Today, Retake offers thoughts on Super Tuesday and more on Tuesday’s post on Jack Forbes’ book, Columbus and Other Cannibals, that leads to a question for all of you: when is enough truly enough to trigger an outright rebellion?
Just four days before Super Tuesday, pundits from around the country felt that Biden was on the ropes and that without a stunning win in South Carolina, Super Tuesday could be the end of his campaign. Now we know just how quickly a campaign can do a u-turn.
But just as the predictions of imminent elimination were premature for Biden, so too for Sanders. Quite obviously, with Bloomberg, Buttigieg, Klobuchar and likely Warren bowing out, the race will suddenly pit Biden against Sanders one-on-one. Thus the next debate will be head-to-head and a weak performance by Biden could shift momentum.
That debate is March 15, after the next round of primaries on Tues., March 10, with Michigan, Idaho, Washington, Missouri and Mississippi. Sanders can ill afford to lose any of those races, but it’s hard to see Sanders winning in either Missouri or Mississippi. While the most recent polling showed Sanders leading in Michigan, Washington, and Idaho, those polls came before South Carolina. Besides, polls have been very poor indicators of primary results in the past two weeks. So who knows? I’m staying away from making predictions.
I doubt there is anyone who reads this post who was happy with Tuesday’s results. While I’ve had many Retake supporters write about their support for Warren and several for Mayor Pete, for Klobuchar ,and even Bloomberg, I’ve never actually had anyone write a comment, email or tell me in person that they were hoping Biden would be the nominee. As much as I hate the idea of Biden leading the ticket, if that should come to pass — and the path for Sanders is narrowing quickly — progressive Democrats will simply have to muster up the enthusiasm for Biden. You will see no attacks against Biden in this post, even if Bernie starts to regain traction. But I have to be honest, the thought of Biden debating Trump doesn’t inspire a great deal of optimism.
Tuesday, March 17, 6:30-8:30, Retake Our Democracy Community Meeting: Roundhouse Debrief and 2020 Primary and General Election Campaigns. We will begin with a debrief of the 2020 Legislative Session, but the majority of time will be devoted to planning for the 2020 elections. We believe the 2020 election is likely the most important election of our lives, so this is a critical meeting, even if you don’t care a whit about the legislative session. We will lay out plans for how you can be involved in the NM state primary and in the national election and our effort to depose the despot. This would be a good meeting for you to invite a couple friends and then coax them into getting active for June and November. Eric Griego will be on hand to help lay out how Working Families Party, NM is planning for the state primary.
To RSVP, please write to RetakeResponse@gmail.com
For information on New Energy Economy’s March 12 benefit for solarizing Casa Milagro, for Earth Care & YUCCA’s five-week planning series preparing for direct actions and a student strike on Earth Day, and an array of other actions and events, click here.
Retake on KSRF 101.1 FM this Saturday from 8-9 am. This week is pledge week, so Roxanne and I will co-host Richard Wolfe’s Economic Update from 8-8:30 and then the Retake show goes live from 8:30 – 9 am. Listen in and plan on making a contribution to KSFR during our show.
More On Columbus & Other Cannibals
Tuesday we published a review of what I feel is one of the most important books you could possibly read: Columbus and Other Cannibals by Jack Forbes. The post covered the first half of the book and so today I offer a few additional remarks on the second half of the book. Click here to review Tuesday’s post.
Recall that in Tuesday’s post I described how Forbes delineated the key differences between the world views of indigenous and European peoples. Forbes’ central premise is that Europeans’ thirst for greed and desire to conquer nature have roots in Christian concepts of original sin, good and evil, and Christian claims that nature is wild and needs to be tamed and bent to man’s will. This is contrasted with how indigenous cultures tend to view man and nature as inherently good, with man being nature’s steward and servant, not its conqueror. Forbes characterizes Western Civilization’s greed, racism, and imperialist behaviors as symptoms of a disease: Wetiko, a sickness that perverts human nature
The second half of the book offers Forbes’ thoughts on terrorism, misogyny, male violence, organized crime, and fundamentalist Christianity and how each is a consequence of Western Civilization being infected with Wetiko.
The discussion of terrorism is particularly compelling, as Forbes first describes how “terror” has been employed by corporations and nations –infected with Wetiko — that have terrorized indigenous peoples from the ancient Mayans to the Palestinians. It is fascinating to see how the sanctioned acts of corporate or European/US terror can somehow be justified and also how whenever indigenous resistance to that terror forms, that resistance is instantly labelled as terrorism. Forbes’ outlines how Israel in Palestine and Spanish Conquistadors in New Mexico employed similar terrorist tactics against the indigenous Palestinians and the New Mexican tribes. And then he ticks off a score of other examples that mirror the same dynamic.
But perhaps the most important point made in part two is Forbes’ questioning why some kind of massive resistance has not been mounted anywhere in the world. He views this, really, as our only hope.
He wonders what would happen if 500,000 unarmed Muslim refugees marched to the Israeli border and demanded entry into a liberated Palestine or if tens of thousands of Mayan people marched unarmed to Guatemala City to demand justice and restoration of their rights to land long since expropriated by the state. While he states that very likely the Israeli or Guatemalan military would react with brutal violence, he points out that Mayans and Palestinians are dying from oppression and violence already. He suggests that only through massive non-violent resistance is there any hope of liberation.
These passages triggered some interesting thinking. So much of what we take for granted, from our cars, to our phones, to our avocados, coffee, and rubber tires, comes with a severe human and/or climate impact. Why do we accept this?
We have children being housed in cages in NM, Texas, and Arizona and this is done in our name and with our tax dollars?
We have a genocidal war being perpetrated by Saudi Arabia with our tax dollars and weapons supporting the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
We have seniors unable to pay for their medications and living in degrading poverty.
We have a deranged president whose moral offenses are too numerous to count.
And yet, we remain largely passive. What does it take for the thought of “enough is enough” to trigger our willingness to take risks?
Put another way, what will it take for us to take decisive and sustained action? Many privileged Americans understand the desperation of our situation, we recognize our proximity to extinction, and we can’t deny our complicity with worldwide imperialist oppression. When do we act? And by act, I do not mean show up for the Women’s March, Labor Day, or Earth Day and march for a couple hours.
What if activists from across the country descended on DC with a plan of shutting the capitol down by adopting the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protest model that throttled London for weeks?
What if activists organized around April 15 and millions of Americans withheld their tax returns and tax payments?
What if New Mexican activists began sitting outside the Governor’s office every Friday until she met a series of demands related to the treatment of immigrant children, the private prisons operated throughout the state, the obscene methane release, or the continued expansion of fracking operations in southeast NM?
It is asking a great deal for a Mayan to march to Guatemala City or for Muslim refugees to march on Israel. They would be putting their lives at stake before enemies with little reluctance to shed blood.
But we would face little repercussion by blocking the entry points to the national capital. We would face little consequence if millions file extensions without payments of our April 15 tax submissions. We would take minimal risk sitting outside the Governor’s office, with an increasing number of people sitting each week.
When is enough really and truly enough? After having benefited from the sacrifices of tens of millions who had no choice but to submit, when do we step up for them and shut it down? I very seriously want your comments on what a sincere, significant resistance might be.
If we are to fulfill our responsibility to protect nature and serve as nature’s stewards, that involves more than recycling, planting veggie gardens, and marching on Earth Day. It must involve taking a firm and unyielding stand against those afflicted with Wetiko, those who are defiling our land, water, and air, and polluting our relationships among each other. In 1920, Kate Lucki, a powerful doctor from the Wintu Nation, prophesied as to what awaits the white man if he doesn’t heal his relationship with Nature.
When the Indians all die, then God will let the water come down from the north. Everyone will drown. That is because the white people never cared for the land or deer or bear.”Columbus and Other Cannibals, P. 14.
I very seriously want your comments on what a sincere, significant resistance might be. What do we do? What are you willing to do? When is enough actually enough? Comment below, please.
Paul & Roxanne
I’m a Bernie fan for the Big Change we need. But, oddly enough, I find myself relieved about Biden’s success for these reasons: I think Republicans who are unhappy with Trump, and Democrats who are wary of Bernie’s “socialism”, now have someone they can vote for to defeat Trump. For me, much as I fear for our planet’s and our survival, getting Trump out of office is the priority. I feel Biden could do that. I also think people who can’t abide Trump and were Bernie supporters will get to the polls for Biden. That’s my prayer.
I agree completely.
Thank you for offering us this book.
I cannot and will not vote for Biden, the first time in my 77 years not to support the Democrat candidate. Enough is enough. No more compromising sellouts to the corporate oligarchy.
Fred, Fred. I’m hoping you’ll reconsider in time. We need every vote to Bump Trump and take back the Senate. If Biden’s the One we’ll pressure him to choose a Progressive VP and to support Progressive initiatives.
If Trump wins because of disgruntled Dems, All is Lost. All is Lost.
Then you are voting for Trump.
Hi Paul and Roxanne. Your question reveals the dilemma many of us face daily. As a species, we have lived for the last 12k years or so under the tyranny/delusion that top-down hierarchy is our only option within our own social paradigm.
Even a cliff note-type read of history should convince us that this practice has resulted in constant failure and misery.
Your use of ‘resistance’ denotes the almost constant practice of the oppressed throughout that history, where the only path out of repression involves resisting same, with the ensuing carnage always following.
Many times my dad said to me, in answer to some question of mine about why this or that had just occurred within the human experience, one of two reflections – ‘kid, you can’t change human nature’ or, ‘kid, it all depends on whose ox is being gored.’
My follow-up question was repeatedly – ‘Well, what should be done?’
His answer, always – ‘Kid, there are many things in life that you do not want to do, but you have to do them anyway.’
That answer cut several ways, resisting or acquiescing or rebelling.
I never much liked a foot on my throat, so I chose rebellion most of the time. Resisting my mother’s rage changed me from a sweet, gentle, fun-loving kid into a guerilla fighter, always looking over my shoulder and counter punching when the opportunity arose. When I felt forced to go along to get along, I felt like a slave, a prisoner, a coward, a liar.
And I always failed to be a good robot. So I chose to be a rebel, and still am.
And my dad’s counsel taught me some things – the ownership of oxen is not a good thing; I cannot change anyone else, but I can change myself, and to do so demands that I do things I do not want or like to do.
So I was forced to learn what and how and why I valued the things I treasured, and were they compatible with each other and did they support what I treasured most. Most importantly, I learned that my treasure was not me, but all the ‘other’ around me and within me, what it was that made me who I am.
That is why I say ‘revolution or extinction.’ It is not a slogan, it is an imperative, like breathing.
I do not push back, I push through, which is why I am often so annoying, the itch that one cannot scratch.
“. . . progressive Democrats will simply have to muster up the enthusiasm for Biden.”
Sorry, Paul and Roxanne. Biden’s past actions and policies are abjectly regressive in so many areas, that any person identifying as a progressive cannot, in good conscience, vote for this man. Trump:Biden, equal evils. They just go about their destruction in different ways. From my point of view, it is a a moral imperative not to support either.
There is, however, a more down-to-earth reason that Biden is unacceptable. It is blindingly obvious to anybody who is willing to look clearly at the evidence. Clearly, without empathy, generosity, or sentiment.
https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/03/05/stop-calling-it-a-stutter - here-are-dozens-of-examples-of-bidens-dementia-symptoms/#comment-28942
I submit that Biden will not make it to November, nominee or not. The incoherence is quite remarkable. There is a faint memory of Reagan in 1984, but RR had been a professional actor and, even with his increasing dementia, he could hit his mark and deliver well-crafted (Noonan, etc.) lines with aplomb. Biden has none of Reagan’s skills or attributes, save for a winning smile. His go-to response when challenged is loud assertion that often comes across as unexpected anger.
The March debate will be interesting, for both Sander’s style of attack and Biden’s replies. The “moderators” will be sure to be even-handed. /s
So, the hope of the DNC party grandees must be that Biden can be propped up until nominated. Then, with a vice president securely in place–Michelle, if she’s willing to accept the aggravation of the job–that person can move up to the top spot. Hilary will have an absolute conniption, but who cares, she doesn’t count for anything these days. If Biden doesn’t make it to Milwaukee, well, Chicago ’68 is still in this boomer’s memory.
Just in the past week, with coronavirus gaining attention in the U.S., we’ve seen how utterly unpredictable this year will be. Final question: will an election be held in November? I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it.
Like Mary I am surprised to find myself a bit relieved by the support for Biden, but even more by the sizable voter turnout—that is what will unseat Trump. I’m sorry for the Freds of this nation who won’t show up to Bump Trump no matter who the Dem on the ticket is.
Sadly the youth vote didn’t show up for Bernie; If Bernie can’t turnout the youth what is hos future?I don’t think voters see him as a winner.
I was so surprised to hear my daughter in Seattle, the ultimate homeless/justice activist, rebel and humanitarian, who has been volunteering for Elizabeth, will now vote for Biden and not Bernie.
Oil and Gas are bigger in NM than Governor and Government. They should be the target not politicians. Lujan is hamstrung by her need for $$$. Climate protest should target O & G, not sit in the Gov’s Office. In my humble view.
Poor turnout among young voters did not help Bernie on Super Tuesday. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/03/04/super-tuesday-bernie-sanders-youth-votes-fell-short-compared-2016/4947795002/
Although the request was for comments about resistance, most replies are Biden vs Sanders, so I’ll get this out of the way first: Vote blue, no matter who. Four more years of an unimpeachable Trump will be an unmitigated disaster. The social safety net from ACA to Soc Sec would be in real danger of completely failing. The New Start Treaty would be a gonner with all that implies for even a fig leaf of nuclear moderation. Environmental regs would continue to be swept away. Consider what damage an ultraconservative (6:3) Supreme Court could do. Re: The Biden-dementia theory. Please read https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/01/joe-biden-stutter-profile/602401/ about his struggle with stuttering, which results in unusual cadances, word choices, etc. to compensate. Nuff said.
Back to the topic at hand, I like M.N.’s comments above about revolution vs resistance. Everyone will have to find their own path based on their abilities and desires. Bloomberg can blanket the airwaves with a zillion dollars in ads while a single parent with a part-time job will be hard pressed to participate in a local Ward meeting. I’m beginning to see that much can be accomplished at the local level by focusing on resilience. Green initiatives, fracking bans, sanctuary cities, secure and accessible voting, etc. can be implemented by working with the state and city even if I can’t travel to DC to protest directly to the seats of power.
Bernie might still have a chance, a lot can happen in the next few months. There has got to be some kind of “tipping point’ but there are too many people who are comfortable, the stock market is doing fine, so far. If we look at the corporate media, there is nothing too concerning there, even the corona virus is a marketing opportunity. The media is only minimally covering the protests and injustices, and always with the underlying theme of American superiority.
One of the groups that did not turn out for Bernie as expected was the youth, the ones raised on technology and corporate marketing. Perhaps they are apathetic, afraid, or just don’t think it matters. Many of them in order to maintain employment have to adopt the corporate mindset, and fear is ingrained into them. I have heard comments about fear over the minimum wage raises, they believe their hours will be cut. A lot of people have been silenced, afraid to discuss anything. We are a walking on eggshells, any random comment could set off the opposition. They are like a cult, utterly brainwashed and unable to grasp basic concepts. Some of the long term poor, have been so beaten down, they no longer participate, the older ones have seen this play out over and over again.
I don’t see anyone taking a really hard look at the media manipulation so many people are exposed to. Wealthier white people can limit their exposure to media, and subscribe their own radio channels and Television, like Netflix. On Facebook or social media they have an entirely different experience,from older people with no filter for fake news or misinformation. Facebook has made it very clear they will do what is good for Facebook or Zuckerberg, and they have no problem putting their fingers on the scales. Even though they have been caught red handed, they merely try another tactic. There are billions of dollars at play maintaining the status quo, or inciting hate, fear and confusion. The government is still unable to regulate them in any way.
There can be no doubt these tech companies are monitoring and selling data, to counteract any social moment. Google was active in 2016, protecting their interests and allowing advertising to misinform, and rank on their search engine. There are plenty of corporations actively marketing the ability to track key words, which are useful to protect certain corporations and counter criticism. The “media literacy programs” do not go far enough, explaining the manipulation. It is much more subtle than fake news.
I have been wondering about this tipping point where are the Boycotts? Boycotting has become a dangerous word. Nothing is more sacred than the corporation and profit. Back in the 1990s a few communities protested the big box stores, now nothing. Communities were ravaged by their greed and jobs were shipped overseas. Workers were forced to pack up factories to ship to China. Many never found jobs that paid as much, while their communities sunk into drugs, alcohol and despair. Media only covered this in a way that portrayed these parasitic corporations as beneficial.
Corporate media did not adequately cover these stories, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/china-compels-uighurs-to-work-in-shoe-factory-that-supplies-nike/2020/02/28/ebddf5f4-57b2-11ea-8efd-0f904bdd8057_story.html The people watching their stock climb seem to be fine with communism and forced slave labor. There is no Boycott of Nike, they are still selling their overpriced, slave labor produced crap.
Nothing at Starb**cks either, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/mar/01/children-work-for-pittance-to-pick-coffee-beans-used-by-starbucks-and-nespresso Child slaves did not warrant a protest, local media won’t cover it, it might put a dent in their business, they tend to fluff for the real estate and tourism industries. The most exploitative industries, while people sleep in the streets, and die in the ditches.
It is ironic when Bernie was attacked for being a democratic socialist, by people who choose to profit, from communism and repression in China. People with no humanity or human decency, and willing to look the other way on massive human rights abuses. Our cheap, disposable imports are all tainted with human blood and pain, and the effect on the environment is never calculated.
The local media keeps touting how little water people in New Mexico use. They do not count the water used and contaminated, overseas to produce the things we don’t produce anymore. They never calculate the carbon footprint of the items in our supermarkets, big box stores, or ordered and shipped online. A lot of our produce is imported, so the water it took to grow is never considered. The water and environment destruction for every piece of plastic disposable crap every piece of clothing, and all of the packaging.
I have been checking out the “Kinder Gentler Boycott of Amazon” for people with Amazon accounts. it has not gotten much traction. There is no public visible reminder of any of this, the people have been silenced. Posting a handbill or poster could be dangerous, and carry more jail time,that attacking a human being. They pass around Memes online but there are no publicly visible signs of protest. I remember when the young people used to tag things, no more it has been so criminalized.
The commons have been sanitized. That guy on Santa Fe Trail, as a property owner is only allowed to advertise a business, a real estate sign or a tasteful sign for investment counseling or massage. As long as it is commerce it is fine, even a predatory pay day loan company, is preferable to ephemeral paper mache art. Santa Fe as a place for art is a joke, mostly the art that Texans like for their Mc mansions. They moved Luis Jimenez’s statue out of the way, because it was “controversial.” http://online.nmartmuseum.org/nmhistory/art/border-crossing2.html
The media did not tell the whole story on Palestinian oppression, or how they used bullets that are banned in wartime, to maim the teenage protestors. https://www.islam21c.com/news-views/palestinians-face-illegal-explosive-bullets-from-occupying-forces/
My friends and acquaintances have been so beaten down they no longer engage. We have been duped so many times, and had the rug pulled out from under us. The forces aligned against us all are powerful. It is no wonder people check out.
I know you read the blog daily, so I don’t understand how you could say: “I don’t see anyone taking a really hard look at the media manipulation so many people are exposed to. Wealthier white people can limit their exposure to media, and subscribe their own radio channels and Television, like Netflix. On Facebook or social media they have an entirely different experience,from older people with no filter for fake news or misinformation.” Retake has published blogs on this repeatedly, as recently as 10 days ago.
Responding to today’s post about progressives somehow finding enthusiasm for Biden, that isn’t going to happen in our house or in the homes of millions of other Americans who are completely sick and tired of the same old, same old.
Make no mistake about it, Biden is a neoliberal who will do nothing to address the climate emergency or the broken healthcare system, or anything else that most of us care about. To me, he is barely different from Mr. Trump, if somewhat more palatable on a personal level. He’s a tool of the same wealthy and corporate elites. This represents little or no change in policy.
This household will not be voting for Joe Biden and will write Bernie in if that is permitted in NM. We feel so strongly about this that we’re going to encourage Bernie to run as an independent if they shut him out again.
My two cents, Linda
Yes, Greg I know you have. But your reach only extends to the readers of this site. Think of all of our fellow citizens who don’t have access to this kind of information. There is not much “both sides” in this article.
I wonder how much influence the trump campaigns dirty deeds and millions in advertising,had on Biden’s win. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/03/05/facebook-removes-trump-campaign-ads-look-like-census-forms/4964108002/ The same with Bloomberg’s run, and his massive advertising budget.
2) #General strike
3) I’m not fan of Biden but to say he is only marginally different from Trump isn’t how I see it. Neo-liberalism – bad. Mean spirited Fascist authoritarian totalitarianism – double plus bad.
Everyone who says Biden is the same as Trump is missing an important point: we can LEAN on Biden REAL HARD, and probably make him shift his behavior. That cannot happen with Trump.
As to how I will resist and/or rebel, hmm… I admit that I am a scaredy-cat. I’ll have to think about this a lot. One thought, though, is: local, local, local. Hell, we’ve got LANL in close proximity, and thereby we have a great chance to stymie the nuclear-weapons juggernaut, right now. (Check out Los Alamos Study Group, among others.)
On what a sincere, significant resistance might be:
Let’s just start with the assumption that all the resistance measures to be considered are non-violent.
The most effective measure for influencing a major change in government or societal power structures is a general strike, which has been used with great effect at various times in a number of countries. (See for example the list contained in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_strike). The next most effective method is a continuous mass protest movement (such as those against the Vietnam war in the U.S. or those of the various Maidan movements in the Ukraine, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maidan_Nezalezhnosti). Next in line would be targeted boycotts such as that against South Africa in the apartheid era (although they have limited application and scope inside of a given country). Tax resistance movements, although having the potential for great impact, have seldom been used effectively due to the structural difficulty of avoiding taxes in modern economies.
For any of these strategies to be effective, it requires that a majority (or at least a large minority) of the people in a country or political entity be willing to make significant sacrifices in time and resources and/or willingness to take major risks (e.g. of arrest, job loss or property appropriation). Currently in the U.S. I just don’t see there being the level of enthusiasm or commitment necessary to effectively execute any of these strategies. If there isn’t even a large enough group of people who can summon the energy to go vote in a primary for candidates that support major changes to the status quo such as Sanders and Warren (even when such candidates are not just available, but highly viable) what are the chances that there will be enough motivated individuals to effectively support a general strike or sustained mass protest movement?
Plan B is to do what Paul and Roxanne have been doing:
-Being active in party politics and trying to move the course of the oil tanker in the ‘correct’ direction (whatever one might think that to be).
-Find and support candidates for office that share your views.
-Actively support policies and legislation that can make a difference.
-Be active in the public square by providing alternative sources of information and combating misinformation whenever it comes to one’s attention.
-Organizing and participating in protests.
-Form networks of the like minded to collectively influence the political process.
If you think that none of the Plan B measures has any impact, compare where New Mexico politics is today vs. where it was when there was a Republican governor and House of Representatives. It may not be Medicare for all and a Green New Deal, but it sure isn’t NOTHING.
Thanks for this, William. WE are in the process of evaluating what we have been doing and shifting some priorities. This helps. It also tells us that at least you think we are headed in the right direction.