taking it upon themselves to smash windows of any institution they don’t like isn’t actually something you want to endorse. Because you are not Supreme Ruler of the Universe, so if you want to apply a standard more like “only smash windows of places that deserve it,” then you’re going to need some kind of common system for deciding which places deserve it and which places don’t. A system like, I don’t know… a set of representatives chosen by a majority of the population, coupled with some kind of permanent protection of minority rights?

          And no, government doesn’t always work all that well, and there are things like interest groups and money and Antonin Scalia that can make it really hard to get your voice heard or your rights protected (of course, there’s also no indication that it’s impossible, and there are a huge number of people working really, really hard trying to combat those things, and I would argue that a lot of progress has been made). But you know what else doesn’t really work well at dismantling crony capitalism or predatory lending or income inequality? Throwing a brick through the window of a bank that is insured against property damage and whose executives sit too high up in the building to see your petty vandalism and which will only pass any costs you cause it to incur onto the people who use its services.

        7. William
          William November 1, 2012 at 11:57 am |

          But you know what else doesn’t really work well at dismantling crony capitalism or predatory lending or income inequality? Throwing a brick through the window of a bank that is insured against property damage and whose executives sit too high up in the building to see your petty vandalism and which will only pass any costs you cause it to incur onto the people who use its services.

          You run into a problem there, though. Anarchism, or direct action in general, doesn’t just mean smashing windows. Sure, breaking a bank window doesn’t do a whole hell of a lot, but organized actions against specific entities can do quite a lot. The Stonewall riots come to mind and they went quite a bit further than property damage and into direct conflict, and at times things looking very much like attempted murder, with police. I have a hard time imagining that people like King and the peaceful civil rights movement’s songs of We Shall Overcome and boycotts would have had the same traction were it not for people like Huey Newton walking around (or into the California state house…) with a shotgun or Malcolm X providing a peek at what a more aggressive movement might look like. The labor movement was far from gentle. Violence and direct action have done a lot of bad things in this world, and it isn’t generally a political tool that I think is a good idea, but it is very difficult to argue that it is incapable of affecting meaningful change. Theres a reason that direct action was a favored tool of both the Fascists and the Communists: it worked.

        8. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll November 1, 2012 at 1:59 pm |

          A system like, I don’t know… a set of representatives chosen by a majority of the population, coupled with some kind of permanent protection of minority rights?

          or, yanno, a superior system

          h ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekPcGeW8P8c&feature=g-hist

        9. Esti
          Esti November 1, 2012 at 3:25 pm |

          @pheeno

          I personally don’t hold out a lot of hope that kind of system could ever be workable for the United States as a whole, and I’m not sure it’s obviously superior to a democratic capitalist society with a strong social safety net. That said, even if you think that kind of anarchist system is the ideal, smashing Wells Fargo’s windows does precisely nothing to advance that cause.

        10. William
          William November 1, 2012 at 4:01 pm |

          That said, even if you think that kind of anarchist system is the ideal, smashing Wells Fargo’s windows does precisely nothing to advance that cause

          That really depends on one’s level of organization. A lone brick-thrower? Maybe not. A group of organized and highly motivated individuals committed to direct action? Thats a horse of a different color…

        11. matlun
          matlun November 1, 2012 at 4:44 pm |

          That really depends on one’s level of organization. A lone brick-thrower? Maybe not. A group of organized and highly motivated individuals committed to direct action? Thats a horse of a different color

          No, it isn’t. It is just pointless vandalism no better than disaffected youths smashing random shop windows just because they can or want to express their general discontent.

          Or are you saying that you really want to see wide spread rioting? Perhaps an armed revolution and civil war?

          I do not think that would be something to strive for either.

        12. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll November 1, 2012 at 5:57 pm |

          Did you even WATCH it? What’s being described IS a democratic system. One that actually worked. The system itself was the safety net.

        13. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm |

          That clip was… hilariously biased? Evil Madison! And frankly, I don’t think that governance model would scale well to millions of people.

        14. amblingalong
          amblingalong November 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm |

          LotusBecca, I just want to clarify; it’s ok for me to help my friend’s family set fire to your house, because her parents left the Soviet Union and find collectivism triggering, right? You have absolutely no objection to this?

          I also followed the Golden Rule. I thought about when I worked at Jimmy John’s Sandwiches, how I would have felt if I had come into work and one of our windows had been smashed, and I had to sweep it up the broken glass. I realized that I would’ve been very happy that someone had smashed our window because I didn’t like working there.

          That’s fucking idiotic and a total misunderstanding of how the ‘golden rule’ operates.

        15. Esti
          Esti November 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm |

          @pheeno

          I did. And unless I missed something, it wasn’t an example of a democratic capitalist society. It also isn’t, in my opinion, something that would be workable on the scale of the modern United States.

        16. EG
          EG November 1, 2012 at 8:22 pm |

          it’s ok for me to help my friend’s family set fire to your house, because her parents left the Soviet Union and find collectivism triggering, right?

          Well, anarchism is different from communism, but leaving that aside, unless Becca’s house is a power center for leftist movements, a better analogy would be smashing the windows of union offices or something.

        17. Donna L
          Donna L November 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm |

          a better analogy would be smashing the windows of union offices or something.

          Does the CPUSA even have a physical office anymore? You could always hack their Facebook page.

        18. EG
          EG November 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm |

          The Wobblies still have an office in West Phillie! When I walked by it, I literally stood there and rubbed my eyes in disbelief.

        19. chava
          chava November 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm |

          oh ffs.

          re-posting mis-nested comment here:

          “EG, this university you teach at…..it would not happen to be in West Philly, would it?

          Because if it is I think we know each other IRL.”

        20. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll November 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm |

          And frankly, I don’t think that governance model would scale well to millions of people.

          Except it DID, you ignorant racist fuck.

          Evil Madison!

          “Next to the black race within our bosom, that of the red on our borders is the problem most baffling to the policy of our country.” -James Madison

          Madison thought that it would be useful to know more about “the susceptibility of the Indian character” in order to devise the treatment best suited to it.

          Naw, sounds like a stand up guy!

        21. matlun
          matlun November 2, 2012 at 1:45 am |

          Bagelsan: And frankly, I don’t think that governance model would scale well to millions of people.

          pheeno: Except it DID, you ignorant racist fuck.

          How large a population do you think the Iroquois had?

          It seems difficult to find any clear figures, but for example wikipedia states “In the early 17th century, the Iroquois were at the height of their power, with a population of about 12,000 people”. Other sources give maximum population figures in the 25,000 people range.

          If you think that the real population figure was in the millions, what is your source?

        22. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca November 2, 2012 at 3:32 am |

          Esti. . .I’m strongly opposed to injustices such as racism, misogyny, homophobia, and so on. So I strongly oppose people smashing windows for racist or misogynistic reasons, just like I strongly oppose people doing anything for those reasons. I would be OK with people smashing windows for anti-racist or anti-misogynistic reasons though. . .people of color smashing the windows of a KKK meeting hall, for example, or women smashing the windows of Operation Rescue’s main office. That’s because I’m supportive of anti-racist and anti-misogynistic activism, in general. So if you want a clear standard, this seems pretty straightforward: I’d like people to be anti-racist and act accordingly, and to not be racist or do racist things. And I have similar preferences in regards to every axis of oppression.

          Of course, I have no ability to enforce this preference on everyone, and that’s OK by me. I have no desire to be the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, actually. In my eyes, the case for why social inequality and oppression is always bad is pretty compelling, whereas the case for why smashing windows is always bad is not so compelling. But all I can do is speak my opinion in regards to that, and people who hear me may or may not listen, may or may not agree. Anyone trying to persuade others is in the same position.

          And of course, like anyone, I’d be unhappy if someone vandalized my own house. But that doesn’t mean I cannot imagine a situation where someone might be justified in vandalizing my house. I don’t like it when it’s rainy and overcast all day. I don’t think such weather is inherently immoral though.

          Finally, I disagree with you that our current system is desirable or democratic or that it protects the rights of oppressed minorities in a substantial way.

        23. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca November 2, 2012 at 3:48 am |

          LotusBecca, I just want to clarify; it’s ok for me to help my friend’s family set fire to your house, because her parents left the Soviet Union and find collectivism triggering, right? You have absolutely no objection to this?

          Absolutely I’d have an objection to that. I very much disagree with the types of policies that were implemented in the Soviet Union. So I think your friend’s family would have many far better targets for their rage. It makes no sense to lash out out me as if I supported the Soviet Union when I very much despise what the Soviet government did.

        24. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca November 2, 2012 at 3:57 am |

          And more importantly, amblingalong. . .smashing windows in a particular, thought-out way is something that I consider to be nonviolent because it’s unlikely that anyone is going to be severely injured or killed as a result of the action. The same thing doesn’t apply to arson. Even if a person sets a building on fire that they know for sure has no one inside it. . .fires are powerful and hard to control forces, and they spread. So it’s very likely an arson might result people being seriously hurt or killed. I don’t support arson as a political tactic and think it’s a form of violence.

        25. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca November 2, 2012 at 4:19 am |

          One final point, in case I didn’t already make this clear. I don’t believe that a person should do whatever they want just because they are triggered by something. This seems to be how Esti and amblingalong read what I was saying earlier. That’s not what I was meaning to say. I don’t think the fact that a person is triggered justifies them in anything, actually. The fact that I find banks triggering is what provides me with the motivation to vandalize them, it’s not what justifies the vandalism.

          In my opinion, what justifies the vandalism is that banks are oppressive institutions. I think it’s OK for a person to sabotage the property of an institution that is oppressing them.

        26. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve November 2, 2012 at 5:27 am |

          In my opinion, what justifies the vandalism is that banks are oppressive institutions. I think it’s OK for a person to sabotage the property of an institution that is oppressing them.

          Thing is, the people who have to work in and use the bank every day are the only ones affected by your window braking scenario, and they are in fact the ones being oppressed by the higher ups as much as anyone else.

          If you want to take direct action against a bank, fine but do something worthy, not mindless vandalism. I don’t know, create a computer virus that distributes the money in all their accounts equally or something similar. A random brick through a window is just childish.

        27. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca November 2, 2012 at 5:46 am |

          I don’t know, create a computer virus that distributes the money in all their accounts equally or something similar.

          That’s a good idea! I wish I knew how to do that.

        28. Esti
          Esti November 2, 2012 at 8:40 am |

          @Becca

          In my opinion, what justifies the vandalism is that banks are oppressive institutions. I think it’s OK for a person to sabotage the property of an institution that is oppressing them.

          And my point was that that standard makes it perfectly justifiable for anti-choicers to throw bricks through the window of abortion clinics. And also that you do not hurt a bank at all, not even one little bit by throwing a brick through the window, but that you do cause harm to the employees who have to deal with it and to the customers who get stuck paying for any costs that your vandalism causes the bank to incur. I agree with Steve, childish is exactly the word I would use.

          And while I obviously agree with you that racism is not a good reason for disliking someone/some thing, I don’t share your optimism that advocating for anti-racism while also supporting the rights of everyone to smash things they don’t like would do more to protect the rights of vulnerable groups than our current system of government. Maybe I’m just jaded about my fellow human beings, but I prefer a system in which people don’t get to enact vigilante justice based on their individual feelings about who deserves to have their windows broken, and that instead we try to improve and strengthen a system of laws that prevents all destruction of property while also providing actual ways of punishing actions we’ve collectively agreed are oppressive or wrong.

        29. EG
          EG November 2, 2012 at 9:10 am |

          Given that anti-abortion advocates seem to feel justified in doing far worse violence than window-breaking, I really don’t see why those of us on the left should have our hands tied. And that’s even if I accepted the premise that forced-birthers were oppressed by abortion clinics, which I don’t.

          I do agree with Becca that our current system is neither desirable nor democratic, nor does it protect the rights of oppressed minorities in a substantial way.

          I don’t share your optimism that advocating for anti-racism while also supporting the rights of everyone to smash things they don’t like

          Becca never advocated for everyone smashing things they don’t like. She’s refusing to rule out violence against property as a tactic against a system that controls the legality of all forms of protest. That’s really not the same thing, and I think it’s intellectually dishonest to pretend that it is. While, as noted above, I agree with chava and Donna that such actions can be really problematic for a variety of reasons, I don’t think misrepresenting what Becca is saying is doing anybody any favors.

          Chava:

          I used to teach at a university in West Phillie–it’s where I did my degree. How long have you been there? Maybe we do/did know each other, which would be cool!

        30. William
          William November 2, 2012 at 10:22 am |

          Or are you saying that you really want to see wide spread rioting? Perhaps an armed revolution and civil war?

          I do not think that would be something to strive for either.

          I’m not saying I want widespread rioting or civil war, what I’m saying is that the “direct action makes no difference and doesn’t change anything!” meme doesn’t have legs. The United States is a nation founded on violent revolution, its part of our culture. LGBTQ rights in the US were kicked off by riots and supported by marches commemorating those riots, something that would be very difficult not to see as an implicit threat of another riot, often using language that had an explicit element of threat to it and using displays which were designed to violate norms and laws (and thats before we talk about ACTUP). We like to imagine that the Civil Rights movement in the US was nonviolent but its difficult to erase the fact that the Black Panthers were walking around with guns, threatening police, educating people about their rights, and sometimes even open-carrying in California’s state house to make a point about what black folks could do if they were so motivated. On the other side of the coin you have the Brown Shirts and kristallnacht. We can talk about the morality of political violence, we can talk about whether it is a good idea or worth it, we can even talk about whether it is likely to work for anti-capitalists, but it’s historical effectiveness really isn’t up for much discussion.

        31. matlun
          matlun November 2, 2012 at 10:59 am |

          Becca never advocated for everyone smashing things they don’t like. She’s refusing to rule out violence against property as a tactic against a system that controls the legality of all forms of protest. That’s really not the same thing, and I think it’s intellectually dishonest to pretend that it is.

          To me, the difference seems very marginal. If she is claiming the right to smash things she does not like, then does she not also implicitly grant others the same right? Just by the simple principle of equal rights.

        32. matlun
          matlun November 2, 2012 at 11:52 am |

          I’m not saying I want widespread rioting or civil war, what I’m saying is that the “direct action makes no difference and doesn’t change anything!” meme doesn’t have legs.

          I do not disagree with anything in that post.

          In fact, I was not even aware that this was a meme. Of course violence can change the political landscape. I doubt the original example of smashing bank windows will have any positive effects, but as a general point it is solid.

          My question about whether you wanted rioting was based on the original example of smashing windows and your comments about “a group of organized and highly motivated individuals”. I made the association to for example the anti globalisation riots.

        33. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 2, 2012 at 11:58 am |

          “And frankly, I don’t think that governance model would scale well to millions of people.”

          Except it DID, you ignorant racist fuck.

          Right. It scaled to 312 million people. Because that many people have totally existed here before now.

        34. EG
          EG November 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm |

          If we can’t have a government for 312 million people that is equitable and humane, maybe we shouldn’t have a state of 312 million people.

        35. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm |

          Fair enough, who should we get rid of?

        36. EG
          EG November 2, 2012 at 12:20 pm |

          I’ve always thought that the US was too big to last. Empires and over-large countries do tend to break up, historically speaking. I imagine it would fracture along geographic lines, though that’s pure speculation.

        37. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 2, 2012 at 12:25 pm |

          Empires can have a pretty good run, though; and really, what form of government won’t fall apart at some point? Having a decentralized and purely democratic one doesn’t work out if your neighbors are less interested in playing nice than you are. :p

        38. EG
          EG November 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm |

          Empires can indeed have a fairly good run–you’re right. I just don’t think they have an equitable or humane system of government. If smaller states are what we need in order to have justice and compassion in the running of them, then I prefer smaller states.

          The argument about whether or not that makes them more or less vulnerable to predatory neighbors is a different issue altogether. I’m not convinced it would make them more vulnerable. Plenty of centralized autocratic states have been conquered easily enough.

        39. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm |

          Because that many people have totally existed here before now.

          LOL. Someone doesn’t know their unwhite history very well.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_history_of_indigenous_peoples_of_the_Americas

          You’re welcome.

          (FWIW, many archaeologists place the pre-European-plague population at nearly twice the amount that mentions. And once you’re past the 10 million mark to the 500, it’s really just a question of scale. Past that…well. There’s valid reasons I think INdia’s a failing empire rather than a united nation.)

        40. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm |

          Okay, your link said this:

          While it is difficult to determine exactly how many Natives lived in North America before Columbus,[5] estimates range from a low of 2.1 million (Ubelaker 1976) to 7 million people (Russell Thornton) to a high of 18 million (Dobyns 1983).[6]

          So… 18 million still < 312 million. I don't see your point?

        41. EG
          EG November 2, 2012 at 6:47 pm |

          matlun, I tried to post a reply before, but lost my internet inexplicably instead. Now it’s back. Anyway.

          1) I believe that you’re misstating Becca’s position. It is not that she should throw a brick through the window of anything she “doesn’t like.” I do not think she would approve of me throwing a brick through the window of the woman who was rude to me in the park the other day, even though I dislike her. Her position is that violence against property is a legitimate method of protest against a dominant power. That’s a wildly different statement. So, just as I would acknowledge that a colonized people has a right to use violence against the property of the occupying state in order to protest, but condemn the colonizing state for smashing up the homes of the colonized people, I apply that same dynamic when the exploitation in question is one of economic class rather nation.

          2) I think the point is that banks and the financial executives who run them already do far worse, far more damaging things than heaving a brick through a window: they engage in predatory lending, they foreclose, using the police (violence) to force people out of their homes, they cause financial meltdowns, destroying people’s savings, etc. These are legal, (they’re legal because our laws of traditionally been written with the interests of landowners in mind) but they are to my mind far more violent, harmful, and immoral than smashing a few windows. So what’s the worry? That bank CEOs are going to hire people to throw bricks through the windows of union offices? Well, they’ve done that before, and unions have withstood far worse violence, and to be honest, I wouldn’t believe for a minute that they don’t already have leg-breakers on payroll anyway, to be used as needed.

        42. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 2, 2012 at 7:08 pm |

          So… 18 million still < 312 million. I don't see your point?

          I answered. Actually, I STATED, in my first comment:

          And once you’re past the 10 million mark to the 500, it’s really just a question of scale. Past that…well. There’s valid reasons I think INdia’s a failing empire rather than a united nation.

        43. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll November 2, 2012 at 7:34 pm |

          How large a population do you think the Iroquois had?

          You think only the Iroquois had that system? Hardly. Many, many other Nations had the same system and they all managed to trade, live relatively peacefully and interact because of that system. They even had guidelines on handling issues with other Tribes and Nations. Our version of the UN.
          This continent wasn’t sparsely populated by pockets of little villages here and there, contrary to white history.

          The argument about whether or not that makes them more or less vulnerable to predatory neighbors is a different issue altogether. I’m not convinced it would make them more vulnerable.

          It didn’t make us vulnerable. What made the Indigenous vulnerable was the filth and fucking nasty diseases our invaders first brought with them.

        44. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 2, 2012 at 10:47 pm |

          And once you’re past the 10 million mark to the 500, it’s really just a question of scale.

          Yes, and that’s exactly what I was saying; it’s a matter of scale. The system wouldn’t scale well that large. That was my claim, which you disputed.

        45. chava
          chava November 2, 2012 at 11:39 pm |

          EG–A lot of the communities in Philly (Italian, African American) have been here for a very long time and weren’t subject to the same degrees of suburban flight (although that certainly happened, esp wrt the Jewish community here). So you can get a pretty strong Philly camraderie going, and its always felt like a much smaller town than it actually is, at least IME.

          I’ve been here about a decade (on and off). Went to college here, left, came back. Depending on your department, yah, we may well have been at some talks together or the like. My degree isn’t where yours is (I commute to NYC), but I’m pretty involved in the community here.

        46. chava
          chava November 2, 2012 at 11:58 pm |

          RE: the Iroquois.

          I could be wrong, but I thought there was some sig scholarly debate on the pre-invasion numbers and the role of disease in the military conquests. I know 1491 falls on the side of all disease and huge pre-invasion population, but it’s hardly the last word on Native history.

          In any case, while the Native population may have been much higher than is often thought, it would not have touched the scale of the current U.S. population. So yes, scalar issues come into play. I don’t feel like I know enough about the 5 Nations to say whether it would scale well, or not, though.

        47. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca November 3, 2012 at 2:57 am |

          And my point was that that standard makes it perfectly justifiable for anti-choicers to throw bricks through the window of abortion clinics.

          Actually, you agree with me that Planned Parenthood is not oppressing anti-choicers, otherwise you wouldn’t be posting on this website and using a word like “anti-choicers.” So if Planned Parenthood is not oppressing anti-choicers, how could a standard that says people may sabotage an institution that’s oppressive justify anti-choicers in any way? Are you saying that because anti-choicers may think that they are being oppressed by Planned Parenthood, they actually are being oppressed by Planned Parenthood? Well, they’re not. Oppression isn’t just an opinion. Oppression is an political, social, and economic reality, and I reject the claims of people who don’t understand what oppression is, like men who say they are oppressed for being men or white people who say they are oppressed for being white. Anti-choicers are not oppressed by Planned Parenthood. They are therefore not justified in vandalizing Planned Parenthood–not by my standard anyway. I wish you could recognize this.

          And also that you do not hurt a bank at all, not even one little bit by throwing a brick through the window.

          I’m not motivated by a desire to hurt banks. I’m motivated by a desire to symbolically disrespect banks as a way of emotionally processing the fact that I hate banks and what they stand for. As I said before, my motivation is that banks trigger me. My (ethical) justification is that banks are oppressing me.

          [Y]ou do cause harm to the employees who have to deal with it and to the customers who get stuck paying for any costs that your vandalism causes the bank to incur.

          Actually, my vandalism isn’t going to make prices for customers go up. Banks already charge customers as much as they possibly can, because all corporations try to maximize their profits. You really think banks give their customers discounts because they aren’t being vandalized? No. If banks could be charging their customers more without losing business, then they would already be going that. So adding additional costs to banks is just going to cut into their profits. It’s not going to raise their prices, which are already set as high as possible. I’m actually kinda shocked you would be repeating a laissez faire talking point about how corporations pass all their costs on to consumers, since that’s usually used as a justification against progressive policies like minimum wages and environmental regulation, becuase those policies, like my vandalism, raises costs.

          And I’m not convinced that employees are necessarily “harmed” by my action, either. Like I said earlier, I would personally have been happy if someone had vandalized my place of work when I was working at a corporation, because I hated working there. I think there’s also probably some people at a bank who will feel a bit freer seeing that their bullshit work environment has been vandalized. Probably not a majority of the employees, but certainly no one here has been providing any evidence besides speculation to back up their claim that all the employees will be traumatized by a brick through the window.

          Maybe I’m just jaded about my fellow human beings, but I prefer a system in which people don’t get to enact vigilante justice based on their individual feelings about who deserves to have their windows broken, and that instead we try to improve and strengthen a system of laws that prevents all destruction of property while also providing actual ways of punishing actions we’ve collectively agreed are oppressive or wrong.

          This sentence perfectly encapsulates your authoritarian mentality, Esti. You don’t trust people to make autonomous choices based off their own “individual feelings” or judgment, and instead think the only way to ensure social order is for everyone to “collectively agree” on the important things. You also support “punishing” people, apparently just because they are deviating from what the majority thinks is right. I don’t think the word “childish” is suitable for describing this worldview, but I will say that it’s ethically bankrupt and a large part of what props up oppression in our society.

        48. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca November 3, 2012 at 3:47 am |

          I do not think she would approve of me throwing a brick through the window of the woman who was rude to me in the park the other day, even though I dislike her.

          Precisely, EG. Thank you. I don’t think I’d be justified in smashing my roommate’s death metal CDs either, just because I dislike death metal. His CDs aren’t oppressing me. Banks are.

          EG, I appreciate your very eloquent re-phrasing of some of what I’ve been saying. I have a response to Esti in mod, but I think in my defensiveness I sometimes lose sight of precisely what I want to be saying. So I appreciate your contribution. Honestly, I’m a little saddened that both Esti and matlun seemingly have such a low opinion of the individual judgments of human beings that they can’t imagine a person pursuing illegal activity on an ethical basis, rather than just on a basis of what they “like” or “don’t like.”

          On second thought, I can’t believe they are actually opposed to all illegal activism, as that would rule out what King and Gandhi did. So they must just feel that sabotaging property is somehow different, and that private property is not merely a legal fiction, but an actual human right. Well, it’s not.

          Property is not a right. Destroying property is not necessarily violence against the owner of that property, as no one has a right to property.

          John Locke was wrong about this. Property is not a right. Not for anyone–not for banks, not for you all, not for me.

        49. matlun
          matlun November 3, 2012 at 4:03 am |

          You think only the Iroquois had that system? Hardly. Many, many other Nations had the same system and they all managed to trade, live relatively peacefully and interact because of that system.

          I think different Nations had a multitude of different systems. Anyway – the point is that we are talking about political units on the scale of perhaps 25000 people or less. I do not think it scales to a modern nation state of millions.

          So we are talking about breaking down society into small more or less independent communes. A political idea that has enjoyed some popularity, but I do not think it would work well in a modern society where people are heavily specialized and interdependent.

          And what is your basis for different Nations living peacefully together? War was common, and for example some readings of pre-contact Iroquois history is that they in particular grew largely by being an expansionist military power.

          It seems to me you have a very romantic picture of the pre-Columbus Americas. Native Americans were no angels living in an utopian society. They were humans living in imperfect human societies not that dissimilar from many other early societies in history.

        50. matlun
          matlun November 3, 2012 at 5:21 am |

          On second thought, I can’t believe they are actually opposed to all illegal activism, as that would rule out what King and Gandhi did. So they must just feel that sabotaging property is somehow different

          No, the point is that we find it much the same as other illegal activity such as violence. Of course it can be morally justified in some cases, but as a rule it is not.

          You were talking about breaking bank windows because you find banks triggering. An emotional response which is pretty much the same as smashing it because you feel like it. The same with slashing the tires of cars or other types of property destruction discussed above.

          My personal ethics is pretty utilitarian with a strong dose of social contract theories. In my eyes this type of property damage would only be morally justified if it had a demonstrable positive outcome – if it served some higher purpose. And it the reasons would have to be pretty compelling to overcome the moral cost of the act of destruction itself.

          Property is not a right.

          Most people would disagree. For example, in the UN universal declaration of human rights it is Article 17.

          But I am sure you hold that in as much contempt as you do the state and the rule of law.

        51. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca November 3, 2012 at 5:30 am |

          Esti. . .I think the bottom line here is I’m not going to agree with you because I reject the frame you are using to try to persuade me. Capitalism and the government violence and brutality that uphold it are horrific injustices. This is a fundamental political position for me. . .one that I arrived at after years of personal tribulations as well as wide-ranging research. I don’t know why I would take to heart the argument of someone who is basing their objections, like you, on the idea that so-called “democratic” capitalism is OK (capitalism cannot be democratic) or that the state “punishing” people is OK. I’ve rejected those dehumanizing notions a long time ago.

          I’m not saying that I’m forever committed to the idea of property destruction as a good idea, and there’s many ways someone could convince me that it’s harmful or that it’s a bad idea. EG raised some good points to the effect of this earlier. But trying to convince me based off of the theory that a government should rule over people and punish them or the idea that capitalism can be democratic is never going to work. Democracy is when all people get to decide together how society, including the economic aspects of society, is managed. Capitalism only allows people who own property to decide how the economy is managed. In practical terms, this means the only people who have significant economic power are big shareholders in corporations or those assigned the fiduciary responsibility of managing their assets (like CEOs). Capitalism is an oligarchy not a democracy.

        52. EG
          EG November 3, 2012 at 6:55 pm |

          You know, I find it deeply problematic that the phrase “private property” applies to a child’s beloved teddy bear, a collection of family photographs passed down three generations, a two-bedroom apartment owned by a four-person family who lies in it, a Monet painting in a private collection/museum, and the multi-national holdings of corporations. It seems to me these are all vastly different kinds of property, I have differing feelings about all of them, and unless we distinguish among them, I really can’t have a conversation about whether or not private property is a right.

  21. Unree
    Unree October 23, 2012 at 7:48 am |

    Anyone else tired of being harangued and lectured about the need to gather reverently under and behind Barack Obama? I first heard of him in 2004 and right from the start came that you-better-get-with-the-program spiel. When I would refer to this politician as a politician, friends and colleagues would take offense.

    I can’t think of anyone else in U.S. politics who comes bundled with this much sanctimonious pressure. Maybe I’ll vote for him when I like him, you know? Supporting him isn’t obligatory. My vote, my choice.

    1. tinfoil hattie
      tinfoil hattie October 23, 2012 at 11:00 am |

      Hear, hear, Unree. He was held over women’s heads as a threat in 2004 – “YOU WILL LOSE YOUR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS UNDER A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT OMG” and yet under Obama’s tenure, abortion rights have been whittled away at the state level such that Roe v. Wade is virtually meaningless. Obama has not championed women’s right to bodily autonomy, which is the fundamental battle that needs to be won. Everything else stems from that.

      “Not quite as bad as Romney” doesn’t cut it for me. A candidate needs to EARN my vote. I’m not obligated to vote for “the lesser of x evils.” This sanctimonious “You’d better vote for OBAMA” crap was infuriating in 2004 (coupled as it was with sexism from our so-called liberal “brothers”) and it’s really tiresome and insulting now.

      1. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan October 23, 2012 at 11:19 am |

        I couldn’t disagree more. It’s not scare tactics or a “threat” if it’s true, and do you honestly think the President is able to control things at the state level? Srsly? You probably blame him for the shitty weather, too.

      2. Past my expiration date
        Past my expiration date October 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm |

        Hey, EG, remember how you were asking,

        Is there anybody on the left actually making the argument that there’s “no difference”?

        ?

        I think I’ve found at least one.

        1. EG
          EG October 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm |

          Fair point!

        2. tinffoil hattie
          tinffoil hattie October 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm |

          Whom are you speaking about?

          @Bagelsan, I’m not willing to settle for “there’s nowhere else to go” tactic. It’s not enough for me.

          And since when are threats and scare tactics not such if they’re “true”? I don’t understand your definition of “threat.” Threats are not incompatible with truth. Can you elaborate?

        3. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 23, 2012 at 11:24 pm |

          If someone says “if you go right, you will fall off a cliff” that’s not a threat, that’s a fact. That’s what I mean by being “true”; if Romney gets elected women are fucked. Fact. Not threat.

      3. LotusBecca
        LotusBecca October 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm |

        tinfoil hattie, if you really cared about women’s rights you would vote for Mitt Romney. He may not be perfect, but the important thing is that he is not nearly as bad as Virgil Goode, the Constitution Party candidate. YOU MUST VOTE FOR MITT ROMNEY!!!!!

        1. tinfoil hattie
          tinfoil hattie October 24, 2012 at 2:40 am |

          Obama’s solution to religions havibpng hissy fits over bieth control was to require “the health insurance companies” to provide birth control. That’s not exactly standing up for separation of church and state. It’s a meager compromise. I’m not being “dishonest,” I’m expressing the opinion that, based on his record, Barack Obama is not a champion of women’s rights. He does not take a firm, hard line on the subject; for the most part, he ignores women until he is forced to say something very general about “women’s rights.”

          He doesn’t view women as half the population; he views us as a special interest group with all our specialized health care needs (which, as they pertain to over half the population, should be the default). He believes we need our husbands, doctors, and ministers to weigh in on decions we make about our own bodies.

          That’s not a man I want to vote for.

        2. tinfoil hattie
          tinfoil hattie October 24, 2012 at 2:42 am |

          Ha! OK, LotusBecca, I WILL VOTE FOR MITT IF HE PROMISES TO PUT ME INTO A SPARKLY BINDER.

          Also, my comment above is in the wrong place. I have lost track of where I wanted to put it.

  22. Nicholas
    Nicholas October 23, 2012 at 9:51 am |

    Campaigns are maddening things to behold.

    Rounding up the Democratic base is always like herding a bunch of disappointed cats. And the refusal of Third Party Disaffected Dems (voters who, if forced to only choose between Republican and Democratic candidates, would choose the Democratic one, but choose instead to vote for a third party candidate) to vote for the Democratic candidate is utterly outcome irrational (since only the major party candidates have a shot at winning), though entirely within their rights as an American.

    It’s just that people are disappointed by the fact that elections are often about choosing to limit the potential damage to one’s personal preferences. But that’s not how we like to conceive of politics in America.

    I blame Aaron Sorkin.

    1. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan October 23, 2012 at 11:21 am |

      Ugh, yes. Some people are like “wait, elections are imperfect? Fetch my fainting couch! I shall abstain entirely until a perfect system of government exists!”

      Cool couch, bro, but you’re kind of fucking over the people (like me) who really need Obama to stay President, if only so I don’t lose my health insurance.

      1. Cagey
        Cagey October 25, 2012 at 8:54 pm |

        Right? I wish I had the privilege to decide that because the voting system isn’t completely perfect and providing me with dozens of great options, I can just abstain from it entirely without any fear or worry about the short and long-term consequences. I’ve noticed that the people who can deny, ignore or dismiss the differences between the two candidates are generally the people who are least impacted by those differences. Like, Obama’s record on LGBTQ matters is not perfect, but it is without question better than what Romney is offering (or not offering) and what he has stated and implied he is willing to do if given the chance. The moral and ethical satisfaction I might get from voting third party or not at all isn’t actually going to make up for that. And I have to imagine the people who don’t take that and other threats to the safety of such groups seriously are either naive or not paying attention, both things only possible with an enormous amount of privilege.

        1. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 26, 2012 at 11:52 am |

          You put your finger right on it. It’s a privilege to not give a shit who wins; many of us don’t have that luxury.

        2. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 31, 2012 at 9:08 pm |

          You put your finger right on it. It’s a privilege to not give a shit who wins; many of us don’t have that luxury.

          Just because you don’t vote doesn’t mean you don’t give a shit who wins. It may be that in your state it’s a foregone conclusion.

  23. Donna L
    Donna L October 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm |

    This photograph reflects only one of innumerable meaningful differences between Obama and Romney:

    http://www.bilerico.com/2012/10/romney_mocks_gays_in_yearbook_photo.php

    As a trans woman with a gay son, I can’t afford to be quite as cavalier and dismissive (explicitly or implicitly) as some people here about the relative importance of that difference compared to the alleged similarities in other areas, or to complain about how LGBT-friendly (and pro-choice) Supreme Court Justices who might be appointed in a second Obama term might not be favorably disposed to, say, William’s gun rights. (Not that William should really be concerned; I’m sure his arsenal is safe no matter who ends up on the Court.)

    1. Donna L
      Donna L October 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm |

      A larger version of the photo, making the faux limp wrist a little clearer:

      http://www.out.com/entertainment/popnography/2012/10/23/see-young-mitt-doing-his-best-liberace

      1. Donna L
        Donna L October 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm |

        OK, some people are now saying that Vanity Fair faked this photo as well as other, similar ones.

        Even if that’s true, my points remains that for me and my son, the difference between the two candidates on this issue (among others) is not one I’m able to disregard. The known incident Romney participated in (the forced haircut, etc.) was bad enough.

        1. Chataya
          Chataya October 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm |

          Considering that the Vanity Fair article is labeled “humor” and cites their source of these photographs as a horse, I’d say they’re fake.

        2. Donna L
          Donna L October 23, 2012 at 5:32 pm |

          I’m sure now that you’re right — this one in particular was re-posted all over the Internet without any indication that it was supposed to be a joke.

        3. DouglasG
          DouglasG October 24, 2012 at 7:16 am |

          Just in case it might cheer you up, the vast majority of my moderate sister’s friends immediately wrote off Mr Romney over the forced haircut, regardless of their financial circumstances. (My sister, who goes to great lengths to keep her husband out of being in company with our father and stepmother in order to prevent what she calls a Battle of the Kool-Aid Drinkers, has inherited enough of our father’s passion for money to be sufficiently torn to hold that a reprehensible personal character isn’t necessarily incompatible with being more qualified to lead the country.)

  24. April
    April October 23, 2012 at 2:59 pm |

    And sorry lefties who think that there’s “no difference” between Obama and Romney, and that it’s just a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils — I am not quite sure you’re paying attention.

    This is maddening. Obviously the word “evil” is a bit ridiculous and subjective and used as convenient shorthand, but also obviously, we are choosing between the lesser of two evils. It is well-known, at least in this comment thread, and also by people who are paying attention, that Obama is clearly in the camp of “evil” when you consider the drone attacks, persecution of whistle-blowers, record deportations, full endorsement of disastrous neo-liberal economic policies, and scores of other things.

    Furthermore, it is also infuriating to hear people criticize this “there is no difference” meme. Do you honestly and truly believe that people who say this are stupid enough to mean this literally? Surely, you can’t. As many have noted above, the only meaningful differences come in the way that marginalized people are used as political footballs.

    And while Obama may have been much more moderate (or actually conservative, if you go by the rest of the world’s definition of “left” and “right,” politically), the scores of people who were so inspired by him in 2008 and voted for him — myself included — were convinced otherwise by clever rhetoric and promises that were never intended to be kept, or never could have been kept, even if he had the best of intentions.

    The entire US political system is a joke and a half, and it’s insulting as fuck to keep hearing about how we should just shut up and play along.

    And this rant.

    1. king ten butts
      king ten butts October 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm |

      The “no difference” meme is fine until they then say they’re abstaining from voting at all (or worse, say that they support Ron Paul).

      1. April
        April October 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm |

        I’m voting, and I wouldn’t discourage anyone from doing so, but I don’t hold not voting against anyone when they abstain for many of the reasons I’ve heard, such as not wanting to legitimize an illegitimate system.

        I do wish that all of the people who choose to stay home on election day would instead go out and vote for third parties. While I understand that a third party candidate being elected President wouldn’t necessarily bring about the “revolutionary” change so many of us want, I do think it would send a very clear message that we are highly displeased and not going to take it anymore. It could be a game-changer.

        1. Kimberly
          Kimberly October 31, 2012 at 9:51 pm |

          THIS. As long as people “protest” by not voting, the two main parties can completely ignore them. If they would vote SOMETHING, they could send the message that they care enough to get off their arses and say something. All non-voters send the same message to the Dems and Repubs: we don’t care enough to bother. As a result, there is no change in the discussions. Those who don’t vote for protest reasons are indistinguishable from those who don’t vote for apathy reasons.

        2. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm |

          Hell, even a write-in vote saying “fuck the gov’t!” or whatever would be more effective a protest than just not voting. :p

  25. Saurs
    Saurs October 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm |

    As no-one’s explicitly mentioned them, I will: Green and Peace & Freedom have both got all-female, pro-feminist, anti-war tickets this election year. And nary a peep amongst the Serious Left-Wing Dudes (who are feigning Deep Concern that silly, selfish women and PoC will cost Obama the election) about what an historical thing–in the US, anyway–that is.

    1. Chataya
      Chataya October 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm |

      I plan on voting for Stein, as my state is so deeply red it won’t matter. It’s the state issues I care more about, like the medical marijuana amendment (which probably won’t pass).

    2. Rhoanna
      Rhoanna October 24, 2012 at 6:53 am |

      It’s too bad Jill Stein has no experience in any governmental position (elected or otherwise) larger than Town Meeting Representative. Because while I like most the Green Party’s views, I’d like candidates for the highest elected office we have to have slightly more experience.

      1. William
        William October 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm |

        It’s too bad Jill Stein has no experience in any governmental position (elected or otherwise) larger than Town Meeting Representative. Because while I like most the Green Party’s views, I’d like candidates for the highest elected office we have to have slightly more experience.

        Gary Johnson was looking almost promising running on the end wars/smoke dope/marriage equality ticket until he flinched on abortion. He’d even been a reasonably successful governor, so the experience was there. I think theres an unwritten rule somewhere that any third party candidate in the US has to have some kind of glaring flaw that makes them tough to take even as a protest vote.

      2. Saurs
        Saurs October 24, 2012 at 4:37 pm |

        Whereas I favor the folk who haven’t automatically lost my goodwill by being both shit and dangerous once elected, having run on a platform that was clearly a tissue of lies, misdirections, and empty slogans. Funny old world.

        1. Saurs
          Saurs October 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm |

          Forgive the snark, but I just find amusingly ludicrous the twin assumptions that: (a) what’s really keeping Stein, and women like her, from being president is her lack of experience, and (b) that experience as an elected political representative somehow positively correlates with what constitutes A Good President.

          Left-wing ladies aren’t elected in droves, you say? There’s one for the books.

          The United States is a right-wing country, and they’ve got and will probably re-elect a member of their popular center-right party as president. For American, self-professed prog types (an undoubtedly special breed), this is probably a victory. The failure of left-wing parties to get elected has more to do with voters than with their shamefully inexperienced candidates (who can’t get elected in the first place because there aren’t enough like-minded folk out there to elect them).

  26. Stephanie
    Stephanie October 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm |

    “Passing the Lily Ledbetter Act, which ensured fair pay for women”

    The Lily Ledbetter Act did no such thing. I can’t imagine why you would promote this lie.
    The Act amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 stating that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each new paycheck affected by that discriminatory action.

    So Lily Ledbetter make it easier to sue regarding equal pay. It did not insure equal pay. There is no low in the U.S. insuring equal pay for women.

    But Obama keeps touting his signing of the act of congress as some kind of personal achievement. B.S.

    1. tinfoil hattie
      tinfoil hattie October 24, 2012 at 2:46 am |

      Absolutely. That Obama acts as though this were some major triumph for “women” demonstrates how little thought he actually gives to the issues we face.

    2. Esti
      Esti October 24, 2012 at 5:08 am |

      There is no low in the U.S. insuring equal pay for women.

      …the Civil Rights Act ensures equal pay for women. As you note in the paragraph immediately preceding the part I quoted. It’s enforced by the EEOC and State agencies, and also by private lawsuits. And the Lily Ledbetter Act significantly expanded the ability for private actions to enforce that law.

      So no, the Lily Ledbetter Act did not directly require employers pay women the same as men, because that law already existed. It just closed a significant loophole, created by the conservative block of the Supreme Court, that made private enforcement of the law forbidding pay discrimination impossible in most cases. And thus ensured that many, many more women will have the ability to enforce their right to equal pay.

      1. tinfoil hattie
        tinfoil hattie October 24, 2012 at 9:58 am |

        No, what the loophole-closing did was to ensure that women can still sue their employers for pay discrimination after the ridiculously short time frame previously set as law.

        The Act, like the Civil Rights Act, in no way ensures pay equity. Because it still doesn’t exist. Because women are still the sex class, the afterthought, the exception to the rule. No man running for president even has a grasp of this truth, much less a desire to change it.

  27. miga
    miga October 24, 2012 at 12:25 am |

    Guys, you seem to forget that Indiana, a normally flaming red state, went blue in 2007. I’m from there and I can remember hugging and jumping up and down with another Hoosier friend because we honestly never thought it’d happen.

    So just because you’re in a Very Red State, don’t sit this one out. If you want to vote for a third-party candidate, go ahead. But don’t pretend it your vote hasn’t and won’t make a difference.

  28. miga
    miga October 24, 2012 at 12:25 am |

    Guys, you seem to forget that Indiana, a normally flaming red state, went blue in 2007. I’m from there and I can remember hugging and jumping up and down with another Hoosier friend because we honestly never thought it’d happen.

    So just because you’re in a Very Red State, don’t sit this one out. If you want to vote for a third-party candidate, go ahead. But don’t pretend it your vote hasn’t and won’t make a difference.

    1. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl October 24, 2012 at 8:18 am |

      Former Hoosier here, much of the blueness that led to Indiana going blue was concentrated in the northwestern region of the state (which is also where I grew up.) The DNC did a pretty good job of getting out the vote then, and Obama himself came in for a huge rally in his honor. The area is also particularly susceptible to voter suppression efforts (the better for the GOP to prevent votes for their opponents) so I’ll be curious to see how the next election plays out there.

      1. William
        William October 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm |

        One of my cousins is pretty heavily involved in Democratic get-out-the-vote/voter registration/anti-suppression efforts in NW Indiana and she’s been sounding reasonably hopeful about the area in which she volunteers. Her big concern lately has been what the Klan upstanding GOP supporters are up to in the deeply red regions where there aren’t many people on the ground paying attention.

    2. Chataya
      Chataya October 24, 2012 at 10:15 am |

      Obama got less than 40% of the vote in 2008 here, and he is less popular now than he was then. I just can’t see my state voting for a black president in my lifetime.

  29. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie October 24, 2012 at 2:47 am |

    Stein’s getting my vote, even though I am in a swing state. I am voting with my beliefs and conscience.

    1. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan October 24, 2012 at 10:08 am |

      *hands you your cookie*

    2. Donna L
      Donna L October 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm |

      I won’t be voting for Jill Stein, but anyone Cathy Brennan has gone out of her way to announce she’s not voting for — because the Green Party has a pro-trans rights platform — is obviously a worthy candidate!

      1. DaisyDeadhead
        DaisyDeadhead October 28, 2012 at 4:11 pm |

        Amen to that! Very pleased and proud… I am in the reddest state in the US, so Stein gets my vote with no reservation.

        She was also kind enough to come on my radio show, broadcast on a teeny-tiny AM station in the rural south… Rosanne, by contrast, is too good to talk to some feminist-nobody like me, and is still angling to talk to Larry King.

        Speaks volumes.

    3. tinffoil hattie
      tinffoil hattie October 25, 2012 at 9:13 am |

      bagelsan. Kindly knock off the snide comments. I not rude to you. I do not ridicule you. I do not attack you. I state my opinions, and you nearly always let me know thst you think my opinions are wrong. I get it.

      I respectfully ask that you stop with the snide personal comments. They are uncalled for, and I don’t deserve them.

      1. DonnaL
        DonnaL October 25, 2012 at 9:30 am |

        Tinfoil Hattie, I’m afraid it seems to go with the territory here, at least for a number of commenters who make no distinction between drive-by MRA’s and regular members. Some people are just equal-opportunity snarkers.

        1. tinfoil hattie
          tinfoil hattie October 26, 2012 at 3:54 pm |

          It gets tiresome.

        2. igglanova
          igglanova October 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm |

          Tinfoil Hattie, I’m afraid it seems to go with the territory here, at least for a number of commenters who make no distinction between drive-by MRA’s and regular members. Some people are just equal-opportunity snarkers.

          Well…is this a bad thing? It’s unfair for ‘regulars’ to expect more leniency here than other commenters.

        3. tinfoil hattie
          tinfoil hattie October 28, 2012 at 12:22 pm |

          I don’t “expect leniency.” I asked that a specific commenter stop making rude personal attacks. I like a good argument and even a sarcastic one.

      2. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan October 25, 2012 at 10:06 am |

        I’m sorry my tone of disagreement doesn’t… agree with you, tinfoil. But I do nearly always think you’re wrong, and you’re often snotty about it to boot.

        1. tinffoil hattie
          tinffoil hattie October 25, 2012 at 11:37 am |

          bagelsan, I have previously apologized for being rude, because while I am strong and often impatient with my comments, I never intend to hurt anyone, so I need to be more mindful of how I choose my words. Recently I have tried to be so.

          So: is your answer a “yes, I will stop with personal attacks,” or “no, I will not stop”?

        2. tinfoil hattie
          tinfoil hattie October 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm |

          Never mind. Sorry for the derail.

        3. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 26, 2012 at 11:55 am |

          With all your “I’m voting with my morals” BS you’re A) acting super privileged and B) being a righteous snot about it. That rubs me exactly the wrong way. Sorry I didn’t couch that in the most PC way.

        4. tinfoil hattie
          tinfoil hattie October 26, 2012 at 3:53 pm |

          bagelsan, I clarified why am voting the way I’m voting, because the assumption presented in this post is that progressives who are not voting for Obama are not voting for him because we think there is “no difference between him and Romney.”

          That is not why I am not voting for him. There are other reasons not to vote for Obama.

          Any reading of my supposed belief in my own “superiority” is inaccurate.

    4. amblingalong
      amblingalong November 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |

      I am voting with my beliefs and conscience.

      One of those beliefs being that the country is better of under Romney than Obama, I assume?

      1. Lyanna
        Lyanna November 2, 2012 at 1:37 pm |

        What amblingalong said. If “voting your conscience” means “making a Romney presidency more likely,” you’ve got a shitty conscience. I don’t respect the conscience of someone whose actions make it more likely that I lose my health insurance. I don’t care what they think they’re symbolically affirming or rejecting. I care what their actions do. I care what direct, practical effects their actions have.

        1. shfree
          shfree November 2, 2012 at 2:19 pm |

          You do realize that the way the electoral college is set up that often a vote for Obama is a moot point? Consider all the time the candidates are spending in Ohio, because their people seem to think it is the only state that matters. And that voting one’s conscience DOES send a message that the centrist status quo doesn’t cut the mustard for those states where one candidate or another is already a lock. I see no reason to not inform the Democratic party that the left still exists, and that they ought to start paying more attention to us. And oh well if that action means that Obama gets less of a percentage in states he was going to lose anyway, or states he was going to run away with. Sheesh.

          Oh, and I too am saddled with a chronic health condition that requires insanely expensive meds and a regular visit to a neurologist, so don’t think for one minute that I’m all awash with the whole “privilege of not needing accessible medical insurance”. So please, quit it with all that nonsense, I am just really, really sick and tired of people telling others that they MUST vote for Obama, otherwise they are guaranteeing and/or flat out want a Romney presidency.

        2. Lyanna
          Lyanna November 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm |

          This is a reply to shfree’s comment, but I can’t reply directly because of nesting.

          You’ll notice I was speaking of people who make Romney’s victory more likely, i.e. those who vote 3rd party in swing states. So really, by defending voting 3rd party or not voting in a fixed state, you’re mostly disagreeing with something I didn’t say.

          Except for this part:

          And that voting one’s conscience DOES send a message that the centrist status quo doesn’t cut the mustard for those states where one candidate or another is already a lock.

          Yeah, no. Saying it in capital letters doesn’t make it true. Voting one’s conscience sends no message beyond “I can be safely ignored.” You think voting Green sends a message to the Dems to move left? I see no evidence of this. Democrats react to this by moving right, not left. The only way to move the Democrats left is to (1) try to move the country left, as we’ve done on gay marriage and has happened semi-spontaneously on Iraq, and (2) to take over local offices the way the right has done.

          Barack Obama’s selection as the Dem nominee in 2008 is the only recent example we have of the Democratic party picking a leftier candidate over a more conservative party-appointed front-runner. And that had a lot to do with liberals voting Dem, not voting 3rd party.

  30. chava
    chava October 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm |

    I have no problem with voting for 3rd party candidates, particularly in primaries. I have a problem with those candidates not then throwing their support behind the main contender in exchange for the platform owing them a favor/shifting the agenda their direction.

  31. Links 10/24/12 | Mike the Mad Biologist
    Links 10/24/12 | Mike the Mad Biologist October 24, 2012 at 3:48 pm |

    [...] Soul Things That Aren’t Bubbles It’s not just forced ultrasound: Abortion rights under assault Why Barack Obama For the Welfare of All: The Left needs to proudly support social welfare. Dr. Isis on School [...]

  32. Omar
    Omar October 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm |

    I’ll be excited in voting for Governor Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan.

  33. Cagey
    Cagey October 25, 2012 at 9:02 pm |

    Also, if you aren’t working to build third-parties up outside of the presidential election cycle, you are pretty much throwing your vote away on them for…I guess the satisfaction of knowing you stuck it to a two-party system that won’t even notice your absence, you rebel you. Like, I’d take people who vote third-party as being serious about trying to make meaningful change to that system and not just disaffected individuals who are mad their vote is not actually a unique snowflake if they actually spent time trying to build these parties from the ground up any other time of the year. But what I often encounter is people who get suddenly political once every 4 years and choose to do so by voting for a candidate most people have never heard of who has zero chance of winning. How bold and daring. You are going to bring such strong and immense change.

    1. EG
      EG October 25, 2012 at 9:10 pm |

      Also, if you aren’t working to build third-parties up outside of the presidential election cycle, you are pretty much throwing your vote away on them for…I guess the satisfaction of knowing you stuck it to a two-party system that won’t even notice your absence, you rebel you.

      As opposed to the fulfilling satisfaction of…giving my useless vote to somebody I’m not psyched about, who doesn’t need it, and for whom it won’t make any difference?

      1. William
        William October 25, 2012 at 9:54 pm |

        As opposed to the fulfilling satisfaction of…giving my useless vote to somebody I’m not psyched about, who doesn’t need it, and for whom it won’t make any difference?

        But then at least you’re a part of the political process, EG! Don’t you understand?! If you aren’t a part of the process then…well…I’ve never been terribly clear on what happens beyond cheerleaders for the Fighting Donkeys and the Rampaging Elephants clucking at you, but I’m sure it must cause like global warming or herpes or something.

        1. Cagey
          Cagey October 25, 2012 at 10:36 pm |

          I would explain why I don’t think going third=party is a viable option for myself and others, but you already dismissed the livelihoods of LGBTQ people and women as “bullshit” single issue matters up above, so…

        2. William
          William October 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm |

          I would explain why I don’t think going third=party is a viable option for myself and others, but you already dismissed the livelihoods of LGBTQ people and women as “bullshit” single issue matters up above, so…

          OK, lets play. Romney is scum and worse than Obama on LGBTQ and reproductive rights. I care about those rights, so I ought to be voting for Obama, right? Thats the logic here?

          The problem isn’t that those rights are “bullshit single issue matters.” The problem is that casting a vote for Obama means casting a vote for Obama. If I voted for him because I cared about LGBTQ and reproductive rights I’d be either engaging in a balancing act (“the terrible harm Obama is likely to do is similar to the terrible harm Romney is likely to do, so thats a wash and I’ll vote for Obama because he’ll do less harm”) or in single issue voting (“fuck all those people rotting in prison for drug offenses that were legal in their state, I’ve got my own shit to worry about”). I’m offended by that system.

          I won’t vote for Obama not because I don’t care about LGBTQ rights or reproductive rights but because, even as a pragmatic consideration, I will not vote for any candidate who thinks its OK to put people in prison for selling pot to cancer patients. I won’t vote for any candidate who believes they have the right to engage in widespread invasions of privacy. I won’t vote for any candidate who thinks its OK to develop a “kill list” of people, some of whom might be American citizens, and lets the CIA lob rockets into their houses. I won’t vote for any candidate who believes they have the right to detain people indefinitely without trial. I won’t vote for any candidate who believes they have the right to torture prisoners. Yes, I care deeply about some of the things that Obama is good on but casting a vote for him means granting moral legitimacy to all of the truly horrific things he does every single day.

          And, while we’re on the subject, I simply do not get this servile faith in the government to protect us or give us our rights. To quote Malcolm X “Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything…you take it.” Minority groups, almost by definition, aren’t granted liberty or equality but have to fight for it. Stonewall wasn’t a gift from an elected official, the Civil Rights act came in the context of organized political action, even abortion rights in this country were the result of a court case rather than the fiat of some friendly functionary. Voting is nice and all, but it is the absolutely least effort one can put into effecting social change and still pretend they’re doing something.

        3. Cagey
          Cagey October 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm |

          I care about those rights, so I ought to be voting for Obama, right? Thats the logic here?

          No, the logic here, which is applied to *me*, because I was discussing *my* rationale for why I don’t find third-parties viable is: I don’t want to even risk not doing whatever I can to tip the election in favor of the guy who isn’t going to deny me basic human rights. I care about those rights because they directly affect my livelihood. I’m voting based on survival and safety as a, not because I care about those rights conceptually. I think my life will be noticeably worse under a Romney administration, so as much shit as Obama does that I disagree with deeply, I think Romney will do all of that shit and also fuck me over in ways Obama will not. Yes, it’s a broken-as-fuck system. Never said it wasn’t.

          If you can afford to say “I won’t vote for ____” and not feel like that decision might have serious ramifications for the quality of your life, then good for you. But I feel that way, so I’m voting for the guy with kill lists and drone strikes and such because he is also the guy who is less likely to screw over my ability to work and be healthy and maintain my health and make a family and just live.

          Voting is nice and all, but it is the absolutely least effort one can put into effecting social change and still pretend they’re doing something.

          Which was my point in mentioning people who only even bother with third-parties once every 4 years.

        4. Cagey
          Cagey October 26, 2012 at 8:52 pm |

          Hell, I don’t even feel comfortable saying “less likely” because that suggests Obama hasn’t passed legislation that’s hugely beneficial to me and that Romney hasn’t made it clear he and the party he is beholden to all but determined to undue it or undermine it if given the chance.

          Which is also why that “single issue” stuff doesn’t fly with me. That “single issue” affects myriad essential things in my life.

        5. William
          William October 27, 2012 at 11:45 am |

          I don’t want to even risk not doing whatever I can to tip the election in favor of the guy who isn’t going to deny me basic human rights.

          Thats the problem though. What I’m talking about is that, in order to protect your basic human rights, you’re going to vote for someone who is going to deny the basic human rights of someone else. If I voted for Romney because he might be better on guns or tax me less (if only I made so much for that to be true) I would get an enormous amount of absolutely justified shit from people here because I’d be putting my interests in front of reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights. It would be repellent to vote for my guns over marriage equality or basic access to contraception and I’d be a piece of shit for doing it.

          Thing is…Obama is murdering people without trial all over the world during an undeclared war with no clear objectives or end point beyond “kill more people we have secretly defined as terrorists.” He is having people kidnapped and subjecting them to torture and indefinite detention. He is aggressively prosecuting medical marijuana growers right here in this country. He is overseeing an entire system of warrantless surveillance. Those are basic human rights that are being violated. Yeah, its great that he supports some of the rights I find important, but he’s still every ounce the war criminal Bush was.

          I can’t. I know it could well have ramifications for my life and for the lives of people I care about. I just can’t bring myself to vote for a murderer because he’ll do right by me in some ways anymore than I can vote for a forced-birth proponent because he’ll do right by me in others. I won’t be a party to it.

      2. Cagey
        Cagey October 25, 2012 at 10:35 pm |

        No, as opposed to voting because one candidate and party have made it abundantly clear they can and will roll back your rights and you like, want to protect those things if you can.

        1. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 25, 2012 at 11:14 pm |

          Voting for either of the 2 main parties dismisses the livelihoods of Native Americans. Voting for an illegal, occupying government in the first place contributes to further colonization and our ongoing genocide. You’re recognizing an occupying government by participation. Neither of your Empire’s 2 main parties fully recognize our sovereignty, and neither honor Treaties. There is no less than or degrees. There is no kinda broken Treaty. It’s either broken or it is not. There is no ” well he will break more” when they’ve all been broken.

          Democracy is but one of many religions used to suppress, oppress and kill us. Forgive me if I don’t get down on my knees and worship.

        2. EG
          EG October 26, 2012 at 8:03 am |

          You know about the electoral college, right? My vote makes no difference. My voting for Obama will not protect my reproductive rights. My voting for Romney will not hurt them. So, again, why shouldn’t I vote third party?

        3. petpluto
          petpluto October 26, 2012 at 9:33 am |

          You know about the electoral college, right? My vote makes no difference. My voting for Obama will not protect my reproductive rights. My voting for Romney will not hurt them. So, again, why shouldn’t I vote third party?

          This is in no way an attempt to dissuade you from voting third party; but even though our elections are determined by the electoral college, I do think we confer a certain amount of legitimacy upon a president based on whether he has gotten a majority of the vote – and if he did get a majority, how large that majority is.

          Again, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t vote third party, or that you are hurting the person who is almost a sure-fire win in your particular state. But I do think that while the electoral college minimizes the effect the votes those of us cast in undisputed territory has overall in electing a president, the number of votes in total cast for the eventual winner does make a difference in what kind of political capital that candidate comes away with.

        4. EG
          EG October 26, 2012 at 7:15 pm |

          I agree, petpluto, and that’s exactly why I want to vote third party and register my existence to Obama’s left. My vote is of no practical use; the only value/use it has is to signify support and thus let politicians know which policies I care about. Personally, I think that the best possible outcome to this election would be Obama winning by a slim margin because of an unprecedented number of left third-party votes. That would prevent Romney from taking power, and inform the Democratic party that their rightward shift is costing them voters. So I will do that, not only for the desire to vote for somebody who hasn’t done something vile, but also because I can put whatever infinitesimal symbolic value my vote has toward that goal.

        5. shfree
          shfree October 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm |

          Where I live now, I have the luxury of being able to vote my conscience, as I don’t live in a swing state. When I didn’t, I “traded” my vote for someone in Illinois, so that she would vote for who she wanted to, and I would hold my nose and vote for Kerry. I still feel dirty for casting that vote, because he was faaaaaar from who I wanted for president, but…swing state. And it is really, really painful to be in a position to feel like you simply can’t vote for who you want to, just because of the fucking Electoral College.

          I’m not voting for Obama this election, because I don’t have to. That doesn’t mean I don’t hope he beats Romney, though.

        6. Cagey
          Cagey October 26, 2012 at 8:35 pm |

          Your point, pheenobarbidoll? I’m not asking you to worship anything. I made it clear why *I* am voting the way *I* am and why *I* side-eye people who vote for third-party candidates but don’t do anything to actually raise the profile of third-parties in any other time of the year except for when the presidential election rolls around.

          And like, I don’t need the fucking lesson on how American democracy is a joke and always has been. I’m quite well acquainted with that.

        7. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 26, 2012 at 8:36 pm |

          Yeah, I voted for Kerry back in 2004 also, although quite happily in my case. That was back in the days when I was pretty much your standard Democrat. *shudders*

          But earlier in this year, I’d been leaning toward not voting for a Presidential candidate at all, which is what I did in 2008. Over the past few weeks, I’ve decided to vote for Jill Stein though. I find her likeable; I admire her activist history and many of her proposed policies; and I think voting for her will be a personally satisfying way to say that I’m not consenting to either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney ruling over my life.

          But unless an asteroid hits the Earth and wipes out all multicellular life, either Romney or Obama is gonna be sworn as President come January. I really hope it’s Obama who prevails in this election.

        8. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm |

          And like, I don’t need the fucking lesson on how American democracy is a joke and always has been. I’m quite well acquainted with that.

          Joke? No. It’s a system of oppression. It simply replaced Manifest Destiny as the excuse to eradicate every Indigenous person still left.

        9. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen November 2, 2012 at 8:14 pm |

          @pheeno:

          I just wanted to say, pheeno, that your comments on this thread have been making me think, and think hard, about a lot of things but especially my participation in elections, and I wanted to say thank you to you for taking the time to engage here.

  34. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll October 25, 2012 at 11:24 pm |

    Oh and sandwiching an election between Columbus the Terrorist Day and Happy We Slaughtered Indians So Let’s Eat Turkey Day is just a wonderful way to say Fuck You.

    Just warms the heart.

    1. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan October 26, 2012 at 11:59 am |

      Sure. Memo to self: voting against Romney, the douchebag who wants to roll women’s and LGBT rights back to the stone age, is actually secretly all about fucking over First Nations people.

      Because as long as you abstain from voting you’ll never have to take part in an exploitative system. Because those are realistically totally avoidable.

      1. pheenobarbidoll
        pheenobarbidoll October 26, 2012 at 1:48 pm |

        I forgot, Bagelsan’s intent is MAGIC! WEEEEE!!!!!!!

        And as a non Native, she never has to concern herself over the occupying government because she’s one of the colonizers. Neat how that works.

        1. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm |

          You’re right, I am part of the United States. And thus it matters to me who my president is because things like, oh I dunno, my mental and physical health — and possibly my life — rest in his hands. I’m not going to let white guilt stop me from trying to protect my rights to my own body.

        2. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 26, 2012 at 8:22 pm |

          Ah, because the concerns of the Indigenous of this country aren’t as real or important as yours, it’s just white guilt that says they are. And NA’s haven’t had your system forced onto them for how many centuries now, and can surely wait until you and all the others get theirs first. After all, it’s a legitimate system and government for YOU, being a part of the US and all. The fact that the US is an illegally occupied country, (and you’re a part of that) well that fact is uncomfortable so we’ll dismiss it as white guilt.

          You can take your racist white guilt bullshit comment and shove it right up your lily white privileged ass.

        3. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 26, 2012 at 8:44 pm |

          Well I think I’ll skip that last step, because if Obama loses I won’t have any healthcare to extract said white guilt. And yeah, my physical safety is gonna have to trump your feelings when it comes to how I vote. How oppressive of me, wanting to “get mine” when the “mine” is my fucking 5 different medications that keep me from killing myself.

        4. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 26, 2012 at 8:47 pm |

          As for the concerns of Natives… remind me how Romney would make things better for you than Obama? ‘Cause maybe I missed the “stop fucking over indigenous people” part of the Republican she-doesn’t-look-indian-to-me! Party.

        5. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm |

          bagelsan, I think pheeno was pointing out that your reference to “white guilt” sounded pretty racist, as it implied that white guilt is an actual problem some white people struggle with and have to rise above in order to make sensible choices. This is not the case, and implying it supports the idea that people of color have some sort of social power over white people that they can use to manipulate white people into feeling guilty.

          I remember in another thread a few months ago people (including you) were talking about how in a intersectional social justice space it’s impossible for everyone to be past the 101 level on every different issue. I agree with that idea. And you also gave the example, bagelsan, that you believed you were “in the 100s” on racial issues, despite being much more advanced on other topics, say women’s rights or disability rights.

          I think this would be a good time for you to remember that you (by your own admission) don’t know a whole lot about racial issues and to carefully consider some of the implications of the things you’re saying.

        6. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 26, 2012 at 10:11 pm |

          remind me how Romney would make things better for you than Obama?

          NEITHER MAKE IT BETTER. THATS THE FUCKING POINT.

          No party from your fucking Empire honors treaties. Not Obama, not Romney, NONE. And as we fucking speak, while OBAMA is President, we are dying. It’s not about feelings, you racist asshole. We’re in the middle of genocide, and there’s NO healthplan that covers THAT.

        7. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 26, 2012 at 10:41 pm |

          Okay pheeno, I’m done with you. You can get your rage on without me even present, so I’m gonna go do something productive. Like vote.

        8. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm |

          LotusBecca, pheeno was saying this upthread: “Voting for either of the 2 main parties dismisses the livelihoods of Native Americans. Voting for an illegal, occupying government in the first place contributes to further colonization and our ongoing genocide.”

          So yeah, she’s arguing that voting for President is genocidal, despite my making it clear that I depend on Obama’s healthcare to live. There’s no talking to someone with views like that, because she obviously already thinks that my mail-in ballot today was one of the worst actions in the universe; it’s not about Racism 101, it’s about Oppression Olympics. Pheeno is saying her oppression –which says “don’t vote” — is more important than mine — which says “do vote.” And then she’s calling me racist for not playing that game with her.

        9. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 27, 2012 at 12:23 am |

          So yeah, she’s arguing that voting for President is genocidal, despite my making it clear that I depend on Obama’s healthcare to live. There’s no talking to someone with views like that, because she obviously already thinks that my mail-in ballot today was one of the worst actions in the universe

          Hmmm. Well, I understand why she’s angry, given what the US federal government has done to Native Americans and continues to do to them. I personally don’t think you’ve done anything that bad though by voting for Obama. My last job involved working at an outbound call center raising money for (among other groups) the President’s re-election organization, Obama for America. I wasn’t happy about it, but I personally raised tens of thousands of dollars for B.O. So even though I don’t support him, I certainly don’t think I have the right to get on anyone’s case just over voting for the guy.

          In any event, I get you were frustrated by pheeno, and I know your medications, which Obama helps deliver, are incredibly important to you. But I wasn’t criticizing you for being frustrated or for voting for Obama. I was criticizing the racist word choices you were making. As far as I’m concerned, anyone using the phrase “I’m not going to let white guilt stop me” (unless they are Stephen Colbert) is being racist. This is just the worst example of a few things you said I didn’t like. I would suggest you don’t let that fact that pheeno was getting on your nerves or that you disagree with her politically prevent you from considering why some of the things you were saying are problematic.

        10. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 27, 2012 at 10:26 am |

          Seriously, give me one concrete example of how the act of voting as opposed to not voting ‘furthers’ colonization and genocide.

          Continuing to give legitimacy to a colonizing Empire that’s occupying Indigenous territory (which is was voting does- you’re giving it legitimacy )supports and allows that Empire to continue stealing land, using resources and governing Territory that does not belong to them.

          If I stole your house and had the rest of the country vote on what color to paint it, their vote gives legitimacy to my “right” to have and then paint your house. If I then steal your house every four years, and people vote every four years then what the fuck do you THINK their voting is contributing to? Even if people vote for my opponent, who leaves you a dollar for taking your house, your house is still stolen. The rest of the country is still voting on what color to paint your house. At some point we’ll all vote and allow you and others with houses stolen to get together and vote for your own representative, and we’ll allow that representative to come beg us to stop stealing and painting your houses. Beg us nicely enough and we’ll let you live in a tent. Get uppity about that tent and we’ll fucking kill you all. And you better damn well remember that tent is sitting on OUR lot, so if we want anything from it, we reserve the right to take it. If it poisons you or kills you in the process, well that’s not the voters fault. Blame the system. Anyways, it all started too long ago to change it so you’re just going to have to play the game, otherwise you’re not being nice and thinking of other groups we shit on. Besides, you can always vote for the house thief who’ll pay you a dollar. That’s more than the other guy, you unappreciative jerk.

        11. William
          William October 27, 2012 at 11:50 am |

          I have nothing productive to add here but feel the need to stand behind pheenobarbidoll in support.

        12. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm |

          Making a stand on ephemeral ideas like ‘granting legitimacy’ when there are concrete needs to be met like ‘surviving’ isn’t my style.

          As long as your Empire remains legitimate, our survival won’t be. What part of genocide do you think ends well? The US government (from the President on down) as a whole is committing genocide. Any and all participation in any US government system or process does nothing to stop it.

          you predict less stealing of land in 2012 due to a lower voter turnout?

          You can’t steal more or less land WHEN ITS ALL BEEN STOLEN.

          And newsflash- there hasn’t been LESS pipeline building through reservations since Obama was elected. There haven’t been less deaths. Less poisoned water. Less frozen in their own homes because electricity was cut off. Less cancer. Less death as a direct result of any election.

          You want to play their game, knock yourself out. But don’t even try to bullshit me that it’s not at NA expense. It always has been and always will be. Fucking have the decency to own that.

        13. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm |

          Continuing to give legitimacy to a colonizing Empire that’s occupying Indigenous territory (which is was voting does- you’re giving it legitimacy )supports and allows that Empire to continue stealing land, using resources and governing Territory that does not belong to them.

          Sorry- this should have read-
          Continuing to give legitimacy to a colonizing Empire that’s occupying Indigenous territory (which is was voting does- you’re giving it legitimacy )supports and allows that Empire to continue operating on stolen land, using resources and governing Territory that does not belong to them.

        14. igglanova
          igglanova October 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm |

          Ok. But not voting does nothing to prevent or even slow that process. In practical terms, refusal to vote only amounts to the relinquishment of your power to negotiate the terms of the sitting government. If the idea of heightened powerlessness appeals to you, go ahead and throw your vote away. But don’t act like it’s repugnant for people to want a say in the actions of their government.

        15. William
          William October 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm |

          But don’t act like it’s repugnant for people to want a say in the actions of their government.

          Calling one vote drowning in a sea of poorly informed voters and hamstrung by the electoral college system “a say in the actions of…government” feels like a bit of an overstatement.

        16. igglanova
          igglanova October 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm |

          A little say is better than no say.

        17. EG
          EG October 27, 2012 at 5:15 pm |

          A little say is better than no say.

          Is it, though? .000000001 of a say (a metaphorical quantitity, of course) is almost the same as zero say for all practical purposes, but civics classes and media and politicians can wrap .0000000001 of a say up in overblown, sentimental, false rhetoric and sell it back to you as “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

          On the other hand, I think it must be of some use, since the right wing has been going to such great lengths to suppress voter turn-out this election cycle. On the other other hand, though, I’ve been trying to follow the news on the striking miners in South Africa, and it doesn’t sound like they feel that the entrenched, controlling interests of the country are that much different now that they can vote.

          So I suppose I’m unconvinced either way.

        18. igglanova
          igglanova October 27, 2012 at 5:30 pm |

          Fair enough. I can’t speak to the situation in South Africa, but even if the direct impact of your single vote is miniscule, there are more consequences to voting than the selection of your candidate.

          The issue I’m most familiar with re: voting is low youth voter turnout, so I’ll use that as an example. Since this demographic is notorious for apathy, politicians feel quite comfortable ignoring their concerns when building a platform. After all, why waste your energy appealing to people who won’t help you win the election? In this case, each young person who refuses to vote or neglects to vote out of laziness is actually undermining the interests of their peers. Their actions have actually contributed significantly to young voters’ irrelevance.

          I know the commentariat at Feministe is a diverse bunch, and this analogy is imperfect when referring to people who don’t necessarily fit into a neat demographic. But if there is a clear trend whereby the most liberal segment of the population refuses to vote, then a platform based on highly liberal policies will never be seen as a viable election-winning option, and that platform will never get made.

        19. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm |

          Sure, LotusBecca, “white guilt” was probably not the wording I should have used but frankly, pheeno was telling me “fuck your well-being, what about mine??” and that was getting ableist as all hell, language aside.

        20. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 27, 2012 at 8:11 pm |

          Sure, LotusBecca, “white guilt” was probably not the wording I should have used but frankly, pheeno was telling me “fuck your well-being, what about mine??” and that was getting ableist as all hell, language aside.

          There’s always a good reason to be a racist fuck.

          Not the wording….Is that the new euphemism for it now-a-days?

        21. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 27, 2012 at 8:21 pm |

          My ancestors are as indigenous to the Americas, if not the US, as yours are, so you can stop that line of attack right now.

          An Empire is an Empire is an Empire. You’re choosing it. I’m not.

          See, you’ve gone from ‘perpetrates’ to ‘doesn’t stop.

          See, I’ve pointed out 2 problems.

          Your vote doesn’t stop the genocide. It does contribute to the system hell bent on committing it.

          But you go ahead and keep telling me exactly who my oppressors are, how they are oppressing me and by what I may or may not measure it by. That way you’re never one of them.

          Actually, no. Don’t. I’ve heard it too many times, and honey, ain’t nothing new about it. Not even from you.

        22. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 27, 2012 at 8:50 pm |

          Sure, LotusBecca, “white guilt” was probably not the wording I should have used but frankly, pheeno was telling me “fuck your well-being, what about mine??” and that was getting ableist as all hell, language aside.

          Well, I didn’t perceive pheeno as being ableist. But that doesn’t mean she wasn’t being ableist. You’re an expert on the oppressions that impact you, so I will defer to your judgment on that.

          I’m glad you’ve reconsidered what you said a bit. I will add one final thing though. In my opinion, the reason to avoid saying racist and oppressive things isn’t just to be nice to the particular person you’re talking to (general “you” here). A person could be acting like a horrendous asshole and oppressing you, but you still shouldn’t be racist or sexist or ableist or homophobic back. And the reason, at least in the context of a blog like this, is that racism (for example) affects all the people of color who read this blog. When someone says something racist, it demeans and marginalizes not just the person who the comment was directed toward, but every person of color who reads the racist comment, even people who the person acting racist likes and wouldn’t have wanted to insult.

          An analogy would be to all the internalized shame and self-hating I have over being a trans woman. I was intensely closeted most of my life, so very little of this is a result of transphobic comments directed specifically toward me. It is largely a result of me listening to my friends make transphobic comments about other trans people though. And seeing transphobic shit in movies, TV, medical/psychiatric literature, feminist activism. I would take this transphobic stuff in, internalize it, and feel bad about it. . .even though it wasn’t intended to be about me individually. This is one reason why I try to refrain from making oppressive comments toward anyone, because even if I can talk myself into thinking one particular person “deserves” it, there’s no way all the passive bystanders out there who will be victimized also deserve it. So, Bagelsan, if you agree that your “white guilt” comment was racist, I hope you can see that it doesn’t matter how pheeno was treating you, because racist comments cause more harm to more people than just their intended target.

        23. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 27, 2012 at 9:24 pm |

          Of course Pheeno was being ablist. On this, and on two dozen threads, she’s made it very clear that the only oppressions that matter are the one’s she, personally, experiences.

        24. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 27, 2012 at 9:45 pm |

          I want to address this in particular-

          pheeno was telling me “fuck your well-being, what about mine??”

          If Obama wins this election, you will have better healthcare as a result. My aunt (to use a member of my own family) will have the same care she’s had for the past 57 years of her life. So you will have yours, and she will still get a NOTE PINNED ON HER CHEST in the ambulance stating ” Priority care cannot be paid for at this time, due to funding issues. A formal letter of denial has been issued.”

          She was given antibiotics for her ” UTI” and sent home. And then billed 8,000. Turns out she has bladder cancer. So she’s going to die soon, at home. But hey, she’s lived five whole years longer than women on another reservation. Their life expectancy is 52.

          And Indians get free healthcare. Unless you get sick when the funds have run out. Or can’t apply for medicaide or medicare because you live too far from an office. Or have no computer. Or even electricity. Might as well stick a billion dollars on the moon. Unreachable is worthless.

          But it’s ME saying ” fuck YOUR well being, what about mine”?

          No. No, it’s not. And it sure isn’t what’s going to happen, is it?

        25. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 27, 2012 at 10:03 pm |

          [S]he’s made it very clear that the only oppressions that matter are the one’s she, personally, experiences.

          Well, I totally disagree with this. I haven’t read everything pheeno’s said so I’m going to defend everything she’s said. But I definitely can tell that she cares about all sorts of things that don’t personally affect her. One example: she’s cis, and there was a thread a few months ago where she said some cissexist stuff regarding another trans woman who was posting and exhibiting “male privilege.” Donna and I called her on it. Pheeno’s reaction really floored me because it’s rare that I see someone get called out like that and respond by actually listening, taking complete responsibility, being highly self-reflective, and being kind. . .which is what she did. Seeing that made me feel warmly toward her, and actually boosted my faith in humanity a little bit. So yeah. I don’t think pheeno thinks the only oppressions that matter are those that she personally experiences.

        26. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 27, 2012 at 10:43 pm |

          Thank you LotusBecca. Your ability to see and weigh both sides of a perspective..well, hopefully one day I’ll acquire that skill. I admire it.

        27. EG
          EG October 27, 2012 at 10:50 pm |

          Holy shit, pheeno. That’s so fundamentally immoral that…I don’t know why I’m surprised, when I put it like that, actually. If there’s one word besides “genocide” that characterizes US policy toward Native Americans, “immoral” is as good as any.

          Here’s what I’m seeing, and pheeno, please correct me if I’m misrepresenting what you’re saying: given the fundamentally immoral and genocidal policies any US president pursues with respect to Native American life, the undeniable differences between Obama and Romney are irrelevant. They will have no material effect on pheeno’s life or on the lives of her family and community. For that reason, the only value her vote has is symbolic, and that symbolism is of an occupying power. Why should she symbolically endorse that?

          Telling her otherwise–telling her that voting should matter to her because of the policy differences between Obama and Romney–is telling her that she should consider material benefits to other people, material benefits that she and hers will not see, and so are another reminder of the ongoing genocide of her people, ahead of what that vote actually does mean to her, in her life, and to her people, its symbolic support of an occupying power.

          That is telling her that benefits for others matter more than the ongoing oppression of her people. Those of us who may see these benefits may consider that a fair trade, but we have no fucking business demanding that she approve. Live with her disapproval and anger. It’s rational and she doesn’t owe anybody anything else.

        28. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 27, 2012 at 11:10 pm |

          Telling her otherwise–telling her that voting should matter to her because of the policy differences between Obama and Romney–is telling her that she should consider material benefits to other people, material benefits that she and hers will not see, and so are another reminder of the ongoing genocide of her people, ahead of what that vote actually does mean to her, in her life, and to her people, its symbolic support of an occupying power.

          If that’s what she was saying I would be 100% OK with that. It’s not. She’s telling other people that they shouldn’t vote, and that if they are they are directly supporting genocide.

        29. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 27, 2012 at 11:43 pm |

          Thank you LotusBecca. Your ability to see and weigh both sides of a perspective..well, hopefully one day I’ll acquire that skill. I admire it.

          :-D

        30. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 27, 2012 at 11:59 pm |

          Various thoughts on this thread, which I’ve been following so far:

          Sure, LotusBecca, “white guilt” was probably not the wording I should have used but frankly, pheeno was telling me “fuck your well-being, what about mine??” and that was getting ableist as all hell, language aside.

          1) So racism is A-Okay when you feel pissy. So noted.
          2) I didn’t actually see any ableism in pheeno’s comment. Besides, she’s disabled, herself, iirc. For fuck’s sake.

          On this, and on two dozen threads, she’s made it very clear that the only oppressions that matter are the one’s she, personally, experiences.

          Funny, I haven’t noticed. I think pheeno has actual points to make that you could address instead of sniping at her pointlessly, don’t you? I mean, you have been addressing them, so you’re clearly interested.

          so you will have yours, and she will still get a NOTE PINNED ON HER CHEST in the ambulance

          Holy shit, pheeno, that’s fucking hideous and inhumane. I am so, so sorry.

          That said.

          Pheeno, I don’t want to rehash old quarrels, particularly since we both came away from this one pretty hurt, but… I found it really odd that you’re arguing that voting at all is perpetuating violence and genocide against NAs, when you took a diametrically opposite stance in a previous thread, the one about straight black women and gay marriage. There, you insisted that there were non-homophobic reasons to vote actively against the interests of LGBTQ people. Why, then, do you insist that there is no possible way to vote at all – even for a candidate who’s been more friendly towards Natives’ interests than many before him – without actively abetting, or passively condoning, the genocide of NAs?

          I feel I should note that I think you have an absolute right to believe as you do, given the way indigenous peoples have been treated by the US government, historically and currently. I’m just curious why you’re not willing to give Bagelsan (or anyone else for that matter) the benefit of the doubt for having non-racist reasons for voting, but you’re willing to give straight black women (who do have straight privilege) that benefit. It seems a weird disconnect from a person who isn’t usually given to a dissonant worldview.

        31. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 28, 2012 at 12:05 am |

          But it’s ME saying ” fuck YOUR well being, what about mine”?

          Uh, yeah, seconded. WTF, that your comments could be read that way even by someone really really invested in reading them that way. I don’t agree with you, and I still can’t see much of the hysteria/crazy/froth that people here seem to be terribly invested in pasting on you yey, because…well, because reasons, apparently. It’s getting a bit ugly.

        32. William
          William October 28, 2012 at 12:19 am |

          If that’s what she was saying I would be 100% OK with that. It’s not. She’s telling other people that they shouldn’t vote, and that if they are they are directly supporting genocide.

          Maybe people should consider why that statement is so activating instead how they can shout Pheeno down…

        33. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 28, 2012 at 12:22 am |

          Funny, I haven’t noticed. I think pheeno has actual points to make that you could address instead of sniping at her pointlessly, don’t you? I mean, you have been addressing them, so you’re clearly interested.

          On one thread (unfortunately, I can’t recall the original topic) pheeno claimed that because I haven’t been legally recognized by a tribe, I don’t have any right to identify as indigenous (because blood quantums are suuuuper reliable and totally not problematic at all, you guys). She continued by explaining that by identifying this way, I was actively supporting colonization. Nevermind that the reason I have a tough time putting a family tree together has just a little bit to do with that colonization.

          She went to to explain that since I was also descended from African slaves, I was one of the colonizers anyways. Later, when she was explaining why she believed that non-native people should return to their ‘countries of origin’ (whatever that means), she essentially told me to go back to Africa (hey, the only part of my origins that county are the black part- what a novel idea)!

          So yeah, I’m not willing to give her any benefit of the doubt. Her suffering is no doubt tremendous, and I recognize that, but she uses it as an excuse to erase any shade of nuance or complexity in the way the issues which impact her also impact other people.

        34. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 28, 2012 at 12:49 am |

          There, you insisted that there were non-homophobic reasons to vote actively against the interests of LGBTQ people. Why, then, do you insist that there is no possible way to vote at all – even for a candidate who’s been more friendly towards Natives’ interests than many before him – without actively abetting, or passively condoning, the genocide of NAs?

          Motivations for voting don’t change the results. A person can have non homophobic reasons (note I’m not saying logical or well reasoned or any I personally agree with) and the result is still homophobic oppression. A person can have non racist reasons and the result is still racial oppression.

          I -get- non Natives motivations for voting. But several here don’t seem to get the results of their voting, regardless of their motivations.

          For the record- I don’t think Bagelsan has racist motives for voting. Just ignorant of any and all colonizing affects. And, a tendency to be racist when faced with them.

        35. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 28, 2012 at 12:57 am |

          If that’s what she was saying I would be 100% OK with that. It’s not. She’s telling other people that they shouldn’t vote, and that if they are they are directly supporting genocide.

          I’m NOT telling anyone they shouldn’t vote. I AM telling them the consequences of those votes. And yes, one IS that it directly supports genocide. Voting for a genocidal, occupying government directly supports genocidal occupation.

          If you were to vote for a President of a government that handed out candy to kittens, you’d be directly supporting handing out candy to kittens.

          The car is Democracy. Your vote is gas. The car is running us over. Every 4 years, you’re filling the tank.

        36. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 28, 2012 at 1:17 am |

          If you were to vote for a President of a government that handed out candy to kittens, you’d be directly supporting handing out candy to kittens.

          Not if the other candidate also supported out handing out candy to kittens, and if not voting would also cause the exact same amount of candy to be handed out, no.

        37. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 28, 2012 at 1:19 am |

          On one thread (unfortunately, I can’t recall the original topic) pheeno claimed that because I haven’t been legally recognized by a tribe, I don’t have any right to identify as indigenous (because blood quantums are suuuuper reliable and totally not problematic at all, you guys).

          Oh I see, we’re going to take part of what I said and leave out all the other bits (like how blood quantums are only ONE tool left to Tribes to figure out the mess they’re stuck with and that MY personal opinions is that using only ONE tool doesn’t work too well. Small oversight. I guess.)

          She went to to explain that since I was also descended from African slaves, I was one of the colonizers anyways

          Yes ambling. Any non Native to this country is a colonizer. Only the Indigenous to a place can be fucking colonized. Colonized African descendants are still colonizers of Native American Indians. Are you following our cultural practices? NO? Have you not taken up residence and become established? That’s part of colonizing.

          and I recognize that, but she uses it as an excuse to erase any shade of nuance or complexity in the way the issues which impact her also impact other people.

          Uh no. What I’m tired of is the dialogue that only discusses the impact on other people and ONLY gets mentioned when I (or like the whole 3 other Indians here) ever bring it up. I’m very aware of how nuance and complexity in issues impact Non Natives. How many here are aware of the way it impacts us?

          When I post something that happens to Indians there’s a large response of I had no idea, and holy shit and oh my god I knew it was bad but didn’t know THAT happened.

          That tells you *I’M* the one who doesn’t grasp other people’s oppressions? REALLY?

          How often are things that impact YOU written about here? I can think of ONE (on Elizabeth Warren) that was about Native issues.

          So yeah, I’m not willing to give her any benefit of the doubt.

          right back atcha. It doesn’t help either when I have to repeatedly define colonization for you.

        38. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 28, 2012 at 1:22 am |

          Not if the other candidate also supported out handing out candy to kittens, and if not voting would also cause the exact same amount of candy to be handed out, no.

          Handing out candy to kittens is what the government does. The President you vote for only decides what candy to hand out. One supports candy like gum. The other prefers jolly ranchers. ALL the candidates support handing out candy of some kind to kittens. That’s the very foundation of the government.

        39. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 28, 2012 at 1:30 am |

          @EG–

          Here’s what I’m seeing, and pheeno, please correct me if I’m misrepresenting what you’re saying: given the fundamentally immoral and genocidal policies any US president pursues with respect to Native American life, the undeniable differences between Obama and Romney are irrelevant. They will have no material effect on pheeno’s life or on the lives of her family and community. For that reason, the only value her vote has is symbolic, and that symbolism is of an occupying power. Why should she symbolically endorse that?

          That’s exactly it.

        40. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 28, 2012 at 1:43 am |

          Handing out candy to kittens is what the government does. The President you vote for only decides what candy to hand out. One supports candy like gum. The other prefers jolly ranchers. ALL the candidates support handing out candy of some kind to kittens. That’s the very foundation of the government.

          You’re proving my point- voting/not-voting doesn’t change the candy situation, so logically, your vote should be determined by the next most important issue(s).

          Yes ambling. Any non Native to this country is a colonizer. Only the Indigenous to a place can be fucking colonized. Colonized African descendants are still colonizers of Native American Indians.

          Do you have any idea how few NA are 100% native, genetically speaking? Your insistence on racial purity is a bit creepy. Maybe you were raised in a single-race household descending from fifty generations of single-race parents. Good for you. All that does is make your life a bit simpler and give you some, yes, privilege.

          And if you weren’t, I’m awfully confused about why my non-native genes make me a colonizer, but your non-native genes don’t, even if if your ratio is higher than mine.

        41. EG
          EG October 28, 2012 at 9:25 am |

          If that’s what she was saying I would be 100% OK with that. It’s not. She’s telling other people that they shouldn’t vote, and that if they are they are directly supporting genocide.

          Well, first of all, she says that’s what she’s saying. Second of all, yes. And she’s right. Supporting our present government supports imperialism and genocide. And you don’t get to tell her that she ought to set that aside and approve of our voting anyway because we judge other interests–our interests–to be more important. Why is it so upsetting to you that she disagrees? Why is it so upsetting to you that she doesn’t accept being told that her interests are not as important as ours?

        42. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 28, 2012 at 11:16 am |

          Ambling-

          And if you weren’t, I’m awfully confused about why my non-native genes make me a colonizer, but your non-native genes don’t, even if if your ratio is higher than mine.

          MY non Native side are colonizers. The few non Natives on my Native side were most likely rapists. So I have both. What is it then that differentiates? What is it about my Native identity that differs from yours?
          In part-
          The continuation of my Native cultural beliefs/traditions, and participation in my Native cultural community.

          I don’t “require” a person to be 100%. But at the same time, I don’t really recognize people who have a great great great grandparent somewhere down the line as Indian, anymore than Ireland would consider me an Irish citizen for having a great great great Irish grandparent somewhere down the line. And it’s offensive that people think it works that way. Do I get to get mad because I’d be denied an Irish passport? Is that unfair to me? No. Of course not.

          I have an ancestor who was X is NOT how Indian identity works. And you don’t understand Indian identity if you’re framing it like that.

        43. William
          William October 28, 2012 at 11:27 am |

          Why is it so upsetting to you that she disagrees? Why is it so upsetting to you that she doesn’t accept being told that her interests are not as important as ours?

          Privilege.

        44. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm |

          A person can have non homophobic reasons (note I’m not saying logical or well reasoned or any I personally agree with) and the result is still homophobic oppression. A person can have non racist reasons and the result is still racial oppression.

          Fair enough, but to reconnect with my original question, if there can be non-homophobic reasons for specifically casting a vote for homophobic oppression, how is casting a vote that you yourself say makes little difference to your racial oppression itself a racist vote? I mean, if anything, it would be a non-racial vote if there is racial oppression whether or not the vote is cast, right? I simply don’t get the logical leap there.

          Personally, I would say that yes, casting a vote is implicitly colonialist in the US, but also that that’s no reason not to vote. Just a thing to keep in mind. The people having hurt fee-fees on the thread about that need to stfu and examine why they’re having said hurt fee-fees.

        45. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 28, 2012 at 3:04 pm |

          Mac-

          how is casting a vote that you yourself say makes little difference to your racial oppression itself a racist vote?

          I don’t think it’s a racist vote, and I don’t think I’ve been saying that. What I’m trying to get at is that the system itself is racist, and voting supports a racist system, and the consequence of voting is racial oppression.
          I don’t think most people (aside from those who ARE racists) think ” hey, I’ll cast my vote and it will really screw over the Indians”, I think most people vote and have no idea that their vote not only does not gain us material advantages (ie- healthcare for example. Even if you vote for the person advocating free healthcare for everyone, it still doesn’t change the fact our free healthcare comes from limited funds that run out after June, and most of us don’t have access to anyway.) but also causes actual harm.

          The vote itself isn’t racist, but it is blinded by colonization privilege.

          Our forms of self government were destroyed, utterly and totally. A good example is leadership. Leaders weren’t elected or competing with others. Leaders were discovered. And they did not act alone, nor did they speak for the entire Tribe. (which is how many an illegal Treaty was formed. 1 guy agreeing to something did not = the whole Tribes consent)

          We don’t have that anymore. We have no choice but to elect a speaker for us. That’s not my culture. That’s not…I don’t know, I don’t even have the words to explain it.

      2. LotusBecca
        LotusBecca October 26, 2012 at 8:55 pm |

        Sure. Memo to self: voting against Romney, the douchebag who wants to roll women’s and LGBT rights back to the stone age, is actually secretly all about fucking over First Nations people.

        I find this comment kinda ironic. The indigenous people of what became the United States actually were living in the Stone Age when Europeans arrived on their land and starting killing them. And most of these indigenous people (despite being in the Stone Age) held women and queer folks in higher respect than their European murderers did, and arguably even in higher respect than Obama, Romney, or the modern political establishment do today.

        But I suppose supporting a colonizing government and using the types of language frames that justify its crimes doesn’t at all “secret” prejudice, does it?

        1. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 26, 2012 at 10:50 pm |

          Ah, “reply” button. Why you gotta… Please see above, LotusBecca.

        2. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 26, 2012 at 11:26 pm |

          Voting for an illegal, occupying government in the first place

          Wow, you’re really ignorant about how elections work, huh?

          Hint: you’re not voting for or against ‘the government.’ You’re voting to determine the policies the government takes. There is no vote you can cast or not-cast that has any bearing on the continuance of the government as a whole.

          contributes to further colonization and our ongoing genocide.

          How? Seriously, give me one concrete example of how the act of voting as opposed to not voting ‘furthers’ colonization and genocide.

          $10 bucks says you can’t, because it’s simply an absurd argument. Will there be less genocide and colonization in 2012 because turnout levels are projected to be lower than in 2008?

        3. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm |

          Continuing to give legitimacy to a colonizing Empire that’s occupying Indigenous territory (which is was voting does- you’re giving it legitimacy )supports and allows that Empire to continue stealing land, using resources and governing Territory that does not belong to them.

          So, like I asked, you predict less stealing of land in 2012 due to a lower voter turnout?

          And yeah, actually, in your house example I would argue for voting for the one-dollar giver, unless there was evidence some other action would produce a better outcome. Making a stand on ephemeral ideas like ‘granting legitimacy’ when there are concrete needs to be met like ‘surviving’ isn’t my style.

        4. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 27, 2012 at 3:56 pm |

          And this is my last word on it, because the whole damn thing makes me sick. And I have enough on my plate with ” Thanksgiving” coming up.

          The only thing that voting guarantees (no matter who you vote for, but ESPECIALLY the Big 2) is that the American government and it’s citizens will take everything they can of value from Natives and dish it back to us in little survival squirts.

        5. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm |

          As long as your Empire remains legitimate, our survival won’t be.

          My ancestors are as indigenous to the Americas, if not the US, as yours are, so you can stop that line of attack right now.

          Any and all participation in any US government system or process does nothing to stop it.

          See, you’ve gone from ‘perpetrates’ to ‘doesn’t stop.’ I agree! Voting doesn’t stop it. But it doesn’t make it worse, and so there’s no reason not to vote when there are all kinds of other decisions voting does have the potential to make better or worse.

        6. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm |

          Oh, are we now saying that voting doesn’t necessarily stop the mistreatment of native people? Okay, yeah, I’ll get behind that — to the extent that I believe that native women don’t care about the additional harms that will be done to them by the Republican platform. Making abortion illegal with no exceptions is hardly gonna prevent genocide, it’s just going to extra-fuck everyone with a uterus.

        7. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 27, 2012 at 9:17 pm |

          Your vote doesn’t stop the genocide.

          Agreed.

          It does contribute to the system hell bent on committing it.

          Citation needed. Presumably, if this is true, the amount of genocide corresponds to the amount of voting, right?

          An Empire is an Empire is an Empire. You’re choosing it. I’m not.

          Fuck you. Maybe you have the resources to relocate wherever you want, and maybe your daily existence is easy enough that you have the luxury to opt out of the political process in some sort of childish take-that, but I don’t, and mine isn’t. So shove it up your ass. Your oppressions do not take precedence over mine.

          Your not-voting argument is based entirely on appeals to symbolism. I prefer to judge options based on what they actually accomplish. So tell me this, Pheeno, if you can; what will not voting accomplish? What will tangibly be different?

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 28, 2012 at 12:20 am |

          Okay, yeah, I’ll get behind that — to the extent that I believe that native women don’t care about the additional harms that will be done to them by the Republican platform.

          o_O But…she didn’t say that… I mean, seriously, at no point did she say that…

          I mean, if I had a gun to my head and was told to choose between deaths, one an overdose of anaesthetics and the other being slowly mauled by a raging bear, I’d pick the anaesthetic. Turning around and going “Well, you CHOSE, so you clearly don’t mind dying” would be awfully insulting, though, wouldn’t it?

          I reckon it’s pretty much the same for pheeno; there’s no good choice, and making any choice at all feels like acquiescing, and no matter which choice you choose you wind up dead. I get the feeling.

        9. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm |

          Fuck you. Maybe you have the resources to relocate wherever you want, and maybe your daily existence is easy enough that you have the luxury

          …in the context of pheeno being really open about being poor, I think that requires a “fuck you” right back, though.

          to opt out of the political process in some sort of childish take-that

          These words from a citizen of the country that threw the Boston Tea Party over the lowering of taxes. Oh, the ironing!

        10. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable October 28, 2012 at 2:39 pm |

          Maybe you have the resources to relocate wherever you want,

          You MUST understand why this is a particularly hateful thing to say to someone who is indigenous to the US, right? What, with all the stealing of the land and forced relocation stuff?

        11. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 28, 2012 at 3:17 pm |

          You MUST understand why this is a particularly hateful thing to say to someone who is indigenous to the US, right?

          I’ve learned not to rely on amblingalong’s understanding of the hatefulness of any given thing, personally. I like his comments just fine most of the time, but the egregious ones are really fucking offensive.

        12. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm |

          …in the context of pheeno being really open about being poor, I think that requires a “fuck you” right back, though.

          Well, then, I have like zero understanding of why she thinks everyone else is choosing ‘Empire.’

          You MUST understand why this is a particularly hateful thing to say to someone who is indigenous to the US, right? What, with all the stealing of the land and forced relocation stuff?

          That’s the point. For fuck’s sake, I am indigenous to the Americas- if not the US- and I am working really hard to get pheeno to stop erasing that fact in the service of whatever political point she wants.

        13. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 28, 2012 at 4:46 pm |

          These words from a citizen of the country that threw the Boston Tea Party over the lowering of taxes. Oh, the ironing!

          You have got to check out one of our middle-high school history textbooks some time. Looking at the way they tell the American Revolution next to the British version really is quite something.

      3. Saurs
        Saurs October 27, 2012 at 6:58 pm |

        Would you kindly stop starting threads to attack individual posters who are not voting the way you want them to vote?

      4. trees
        trees October 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm |

        @pheenobarbidoll

        “I have an ancestor who was X is NOT how Indian identity works. And you don’t understand Indian identity if you’re framing it like that.”

        Very much, thank you for saying this! This is just not something that folks outside of Native communities seem to really be able to understand. Are the ideas of community membership sometimes really fucked up?, yup. But still there must be respect for indigenous sovereignty.

        1. DonnaL
          DonnaL October 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm |

          This is just not something that folks outside of Native communities seem to really be able to understand.

          I’m not sure it’s so hard to understand. It’s at least somewhat analogous to how I feel when I encounter someone who excitedly informs me that they’ve found out that they had a Jewish great-great-grandparent 175 years ago or so — and sometimes much longer ago — and this explains why they’ve always loved the Jewish people, and now all of sudden they’ve realized that they have Jewish souls, and so on — even if they’re actually devout Christians and nobody in their family has been part of a Jewish community in almost two centuries and they don’t really know anybody Jewish. Having a Jewish ancestor can definitely be something exotic to boast about, at least in certain circles. But it’s hard for me to see people in that position (some of whom have turned out to be distant cousins of mine) as “Jewish” either ethnically or culturally, even leaving religion wholly aside. (I feel much more positively about the descendants of conversos [forced converts in Spain and Portugal] whose families maintained certain Jewish customs in secret for as long as four or five centuries in some cases, largely in Mexico and South America but also in some remote mountain communities in Portugal, who decide to return to being openly Jewish.)

        2. trees
          trees October 28, 2012 at 2:34 pm |

          Yes DonnaL, that does seem analogous. My ex, who is Jewish, was European born to 1 Converso parent and he didn’t see that parent as any less Jewish than the other.

          I love that you’re able to draw on your own experience to make sense of the issue, but most other people, at least the ones that I encounter on the regular, just don’t get it.

        3. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 28, 2012 at 3:12 pm |

          It’s that “one drop” racial crap. That binary is how racial identity has been framed in the US, and it simply does not work in regards to Native identity. You have to throw that binary out, and that’s difficult for many people because that binary has been so ingrained in this country that nothing else makes sense to them.

        4. trees
          trees October 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm |

          It’s that “one drop” racial crap. That binary is how racial identity has been framed in the US, and it simply does not work in regards to Native identity. You have to throw that binary out, and that’s difficult for many people because that binary has been so ingrained in this country that nothing else makes sense to them.

          Yes, very much this phennobarbidoll. There’s also a basic disregard for the autonomy of Indian tribes and nations.

        5. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 28, 2012 at 5:56 pm |

          If she knows this, then why in the world is it so hard for her to understand that for some people joining a tribe is simply not possible? Because in some cases, those tribes simply don’t exist?

          Ambling- I am about sick of you mansplainin shit to me. You don’t show any grasp of the colonization process yet claim *I* am not aware of just how many Tribes no longer exist?? There were thousands. Now there are just a little over 500. And those are only the Federally recognized Tribes.

          And btw, the people responsible for the mess on Tribal enrollment are the same people responsible for those Tribes being eradicated and the SAME SYSTEM YOU’RE TELLING ME CAUSES NO HARM SO YOUR VOTE IS SOMEHOW SPECIAL AND DOESN’T CONTRIBUTE.

          She claims that if you aren’t legal member of a political entity of native peoples, you are not indigenous.

          Uh, not quite. 90% of what you think I claim is bullshit. And it’s YOUR bullshit to deal with, not mine.

        6. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm |

          I’m getting the impression that you’re coming at this with a pretty limited understand of Indian politics and notions of kinship/community. And you’ve made a grab-bag full of fucked up statements on this and other posts. The views that you think pheeno is expressing, I don’t think she is actually saying, but I have most certainly heard those ideas before voiced by others.

          He’s reading what he wants to read. Supporting Tribal Authority to allow or deny membership =’s you can’t call yourself Indigenous!!

          It’s not about a piece of paper.

          And, iirc, there’s only a handful of Tribes that require 1/2 blood quantum, so having a Native grandparent would be considered Native to the vast majority of those 500 Tribes left. Even those not federally recognized (and I could not give a rats ass about federal recognition, their approval doesn’t mean shit)

      5. amblingalong
        amblingalong October 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm |

        The continuation of my Native cultural beliefs/traditions, and participation in my Native cultural community.

        The fact that you can do this is, in fact, a privilege. I’m not going to lecture you on purposeful erasure of history, kidnapping, forced conversion (to Catholicism, in this case) forced migrations, sexual violence or even benign intermarrying that doesn’t make this an option for everyone, but to tell someone who experiences oppression because of their indigenous roots that they don’t actually experience oppression because they haven’t been able to join a tribe is fucking bullshit.

        Not every group of North American indigenous people are still populous enough/organized enough to form any sort of entity, even if they wanted to. I realize you see everything through a US-centric lense, but try looking south across the border sometime.

        I’ve learned not to rely on amblingalong’s understanding of the hatefulness of any given thing, personally. I like his comments just fine most of the time, but the egregious ones are really fucking offensive.

        I’m deeply sorry to hear this, because I really respect most of what you right, mcavity. In this case, though, I’m definitely feeling a little hateful, because pheeno is trying to convince me that because I don’t fit in with her pathetic US-centric racist bullshit definition of native, I don’t get to claim a piece of my identity.

        1. trees
          trees October 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm |

          @amblingalong

          The fact that you can do this is, in fact, a privilege.

          ?????

          I’m sure you must realize that what you describe is hardly a unique experience for Indian peoples, so I can’t imagine why you don’t assume that pheenobarbidoll already knows this. Hell, the last speaker of my people’s language died about 30 years ago.

          I’m definitely feeling a little hateful, because pheeno is trying to convince me that because I don’t fit in with her pathetic US-centric racist bullshit definition of native, I don’t get to claim a piece of my identity.

          I’m just not getting how you’re coming away with this impression. She just stated the exact opposite of a “US-centric racist bullshit definition of native”.

        2. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 28, 2012 at 4:53 pm |

          write*

          jesus. This is what happens when I type while mad.

        3. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm |

          She just stated the exact opposite of a “US-centric racist bullshit definition of native”.

          She claims that if you aren’t legal member of a political entity of native peoples, you are not indigenous. So no, she didn’t, because this totally erases all the reasons why someone who experiences oppression as a result of their indigenous identity might not have the ability to join one of the aforementioned political entities.

          I’m sure you must realize that what you describe is hardly a unique experience for Indian peoples, so I can’t imagine why you don’t assume that pheenobarbidoll already knows this.

          If she knows this, then why in the world is it so hard for her to understand that for some people joining a tribe is simply not possible? Because in some cases, those tribes simply don’t exist?

          I’ve talked to people like this a million times. It’s pure privilege-clinging; people who are worried that if they admit some indigenous people have valid identities despite not living on a res/being able to pass as black/not being legally admitted to a tribe, that somehow dilutes their own identity.

          Hell, the last speaker of my people’s language died about 30 years ago.

          I’m deeply sorry for your loss. That should never have happened.

        4. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm |

          I want to be really clear; this isn’t me having like a distant great-great-great-great uncle who was Cherokee or something. This is a part of who I am. This is a part of who my family is. Pheeno wants me to tell my grandmother that everything she overcame wasn’t real, and that I’m going to just start pretending she isn’t who she says she is, because my family doesn’t have a bullshit rubber stamp of approval from a tribal entity that doesn’t fucking exist and would be 5,000 miles away if it did.

          I’m getting really angry and I’m going to take a self-imposed day-long break from commenting before I say something I’m going to really regret. Sorry if this seems like a hit-and-run or a flounce, but this is hitting way too close to home.

        5. trees
          trees October 28, 2012 at 6:19 pm |

          @amblingalong

          I just want to take a moment to say that I recognize your pain, and can in many ways empathize. You are absolutely not alone. The questioning of native identity is something I suppose the vast majority of mixed bloods (including myself and I bet you a quater phenno too) can relate to on some level.

          I’m getting the impression that you’re coming at this with a pretty limited understand of Indian politics and notions of kinship/community. And you’ve made a grab-bag full of fucked up statements on this and other posts. The views that you think pheeno is expressing, I don’t think she is actually saying, but I have most certainly heard those ideas before voiced by others.

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 28, 2012 at 6:42 pm |

          In this case, though, I’m definitely feeling a little hateful, because pheeno is trying to convince me that because I don’t fit in with her pathetic US-centric racist bullshit definition of native, I don’t get to claim a piece of my identity.

          Honestly? Speaking as the descendant of someone who was formally excommunicated/exiled from Hinduism, I agree with you. Identity shouldn’t be erased because of a top-down imposition of legality, particularly when it’s as close as a grandparent. I also know that it’s difficult to retain Native identities for legal Native people, because of the way they’ve been treated. I don’t know what to say to you, aside from that it’s unfair and sad and I’m sorry.

          I also think that there’s a difference between identifying as “Native American” and saying “I have Native blood”, or suchlike, fwiw. Technically, anyone with Native blood can say the latter, but I suppose there should be barriers to saying that. Same as I can’t identify as Malayali, because I’m only an eighth and have never lived there/as a Malayali/speaking the language fluently etc. However, I can definitely say I have Malayali heritage.

        7. trees
          trees October 28, 2012 at 7:09 pm |

          Honestly? Speaking as the descendant of someone who was formally excommunicated/exiled from Hinduism, I agree with you. Identity shouldn’t be erased because of a top-down imposition of legality, particularly when it’s as close as a grandparent. I also know that it’s difficult to retain Native identities for legal Native people, because of the way they’ve been treated. I don’t know what to say to you, aside from that it’s unfair and sad and I’m sorry.

          It must absolutely be indigenous people who define NDN identity; definitions can not be imposed from outside. Not respecting Native visions of the world is a legacy of colonialism, and I’m not talking about the supremacy of stinking blood quantum and tribal papers. I seriously doubt phenno believes that you are only a “Real Indian” if you have a piece of paper, and I do hope she will correct me if I’m misrepresenting her.

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 28, 2012 at 7:37 pm |

          It must absolutely be indigenous people who define NDN identity; definitions can not be imposed from outside.

          ….well, yes, that’s exactly what I said, no? I don’t get where the disagreement is, tbh, but maybe I wasn’t clear. I said that, given the history of taking away control of who calls themselves Native from Native people (in which I include blood quantum laws, tribal papers etc), I can’t actually support anyone calling themselves Native (as opposed to “having Native blood/ancestry/being part-Native but unrecognised (or whatever term you use)”). I simply also think that any set of defined rules for belonging fuck some people over, simply because rules can’t encompass every case. That isn’t specific to Native identity, I have similar complex feelings about people claiming Hinduism or Indian (of the subcontinental kind) identity.

        9. trees
          trees October 28, 2012 at 7:58 pm |

          ….well, yes, that’s exactly what I said, no? I don’t get where the disagreement is, tbh, but maybe I wasn’t clear.

          Oh okay, I guess I just wasn’t getting what you were saying. When you said

          Identity shouldn’t be erased because of a top-down imposition of legality, particularly when it’s as close as a grandparent.

          I thought you were referring to tribal leadership, in the context of your mention of Hinduism and your South Asian heritage.

          I simply also think that any set of defined rules for belonging fuck some people over, simply because rules can’t encompass every case.

          This I couldn’t agree with more; lots and lots and lots of people are getting screwed over.

        10. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 28, 2012 at 9:32 pm |

          I thought you were referring to tribal leadership, in the context of your mention of Hinduism and your South Asian heritage.

          I was trying, though I seem to have been rather unclear, to transition to my next point, which was that I don’t think that a group can necessarily define who doesn’t get to claim a partial, unofficial or ancestral connection to the group, as long as they’re not claiming to actually be part of that group. For example, I would call myself an Indian, not a Chola citizen (as that empire no longer exists), but I would fight to the death anyone who claimed that I had no Chola heritage or ancestry or that I had no right to claim that, simply because I’m not a “full” i.e. legal citizen of a defunct empire. It doesn’t seem that different (though obviously Native power structures still exist) from how I would support amblingalong’s claim to Native ancestry/heritage without necessarily agreeing with his claim to Native identity.

          The group in question should always always have the last say – and ideally the first and all the ones in between – on who gets to have a legalised, present, rights-and-privileges-and-responsibilities-oriented membership in it.

          I hope that conveys what I believe clearly.

        11. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 28, 2012 at 9:45 pm |

          Yes, and I see on rereading that I spoke of erasing identity, rather than erasing ancestry/heritage. (I divide these terms because ancestry suggests genetic links, heritage cultural links, and the two don’t necessarily coexist, just ftr, I’m sure you know the difference.) My bad, sorry.

          That said, since amblingalong stated so clearly that he wants to reclaim “a piece of my identity” rather than “my identity”, it seems fairly obvious he doesn’t want clan membership as much as acknowledgment, some connection back to his history in terms of information etc.

          I don’t know the intra-group dynamics of NAs firsthand, since I’m Indian as far back as anybody can trace, but I imagine that similar dynamics to Hindu groups would arise, where you’re not considered properly Hindu unless you’re culturally Hindu, but being culturally Hindu is difficult unless you’re considered a proper Hindu…. for example, Hindus who look/are white often aren’t allowed into temple sanctums. This effectively denies them participation in many Hindu activities. But if they’re not involved in Hindu rites, they’re not really Hindu… the cycle moves on, you know?

          I’m wondering if similar dynamics have arisen in Native communities, out of duress and through a similar sense of terror of disappearance. It seems fairly probable given how humans in general react to horrific oppression by building walls and huddling close. It might not be the case, however, so I’m genuinely asking you (or pheeno if she cares to comment) how you see it.

  35. alanc
    alanc October 26, 2012 at 1:46 am |

    From a moral standpoint, Obama is the better choice. But being a leftist or liberal is automatically grounds for disqualification IMHO. Even if he is right more often, leftists never have the supremacist or aggressive attitude needed to compete let alone dominate other countries and have a bad habit of sympathizing with enemies or potential rivals.

    Ideally a strong nationalist with pragmatic policies who is detached from emotions is the supreme form of leader, but so far I have yet to see a western leader who comes close to fitting that bill…

    1. Li
      Li October 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm |

      This is satire, right?

      Because as a member of a country that isn’t the US, I would rather you not choose a supreme leader based on their nationalist supremacist qualities. Just saying.

      1. doberman
        doberman October 26, 2012 at 2:18 pm |

        Well I think alanc is talking about the kind of leader that would be the logically best leader. As such a leader the members of that country being the most prosperous (at the expense of other countries). Which is different from the morally best leader.

        1. EG
          EG October 28, 2012 at 9:14 am |

          Which members, exactly, would be the most prosperous?

      2. Henry
        Henry October 28, 2012 at 1:57 am |

        no it’s not satire, it’s trolling, though a rather poor example.

    2. Chataya
      Chataya October 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm |

      You realize the world isn’t a game of Risk? I vote based on who I think will best care for the citizenry, not for some International Dick-Waving Contest.

      1. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan October 26, 2012 at 4:23 pm |

        Does it count as real Dick-Waving if the person doing it is literally the sociopath that alanc describes? A sociopath probably wouldn’t dick wave like a proper bro would, he’d just do it to fit in. So he could kill you later…

        1. William
          William October 27, 2012 at 11:54 am |

          Lots of people kill for lots of reasons. What makes a sociopath a sociopath isn’t what they do but the lack of empathy and concern for the rights of others which underlies why they do what they do.

    3. Jadey
      Jadey October 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm |

      Social dominance orientation in action.

    4. EG
      EG October 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm |

      Ideally a strong nationalist with pragmatic policies who is detached from emotions is the supreme form of leader

      Ideal for whom, pray tell?

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve October 27, 2012 at 11:25 am |

        Ideal for whom, pray tell?

        If that’s not a rhetorical question, the answer is National Socialists.

    5. alanc
      alanc October 27, 2012 at 1:06 am |

      Ideal for the country and its people, of course. National strength and wealth leads to better lives and less dangers from abroad. Truth is, if one sees past emotions, this “dick-waving” contest is in fact, the most important contest of all.

      The problem with leftist thinking is that they’re afraid to see reality as it is (It is a lot like Risk, actually), where competition and supremacy are really the only constant in our history. To deny this, or act as though compassion is more important, is not so much a laudable act of moral righteousness, but simply weakness waiting to be exploited by the exact kind of person I’ve described. Choosing not to participate does not shield you from victimhood. This is basically the problem feminists, multiculturalists, and other liberal ilk. Not that their ideology is morally flawed, but unrealistic.

      How often have you seen a feminist that was also an ethnic nationalist, or a real patriot, the kind that puts national interests over all? I’ve never met a single respectable feminist in that regard (sorry). Rather, they are quick to reproach their own while apologizing for others based on so-called compassion.

      That is not to say one needs to be violent or physically aggressive, but to succumb immediately to emotions is to defeat oneself without even competing.

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve October 28, 2012 at 8:29 am |

        How often have you seen a feminist that was also an ethnic nationalist, or a real patriot, the kind that puts national interests over all? I’ve never met a single respectable feminist in that regard (sorry). Rather, they are quick to reproach their own while apologizing for others based on so-called compassion.

        Umm…have you missed pheeno’s comments?

        1. kungfulola
          kungfulola October 28, 2012 at 9:13 am |

          Silly Fat Steve, Native and First Nations people can’t be “Real Patriots”! What is there to be patriotic about, besides nations chock full of White Christians? Geez.

      2. EG
        EG October 28, 2012 at 9:21 am |

        Ideal for the country and its people, of course. National strength and wealth leads to better lives and less dangers from abroad.

        Which people? For many, many people, dangers come from within. Immoral expansionists, as Steve indicates, did not make life better for people like him and me in Germany. Immoral expansionists do nothing to prevent rape.

        to succumb immediately to emotions is to defeat oneself without even competing.

        It’s fortunate that ethnic/national pride and competitiveness aren’t emotions, or your statements would be incoherent.

        To deny this, or act as though compassion is more important, is not so much a laudable act of moral righteousness, but simply weakness waiting to be exploited by the exact kind of person I’ve described.

        Yes, sociopaths exploit normal human emotions. The solution to this is not to support sociopaths.

      3. EG
        EG October 28, 2012 at 9:48 am |

        Basically, you reify the notion of “a nation and its people,” as though a nation is unified, its people are homogenous, and they all have the same interests. And that’s bullshit. People who rise to power through immoral expansionism do so because they personally want power. They act to maintain that power. Their actions are not related to the best interests of anybody else.

        1. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 2, 2012 at 12:04 pm |

          Well, a nation’s people generally have one interest in common, and that’s the success of their nation. Whether they all define “success” the same way…

        2. EG
          EG November 2, 2012 at 12:18 pm |

          Well, a nation’s people generally have one interest in common, and that’s the success of their nation.

          You think? What interest did black Americans have in the success of the US for most of its history?

          In any case, if they’re not defining “success” the same way, then I don’t see how they could be holding that interest in common.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 2, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

          Well, a nation’s people generally have one interest in common, and that’s the success of their nation.

          OMG Bagelsan that is the single most stupid thing I have ever heard you say. What the fuck is the matter with you today? You aren’t usually like this.

          Here are some terms, look them up: internal colonisation, marginalised minorities, insurrectionists, civil wars, separatism, depopulation, forced emigration/immigration, slavery. Seriously, you don’t need more than a dictionary level of understanding of any of these terms to see why all of ” a nation’s people” might not be equally – or, you know, at all – invested in said nation’s success.

        4. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm |

          Geez, Mac, it’s like you’re not even reading past the first sentence in any of my comments today. 9_9 “Success” might mean “taking it back over” for one thing.

        5. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 2, 2012 at 1:06 pm |

          Okay, in the context of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; assuming people in the nation have basic things like food and shelter, their next interest will be security. Which is part of the reason nations were invented. I’m hardly taking a hardline nationalist tack here; I’m just saying that most people want their nation to exist to shelter them. That’s why belonging somewhere is considered a right. It doesn’t mean eeeeveryone is on the same page about what their nation should look like or behave like, but they generally want one. That’s literally all I’m getting at.

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm |

          “Success” might mean “taking it back over” for one thing.

          Except that the implication of your phrase ” a nation’s people” is that they’re (at least second-class) citizens of that nation. Which in the context of the US at various points in history erases slaves, Native Americans, non-property-owners, Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, African Americans (who are a massive, but not a total overlap of slaves in the US), etc, etc…

          Or let’s take India, where a large chunk of the population doesn’t want to belong to ANY existing nation. Gorkhaland, for example, doesn’t exist; there’s never been a unified Tamil nation; etc, etc.

      4. doberman
        doberman October 28, 2012 at 9:55 am |

        As depressing as it is, I think alanc is right.

        Humans have a kind of in-group morality in their genetics whereby they are able to ignore harms done to other groups. So it would indeed be possible for people to live happy lives at the expense of people from other countries. (Indeed this is how the world has worked before the rise of multi-culturalism and liberalism.)

        1. EG
          EG October 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm |

          Obviously it’s possible. That’s what we’re doing right now. The question isn’t whether it’s possible. The question is whether or not we want to support it.

        2. Jadey
          Jadey October 29, 2012 at 12:53 am |

          Humans have a kind of in-group morality in their genetics whereby they are able to ignore harms done to other groups.

          The scientific research that I presume you are referencing here is actually quite suspect in many ways and is all other ways a body of research under heavy development and not ready to be assumed as given or applied in the manner you are suggesting.

  36. Why I’m Voting for Barack Obama | EcoGrrl

    [...] is a blog post I read today on Feministe that sums it up for [...]

  37. Lolagirl
    Lolagirl October 27, 2012 at 11:42 am |

    Am I the only one who’s comments keep getting caught up in moderation? I haven’t even used obscenities or ad homs.

    1. LotusBecca
      LotusBecca October 27, 2012 at 11:51 am |

      Lately I’ve been pretty lucky with my comments going through. It seems when my comments get caught in moderation, though, it’s because they are long or because they have a lot of block quotes. One of the reasons I try to minimize using block quotes, lol–I hate having my comment stuck in there. I’m pretty sure profanity doesn’t affect what goes into moderation though.

    2. William
      William October 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |

      You’re not alone Lola. I have one thats been in for awhile and that I suspect the system might have eaten. I suspect serially posting might trip off moderation and a thread this size (to say nothing of the other two big active ones going on right now) must be a nightmare to keep track of.

    3. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl October 27, 2012 at 11:59 am |

      I must have 5 comments sitting in mod right now. I emailed Jill and apparently she’s out of town, but she’s going to try and get someone to clean up the queue sometime today.

  38. Foglet
    Foglet October 27, 2012 at 11:59 am |

    Wow, this is why I don’t come around to these parts anymore… This used to be a place to discuss radical social justice politics. Now we have people playing on themes of racism to dismiss others (gang bngers, srsly). Transmisogyny is abound when a long time anarchist commenter is demeaned. And in general more and more people are conflating politics with the ballot box.

    The ballot box is where politics dies. Yes, ideally in a democratic system you are not voting for or against the government but for who will BE the government. However, systems of oppression have been so ingrained that I’m unconvinced any body of people could change it without dismantling it.

    Even simple issues like how voting for one of the two wings of the capitalist party perpetuates colonialism and occupation are dismissed. Two words: drone strikes. More words: The U.S. support for “structural adjustment” and other neo-liberal programs as conditions for economic aid for nations that have been victims of colonization.

    I’m not saying I used to come here and agree with everyone, but it was not full of arrogant centrist Liberal vitriol. I think the swing of the commentariat is best summed by this:

    Yes it sucks that children and other innocents are caught in the crossfire, but these actions save many more lives than are taken, otherwise they wouldn’t do it.

    Surly not! Authority never does anything as unscrupulous as abuse those with no voice.

    1. igglanova
      igglanova October 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm |

      Um. Since when has anything doberman has said represented the entire commentariat?

      However, systems of oppression have been so ingrained that I’m unconvinced any body of people could change it without dismantling it.

      And here we get to the most intriguing part of anarchism. How do you propose we actually do that? What are some plans for dismantling the U.S. government that will actually accomplish something?

      1. Henry
        Henry October 28, 2012 at 2:18 am |

        you realize you just asked an anarchist to plan something right?

        that’s the problem with the complaint wheel around here & everywhere else. no one does anything, or they propose doing things that are physically impossible (like moving 350 million people back to wherever our ancestors came from). they want a third party and yet do nothing but make posts, as if forum posts accomplish anything. recycling an aluminum can would do more to positively impact humanity than any of these posts, mine included.

        1. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 28, 2012 at 3:01 am |

          Plenty of people who post here do all sorts of things that positively impact humanity, Henry. There’s people here whose jobs are in healthcare, education, law, the nonprofit sector, and other areas where they’re making a difference. Blogging can also be a way of raising awareness on important by not widely understood issues. In addition to the bloggers here, many of the commentariat run their own blogs, which are often very interesting and useful. There’s also people here who engage in a wide variety of offline activism, whether it’s volunteering in their community; participating in demonstrations, boycotts, direct action, whatever. And of course, many people here also vote and engage in electoral politics, which some think is useful. So speak for yourself, Henry. Perhaps you don’t do anything except complain online, but that doesn’t apply to a lot of other people here. And I don’t know about anyone else. . .but reading the posts here has shifted my thinking in a lot of different ways. That impacts the rest of my life, and in turn how I affect others through my actions and choices.

        2. mxe354
          mxe354 October 28, 2012 at 10:40 am |

          you realize you just asked an anarchist to plan something right?

          Planning, organization, etc. are in no way anti-anarchist. Anarchists only oppose centralized government and hierarchy.

        3. EG
          EG October 28, 2012 at 10:50 am |

          I would say that organization is central to anarchism, actually.

        4. mxe354
          mxe354 October 28, 2012 at 11:10 am |

          It depends on the kind of organization you’re talking about. Some anarchists, most notably individualist anarchists who agree with Max Stirner in regards to anarchist organization, think that all formal organization (e.g. cooperatives, policy-making bodies, etc.) is inevitably totalitarian and so unacceptable. Other anarchists think that formal organization is not only necessary, but also inevitable and a natural product of freedom.

          Both, however, at least agree that society should be based on decentralized self-government, which is a form of organization.

      2. mxe354
        mxe354 October 28, 2012 at 11:23 am |

        Well, it’s certainly no easy task. However, I don’t think it’s impossible. One way that immediately comes to mind is gradual change brought about by reorganizing society from below in spite of the government i.e. widespread grassroots organization that is supposed to undermine the belief that centralized government is necessary. And that could be done through affinity groups, organizations devoted to providing essential community services and engaging in direct action, and so on.

        I agree that anarchists generally seem to come up with vague ideas when it comes to actually overthrowing the state, though.

    2. amblingalong
      amblingalong October 27, 2012 at 9:23 pm |

      Even simple issues like how voting for one of the two wings of the capitalist party perpetuates colonialism and occupation are dismissed.

      Evidence, please? How does voting perpetuate either of those things?

      And please, no appeals to ephemerals. I just want one concrete example of how voting, as opposed to not-voting, actively increases the amount of colonialism and occupation.

      1. Lyanna
        Lyanna November 2, 2012 at 1:41 pm |

        I really like your comments in this thread because of how you, unlike so many others here, are actually thinking about concrete effects.

        Not emphasizing concrete effects is the result of a combination of privilege and lack of perspective. It doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.

    3. SlipperyWombat
      SlipperyWombat October 29, 2012 at 4:38 am |

      Even simple issues like how voting for one of the two wings of the capitalist party perpetuates colonialism and occupation are dismissed. Two words: drone strikes.

      What is the obsession with drone strikes? They are not a violation of Pakistani sovereignty. Most strikes have been launched from a base the CIA leases from Pakistan with the government’s full knowledge of the operations they are carrying out.

      As far as civilian casualties, frankly, everyone is full of shit. The CIA lies when they say there have been no civilian deaths in the last year or whatever timeframe they referenced. Regardless, the CIA will never release the information they do have because it would compromise the ongoing signal/human intelligence assets they have in the region.

      And the various Pakistani sources are just as full of shit. Check your sources. Not one party purporting to have real data on this has actually identified and vetted every casualty (and I don’t mean literally, but any kind of reasonable sample) to verify absence of terrorist links. The most recent publicized study from Stanford and NYU did not interview one fucking person in the tribal regions due to safety concerns. Want to know where 95% of drone strikes have been? Yep.

      The larger picture is that people relying on the media have no conception of what the war looks like here and don’t realize how silly arguing against drone strikes really is. At present, the insurgency is mostly fighters which come over from Pakistan in mid-late Spring and fight through mid-late Fall before making their way back to Pakistan for the Winter. Essentially, the supply, command and control elements, and IED manufacturers are almost exclusively in Pakistan at this point.

      So, if you want to be consistent or at least seem like you have a slight fucking clue when discussing the war, just argue for the entire war to end instead of whining about drone strikes. There is no way to have this war without it extending into Pakistan in some fashion and drone strikes are by far the least invasive option on the table. If you think an occupation of Waziristan or dropping 500lb bombs from aircraft would magically lower civilian casualty rates I can assure you that you are wrong.

      Arguing for the war to end is a logically consistent and perfectly reasonable position to take. Getting pissy about drone strikes is like holding up a sign that says “I know dick about the tactical realities of this war.”

      1. William
        William October 29, 2012 at 11:38 am |

        Arguing for the war to end is a logically consistent and perfectly reasonable position to take. Getting pissy about drone strikes is like holding up a sign that says “I know dick about the tactical realities of this war.”

        Call me crazy, but if I knew that there was a neighborhood a hundred miles away from where I now live, in this neighborhood I knew I wasn’t wanted, and where there were a ton of people in surrounding areas interested in doing violence towards me my response wouldn’t be to move into that neighborhood, build a ten foot wall around my house, and sit on my roof with a .308 picking off picking off my perceived enemies. My response would be to, you know, avoid that neighborhood as much as is possible.

        To be more honest: if this is a war, let it be a war. Declare it, attack with everything in our arsenal, accept the national and international political consequences of a declared war, and leave when you’re done. But this isn’t a war, now, is it? No, this is trying to have the freedom to use force that you have in a war while pretending you’re engaging in diplomacy. Its giving a free hand to the kinds of wetwork the CIA has always been a fan of. Its letting the generals play with new toys and tactics because no one is really going to stop us and fucking up some backwards goat herders because you have a thin excuse and know they’ll fight back. Its also an exercise in Empire building and an unacceptable drain on the resources of a country whose economy still isn’t all that great.

        But, most of all, I just kind of have a problem with my government declaring that it has the power to assassinate an American citizen overseas because it has secret intelligence. Kinda runs contrary to the general principles of liberty, you know?

        1. SlipperyWombat
          SlipperyWombat October 30, 2012 at 1:23 am |

          Call me crazy, but if I knew that there was a neighborhood a hundred miles away from where I now live, in this neighborhood I knew I wasn’t wanted, and where there were a ton of people in surrounding areas interested in doing violence towards me my response wouldn’t be to move into that neighborhood, build a ten foot wall around my house, and sit on my roof with a .308 picking off picking off my perceived enemies. My response would be to, you know, avoid that neighborhood as much as is possible.

          Al Qaeda didn’t quietly sit around in Afghanistan and Waziristan discussing the next Caliphate over tea. 9/11, the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Khobar Towers, etc. Until they brought violence to our – and our allies’ – doorstep we were quite content to let them do as they wished in their tribal backwaters. So, your analogy isn’t crazy, simply inapplicable.

          To be more honest: if this is a war, let it be a war. Declare it, attack with everything in our arsenal, accept the national and international political consequences of a declared war, and leave when you’re done.

          Ah, so your problem isn’t with civilian casualties at all. Instead you would like to see a massive increase in the level of violence to satisfy your need for a more “honest war.” Well, sorry, pretty much everyone else on the planet thinks a dramatic expansion of the war and the likely destabilization of a nuclear power is a bad idea.

          But this isn’t a war, now, is it? No, this is trying to have the freedom to use force that you have in a war while pretending you’re engaging in diplomacy. Its giving a free hand to the kinds of wetwork the CIA has always been a fan of.

          What pretense? The drone program has been openly discussed since day one. The only pretense is the bullshit the Pakistani government feeds their own people. They accept billions to allow us to kill militants they generally want dead anyway and then pretend we are forcing the whole thing on them to maintain some veneer of legitimacy with their people.

          But, most of all, I just kind of have a problem with my government declaring that it has the power to assassinate an American citizen overseas because it has secret intelligence.

          Honestly, if you are an American citizen hanging out in Waziristan there is a very high probability you are engaged in something warranting a Hellfire strike. Despite your apparently extensive knowledge and analysis of the inner workings of TS-SCI CIA programs, I am going to stick with my initial assumption that you know dick about the tactical realities of this war.

        2. William
          William October 30, 2012 at 10:44 am |

          Al Qaeda didn’t quietly sit around in Afghanistan and Waziristan discussing the next Caliphate over tea. 9/11, the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Khobar Towers, etc. Until they brought violence to our – and our allies’ – doorstep we were quite content to let them do as they wished in their tribal backwaters.

          Which certainly had nothing to do with the level of imperialism and empire-building that the West, lead by the US, engaged in. Nope, no cozying up to backwards royalty to get military bases and air strips, no constant interference of the sort that would be greeted with an overwhelming military response had the roles been reversed, no propping up of dictators or military aid. Right? I mean they just came at us unprovoked. The only response we had left was a long and pointless occupation…

          Ah, so your problem isn’t with civilian casualties at all. Instead you would like to see a massive increase in the level of violence to satisfy your need for a more “honest war.” Well, sorry, pretty much everyone else on the planet thinks a dramatic expansion of the war and the likely destabilization of a nuclear power is a bad idea.

          I have no real problem with war or self defense. My problem is with our government lying to us and attempting to dodge the political costs of a war so they can engage in an endless series of strikes which reduce American liberty and violate human rights.

          Also…who has been propping up Pakistan and helping their military become a serious regional power all of these years? Who looked the other way while they became a nuclear power? How did that come to pass again? I seem to have forgotten…

          What pretense? The drone program has been openly discussed since day one.

          The talk of militants does come to mind. The assumption that somehow we’re engaging in political progress in Pakistan rather than just bribing a corrupt government to let us train for future conflicts on their political undesirables seems to fit here too. The fact still remains that we’re using military equipment to openly assassinate the citizens of another country in their homes without having to pay the actual political price of an openly declared war. Thats especially true when the risk posed by Islamic terrorism to the US is almost laughably overblown. A damaged ship, a bombed embassy, and the blip of 9/11 aren’t exactly the equal of two (three if you count whats going on almost under the table in Africa) wars without end.

          Honestly, if you are an American citizen hanging out in Waziristan there is a very high probability you are engaged in something warranting a Hellfire strike.

          No. If you are an American citizen the only tool the US government ought to have to use against you is prosecution unless you’re in the uniform of a specific country we have declared war against. Due process doesn’t go away based on suspicion. Even someone like Timothy McVeigh deserved a trial. Thats the standard and it ought to be held even if that means people will certainly die. I would rather see ten more towers fall than the US government claim the right to execute American citizens without trial. Hell, I’d even take formal hearings stripping someone of their citizenship as due process, but there needs to be something, it needs to be transparent, and it needs to be subject to public review and criticism.

          Despite your apparently extensive knowledge and analysis of the inner workings of TS-SCI CIA programs, I am going to stick with my initial assumption that you know dick about the tactical realities of this war.

          And, despite your evidence-free intimation of intimate understanding of the need for elaborate violations of the rights of US citizens, I’m going to stick with my initial assumption that you’re a neckbeard still lamenting the fact that he couldn’t cut it in the military who now spends the greater part of his days in store-bought BDUs holding an expensive mil-spec AR build (complete with ACOG, of course) in one hand while using the other to furiously give yourself a stranger to the latest AC-130 kill video posted on Liveleak. When you’re not too busy playing COD, that is.

        3. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 31, 2012 at 2:25 pm |

          To be more honest: if this is a war, let it be a war. Declare it, attack with everything in our arsenal, accept the national and international political consequences of a declared war, and leave when you’re done.

          Ah yes; at least the impassibly-lethal glass crater we leave where Pakistan used to be will be an honest crater.

        4. William
          William October 31, 2012 at 3:29 pm |

          Ah yes; at least the impassibly-lethal glass crater we leave where Pakistan used to be will be an honest crater.

          I don’t think we would leave a glass crater, though. I think that making war has become both too easy and too invisible to the average American. If we want to be killing people on the book in other countries we need to do it in a way that is accountable and that has real, visible costs for the American public. If Pakistan has done something so terrible that we ought to be shooting rockets through windows then lets let Congress decide to declare a war, with all of the political costs associated with having to sign on the dotted line and all the international costs of being involved in an open war. This “we’re just engaging in a police action” crap has been costing lives for longer than most American citizens have been alive and has been a big part of why we have the deficit we can and why a third of our budget every year goes to paying for weapons that we know aren’t going to sit gathering dust behind a in-case-of-invasion-break-glass window.

          My point is that we have a system right now where a president, using a secret process and secret evidence, can identify people to kill using military technology and doesn’t have to answer to anyone or have any check against his power. It allows the president to have a war but pretend they’re doing something else (like policing borders or fighting pirates). More importantly, its the progression of shit like this that led to Al Qaeda’s beef with the US and which perpetuates the attacks that are inevitably used as evidence that we need less freedom, more government power, and a less accountable executive. There simply isn’t a political reality right now that would lead to the US setting off a nuke in China’s back yard and, really, I don’t believe there is a political reality that would lead to the US declaring war against Pakistan. If the use of force was properly governed we wouldn’t have this problem. Instead we let politicians lie to us because, fuck, Africa is full of scary brown people and Bin Ladin attacked New York so lets just give a nudge and a wink and let Bushbama act out the tough-guy 24 episode people like SlipperyWombat feverishly imagine.

        5. EG
          EG October 31, 2012 at 3:48 pm |

          My point is that we have a system right now where a president, using a secret process and secret evidence, can identify people to kill using military technology and doesn’t have to answer to anyone or have any check against his power.

          Yes. That is the most important point. The reason the US doesn’t declare real war isn’t to keep the population safe; it’s because only Congress has the power to do so. This is supposed to be a check on the president’s power. By accepting these kinds of “police actions” (which, really? so shouldn’t we be using policemen, then, rather than the military?), we’re allowing a massive power grab on the part of the executive branch and reducing the incentive for co-operation between legislature and executive.

        6. Alexandra
          Alexandra November 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm |

          I have to take issue with a couplea things here, William —

          I absolutely agree that US assassination of American citizens abroad, when combined with the absolute fact of increased executive privilege and routine domestic surveillance, is a threat to all individual liberties.

          However, I want to point out that there is a difference between limited and absolute war. The American objective in Pakistan right now is to hinder the Taliban as much as possible while maintaining the fragile image of American-Pakistani friendship. In fact, of course, Pakistan’s government and particularly its military and intelligence structures do not support the US in most things and in some cases are actively working against the US, but from the perspective of US policy in the region, it is better to be somewhat ineffective in pursuing the Taliban than to enter into a serious groundwar against the Taliban in Pakistan, thereby destroying what little cooperation and goodwill remains between the US and Pakistan. Like it or not, the US mission in Afghanistan right now is to do what they can to help Kharzai’s puppet government strengthen itself before US withdrawal in 2014; it is not to destroy the Taliban.

          If this policy seems incoherent, it’s because we fought a terribly-run war in Afghanistan for close to a decade, and thus constrained our choices miserably. I will admit that I aspire towards, and fail at achieving, a truly pacifistic attitude toward the world. As it happens, I think it would likely be worse if the US withdrew precipitously in the next year, because we have our plan now and however inadequate it may be, I don’t trust the US military to come up with anything better for a hasty withdrawal.

        7. William
          William November 2, 2012 at 10:33 am |

          Alexandra,

          What you’re talking about is the politics of empire-building. I get that there are political realities that have led us to where we are in regards to the Taliban and Afghanistan, I just don’t think that the President should have had the authority to get us into that situation in the first place. I do not take for granted that we’re there now and have to deal with it. I would prefer that congress pull the reigns, reassert that only congress has the power to declare a war (and none of this “limited war” empire-building garbage), and leave both regions entirely and totally. We shouldn’t be there, the president shouldn’t have the authority to have us there, we aren’t wanted there, we have no right to be there, and we can deal with terrorists in ways that don’t involve an endless money pit and massive civilian casualties. We played the cold war game in Europe with Russia for generations without bombing the shit out of Poland, there is absolutely no reason why the Taliban requires the response it gets. Right now we’re doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan the kinds of vile shit we did in South and Central America and we need to stop.

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 2, 2012 at 10:55 am |

          William, I absolutely cosign everything you’ve been saying on this thread.

          To the people wailing about how open warfare would be more disastrous to Pakistan: yeah, sure, but at least they’d have the chance to retaliate. Their current situation is that they get bombed, bullied, terrorised, traumatised, and they’re expected to smilingly take it without retaliation. They don’t have the option of inflicting return damage on the US. And all you smug fucks sitting in your safe homes in a country where there’s been ONE major terrorist attack by a foreign power in living fucking history – yeah, you – you don’t get to whine about how drone strikes are for the good of your country. Where the fuck are your feminist principles of abuse cycles and cultures of violence now? Have some goddamn consistency, you imperialistic shits.

        9. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen November 2, 2012 at 1:48 pm |

          @mac: WORD.

        10. Raudya
          Raudya November 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm |

          @macavitykitsune : Thank you. It seems mind-boggling to think that (some part of) a group of people strongly concerned with widespread violence —sexual or otherwise— cannot (or don’t want to) grasp some simple facts like “drones are a bad thing”.

          Instead, some try to justify it (occupation, drones) by… by presenting perfectly logical reason, but very flawed in its way of thinking.

          I can’t say what some pakistani people are feeling, because it’s not my place to say that, but I’ve some experience just hearing (from my family in the occupied land) some tolls of a military occupation in my country, some years ago. Systemic violence —weekly raids, unlawful arrests, army violence in homes and public places, disappearing people, rapes, rampant sexual harassment by the army and by the pribumi (locals) themselves, economic stagnation, people getting out and moving themselves to the south, breaking down of local tradition, really serious culture of corruption, really bad system of education because the lack of teacher and money, and other things. That doesn’t even cover the first years of war, where worse things happened. It gets better, but until now the scars still remain.

          It’s by no means what happens in Pakistan, or worse, Afghanistan or most worse, Iraq, but just hearing their experience, just hearing that, I can’t fathom someone says : “It’s needed for…..” for what ever reason whatsoever. F— them, really. For calling mass-killings ‘a necessary tragedy’ or some s— like that.

        11. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm |

          To the people wailing about how open warfare would be more disastrous to Pakistan: yeah, sure, but at least they’d have the chance to retaliate.

          Realistically, retaliate how? What do you think that a full-on war –like, no holds barred– would look like with the US? It’s literally unimaginable. It’s WWII Japan times however many more nukes we have now. And times however many nukes Pakistan has. In a real tit-for-tat, our tat is big enough to blow up the entire planet. -_- It’s stupid, I don’t like it, but it’s the situation.

        12. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 2, 2012 at 2:31 pm |

          Bagelsan, the question of what would happen in case of full-out war is irrelevant, since the US isn’t going after anyone with the power to really take them on, anyway. The entire POINT of my argument was that the US is currently using EXACTLY THAT POWER DIFFERENTIAL to abuse Pakistan and Pakistanis without fear of reprisal, while USians sit around and nod sagely about how Those Muslim Savages clearly had it coming, shame, but what to do about it.

          Also, I was speaking specifically to people who think the Iraq war, or Pakistani drone strikes, are a “necessary evil” and other heinous terms being slung around by a bunch of clueless first-worlders. If you don’t believe that, I wasn’t talking to you, so it’s not about you.

          It’s literally unimaginable.

          Speak for yourself.

          It’s stupid, I don’t like it, but it’s the situation.

          Would you like a towel, since you’re washing your hands and all? I see no difference between this and Tom Sims’ “Bars are full of gropey people. I don’t like it but it is what it is”. I notice everyone jumped all over that.

        13. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 2, 2012 at 3:23 pm |

          Wiping my hands? Hardly. I am, among other things, voting for the guy less likely to start more wars. Oh, but I forgot that doing so is raaacist now. Guess non-USAians are just fucked. 9_9

        14. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm |

          I am, among other things, voting for the guy less likely to start more wars.

          LIKE I SAID, Bagelsan, if it’s not about you, it’s not about you; I specifically mentioned who I was addressing. Unless you’re, like, Agent Smith, and have absorbed the entirety of the US population since last I checked Feministe. In which case, terribly sorry for accusing you of doing ALL THE THINGS.

        15. William
          William November 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm |

          Realistically, retaliate how?

          Realistically, no one is going to invade the US. Even if we had no military whatsoever the sheer number of privately owned firearms, the size of our nation, and the industrial infrastructure we have all but guarantee that invading the US would be about as successful as invading Russia. At the same time, the US has been forced to give up on wars of occupation (as if we’ve had anything else in living history). Both Vietnam and Afghanistan provide some pretty concrete visions of the kind of retaliation that Pakistan could mount.

          What do you think that a full-on war –like, no holds barred– would look like with the US?

          Thats not a realistic question, though. The US doesn’t engage in full scale wars anymore. When it gets to that point you end up with a cold war. Either way, Pakistan isn’t up to forcing something like that.

          It’s literally unimaginable. It’s WWII Japan times however many more nukes we have now. And times however many nukes Pakistan has.

          The problem you have with that theory is that Pakistan cannot deliver a nuclear warhead to the US. That means that Pakistan, in your scenario, is either nuking it’s own people or nuking it’s neighbors. Either of those actions would meet with an overwhelming non-nuclear response from the entire world. Neither China nor India is going to tolerate something like that. As for the US, there is no incentive for the US to use a nuclear weapon.

          More importantly, using a nuclear weapon isn’t in Pakistan’s interest. All that would do would mean that Pakistan would be broken up and divided between the US (likely via Afghanistan), India, and China. By keeping it conventional Pakistan has the possibility of making the war difficult and expensive enough for public support to wane and the US to leave.

          But all that is irrelevant. The real problem here is that you’re creating a false choice between “the guy less likely to start more wars” (even though that guy has expanded the drone program and remains pretty hawkish on overall foreign policy) and nuclear armageddon. Do whatever you have to do to rationalize your choice but, please, don’t pretend that you’re somehow voting for less death. You’re voting for a war criminal, everything else is academic.

        16. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 2, 2012 at 10:54 pm |

          Thats not a realistic question, though. The US doesn’t engage in full scale wars anymore.

          Of course it doesn’t. That’s the point; how would “declaring war” suddenly make killing people okie-dokies? It would have basically zero effect, because we fight our “wars” the same way we do our police actions nowadays. It wouldn’t give Pakistan a chance to do anything more than what (little, approvingly) their government does now. It doesn’t suddenly give our enemies a snowball’s chance in hell to say “alright, y’all, these here are war drones now, m’kay?”

        17. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan November 2, 2012 at 10:56 pm |

          Macavity, please. You quoted me and now you’re suddenly not actually addressing me? Let’s pretend I’ve got 2 braincells to rub together, okay? 9_9

        18. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 2, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

          You quoted me and now you’re suddenly not actually addressing me? Let’s pretend I’ve got 2 braincells to rub together, okay? 9_9

          For crying out loud, Bagelsan, point out where I said that voting is racist. I pointed out specifically that there was a GENERAL trend to dismiss drone strikes/Iraq war as a necessary evil and that that’s bullshit. That wasn’t about you. Then you chimed in to reply to me, and I quoted you in my reply to you. But NO, my original statement was not about you and that bloody well stands, since my first comment didn’t start with “J’accuse Bagelsan!” or something to that effect, okay?

        19. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 2, 2012 at 11:07 pm |

          …although now I do see I quoted only half what I wanted to in my reply. For fuck’s sake, I am an idiot. I meant to quote:

          I am, among other things, voting for the guy less likely to start more wars. Oh, but I forgot that doing so is raaacist now.

        20. William
          William November 3, 2012 at 9:28 am |

          Of course it doesn’t. That’s the point; how would “declaring war” suddenly make killing people okie-dokies?

          Declaring war is a process. It requires public debate, public accounting, and a public vote. It also invites a lot more scrutiny and is a somewhat less vulnerable to being obfuscated by arguments of executive privilege and state secrets. By allowing drone strikes to be the province of the intelligence/espionage apparatus rather than the military one you invite secrecy and a lack of accountability. The CIA is always going to do ugly things under the table and history has shown us that the outer limit of the horrors they’ll do in our name is basically the outer limit of what their resources will allow for. Undeclared war, Special Activities Devision paramilitary operations, and drone strikes allow for a lot more violence with a lot less attention.

          So yes, declaring war and having a process for deciding how we use even the same tools does matter.

        21. EG
          EG November 3, 2012 at 10:16 am |

          Officially declaring war also draws a different kind of international scrutiny.

  39. Mathew
    Mathew October 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |

    Obama has conservative economic and foreign policies with liberal social views. The policies make sense (raising taxes on people making over $250,000 and cutting spending, or dealing with Iran through diplomacy, etc) and are consistent.

    Romney’s only consistent policies are cutting taxes and raising military spending. He also says it will balance the budget. How it will do that is a mystery to me. His social and foreign policy views change depending on which venue you ask him in.

    It’s pretty clear who’s more qualified to be president.

  40. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve October 28, 2012 at 4:45 pm |

    I don’t see the outrage here. If pheeno, Becca, Will, etc can’t see substantive difference between the two major candidates, then they shouldn’t be voting for either of them. Voting for an unrealistic candidate, or a protest candidate, or no one at all is as much a part of a democracy as placing your vote for one of the two most popular candidates.

    I’m not convinced by the ‘no to Obama or Romney’ arguments, but neither am I convinced by the arguments of those who would vote for Romney, but I wouldn’t suggest they are voting ‘wrong.’ Obama has made a calculated decision to not lose votes from the center-left/centrists as opposed to far-left progressives. I support that as a sensible political strategy, but if you are a strident leftist/anarchist/progressive, I can see why you would step off the Obama train. I just hope that the appeal to centrist votes will be enough to prevent a President Romney.

  41. Tony
    Tony October 31, 2012 at 11:44 pm |

    I didn’t buy into the original Obama hype, but I’ll be voting for him this year and also donated and volunteered for him, and will volunteer again. When he came into office, the banks were collapsing, the housing market was collapsing, the auto industry was collapsing, we were losing 700,000 jobs per month, and the deficit was already projected to be over $1 trillion. Today, we 90 percent of the money given to the banks have been paid back, the housing market is recovering, the auto industry has come back, and we’ve gained over 5 million private sector jobs since early 2010. Plus, we are on track for insuring 30 million more people, expanding Medicaid, substantially improving transparency in the consumer finance industry through the CFPB, and substantially improving auto fuel standards.

    This is the biggest turnaround since the 1930s, and I don’t want to see it undone, sorry.

    No one can predict the future, but at this moment in time the evidence suggests the economy will continue to recover in the next four years, so if Obama wins, it’ll be clearer that the stimulus policies he employed early in his administration pushed us in the right direction. That’ll push the country left economically. If Romney wins, I believe he’ll enact more tax cuts for the rich, the economy will also continue to recover, but Romney will claim his policies were responsible and will likely win in 2016 as well. That’ll push the country right economically. That’s not to mention what impact another 8 years of Republican court appointees will do to what remains to consumer rights, campaign finance limits, and civil rights. I also believe Romney is more likely to send us to war with Iran than Obama, and it’ll be a close call as to whether or not that happens in 2013.

  42. Raudya
    Raudya November 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm |

    Perhaps it’s unfair to post without some long argument, but I just want to react to several mention of drone strikes here, especially by @SlipperyWombat.

    To the lurkers, please, if you have time, visit a website by Stanford University’s IHRCRC detailing about ‘life under drones’ in Pakistan.

    The research, nine months in total, detailing data, legal analysis, victim stories, all well-researched; It’s in here : Living Under Drones

    Perhaps it will be a reminder why the drone strikes are not just some ‘mucky shit’ or ‘fuckups’ by the american government and army.

  43. Alexandra
    Alexandra November 1, 2012 at 10:54 pm |

    This year I’m going to the polls mostly to vote for local candidates; as a Californian, my vote in the national election is symbolic, and while I suppose I could cast a protest vote for Jill Stein, I don’t particularly see the point. I do want to get involved in the third party movement, but if/when I do, I intend to do so on the local and perhaps the state level. Trying to support third parties at the national level is at this point in American history farcical.

    Honestly I’m feeling goddamn jaded about US national politics right now. Yes, it’s very good that Barack Obama doesn’t intend to roll back women’s rights precipitously or voucherize Medicare, but he didn’t even accomplish the most MODERATE of the social policies I’d hoped to see enacted, let alone the most liberal. Where’s the immigration reform? A 2 year executive order that doesn’t even provide a path to a green card? Where’s the closing of Guantanamo? And god knows Obama has hardly worked to reduce the executive’s use and abuse of privilege to curtail civil liberties…

    Health Care Reform, I think, will perhaps do some good for some people (and I will and am benefiting extraordinarily from it) in the next twenty to thirty years, but will be inadequate in the long term; we have yet to really deal with the extraordinary costs of the system or to do something about the economic inequities… I was reminded of this today when a number of college friends on facebook were sharing a link to a fundraiser for an alumn of our college who’s trying to raise 10,000 so he doesn’t lose the use of both hands at the age of 25. That we as a country would sit by and let a person become disabled for want of 10,000 dollars makes me sick.

    pheenobarbidol, your comments have been really, really enlightening and thought-provoking. This year I began my semester at a new college, and the first event I attended – sort of accidentally – was a speech by a woman from one of the unrecognized native tribes in central Cali, the Esselen, who was talking about how our university campus had been built on stolen land to which her people were being continuously denied access because of their unrecognized status. I do wonder about the utility of not voting, though (though I 100% take your point about how all voting – and all support tacit or otherwise of the US govt – maintains colonization in the US).

    I am wary, in general, of symbolic rather than concrete action. I heard a funny story today from one of my doctors about a philosophy professor he knew, who during Cesar Chavez’s boycott of lettuce went out to lunch and bought a sandwich, from which she then removed the lettuce! Truly, a useful political action.

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